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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The development of appropriate AIDS risk reduction interventions targeted at African-American gay men could be aided by an awareness of their terminology for specific sexual behaviors and types of sexual encounters. This paper explores similarities and differences between the HIV-related sexual language of Black and White gay men. While much of the vernacular is shared, differences in some terms and greater or lesser emphasis on others are apparent. This health threat necessitated rapid development of public health interventions targeting specific sexual behavioral changes in trade gay slang gay male population.
However, the heterogeneous nature of the community suggests that gay men trade gay slang not exactly share one common language, even though engaging in similar behaviors. Bell and Weinberg found that the African-American gay men in their San Francisco-based study had ready sexual, but not social, access to the larger, generally White gay male community.
Social isolation itself produces language differentiation. To the extent that such language differences exist, the impact of public health messages may be impaired. This allows for communication in public without fear of reprisal. The area of sexuality, a prime concern of society, is one of the richest semantic fields for slang Sledd, Black gay men, quite aware of the legacy of physical and psychological intimidation by societal institutions, prejudices against both homosexuality and the Black community, and the overall lack of discourse on sexuality in the Black community, have developed even more refined methods of communicating with other Black gay men Garber, We present here some of the sexually related terminology used by Black gay men in the United States.
Data for the paper were obtained by two methods. First, we conducted several focus groups nationally to poll Black gay men differing in age and background about the use of sexual language. Our initial focus groups were conducted in to assist in the development of a sexual behavior inventory.
Groups were structured so as to promote both participant heterogeneity and openness in discussing HIV-related materials. All participation was anonymous. All but one group was conducted by an individual who did not reside in that particular city.
Thus, the group leader was usually uninvolved in the social or political networks of the participants. Also, in each city, we recruited from several different networks, allowing no more than two individuals to be selected from any one source. This worked quite well, as the senior author and focus group leader had different networks. The result was that participants generally did not know more than one or two of the other men. All groups were audio-taped and later transcribed.
The list of sexual behaviors which included both technical terms and common gay vernacular was read to participants by the focus group leader. Each term was discussed to assess both extent of comprehension and utilization. Participants were also encouraged to write down any additional terms used for a particular sexual behavior. The list describing the sexual behaviors was then revised to reflect this input from participants.
Intwo additional groups were conducted. The first included 1 White and 5 Black gay men. Terminology was further refined.
We then gathered data in a second manner, utilizing a snowball technique. Participants in our last focus group each recommended other Black gay men whom they knew nationally, resulting in approximately 20 additional interviews conducted over the telephone.
Again, participants were asked to comment on their use of particular terms and other slang that they might use. Finally, when all trade gay slang the Black gay men consulted agreed on the terms, the terms were shown to 10 White gay men to establish tentatively the uniqueness to the Black gay male community of particular terms.
If these White gay men indicated that they or any other White gay men they knew used the terms, the slang was considered to be common gay vernacular. We also list the phrases employed by some Black gay men to describe these behaviors. As can be seen, some terms overlap both the Black and White gay communities, while others may be used rarely, if at all, outside of the Black community. For the men in our focus groups, technical terms ranged in levels of familiarity.
Terms for anal intercourse elicited the most responses. While we listed several terms given for anal sex, many men also reported highly developed encoding of the behavior in language that would only be understood by in-group members. Food-based slang was frequent in describing oral-anal contact.
Important to the assessment of HIV-related sexual activity is some knowledge of terms used for different body parts.
Slang for the anus and penis were invoked most often see Table 2. Some terms are best understood within context. Some of these are common gay vernacular; some seem specific to Black gay men. But when modified, the nature of the relationship is more clearly delineated.
Their sexual encounter would largely be without any continuing emotional commitment beyond the time of the sexual act.
How trade is used will often be a function of the geographic area in which the term is used, the age of the persons involved, the level of comfort with gay-identification, and the extent to which the person with whom trade is being discussed is a part of the in-group of Black gay men. Trade, therefore, can be used to objectify a sexual partner e.
But, again, modifiers further refine its nuances. At first glance, butch queens give the appearance that they would never be the passive partner in anal sex, but in private they will.
On the other hand, calling someone a queen trade gay slang gay identity is hidden is a way of letting them or others know that the information is not as hidden as assumed. Much of the vernacular used for sexual behavior, body parts, and sexual partners expressed by our African-American participants are shared with the larger gay community. However, differences in some terms, more or less emphasis on others, and differential preferences in terms for particular situations suggest that, like the heterogeneous nature of the gay male community, language varies, too.
While this may be fairly obvious, the implications are potentially quite important. For example, during the conduct of our initial groups, participants who had taken part in other HIV-related studies revealed that in spite of indigenous interviewers conducting the interviews, they could tell by the language used that materials were written by someone not familiar with their culture. This may bias research findings in unpredictable ways.
Knowledge of language and the way it functions in the communication system of Black gay men will aid us in deing instruments to tap meaningfully into their world of sexuality. The language used in the asking of questions will influence the organization of internal cognitive concepts and thereby influence the answer given. Black gay language reflects Black language in general in that it is not only language but style.
We were unable here to provide for the voice inflections, speech rhythms, tonal patterns or non-verbal behaviors that accompany some of the vernacular. It is also within these parameters that Black gay men are able to define themselves. Both the words and the style of Black gay language, like Black dialect, reflects a trade gay slang of looking at life, a point of view, a culture Beam, ; Smith, In using the terminology presented here for the conduct of HIV-related research, it is important to remember that linguistic and cognitive processes are embedded in a context Cicourel, ; Wells, In assessing the sexual behavior of Black gay men, the asking of the questions that embody their vernacular must also be asked from a framework of their experience.
Using appropriate vernacular for sexual body parts or sexual behaviors, while a step in the right direction, may not elicit the full range of sexual behaviors without, for example, knowing something about different of partners in which to assess the activities. The more accurately the questions are framed, the greater the likelihood that the answers will be truthful and reflective of diverse experiences.
This is a critical point if our goal is the assessment of sexual behavior for the purposes of bringing about behavior change. It is also important to note that not all Black gay men speak in the terms that we have presented. Some use none of our terms while others may range from using them in very specific contexts to broader applications.
We make no claims to have covered all the terms used by Black gay men. We are sure that networks were biased by the urbanicity of the investigators. Yet, we reached a diverse group of Black gay men in our efforts to understand the role of language in sexual behavior and found much consensus.
This is of ificance as it evidences lines of cultural transmission of the usage of the terminology presented in our study across various African-American gay male communities throughout the United States. The authors would like to thank all of the men who participated in this study.
Acknowledgment is also made of the contributions of Vinson Roberts, R. Vickie M. Mays, University of California, Los Angeles. Susan D. Cochran, California State University, Northridge. George Bellinger, Jr. Robert G. Smith, University of California, Los Angeles. Gregory D. Victorianne, University of California, Los Angeles. Darryl K. Birt, University of California, Los Angeles. National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. J Sex Res. Author manuscript; available in PMC Nov 6. MaysPh. CochranPh. SmithNancy HenleyPh.
Find articles by George Bellinger, Jr. Author information Copyright and information Disclaimer. Mays, University of California, Los Angeles. Please address all trade gay slang to Dr. Copyright notice. The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at J Sex Res. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract The development of appropriate AIDS risk reduction interventions targeted at African-American gay men could be aided by an awareness of their terminology for specific sexual behaviors and types of sexual encounters.
Open in a separate window. Sexual Body Parts Important to the assessment of HIV-related sexual activity is some knowledge of terms used for different body parts. Block Boys or B-Boys East coast slang for young teen to early twenties sex partners who may or may not be gay. Hamburger Trade Someone who will have sex for the price of cheap food. Weekend Trade A regular trade gay slang occasional weekend sexual partner. When in reality they will allow themselves to be screwed.
Femme Queen They act very feminine in their mannerisms, walk, and voice pitch. Will play the female role with other men. They are usually the receptive partner in anal and oral sex. Drag Queen Transvestite. Husband-nette One who primarily takes on the masculine role in a relationship; a versatile partner sexually otherwise. Chicken A minor sindividuals under the legal age of consent for sex, often referred to as jail bait because of the risk of arrest; much younger individual or young looking. Daddy Someone who pays the way or takes charge. Fuckbuddy A person with whom you have little in common besides sex.Trade gay slang
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Trade (gay slang)