Tag Archives: sex

Toasting to Good Sex

In Germany it is a tradition that when you toast you have to look the other person in the eye, otherwise you will have seven years of bad sex. And I learned that probably when I was around fourteen or fifteen—maybe a little earlier—and uh…it’s a German tradition. I realized that no one does it here in the states.


Sophia and her family hail from Karlsruhe, Germany. They have always been very open about the topic of sex—a topic that is still taboo here in the states. This folk superstition, according to Sophia, Is widely known in Germany—especially among children. The fact that children are aware of sexual folklore says a lot about German culture and how it has progressed since the times of the brothers Grimm when all of the sexual content was edited out of their work when intended for younger audiences.


In the United States parents work very hard to “preserve the innocence” of their children. This includes: “protecting” them from exposure to drug use, violence, profanity, and, most importantly, sex. Although sex is a natural part of life that everyone discovers at one point or another growing up, talking about sex with youngsters is not socially acceptable. Yet, how can parents continue to deny the existence of sex in a culture inundated with sexual images?


Children often learn about sex on their own long before their parents are willing to acknowledge it—but not Sophia’s and other European parents. In Germany, and most of western Europe, sex does not carry the social stigma that it does here in the US. From a young age Sophia engaged in conversations about sex with her parents—something that rarely occurs in the US. Why do you think schools here require sexual education classes? It’s because teachers have to compensate for the lack of conversation at home.


Furthermore, this folk superstition moves beyond the idea of sex and brings in a conversation about the quality of sex. Not only did Sophia know about sex at a young age, she also learned that sex alone is not enough. “Good” sex is always preferable to “bad” sex. Implicit in this folk superstition is the notion that people should strive for amazing sex, which in turn encourages them to practice sex regularly to achieve a certain mastery that would beget quality sex.

Prince Charles and Princess Di

Q:Why does Prince Charles have a coloured knob?

A: He kept sticking it in Di.

My informant, who grew up in the 80s, was lucky enough to be around when Prince Charles and Princess Di were still alive and well. Thus, when this joke began to circulate, one could guess that even though it’s fairly tasteless, it was still somewhat acceptable. Now it has become even more tasteless and bordering on insulting since the princess’s death. That doesn’t stop anyone from laughing at it though. These Princesss Di jokes have definitely died down in the past few years, with much of the new generation not even sure who Princess Di was. Thus, this joke is generally only used when in a specific age range.

Mechanicaly speaking, the metaphor is a simple play on words with Di replacing dye.


Man Cheating Joke

Transcribed Text:

“So, this man and this woman get married and they’re totally in love with each other. And, when they first move in together after their married, the man tells the woman “Ok, I’m going to be completely honest with you. I’m willing to share my entire life with you and everything with you, as long as you promise me one thing.” And the woman says “What?” He’s like “Ok, I have this box. And I’m going to keep it under our bed. And I need you to promise me that you’re never going to look inside of that box.”  And the woman says “yeah sure, sounds easy enough. That’s fine.” So, many, many years go by. And, the husband is out a lot. The woman is basically at home, by herself all the time, which is really sad and depressing. Anyways, so like, the woman finally one day, is cleaning up, and under the bed she notices that box. This is like ten years later. And she’s like “Oh wow, I totally forgot about this.” And being alone, she gets curious, and finally decides to open the box. And inside, she sees, three empty beer bottles, and a wad of cash. She counts it out, and it’s about 2000 dollars. And she’s like “holy shit, this is two thousand dollars. Is he planning on leaving me, or like, what does he have all this money for, he’s never told me about it before? What’s going on.” So she’s like freaking out. Um… and she’s like thinking why does he want this to be a secret from her. So when he finally gets home late that night, she kind of just can’t keep it in anymore, and she finally confesses. “Hey, uh, I’m so sorry. I finally looked inside that box. I know you told me never to do that, but I did, and I just really need to know. What’s the deal with like those three beer bottles?” And so, he said to her, “Ok… I guess I have some fessing up to do. Um…I, every time I was unfaithful to you, I- I kept a beer bottle inside that box. “ Um…and she just started crying, and cuz, there were three beer bottles in there. And so she’s like oh my god, he cheated on me! But at the same time, you know what, she loved him, forgave him, and-and, they, they went to bed that night, like as a couple, they forgave each other. Him for uh, for her looking in the box, and her to him for like cheating on her. Anyway, so like, uh…in the middle of the night, she kind of just like, wakes up and realizes, wait, so what was all the money for? So she kind of like wakes him up. “Hey honey, wha-what was the money for?” And he’s like “shit,” because uh, he thought he got out of it. So he told her, “ok honey, here’s the deal. Every time I put a bottle in the box, and the bottle- uh, the box got full, I went to the recycling place, and got it redeemed for cash. Haha, and that’s that.”

The informant says she remembers hearing this joke freshman year of high school. She also remembers that it was popular in her high school and that it was one of her favorite jokes to tell to her peers to see their reactions. She thinks it’s funny in how the story goes in a direction that is not expected. The audience is left wondering what the wad of cash means after the wife asks about the bottles, and when the punch line is delivered, it comes with a sense of bewilderment and unexpectedness. She says that it is also a quite lengthy joke, which serves the purpose distracting the audience from the twist and the punchline of the joke.

It makes sense that this joke is circled around in this age group and older, as this type of joke with adultery and money tends to cause more humor in a teenage and adult group. It is a joke that would be told in a normal school or casual setting amongst a group of friends. The punch line causes chuckles and senses of bewilderment and amusement amongst the audience, as it isn’t expected. It also has a theme of couples and sex, which is a big topic in teenage and young adult society. This is an example of age group folklore, where the joke is targeted towards a specific range of ages. Children wouldn’t be expected to understand it. Therefore, to understand the joke, one would have to understand the concept of sex and cheating, which is usually something people learn towards middle, high school and college.


Billy Echols-Richter

Houston, Texas

April 9, 2012

Folklore Type: Joke

Informant Bio: Billy is my uncle on my mother’s side. He is a Methodist Pastor, and a hilarious and friendly person and/or kid. He recently did a sermon series using Dr. Seuss. I have recently discovered he could be considered the family story teller because he learned all of my grandfather’s stories, jokes, and songs.

Context:  During this past summer of 2011 my grandfather on my Mom’s side passed away. Then recently my grandfather on my Father’s side passed away, and my Uncle Billy stayed with us and did the funeral service. He, my parents, and I were all talking. Then all of a sudden he tells this joke his father used to tell.

Item: These two women see each other in church and they can’t figure out where their third friend Mable is. (in Older Southern Church Woman accent) “Where is Mable?” And one says, “Oh honey, she is in bed with Artheritis.” The other comments, “Oh, those Ritis boys are bad, and that Arthur he’s the worst one.”


Informant Analysis: Let me see which one. I hear a certain word and it always kinda reminds of the punch line of some of those jokes. And he was always telling us those kinds of jokes. Well I think part of the deal was, 1 dad came from a big family. He was not the oldest and he was not the youngest and so between the eight of them they told lots of stories. They didn’t have a TV or anything and his dad was a good story teller. And people stopping through getting gasoline and that’s where you would hearthe latest story or gossip. Of course he was also in the military and that’s notorious for hearing all sorts of things. The last thing is work in the oil fields and he didn’t realy work in the fields well I guess at first he did. And workin in the fields you get lots of jokes. And there were still lots of racism. Lot of the jokes centered around African Americans, Hispanic, and even Cajun. What made me think about it was dad work in the oil fields was corpus and they were with a lot of Hispanic and Mexican Americans. It would be a racist riddle.

There’s two or three things. It certainly helps me have a joyful smile and just helps my dad stay with me. I had a sense that papa was with me with just the sense of things. I had a friend where my dad used to write me handwritten letters and when I read them I can still hear his voice. For these little rhymes or jokes I can hear my dad. I also think of family and how it came from my dad and his family and his dad. As silly as they are I’m a part of something much, much bigger than myself. I’m not the first to think it’s funny. It’s funny but at the same time there’s some depth to it. You know a lot of people have items that they pass on to people and special objects and what not, but the silly things we are talking about now they don’t ever get lost or deteriorate. You know now I try to pass them on to my kids, and some things they find funny and some they don’t. I think Julie finds some funnier now than when say she was Lawson’s age.


Analysis: I think my Uncle Billy definitely knows where the jokes come from and what they mean to him. This joke in particular he did not touch upon as much. There is a certain understanding needed about older southern church going women especially the kind that my grandfather probably knew. Older church going women are good Christians that are well mannered and generally tell everyone else how they should act, which means people should act like them. This is the stereotype. However, some of these women definitely have or had a wild side once upon a time. This joke makes fun of that fact. It also plays with the ideas of young and old, and what is associated with them. Old people are associated with Arthritis and being bed ridden while younger people are associated with sexuality. This joke brings up that older people can still be sexually active as well as mixes other usually oppositional themes.

Alex Williams

Los Angeles, California

University of Southern California

ANTH 333m   Spring 2012

Urban Legend – Masturbation Leads to Blindness

“Too much masturbation can result in blindness.”


My informant first heard this urban legend in his middle school in Downey, CA in seventh grade.  He was in the locker rooms with some of his friends changing after their Physical Education period.  The guys were horsing playing and talking candidly about private issues.  After bouts of laughter and socking each other in the arms, some of them settled down on the bench waiting for the rest of their friends to finish changing.  One of his friends started talking about pornography and how he started downloading them.  Then David asked if any of them had started masturbating.  His friend replied that he did but with caution because he heard from his older brother who was in high school that too much masturbation can lead to blindness.

I do not believe this to have any anatomically scientific basis to it – hence, it is an urban legend.  I think David’s friend’s older brother was playing a prank on his younger brother.  I have heard another variation that masturbating too much results in hair growing on your hand.  I believe people have told this urban legend in the past because initially it was taboo for people to engage in what some people, especially religious people, thought to be immoral habits.  However, nowadays people are a lot more accepting of this behavior calling it natural.

Onomastic – Massachusetts

The informant presented me with the following account of an onomastic name for a statue at her high school:

“This is about the penis statue at Phillips Academy Andover. Um, I did not name it that—I just wanna say that first of all—I didn’t even start calling it that until I almost left, even though I had been there. Essentially it was this statue that . . . it looks, it looks like . . . yeah, it’s pretty—it looks like a penis! But its, um, its appropriate name is the Bicentennial Statue, and it’s, um, it was actually to c—um, I guess, sculpted to commemorate the combination of, of I guess Phillips Academy with, um, Abbot Academy down the street. Um, Phillips academy was at the time an all male school, and, um, Abbot Academy was an all-female school. Um, and then they combined in 1978, I’m pretty sure.”

She says of the statue’s epithet, “Um, it was kind of just used all the time, like, ‘Oh, I’ll meet you by the penis statue,’ or just—that’s what it’s called, no one called it the Bicentennial statue.”

When asked when she would call the statue by its onomastic name, the informant said, “I wouldn’t, generally? Other people would just—um, in general you try not to, um, tell that to, um, people who are visiting the school and are prospective students, you kinda just . . . you call it that to other students. You might mention it to a teacher, but that’s a little more—what? What’s it called? I, I wouldn’t, personally, but some people are a little more loose with that kinda thing?”

The informant doesn’t entirely approve of the statue’s onomastic name: “At first I just thought it was really stupid and immature, and, um, kind of as the years went on I started realizing—first of all I figured out which statue they were actually talking about. And when I actually saw it, I was like, ‘Okay. I guess I could see that.’ But like, it’s just really curious to me, like, why . . .”

There’s a kind of poetic justice in the marriage of a girls’ school to a boys’ school being celebrated with a statue that looks like an erect penis, and that may be part of why, aside from the statue’s shape, the students gave it that particular onomastic name. If one subscribes to the theory that high school students are immature, then there’s that explanation, too.

Preventative Chinese Childhood Folkbelief “Genitals on Head”

My informant is second generation Chinese American female student. She grew up in Chongqing, China but moved to America when she was six and a half. After coming to America, she has moved around from Texas to California to Iowa and finally to Missouri. She mentioned the following childhood belief during a group study session when we were discussing our childhoods:

Informant: Ok, so, this was in kindergarten. Like…we had bathrooms where the boys and the girls went to the same bathroom and so like the thing was if you like looked at the other person’s genital area, you’re supposed to grow the thing on your forehead [laughter] and so if girls looked at a guy’s penis [giggles] they’ll have a penis grow on their head [laughter].

Collector (me): So did you believe in this? Where did you learn this?

Informant: No, I was in the bathroom when someone was talking about it and I overheard.

Collector: Why do you think this belief spread?

Informant: Um…I guess…probably parents told their kids not to do it and that’s how they were going to scare them.”

I consider this folklore homeopathic childhood magic in the sense that it carries the quality where “like attracts like”. In this case, looking at genitals of the other sex, causes one to grow said genitals on one’s head. And children, especially little girls (in my informant’s case), believing in this magic and unwilling to grow genitals on their heads, will try not to look at the genitals of the other sex. As my informant believes that Chinese parents told their children this folklore to scare them, this folklore is obvious in its preventive nature–stopping childhood sexual curiosity. In that nature, this folklore reaffirms the perhaps university and global belief that children are meant to be kept innocent, naive and sexless. Moreover, this folklore implies the gender/sex division of children as early as kindergarten, which seems to be an aspect of preventing sexual curiosity.

However, considering how the “scare effect” is achieved, the belief “don’t look or you’ll grow one on your forehead” doesn’t scare one unless that person is relatively familiar with what genitalia looks like. That is to say, the only reason a little girl wouldn’t want the male genitalia growing on her head would be because she knows what it looks like. So, this folklore also implicitly shows us that children might be familiar with or already exposed to the other sex’s characteristics in an period as early as kindergarten (or at least in China where this folklore originated from).

It also begs one to consider, if there was such a focus on sex/gender division and naivety, why were boys and girls made to go to the same bathroom at my informant’s school.

FOAF Story

The names in the following FOAF story have been censored to protect the people involved:

“This story involves my friend M—’s friend C—. He was a, uh, they used to hang out at his place on Thursday nights, a large group of them, and they were doing this one evening and they went over to the pizza place that was right around the corner, uh, and this was part of their normal traditions. Each night that they went he [C—] started flirting with this one, uh server that worked there. And then one night he said, ‘Okay, that’s it, guys, I’m gonna make my move.’

“So they said, ‘Okay; good luck.’

“And he said ‘All right. Here are my keys—house keys’—they were hanging at his place—‘If I don’t come back, hey, uh, hide them in the planter.’ Okay. So they go back, hang out at his place for a couple of hours, hide the keys in the planter, and take off.

“M— sees him two days later and he said, ‘Hey, what’s up? Y’know, what happened? Uh, you didn’t come back. Did you go out with her?’

“And he [C—] said, ‘Well, I sh—I didn’t want to take her back to my place ’cause you guys were there. She wouldn’t tell me why, but she said she didn’t want to go back to her place. So we got a hotel room.’


“‘Yeah, we got a hotel room right away.’

“‘Okay, and then what happened?’

“‘Well’n, started makin’ out, she took off her clothes.’

“M— said, ‘Okay, so—ha—y’know, what was it like?’

“H’said [C—], “Oh, she—great, great breasts.’

“‘Cool. What about the rest of her?’

“He [C—] said, ‘Well, y’ever, you know, uh, remember those pictures of people’s lungs when they smoke?’

“[M—] Says, ‘You mean enphyzema?’

“H’said [C—], ‘Yeah, yeah, y’know’z all black, and bubbly, and stuff?’

“[M—] Said, ‘Yeah.’

“H’ed [C—], “Well, i’ looked like she smoked with her vagina.’

“[M—] Said, ‘Holy crap! What did you do?’

“’Ed [C—], ‘Well, I just stared at her tits.’

“‘Okay . . . so . . . then what happened?’

“Hed [M—], “Well, we were goin’ at it, she was on top of me and she had her head back and she was really into it and she was just, uh, had her eyes closed, and then she suddenly pulled back her fist and screamed, —You son’uva— and then she opened her eyes and she looked at me and she said —Oh my God, I’m so sorry! For a second there, I thought you were somebody else.—’

“M— was like, ‘Oh my God, man, what did you do?’

“‘I’ll tell ya. As soon as I finished up, I got the hell out of there.’ Yeah.”

The informant tells this story “generally when people are discussing the most horrific sexual experiences that they are aware of—this story gets carted out.”

The informant is not certain of the veracity of the story but likes it anyway: “Um, I think that it’s fantastic, uh, and amusing, uh, and horrifying all at once. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I do know that it is a wonderful tale.”

The story, besides serving as a way to horrify people, could be considered a warning of the dangers of sex—STDs especially. Then, too, it might be a metaphor for the fears of the virginal about what it will be like to have sex. C—’s reason for telling the story to M—, if it was not true, was likely similar to the informant’s reason for repeating it—it makes a good horror story.

Game – Claremont, California

Driving Game

Participants include everyone in a car, excluding the driver for safety purposes.  When on the road, if people within the car see a car that has a headlight out, then that person yells “sex” and everyone participating hits the roof.  The last person to hit the roof takes off a piece of clothing.  Play ends when the car ride is over.

The informant claimed that this game is played for fun at night in cars, usually when the car is full or there are several people in the car.

I think this game probably came about as a way to make a boring car ride more interesting.  It is common probably only with younger, teenage to twenties, crowds because of a sort of obsession and fascination this age group has with sex and nakedness.  I would guess that there is a link between the acknowledgements of a headlight being out and the word “sex” being yelled, since headlight is often using as a metaphor for female breasts, hence the game involving a taking off of clothes.


Slim’s Dirty Joke

“A girl playing golf came home and her husband said to her, ‘how was your game?’. She said, ‘not too cool’. He said, ‘what happened?’. She said, ‘I got stung by a bee’. He said, ‘where?’. She said ‘between the first and second hole’. He said, ‘maybe your stance was too wide!’

To give a proper interpretation of this joke, I first have to give a proper explanation of whom it came from. Slim is a homeless man very notorious around USC. He usually can be found at the corner of 28th and Figueroa hollering at all the students who instantly recognize him and usually reply with a “Hi Slim!”. There have been articles written about him in the Daily Trojan and someone even created a facebook for him, to which Slim proudly tells everyone about.

He told me this joke in exchange for three dollars, to which I happily obliged. He told this joke to me and I was impressed. Although Slim is homeless and enjoys the daily case of beer and whatever else, he told me this joke, which not only has a good punch line, but it derives from a dual meaning inside a multi dimensional joke. The humor in the joke comes from the fact that the husband misinterpreted the wife’s account of the location of the bee sting. While it is probably obvious, the wife was referring to the first and second hole on the golf course, while the husband read her description as telling the location on her body in which she was stung. I do not want to go into too much detail about the whereabouts of the husband’s belief of the location of the sting, but the punch line concludes that it is within a close distance of the woman’s genitalia.

This joke can be classified as a “dirty joke” or a “sex joke”. It does not completely surprise me that Slim chose a joke from this category, as he often tries to get a peek up female students’ skirts. However, dirty jokes are a very popular genre of jokes in the present time because they are a bit of a taboo and perhaps because sex is something enjoyed by a very large age range and percent of the population. While it came from a homeless man, I could have easily gotten many similar jokes from people of all professions and age ranges if I had asked. In the past, my parents have even told me dirty jokes.