The zipless fuck

On NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday today, a piece by Susan Stamberg on Erica Jong’s novel Fear of Flying, published 40 years ago, including an interview with Jong. The novel is famous for having introduced the expression zipless fuck; the fantasy of the zipless fuck plays a central role in the book. That presented a challenge to Stamberg and Jong, since they couldn’t say fuck on public radio.

About the book, from Wikipedia:

Fear of Flying is a 1973 novel by Erica Jong, which became famously controversial for its attitudes towards female sexuality, and figured in the development of second-wave feminism.

The novel is narrated by its protagonist, Isadora Zelda White Stollerman Wing, a 29-year-old poet who has published two books of poetry. On a trip to Vienna with her second husband, Isadora decides to indulge her sexual fantasies with another man. The book resonated with women who felt stuck in unfulfilled marriages, and it has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

… In this humorous novel, Erica Mann Jong coined the term “zipless fuck”, which soon entered the popular lexicon.

… Jong goes on to explain that it is “zipless” because “when you came together, zippers fell away like rose petals, underwear blew off in one breath like dandelion fluff. For the true ultimate zipless A-1 fuck, it was necessary that you never got to know the man very well.”

Zipless made it into OED2 (1989):

coarse slang. Denoting a brief and passionate sexual encounter.

with, of course, a first cite to Jong 1973.

Now: How to talk about zipless fucks on public radio? Stamberg contemplated referring to zipless intercourse, but dismissed that in favor of two strategies: just saying fuck and having it bleeped out, and saying bleep. The segment was hilariously dense with [bleep]s and bleeps, from both Stamberg and Jong.

One Response to “The zipless fuck”

  1. Sunday Book Review language and sex | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] 2. zipless. From Erica Jong’s piece “Unzipped”, about her book Fear of Flying and the zipless fuck: […]

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