Baseball metaphors for sex

The game of baseball is often used as a euphemistic metaphor for physical intimacy in the United States and other places the game is played, especially to describe the level of sexual intimacy achieved in intimate encounters or relationships.


In the baseball metaphor, sexual activities are described as if they are moves in a game of baseball. In the United States from the end of World War II through to today, adolescent boys would sometimes use this competitive analogy to describe, usually to boast about, their successes in "making it" with girls..

Although details vary, the most broadly accepted description of what each base represented is as follows:

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This sequence of "running the bases" is often regarded as a script, or pattern, for young people who are experimenting with sexual relationships. The script has changed slightly since the 1960s. Kohl and Francoeur note that with the growing emphasis in the 1990s on safe sex and efforts by the feminist movement to expand sex beyond phallo-vaginal intercourse, the "home run" has taken on the additional dimension of oral-genital sexual intercourse. Richters and Rissel similarly point out that "third base" has since become seen, by some people, to comprise oral sex as part of the accepted pattern of activities, as a pre-cursor to "full" (i.e. phallo-vaginal) sex.

Mullaney reports the idea that the introduction of oral sex is in fact a "new teen model", that is replacing the "traditional base system", in part as an "unintended offspring of 'abstinence-only' education". In this new model, sex acts, including many that were not included as part of the traditional "base" system, are classified in a wholly different way. The acts that count as "sex" (i.e. what would in the traditional system have constituted a "home run") are distinguished from those that do not count as "sex" according to whether it is possible to become pregnant, or lose one's virginity, from them. Thus oral sex, anal sex, and "a variety of other acts" are reclassified in the new model as "not a big deal" and "part of the realm of abstinence". Mullaney states that "obviously, not all teens subscribe to this revised model of classification".

Other parts of the baseball metaphor include "striking out" (sexual frustration), "pitcher" (for the penetrating partner) and "catcher" (for the receiving partner) in male homosexual intercourse, "charging the mound" or "stealing home" (rape, esp. date rape), and more obscure allusions such as a "catcher's mitt" for a contraceptive sponge, "inside the park home run" (anal sex or having sex with a person inside of the establishment in which the couple met; e.g., frat house, bar bathroom), "hard slide into second" (for having penile intercourse between the breasts), and a balk refers to premature ejaculation. A "dropped third strike" may refer to intercourse that is interrupted or halted.

Educators have found the baseball metaphor an effective instructional tool when providing sex education to middle school students. Levin and Bell, in their book ''A Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About Sex'', make use of it to aid parents in the discussion of puberty with their children, dividing the topics into "first base" ("Changes from the neck up"), "second base" ("Changes from the neck to the waist"), "third base" ("Changes from the waist down"), and "home plate" ("The Big 'It'").

In popular culture

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