Category Archives: it’s raining men

It’s Raining Men!

In popular culture, sadomasochism is considered to be a ‘kink’ (aka Fifty Shades of Grey) or a side sexual interest of serial killers in crime thrillers. However, in reality, it remains a poorly understood social phenomenon. (Newmahr, 2010) In consensual sadomasochistic scenes, participants who enact these humiliating and painful fantasies have to decide in advance on a ‘safe word’. (Cameron & Kulick, 2003)

And what constitutes a safe word? It is a word whose utterance by one party that will immediately cause the other to halt whatever he or she is doing. (Cameron & Kulick, 2003) This word that they have agreed upon cannot be simply ‘no’ or ‘stop’ even though it might make the most sense in our ordinary daily usage of these utterances. To say no is to say no, right? If I tell you to stop doing something, you would, right? Wrong. These utterances lose their meaning and function because in sadomasochistic scenes, these utterances function as a token of resistance to the dominant party in which they derives their sexual pleasure from and vice-versa. Safewords have to be contextually jarring so that it can be understood quickly and effectively.

Now, let’s take these theories and concepts into account for Julie’s and Mike’s situation on sadomasochistic sexting. However, before we delve into that, let’s take a closer look at sexting, a fairly new phenomenon that has emerged from the modern technologies and new types of media that exist in today’s digital age. Sexting refers to the sending and receiving of sexually explicit photos and/or text using cell phones with digital cameras. (Wysocki & Childers, 2011) One way they have been doing so is with the creative usage of emojis.


Emojis have become such a cryptographic language that it heavily depends on the context and the participants of the conversation. They’re essentially a secret coded language made of colourful symbols that is universally and intuitively understood by others. These emojis carry varying degrees of meaning when used with different people. For example, the wine emoji ? could just mean that you’d like to have a glass of wine after a long day of work, but when used with your significant other when you’re sexting, it apparently means…. Period sex. Surprised? Yeah, I didn’t know that either.

With that said, when it comes to Julie’s and Mike’s situation, I would say that their ‘safeword’ emoji would be the red and yellow pill ? as it seems to be the most contextually jarring in terms of the imagery in most sadomasochistic scenes. The facial expressions could simply express their pleasure and desire. The ? poop emoji could fall under the humiliating and painful as it could be interpreted as anal sex or a sexual fetish while the key ? and chains ⛓could signify being bounded by chains or handcuffs. Apart from the toilet bowl ?emoji which could signify toilet sex, the other emojis seem to reflect a phallic imagery such as the microphone ? and cucumber ? and are both very sexually suggestive.

The pill emoji ? could possibly be interpreted as perhaps, having sex while being high on some reality-altering drugs or getting birth control pills the morning after. But, the latter always puts an immediate stop to any sexual desire or pleasure when you got a potential baby on your mind, right? So, there you go, that’s Julie’s and Mike’s safeword (or that’s what I think it is, anyway!)

The first entry for locker room talk on UrbanDictionary does capture what locker room banter is about as it highlights that it is a trade of sexual comments that are crude, vulgar, offensive amongst men, typically set in locker rooms. However, the part in which it states that it exists solely for the purpose of male comedy, is untrue, in my opinion, as locker room talk usually functions as as a form of social bonding as men share their same-gendered experiences with each other, and by doing so forms solidarity and friendship. I don’t support the idea that locker room talk exists solely for the purpose of male comedy because why would objectifying women as sexual conquests or objects be funny? And to dismiss it as a joke simply shows how sexism and misogyny is deeply entrenched in today’s society.

The second entry doesn’t exactly reflect the same as it states that it can occur within small groups of like-minded, similarly gendered peers. While it is more inclusive to the other genders, this does not necessarily mean that all genders take part in locker room talk. Locker room talk revolves around a wide range of masculine topics, one of it being women. (Lyman, 1987) It encourages men to talk about exploiting women, especially as sexual objects or sexual conquests so as to assert their heterosexuality or masculinity amongst their peers.

This discourse can turn aggressive and degrading, which is in contrast to the definition provided in the second entry on UrbanDictionary. By speaking about women in an aggressive and degrading manner, locker room talk could potentially encourage men to participate in acts of sexual violence towards women.

The third entry states that racist, sexist and crude language is used by men to describe immigrants, minorities and women amongst male chauvinistic pigs, which is similar to the first entry and is in line with what most researchers and studies have defined as locker room talk. Locker room talk as defined in this entry is in line with many studies as it acknowledges that men participate in locker room talk to enhance their identity as a real macho man and to prove that they are part of the in-group that participates by contributing to locker room talk. This is also to prove the hegemonic masculinity and superiority.

At the end of the day, locker room talk ain’t just words. It remains a social practice that supports a fraternity that hinders women from gaining equality and liberty. I wouldn’t say that I agree with just one entry, but more of a combination of the three as all three highlight important aspects of locker room talk that should be acknowledged in society.



Cameron, D. & Kulick, D. (2003) Language and sexuality. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Newmahr, S. (2010) Rethinking kink: Sadomasochism as serious leisure. Qual Sociol 33: 313-331.

Wysocki, D. K. & Childers, C. D., (2011) Let my fingers do the talking: Sexting and infidelity in cyberspace. Sexuality & Culture 15:217-239. 

Lyman, P. (1987). The fraternal bond as a joking relationship: a case study of the role of sexist jokes in male group bonding. Changing Men: New directions in research on men and masculinity, 148-163.