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ashiiblack in hp_britglish

Baseball bases as sexual euphemisms

In America, we it's common to refer to getting to "third base" or "a home run" to describe how far sexually we've gone. I used this expression once in a fic and my Britpicker was very confused.

Is there a British equivalent? Would a British adult (in their 40s in the early 2000s) use this in a sarcastic manner? ("I got to third base, if that's what you're asking.")

I googled it and was unable to find a consensus. I'm considering using a magical sport and coming up with my own, but I wanted to see what the members of this comm think first.



It's kind of just about known about here now through exposure to American popular culture, but I've never heard a British person use it. We don't play baseball, for a start, though most people play rounders at school so the metaphor just about makes sense. I'd be very surprised at someone born in the late fifties/early sixties using it, since their age-group would mostly have passed the teens/twenties moment of "having casual sex and telling your friends about it" stage of life by the time it started to be understood over here.

Me and my friends at school had our own euphemisms that we worked out at sleepovers when we were fourteen and fifteen and doing a lot more talking about sex than doing it - finger of fudge, tickled his fancy and over not under are the ones that stuck in my head. (So very opaque, no way anyone else could have guessed what we were talking about...) I'd use a more general euphemism - something like, "Well I didn't go home alone, if that's what you're asking" or "well, I didn't have to change the bedsheets" or something like that.

ETA: using a magical sport to convey the same idea would come across to me as very American, sorry! It would so obviously be a reference to the American baseball thing. We don't really do sports/sexual metaphors that I can think of.

Edited at 2013-01-26 02:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, I don't know. "Did you score with her?", "I scored last night," were in use even in the 60s, though I am sure that those using them are referencing football (soccer) not baseball!
We used 'second base' and 'third base' like this when I was at school (I'm 40) - but the sport referenced is rounders, not baseball. We definitely did not use 'home run' in a sexual sense.

There is a more typically British style of describing it that's a bit more graphic: "outside upstairs", "inside upstairs", etc - but you'd want to get just the right characterization for that to sound plausible.
There is a more typically British style of describing it that's a bit more graphic: "outside upstairs", "inside upstairs", etc

I've never heard of this - perhaps it's regional?
There was recently a series of letters in the "Guardian" about references to railway stations on various lines to convey this, but it would have to be a minor line in an area that the character knew - and would probably confuse even their listeners, if they weren't from the same area.
I've mostly heard 'how far did you get?' type comments and references to 'going all the way' or vague statements of less than that.
I know that Americans use the expressions, but wouldn't have the faintest idea what each base is supposed to refer to, and I'm the right age.

Not that I can suggest a suitable alternative, but the baseball euphemisms are absolutely not used!
I'm American and I'm still not sure (other than "home run") though of course I'm familiar with the general concept. If you listen to Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" you get a general idea how it goes, though. (Supposedly the sports announcer they got for the recording had no idea it would be used in the song as a metaphor for sex, but it's so ubiquitous over here that's kind of hard to believe!)
I apologise for the crassness of this information, but a slang term sometimes used by British youths for 'third base' is 'getting your tops and fingers'.

So an ironic 'I got my tops and fingers, if that's what you're asking,' would work.
Not sure about the age group, though. I'm younger than the OP's character (I'm 37) and I don't think I've ever heard the "tops and fingers" expression, certainly not from anyone I actually know. I'd guess it's much more recent.
I'm the right age group for this, but I would imagine your character is male. (Because in my teenage and twenties years, sex was about the man getting as far as he could and the girl/woman trying to keep things under control - more for the sake of her reputation more than fear of getting pregnant. We had the Pill and no incurable STDs.)

I don't think any woman of my age would consider she'd "scored", unless she'd landed a male she had considered seriously out of her league. I don't know what it's like for girls now, but I've always assumed that men will shag anything that stands still long enough, and sadly it's the woman's job to control how far and fast things go.

I've commented about with the phrases we used in my teenage years. However, I would think some of these phrases are very regional - at the time they would absolutely not have been heard on the television or radio, so one learned from other teenagers a year or two older.

Men would - and still do afaik - ask each other “did you get your leg over?” When “management speak” started to become overused, people would talk about “a legover situation” to mean sex.
I agree with all of the others that there's not really any kind of alternative at all - British people don't really talk about sex, in general. Not in such a personal way, anyway - abstractly, perhaps. With close same-sex friends you might have something along the lines of "Did you go all the way?" or "Did you sleep with him/her?" or even "Did you shag him/her?" but generally it's not information that it's considered polite to share even with close friends, particularly the details. The most that anyone would divulge comfortably was whether they had slept with someone or not - unless you're a teenage virgin, adults don't ever really discuss foreplay or how "far" they got with anyone.
Even if you made up euphemisms from a magical sport, the whole idea of using sports euphemisms except for "to score", would sound really American to me. (I'm not British, but I am European and I can usually pick out most americanisms.)

Edited at 2013-01-26 09:28 pm (UTC)
Agreed, and I am British!
Wouldn't use a sports metaphor, whether baseball or one you made up (as others have said, it would sound very Americanised). I'd go with "How far did you get?" or "Did you shag him/her?"
I agree - and the answer to "how far did you get" would be a smug grin, or shrug, possibly a comment like "fine, fine", tone and facial expression conveying whether this was better or less than expected. The character would need to be very laddy and/or drunk to actually refer to "upstairs inside" or "downstairs outside", which sound very 1970s - hence Life on Mars. More likely responding to "did you go all the way" with tapping the side of the nose and going "aha!" to imply he did even if they didn't.

Women by themselves are much more likely to answer the question.
I'd forgotten this until you asked the question, but when I was at school in the seventies, we used Clapham Junction for oral sex, because it was the last station before Waterloo. Clearly not confined to Londoners, because I grew up 200 miles away. There was a more elaborate railway-station-based terminology which I can't remember. I think nowadays we'd recognise 'getting to whichever base' - possibly from rounders, but I would suspect more likely from the US by absorption - but after that the terminology swerves towards football and one simply 'scores' (mostly, but not exclusively, if one is male).
Thanks largly to Eddie Waring's use on TV, the Rugby League term "up and under" was often considered (by the teens of my generation) to be a sexual euphanism, although nobody actually knew what for.