The opposite of bareback

Having posted recently on bareback sex, bare sex, or raw sex, I wondered idly about the term for the opposite — for sex using condoms. In actual practice, the most commonly used term isn’t parallel to any of these, but seems to be the more inclusive safe(r) sex, though protected sex can also be found. But we could consider more imaginative alternatives.

But first, a cartoon with a dreadful pun:

(I’ve found this cartoon on several sites that collect funny material from a variety of sources — but always without an attribution, and without a signature. And I don’t recognize the style. I’d like to give credit to the cartoonist, so if anyone has a lead on the matter, I’d appreciate your chiming in with it.)

The opposite of safe(r) sex is unsafe sex, and the opposite of protected sex is unprotected sex — both explicitly negative — so you can see why some people might opt for bareback, bare, or raw sex, since these expressions cast the practice in a more positive light, by stressing its physical sensations.

Back to the vernacular terms.

The opposite of bareback sex would be saddled sex or saddle sex, neither of which will fly, because the bareback metaphor crumbles when you bring the saddle back in: what protected sex is isn’t a saddle for the penis to ride in.

The opposite of bare sex would be covered sex or clothed sex. The second won’t do, because its most available meaning is ‘sex in which participants are wearing clothing’. But the first is a possibility, though it’s not especially vivid. I’ll come back to the covering metaphors below.

Finally. the opposite of raw sex would be cooked sex or prepared sex (cue Lévi-Strauss’s The Raw and the Cooked), or possibly cultivated sex or elegant sex; the problem here is that raw has so many senses and subsenses. Again, reversing the metaphor just doesn’t work.

Now look at the safe(r) sex literature and its slogans. Probably the two most popular indirect slogans (after the direct Use a condom!) are Wrap it up! and Wear a glove! (and variants like Don’t be silly, wrap / cover your willy! and Don’t be a joker, wrap your poker!). The first exploits the image of wrappng, sheathing, or otherwise covering the penis; the second exploits the image of clothing the penis in a condom, wearing a condom like a glove. From these metaphorizations, we could invent wrapped sex, sheath(ed) sex, or glove(d) sex.

Finally,  there are straightforward opposites to bareback sex and its companions that refer to the barrier in protected sex: condom sex, latex sex, barrier sex. Not colorful, but easily understood.

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