Baseball Metaphors for Sex

When two or more people are having a conversation, the topic of sexual acts rarely is brought up, mainly due to awkwardness, taboo, or personal preferences of the majority of people not to risk embarrassment. Thus, in the rare instances in which sexual acts are indeed brought up, people will often mask the words themselves with metaphorical words in order to avoid saying the natural word. One genre or category that is often applied through these metaphors is the sport of baseball.


While the origin of using baseball as metaphors for sexual acts is not empirically known, many speculate that the trend begin following World War II, as many soldiers would openly talk to fellow comrades about sexual encounters with their significant others back home, but with a sense of care to not alert or anger their sergeants.


One of the most well-known and commonly used metaphors to disguise sexual acts is the concept of bases in the game of baseball. First Base refers to very casual kissing (mouth-based), without going past making out or French kissing the other person. This is of course the mildest of the three, with the bases as they increase in number, appear more sexually involved. Second base raises the romantic stakes by implementing the touching and feeling of certain upper body pubic areas, for example a woman’s breasts or a man’s biceps. This base is somewhat debated as many believe that it can easily include the lower half of the body as men don’t have pubic areas other than the penis. Nevertheless, progressing onto third base adds in the progression to oral and hand-based stimulation of the lower genitals, particularly the woman’s vagina. It is a key distinction that no insertions or penetration are yet present. Finally, the last phase of the baseball-based metaphors, the home run, involves full blown sexual intercourse in which all risk has been put aside and all past phases have been passed through.

Additional Terms

It is important to note that while the above “base” progression is the most popular baseball metaphor for sexual acts, there a few others that don’t make it to the mass popular culture, but have existed throughout baseball’s history. A strikeout for example occurs when there is a rejection or failure to lead any sort of progression through the bases, meaning that no sexual activity will end up happening as a result. The concept of pitching and catching refers to the man and the woman (respectively) performing anal sex. Other less popular metaphors include playing for both teams (bisexual) and for the other team (gay/lesbian), although these are seen as more derogatory terms in modern day culture and are thus much less commonly found being used.

Educational Use

While many parents across the United States see the base progression metaphor as immoral and too encouraging to young children and adults to experiment with sex, research shows that it can be an effective tool to slowly introduce young people to the concept of sex as a way to educate them about the different ways of safe sex. It can also be a way to remove the awkwardness from the conversations (often dreaded) between the parent and the child when the time comes for a precautionary disciplinary discussion has to be made regarding sex.

Additional Resources