After seeing a recent article on actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop titled “Rekindling Your Subtle Sexual Field,” I knew it was time to update my erotic lexicon.
I spent 25 years researching and writing about sex, relationships and erotic literature, but a ‘sexual field’ was new to me. What was it and how did I get one?
According to the article’s author, Jennifer Freed, “The subtle sexual field is a place where cues, cues, and expressions are all in the service of Eros and sexual connection.”
But the bottom line was the old-fashioned idea of flirting with your partner and making sure to cultivate manners so that they see you as a sexual being (and vice versa). Basically, if you manage to nurture and nurture your “subtle sexual field,” your partner will almost certainly think you’re hot.
Rowan Pelling shares some of the new sexual terms that have entered our culture in recent years to help navigate the world of dating and romance (file image)
So now you know. But it’s not the only term to look out for as you navigate the world of dating and romance right now – there’s a whole new sexual lexicon out there.
To make sure you’re up to date on the latest lingo – let’s face it, there’s nothing less sexy than not being in the know – here’s my guide to some of the new terms that have entered our culture in recent years. came in…
‘aro’ for short – a term for people who do not experience romantic attraction and have no desire for romantic relationships. Aros may experience platonic love and affection for family and friends, but woe betide anyone who scatters rose petals on their bed.
This describes any relationship where the participants agree that they are not going to form an exclusive attachment. Other sexual arrangements are not only tolerated, they are part of the deal. It’s old-fashioned swinging dressed to sound fancy to those who work in tech and long to go to Burning Man.
If you are the type of person who never lusts after strangers on trains but only feels desire after cultivating a close emotional bond with another human being, this is the label for you. Sure, people in long marriages can tell you that’s how they started, but 25 years later they find themselves inexplicably, suddenly drawn to actors in Peaky Blinders, commuters, and the neighbor’s gardener.
I laughed like a mop when a friend’s son in his twenties sketched this phrase, which was used for anyone you want to sleep with for no other reason than to make them look like someone else you like. For example, you might tumble into bed with a tax inspector because he looks like David Tennant.
This is a priceless, if slightly grim, Tinder-Age phrase for the moment in a relationship where two people decide they know and trust their partner enough to abandon barrier methods of contraception. Basically, they are willing to exchange bodily fluids, but not necessarily interested in getting pregnant.
I learned this one from my 18 year old niece after I asked her if she was dating a guy. She replied, ‘No, we’re pairing up.’
Rowan explained that micro-cheating is used to describe someone in a relationship who can’t stop sending suggestive texts to other people (file image)
When I looked confused, she explained that this is a pre-dating term meaning two people have shown an interest in each other and decide if they have enough chemistry to move on.
I said, “So you’re not kissing?” She replied, ‘Yes, of course we are! But we haven’t moved on to the next phase yet.’ The advantage of commitment phobes is that the words “Do you want to link?” do not involve many obligations.
A handy tag for someone who is in a relationship but can’t stop sending suggestive texts to other people, expressing their deep, unrequited passion, and arranging flirty lunches – but will stop having real sex within their micro -romance.
Netflix and chill
I’d heard this term and took it for granted: that it was all about chilling out on a couch before a gripping TV drama with a takeaway. But I was recently told that it’s Tinder/Hinge abbreviation to pretend you’re going to do all of the above, when your actual intention is to get your date horizontal as quickly as possible.
Rowan said a sapiosexual is someone who is aroused by one’s mind rather than their physical appearance (file image)
This one has been around for a while, but has been revived by Generation Z, as it describes the experience of being sexually attracted to all kinds of individuals, regardless of their gender or gender identity. So a pansexual person can date a man, a woman, a trans man and then a non-binary person. Of course, the Bloomsbury Set perfected all this a century ago.
This term was coined in 2012 by American author Amy Gahran to describe the process of social norms through which relationships progress: from dating to monogamy, cohabitation, marriage and babies. Standing on the escalator can make it difficult to jump off, even if something isn’t right.
A person who is excited by one’s mind rather than by their physical appearance. This explains the striking number of attractive women in college towns who have married older, uglier academics because they have brains — and egos — the size of the planet.
My friends and I often comment that you don’t often see the phenomenon reversed: brilliant female philosophers with adoring toyboys.
Rowan said toygasm is hilarious slang for the kind of big O you have with a rampant rabbit (file image)
You might think that most people are pretty positive about sex if they can find the right partner and a comfortable bed.
But this term is more specific and denotes a person who is tolerant and open to progressive sexual practices. They will never stumble trying to say LGBTQ+ or blink at polyamory.
We all know what it means to be in love with someone, but when you have a squish, it’s platonic. You develop intense, non-sexual feelings, meaning you want to be close to that person but have no intention of pursuing a romantic relationship.
It seems to be an update of the schoolgirl term “pash” – as in “I had a pash for the main girl” – but it works equally well for adult life. I always fall head over heels for new friends.
This is hilarious slang for the kind of big O you have with a rampant bunny or other sex toy. It’s the kind of stuff you imagine Samantha discussing over coffee in Sex And The City.