If an observer from another reality suddenly started reading American English, they could easily conclude that our culture holds the act of slumbering with others – thy neighbor’s wife, the enemy—as highly taboo. Indeed they would be led to believe, whether or not rapid eye movement in fact ensued, either for one party or the other or both, that snoozing, napping, dozing off or otherwise losing consciousness in a restful manner was highly private and often inappropriate if not criminal.
We’ve gotten so used to the euphemism, we don’t hear how silly it sounds. Here’s one run of the mill usage from the New Yorker, that most fact checked of magazines, January 9th:
“Adelstein, who was single at the time, covered the story and interviewed the dead yakuza’s meth-head girlfriend; almost immediately, they began sleeping together.”
My god, they must have been exhausted, if not downright sleep-deprived, to jump into such a joint resting arrangement so quickly.
It’s a scandal! On the news, in leading magazines and newspapers everywhere editors are allowing sleep to pass for sex. Anyone who actually sleeps with someone on a nightly basis knows, the two are far from the same. You can sleep and sleep together and never get any sleep, if you know what I mean. That is, all you do is sleep. Oh, never mind.
Are we really too delicate to read sex written as, well, sex? I mean you don’t have to deploy fuck. (Although sometimes it feels fucking good to do so). And lovemaking may be giving too much credit. Who knows how much affection was actually produced? Screwed goes too far the other way, reducing the act to a hardware store analogy. So how about not judging it one way or the other and just writing that when people have sex, they have sex?