The Perfect 10: “Sportspeak” in the Language of Sexual Relations

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Jeffrey O. Segrave Skidmore College

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This paper explores the use of the sports metaphor in the language of sexual relations. Data were collected from a questionnaire administered to a select sample of 127 undergraduate students. The results indicated widespread familiarity and use of this type of language, especially among males. Far from being innocuous, the use of the sports metaphor in this intimate area of life operates as a subtle, yet powerful component of a larger cultural discourse that contributes to the social construction of male hegemony in society. In particular, “sportspeak” in the language of sexual relations functions as a mechanism for transforming a human relations issue into a technical problem, for objectifying women, and for constructing notions of masculine hegemony and hegemonic masculinity.

Jeffrey O. Segrave is with the Department of Physical Education and Dance, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

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