Pat-SU fuck: new visions

Yes, this posting is about fucking — specifically about the syntax, semantics, and sociolinguistics of the sexual verb fuck in English, especially with reference to male-male anal intercourse (that is, men fucking men), so despite the high amount of technical linguistic content (NERD FLAG), it is (RAUNCH FLAG) thoroughly unsuitable for kids or the sexually modest. I mean, I’m going to talk about a lot of fucking in this piece, and I’m going to start with a guy getting (quite movingly) fucked by another guy, so some of you are going to have to, or want to, get the fuck out of here.

The impetus for this posting is a line from a short gay porn video on the IceGay site, “Brad McGuire And His Piggy [Dawson]”; McGuire, a dominant top into barebacking, is unloading a line of dirty sex talk onto the sexpig Dawson, whose aching desire is to get a load of hot cum in his ass after being enthusiastically screwed, doggie-style:

(#1) McGuire and Dawson, moving close to climax

McGuire: Work that dick, man. C’mon. Fuck me with that ass. [Big spangly note: McGuire fucks Dawson with his dick; Dawson fucks McGuire with his ass.] Yeah, c’mon, hungry pig. Yeah? That’s it. That’s it. C’mon, work for it [the desired load of cum]. Yeah. … Yeah, you work for that load. C’mon, fuck me with that ass, man. Fuckin’ pig.

Non-linguistic notes. We have just plunged here into a sociosexual world that will be largely unfamiliar to many of my readers. Too much to cover satisfactorily here, but just a few road signs for the territory.

First, a great many (but far from all) gay men enjoy being fucked; for us, it is deeply satisfying both physically  and emotionally. In this little fantasy, Dawson is angling for great pleasure, which McGuire provides for him. (The emotional dynamics are complex, but topping successfully is a skill, and one of its prime functions is to give the bottom what he needs.)

Second, Dawson’s preoccupation with cum is not some idiosyncrasy, but represents a widespread view among gay men that semen is a magical substance, the essence of masculinity, and deserves veneration; see my Page on postings about cum.

Third, sexual dirty talk takes as raw material all the stuff about sex that we have been taught is disgusting, sick, dangerous, evil, and so on, and spins it into emotional gold. We embrace the feelings and the acts, celebrate them, enjoy them to their fullest. This emotional transformation is especially important for gay people, who have an extra layer of revulsion and rejection about sex on top of the one that most people get. So calling me a cocksucker during sex isn’t going to hurt me — after all, most sexually active gay men are in fact cocksuckers, that’s Queerboy 101 — but it will probably turn me on some, because it invites me to fully acknowledge and embrace the pleasures of sucking dick and, through that, the power of faggotry. [In smart-aleck character:] I’m all kinds of queer. I’m a pussy boy, and a damn good one, so fuck me hard the way I want it or get out of my way.

The McGuire video gets this down pretty well.

(An autobiographical note. I haven’t actually been fucked for more than a quarter of a century, and I’m probably not going there again, except in my imagination. But it’s my home country, so to speak, and I visit it in my mind almost every day. (Sometimes more. Thanks to writing up this posting, I’ve been all the way back home three times already since I started on it.))

I got to the McGuire by searching on “dirty sex talk gay” and then doing a hell of a lot of winnowing. Good dirty sex talk isn’t easy to find, but it gets me off, so I’m willing to work for it. And I regularly find linguistic phenomena to write above. It’s like the cartoons: I read them for the laughs, but then I spend a lot of time analyzing them. Or like Sacred Harp music (I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader).

(#2) The after-sex kiss, McGuire on top

McGuire has managed to satisfy both the requirements of the film-porn world (he has come like a fountain, fully visible to the viewers, but just outside Dawson’s asshole) and Dawson’s expressed needs (he then plunges his dick, still quivering in ejaculation, back into Dawson’s asshole, producing a cummy mess that satisfies both characters); then he has Dawson lick his dick clean of all the cum that didn’t make it into Dawson’s ass; and finally he deep-kisses Dawson’s sex-tasty mouth (real men are dirty and messy, and revel in it [there’s even a Page on this blog on postings about messy sex]; these guys might be fags, and Dawson might be a pussy to boot, but they’re also both macho men)

Fourth, effective dirty sex talk is repetitive and formulaic. Think of it as reciting a sex-canticle, satisfying, even therapeutic, in its familiarity and power. Even in that short passage above, McGuire chants bits over and over, including the only thing that might be genuine invention in the whole video, fuck me with that ass. There are different canticles for different occasions — other hymns to mansexual connection get into bitch, a lot of faggot, cumpigpussy and cunt, fairy, piss, asshole, and hymns mostly to eating dick rather than to taking it up the ass. Skillful sextalkers play it by ear, intending to heap cock-arousing obscenities rather than what might be taken as actual insults; they appreciate it if you give them license and sometimes they ask (once, an excellent top, noticing that my cock was on the small side, asked if he could use little-dick against me; to my astonishment, just the question got me hard, so the answer was yes, oh yes, please).

Fifth, though this posting is specifically about the sexual verb fuck, other fuck items — items other than verbs, and items that are expressive rather than sexual — figure prominently in the video (and, generally, in gay porn with Anglophone actors). Even the short passage in #1 has expressive fuckin’ in fuckin’ pig. But the video as a whole is extraordinarily dense with expressive fuck and fuckin’.  A small sampling of its offerings:

in your fuckin’ hole
you fuckin’ love that big dick
fuckin’ sweet hole, man
it’s what you fuckin’ need
oh fuck, that’s nice
fuckin’ big load of sperm
fuckin’ break you in today

The item /fʌk/ is a word of great power and so serves as an index of masculinity, used symbolically especially in contexts of high-macho presentations, as by military men in battle. And also floridly (at least by Anglophone characters) in gay porn — another way in which the participants in mansex are portrayed (paradoxically, to some minds) as high-macho men.

Pat-SU fuck, background. The historically older, and prototypical, use of fuck is as a transitive verb denoting an event of what I’ll call modal sexual intercourse, an act of penetration into the prototypical sex cavity, the vagina, involving two participants: an insertive participant I, a male who provides the penetrating penis, and a receptive participant R, a female who provides the vagina. (Note: the event is both an anatomical act and an expression of an interpersonal relationship.) So: John fucked Jane.

Two acts closely analogous to modal sexual intercourse have a long history. In both, the penis penetrates an analogue of the vagina, the anus treated as a sex cavity.

In the first case, R is a man, and the penetration is into the closest analogue a man has to a vagina as sex cavity, his anus.  So:John fucked James (in the ass). With a metaphorical extension of fuck to cover mansex.

In the second, R is a woman, and the penetration is into her anus as a secondary sex cavity. In various times and places, such anal intercourse has served as a means of birth control, or as a scheme for maintaining hymeneal virginity before marriage. So: John fucked Jane (in the ass). With a metaphorical extension of fuck to cover anal intercourse.

These three types of intercourse share many salient features of meaning — the penetrating penis, the sex cavity as the site of the penetration, and the accompanying interpersonal relationship — and verbs denoting them regularly share much of their syntax, so it’s natural to treat them as a category of acts. For which I suggest the somewhat playful name penintercourse (conveying roughly ‘penis penetration intercourse’).

(I’m setting aside here two further lines of analogy, and the accompanyng metaphorical extensions of fuck: to insertion of something analogous to a penis (a finger, a tongue, a dildo, a phallic object); and to reception by something analogous to a sex cavity (a mouth, an anatomical cavity or cleft, a hole in an inanimate object, an enveloping material).)

To recap things so far: in penintercourse, participant I provides a penis for penetrating a sex cavity of participant R.

This is a very specific sort of event, whose description is packed with details both anatomical and sociocultural. It would be useful to view the participant roles from a less granular, more abstract, perspective: the perspective of generalized participant roles like Agent (Agt) and Patient (Pat) (note: current literature on generalized participant roles mostly treats them under the heading of proto-roles). Such generalized roles are then available for stating large-scale generalizations about the alignment of semantics (in terms of the participant roles) and syntax (in terms of syntactic functions like Subject (SU), Direct Object (DO), and Oblique Object (OO)). In particular, we’re then able to state default alignments of Agt with SU and Pat with DO:

the default is for Agt to be expressed by SU, and for SU to express Agt (note: these are just defaults); similarly for Pat and DO

I and R are special cases of Agt and Pat, respectively, so we see the default alignments (Agt-SU and Pat-DO) illustrated in everyday examples like John fucked Jane/James.

But not all alignments are the default ones, and that’s where we’re going next.

Pat-SU fuck, the payoff. The first development, noted in my 7/9/13 posting “Sexual lexical semantics”, is Pat-SU fuck, apparently first in intransitives like Terry fucks like crazy with the SU referring to a woman or a gay man; the semantic development would presumably involve all-purpose intransitive fuck ‘participate in an act of fucking’, where the involvement could be as R as well as I.

But then we see transitives apparently with Pat-SU (and Agt-DO) — well, with R-SU (and I-DO). From my 2013 posting:

I like to fuck, uttered by a man, could mean either that the speaker likes to fuck other people or that he likes to be fucked (by men). Similarly,

(4) I’ve fucked every man here, including the butler.

spoken by a man, could mean either that the speaker has penetrated all the men in intercourse or that he’s been penetrated by all of them. These strike me as genuine ambiguities (with different assignments of participant roles), but the OED‘s entries treat them as lack of specification (as to the participant roles involved): I like to fuck in (1) would be OED-glossed as something like ‘I like to engage in acts of intercourse’ and (4) would be OED-glossed as something like ‘I’ve engaged in an act of intercourse with every man here, including the butler’.

But the OED-style glosses are unsatisfactory, since they’re consistent with the speaker’s playing different roles on different occasions. This consequence is especially unsatisfactory for (4), which on the lack-of-specification account is true if the speaker has penetrated some of the men and been penetrated by the others, and I think that’s just wrong. Similarly, this account predicts (incorrectly, I believe) that

(5) I’ve fucked every man here, and so has Jett.

is true if the speaker has penetrated all of the men, while Jett has been penetrated by all of them.

In my survey of the participant roles of subjects (here), I didn’t include Patient-subject fuck (and screw etc.), but I think now that it should be added to other Patient-subject cases.

For some actual examples of Pat-SU fuck (all involving a SU denoting a woman), I turn to the examples collected in Jesse Sheidlower’s The F Word (3rd ed. 2009), p. 84:

1964-66 R. Stone Hall of Mirrors 194: Is she fuckin’ other people?

1985 E. Leonard Glitz 88: Iris was fucking somebody.

1993 L[iz] Phair Flower (pop. song): Every time I see your face…I want to fuck you like a dog…I’ll fuck you till your dick turns blue.

1996 T. McMillan How Stella Got Her Groove Back 145: “Well, I didn’t just fuck him.” “Oh, don’t tell me you guys made love and shit.” “We did. That’s exactly what we did.” “You fucked him, Stella. Get real.”

To which I’d add this exchange from the film script of Cabaret, as reported in my 4/20/15 posting “On the double entendre watch”

Brian: “Max? Fuck Max !” [dismissive exclamatory use]

Sally: “I do!” [Patient-subject use, spoken by a woman; she is the person fucked]

Brian (after pause): “… so do I (laughs)”. [use by a man, which could be Agent-subject, Patient-subject, or neutral as between the two]

In any case, this transitive usage has been around for at least 55 years.

I’ve been assuming here that the domain-specific roles I and R are just special cases of the generalized roles Agt and Pat, respectively (so that Sally Bowles’s implied I fuck Max has the default alignments of Agt to SU and Pat to DO reversed), but it’s now worth examining that assumption. Consider these contrasting contributing properties of Agent and Patient (from the work of David Dowty on generalized participant roles):

Agent: volitionally involved in the event or state / Patient: undergoes change of state

Agent: causing an event or change of state in another participant / Patient: causally affected by another participant

Agent: moving (relative to the position of another participant) / Patient: stationary relative to movement of another participant

In most of the examples above, the referent of the subject could be seen as going either way, but the Liz Phair example suggests a high degree of volition on the part of the R participant (denoted by the SU), and Dawson in #1 exhibits both volition and movement; doggie-style fucking and sit-fucks both allow for considerable movement and control on the part of the R participant denoted by the SU; the R is in fact pretty much in charge of the event. More impressively, in (#1) the PP with that ass supplies the means by which the referent of the implied SU is to perform a volitional action.

Movement and volition are quite prominent in the performance of a (female) SU referent in the following two quotations, both describing an anal sit-fuck:

From the Literotica site, in the story “Poker Game” by dickpounder73 (relevant bits boldfaced):

I smile at my slut, “Tell Don what that ass is good for bitch.

“She looks over her shoulder at him, “Sir this asshole is good for fucking, I love to be ass fucked like the whore I am.”

Don takes the hint, “Show me what that ass is good for slut.”

“Oh yes Sir!” She reaches back and grabs his cock, aims it at her tight sphincter and once she feels the head of his dick at her opening she slowly settles down on it, driving his cock all the way in her asshole.

“Mmmmmmm so fucking good in my ass Sir, so big in my slut hole, thank you Sir!”

He is moaning, grinding his hips into her, “Damn baby so hot, so tight, fuck me with that ass bitch.”

The game comes to a standstill as we all watch her fuck him with her hot gorgeous ass, she is now slamming down on his dick driving him deep in her bowels, moaning, “God so good, feels so good deep in my ass, love to be an ass whore.”

From Google Books, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, Volume 13, by Maxim Jakubowski, in the story “Slowhand” by Isabella Johns”:


One way to understand these new examples is not that they illustrate a non-canonical alignment of generalized participant roles (Agt and Pat) with syntactic functions (SU and DO), but that they illustrate a  non-canonical alignment of domain-specific participant roles (I and R) with generalized participant roles (Agt and Pat) The idea would be that She fucked him with her hot gorgeous ass and Dawson fucked McGuire with his hungry ass have canonical Agt-SUs and Pat-DOs, but that the Agts are (non-canonically) aligned with the penintercourse role R rather than I. And that this possibility exists for the other cases that have been supposed to exemplify Pat-SU fuck.

And, more generally, that domain-specific participant roles aren’t just special cases of generalized participant roles, but can (on occasion) represent two somewhat divergent schemas for structuring events.

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