"Riches, power, fame and women" are umbrella words often used for describing the things that most people aspire to get. The lowest of our core humans desires: Material possessions, control over others, recognition, respect and ego-related desires, and carnal desire.

I usually have a problem with the latter and I struggle to find a proper substitution.

To quote a question from worldbuilding that recently reminded me of this issue:

(...)But, it would make sense that at least a few wizards would want to use their powers to gain riches, fame, women and power.

Here, I read the word women to mean "people who satisfy their sexual desires", which... doesn't necessarily need to be female. Or... humans, but that goes beyond the scope of this question.

I don't feel like "women" is an appropriate umbrella term to use

Why it doesnt work: Sexism

I consider this an inappropiate term due to sexist connotations an historical objectification of the gender. Yes, people are being objectified on the context of the sentence but one shouldn't need to reference a historical objectified group for referencing a common human desire, understandably alienating a wide portion of your audience.

Why it doesnt work: Context

It also doesn't really work in many contexts, since it makes way too many assumptions about the targets, like their sexual preference. For instance, in the first example it gives the impression that all the wizards (or at least the offending ones) are straight males, which may or may not be the author's intent.

What would be a better broad term to use in this context?

Note: It can be multiple words as long as it sounds natural

  • Why not redact that inappropriate word in the question then?
    – Kris
    Jun 25, 2018 at 9:54
  • @Kris Sorry, I don't understand what you mean.
    – xDaizu
    Jun 25, 2018 at 10:06
  • 2
    power, wealth. fame and sexual conquests is the idea. Sexual conquest is politically correct and fits the bill.
    – Lambie
    Jun 25, 2018 at 12:44
  • 4
    Just say it: riches, fame, power, and sex.
    – Jim
    Jun 25, 2018 at 17:28
  • 1
    @TimLymington even so, the assumption that all male magic-users are exclusively interested in female companionship is not-done in this day and age either...
    – oerkelens
    Jul 5, 2018 at 11:26

5 Answers 5


You could just say "sex", unless you think that what the wizards are interested in is romance and long-term companionship rather than immediate gratification.

An example where this is used in popular culture is the phrase sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll, which describes the goals of someone who aspires to be a rock star.

  • 1
    Absolutely the best option, and not without precedence: sex, drugs and rock'n'roll...
    – oerkelens
    Jul 5, 2018 at 11:24
  • @oerkelens Thanks! That use of the expression really convinced me of this option and made me accept it! I think the answer would benefit from including it. :)
    – xDaizu
    Jul 5, 2018 at 14:56

Riches, fame, power, and lovers.

b : a person with whom one has sexual relations · He was her first lover.

I think this is as close as you can get to a non-gender and non-orientation specific version of women that still uses it in the sense that you define.

Speaking in terms of the grammar, however, note that there is an issue with parallelism in both this and the original.

The first three nouns are all uncountable and conceptual. They talk about ideas. In the original, women is being used as a mass noun, but it has less of a conceptual focus.

To more accurately preserve parallelism, a more accurate phrase might be riches, fame, power, and sex:

3 a : sexually motivated phenomena or behavior


Sample sentence: Humans desire riches, fame, power and… (wo)men?

The word women here is not viewed as an appropriate umbrella term by the OP.

collocation: "Riches, power, fame and women"

new suggested collocation: Wealth, power, fame and sexual conquests.

Sexual conquests does not limit the meaning to women. It extends it to all humans regardless of sexual orientation or gender.

Merriam Webster: b : a person whose favor or hand has been won

Please note, I changed riches to wealth also. No reference for that, just intuition.


sexual conquest + Picasso


The most generic and appropriate term would only be pleasures.

Also, egg in one's beer.

Fleetwood, "The Life of Our Blessed Lord." p.40:

… and first followed him with a view of obtaining honours, profits, and pleasures, in their posts under him.

Today we call it perks (perquisites) ODO.

1A benefit to which one is entitled because of one's job.
‘many agencies are helping to keep personnel at their jobs by providing perks’

  • Could you provide example(s) of use?
    – xDaizu
    Jun 25, 2018 at 10:16
  • I don't think perk works in this context. But, it would make sense that at least a few wizards would want to use their powers to gain riches, fame, *perks* and power.. "Pleasures" is a good suggestion, though. Maybe expanding it to "carnal pleasures" to focus it even more, if the specific sentence requires it?
    – xDaizu
    Jun 25, 2018 at 10:47
  • Is that what 'egg in ones beer' means? Eww
    – Mitch
    Jun 25, 2018 at 10:57
  • @Mitch It's a clean word, don't worry. It just means an unexpected throw-in or bonus, sort of.
    – Kris
    Jun 25, 2018 at 12:37
  • That and "perks" are pretty generic, they wouldn't be understood as referring specifically to sex. In fact, all the things in the list would be considered perks of their position.
    – Barmar
    Jun 25, 2018 at 19:37

Concubine or better yet paramour might work here. Most dictionaries (M-W, TFD, ODO) seem to suggest that the former term can only have a female referent, but that limitation appears to lack etymological basis:

from Latin concubina, from con- ‘with’ + cubare ‘to lie’. [ODO]

In any case, paramour is not so limited.

I am, perhaps rashly, assuming that the plural form women, and its inclusion in a series of typical objects of selfish desire, together imply that the sexual pursuit in question is something baser than the pursuit of meaningful or romantic human connection.

  • You are, of course, right on your assumption that is "sexual pursuit", and not "romantic connection" the focus of desire, to the point that I think should add it to my question (I thought it was implied, but better to be sure)
    – xDaizu
    Jun 25, 2018 at 15:54
  • Could you add an example of use of your proposals that sounds natural, please?
    – xDaizu
    Jun 25, 2018 at 15:55
  • 2
    Ignoble wizards use magic in the selfish pursuit of power, prominence, paramours, and pelf. Jun 25, 2018 at 16:19

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