No, this is not one of those when having sex in...
nodes -- instead, I'll discourse
briefly on the topic of how to speak about
and, at least as importantly, how to avoid accidental
If you've ever read Shogun or any of those pieces romantic fiction
with a Japonesque veneer by
James Clavell, you've probably heard about the Japanese penchant for
euphemism. Most of this is bullshit -- any attempts to
refer to a Jade Gate or Steaming Stalk are guaranteed to
crack up any native speaker. (These funny terms come from Chinese poetry
and Clavell's overactive imagination.) The nugget of truth behind this, though,
is that Japanese often has ludicrously wide ranges of meaning for the
same word: for example, hayai is both early and fast and
neither is there a distinction between late and slow (osoi).
And since sex is always a bit of a touchy topic, you can already see
the trouble brewing here...
But let's start with an easy one.
The second nasty case of definition slippage is that idaku, "to hug",
has also come to mean "to fuck". The really annoying part is that
there is really no decent way around this, so you have to rely on context
when talking about giving your little sister or your poodle Fluffy a hug.
Note that the slang form daku is even more likely to mean
going for a roll in the hay, whereas the diminutive form dakko
only refers to a Mom-and-kid type hug. The emphatic dakishimeru is "to hold tight" or "to embrace", not sex but an activity reserved for lovers just the same --
your saving grace is that the
Japanese are a notably touch-averse people, so you are unlikely to engage
in much hugging with people who aren't also sex partners.
One word for which the original meaning has been almost forgetten is
hameru, originally "to insert". If you talk about
putting it in with somebody, you really don't need to specify
are inserting and where. You're unlikely to hear this outside all-male
Another step down on the scale of politesse, the expression
kama wo horu -- literally "digging the pot" -- means anal sex,
most probably between two men. Highly derogatory.
Then there's the all-purpose word yaru, which means "to do"
and is used for any concievable type of doing -- including, of course,
doing "it". As in English, leaving the object of the doing undefined
will let the listener fill in their own assumptions, especially when using the
construction ...to yaru ("doing it with..."). Incidentally, the
Japanese word yariman, "slut", comes from this and literally
means "does ten thousand".
The anime crowd associates ecchi with tentacle sex, but while it
comes from the first letter of the word hentai, "perverted", these days
the construction ecchi suru (or ecchi yaru; ecchi can also
be spelled just H) simply means having sex.
In terms of flavor, this is a little crude and slangy, but very frequently
used among younger folks.
The other common loanword is sekkusu, the Japanese spelling
for "sex". Like the English word, this is often emblazoned on tabloids and
can be used in more serious documents as well, but is not heard all that often in
conversation. The expression sekkusu ga umai, meaning "skilled in bed",
is common though.
And finally, an actual quaint euphemism:
Issho-ni yoake no koohii nomanai?
Shall we drink morning coffee together?
There are many of these, of course, this one just appears to have been around
for a millennium or so (although the coffee is a relatively new development). A more modern version often heard among exchange students is kokusai-kouryuu wo fukameru, or "deepening the level of international exchange".
So go out there
and do that thing