Tag Archives: male

Discrete Ways Men Reference Masturbation

Informant Context: The informant is a 20-year-old white male from Riverside, California.

Conversation Transcript: 

Collector: “I am exploring tabooistic vocabulary around masturbation. For men, are there any phrases or gestures you use to reference male masturbation?”

Informant: “I mean, when I’m talking to my boys I’ll straight up just say ‘jerk off’ and be more explicit. Sometimes I will do this–“

The Informant cups his hand it into a cylindrical shape, then moves it up and down. The gesture aims to demonstrate male masturbation.

Informant: “–and say ‘yank one out’ or ‘beating your meat’. Meat is just another word for your penis.”

Analysis: I was not surprised by the tabooistic vocabulary the informant shared about male masturbation. Those phrases and gestures are commonly used in our age demographic. What did surprise me was how openly the informant discussed masturbation. He said around peers, he is not afraid to explicitly talk about the activity. When it comes to people outside his peer group or age bracket, he avoids talking about it all together.

Head Nod Gesture

Nationality: American

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): N/A

Age: 21

Occupation: Student

Residence: Los Angeles, CA

Performance Date: 02/17/2024

N.N is 21 years old and is from Burbank, CA. I am close friends with N.N and asked him to tell me about any gestures that he uses and is familiar with. N.N tells me about a gesture he has been using since becoming a teenager. 

“When I was younger,” N.N. recounted, “I saw N (his brother)’s friend, who typically didn’t speak much to me, nodding their heads slightly downward when they passed by me at school. It seemed like a way for them to acknowledge my existence, even in silence. Over time, I adopted this gesture myself and began to see it as a sign of respect or acknowledgment. It’s something I’ve noticed guys do pretty often when they meet each other, almost like a form of introduction or to recognize each other’s presence. I think it’s a way of showing that you notice people, even those you aren’t close to, ensuring they don’t feel ignored, particularly if they are strangers”.

This is a gesture that I am familiar with since I’ve seen other guys do this as well, mostly younger guys among my age range. This slight nod among men is a subtle, non-verbal form of communication. It’s about acknowledging others quietly. Culturally, I believe it’s tied to masculine norms, social etiquette, and a sense of informal familiarity. 

Inevitable Adam & Eve


ادم سأل حوا: بتحبيني يا مرا

جاوبته حوا: ليش في غيرك يا خرا


Adam Sa’al Howaa’: Bit’hebeene ya mara?

Jawabat Howaa’: Laysh fi ghayrak ya khara?


“Adam asked Eve: Do you love me, woman?”

“Eve answered: Why? Is there anyone besides you, stupid?”

The informant is one of my family members who was raised in Lebanon by parents who spent the entirety of their lives there and gained an understanding of jokes that are told within households and gatherings.


The informant described this joke as “A very old joke told traditionally in men gathering as it’s too rude to be said in front of women out of respect” conveying that this was usually told in the public eye, yet not in front of women as it is seen as a ‘male joke’. She also stated that “They use this type of short funny jokes when men gather and drink Arak, the traditional Lebanese alcoholic drink” It is usually said by men that are older in age when choosing to discuss topics besides work and family as that was seen as “bad territory” when around family.


This type of male joke in Lebanese culture is most likely said in these environments to state dominance, however, in this instance, the joke refers to ‘Adam’ being the joke, therefore they are laughing at their own gender conveying that they feel safe in the space that they are in together and have developed a close bond. It is because of the irony in the story as the Christian religion encapsulates a large majority of the Lebanese population, therefore, using this type of humour allows the men to feel more connected culturally and see each other as a family. The story of Adam and Eve is most likely brought up to highlight the intimacy that a family might have with one another. However, this may be an allusion to arranged marriages as Lebanon and other arab countries have been known to use their children as transactions between businesses therefore the ‘inevitable relationship’ of Adam and Eve might have alluded to their forced marriages.

“I put my foot in it”

Text: I put my foot in it.

Context: My informant, an African American female from Texas, heard this metaphor from her father after he made a peach cobbler that he considered outstanding. In simple terms, the phrase means to have put in effort and have greatly succeeded, similar to saying “I crushed it.” My informant remembers this phrase in particular because she was so confused by it initially, having taken it literally, but ultimately found it comical following her father’s explanation of the phrase. Since then, she has used the phrase in the same context her father would: following an earned achievement. 

Analysis: Hearing my informant’s explanation of this song surprised me, as, in my experience, to put one’s foot into something is typically a negative situation having to do with embarrassment or blunders. However, obviously, in folklore, the same phrase can have any number of meanings depending on contextual elements, including but not limited to location, race, and time period. I speculate that her father’s use of the term stems from the pride associated with his identities as a male, a Texan, and a minority, in which, broadly speaking, what you have is what you earn. Along these lines, the term “I put my foot in it” harkens to the labor involved in creating something good, specifically acknowledging the intentional and personal effort he has put into the creation process.  

She Wants the D

I asked my informant to provide a tradition or saying and he gave this:

“Okay, there are… certain sayings amongst articulate men that go along the lines of: “She wants the D.” What this “she wants the D” means is basically if she does something, which is arbitrary, I mean, you could put anything, then she wants the D.”

The informant revealed that he hears most of the “she wants the D” variations he knows in his fraternity. He also indicated the use of such vernacular is most common among the Greek System. However, given that I gathered this piece of folklore from my informant while he was working out at the gym, associations between working out and masculinity may have influenced his decision to narrate this particular piece of folklore, and to embellish its masculine elements.