Related question: In sex talk, how many bases are there and what do they all mean?

There are lots of English-speaking (or English-learning) countries where baseball simply isn't played much if at all. Other sports -- soccer, rugby, polo, cricket -- are likely more common. Since language follows culture, I'm curious: what do English-speaking nations with little interest in baseball use as their metaphor for physical relations? Effectively, I'm asking for equivalent metaphors in other English dialects.

Note that, in the baseball metaphor, there is an implicit "escalation" idea baked into the metaphor. As a "player" progresses from base to base, the conduct associated with each point represents an increase in intensity and/or intimacy. I'm hoping equivalent alternative metaphors preserve this.

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    Huh, we don't make up metaphors for it; we just do it!
    – user16269
    Sep 13, 2012 at 4:28
  • Not quite on topic, but there's a T-shirt being sold for Breast Cancer Awareness Month that reads "Save Second Base". Oct 25, 2012 at 0:46
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    I think the question should be: "What do countries that don't play baseball use as a metaphor for the level of sexual activities?". There are LOTS of metaphor for sex, but few separate the possible acts in a hierarchy (assuming such a hierarchy is even valid).
    – Kent
    Oct 26, 2012 at 11:54
  • Don't forget that baseball is ultimately derived from the English sport of rounders, which also has four bases. Although it's a minority sport today, it's still widely played in British primary schools because everybody gets a turn.
    – Dan Hulme
    Nov 14, 2013 at 13:34

6 Answers 6


I'm from England and when I was in high school (so up to 4 years ago) it was common practice to use the same metaphor, and for the most part, everyone had a different definition of what each base stood for. Nobody really cared much for where the metaphor came from, then again, this could be due to it being a girls-only school.

Now, a lot of people in my environment refer to the act of first intercourse with a new person by saying they "scored", e.g.

Did you score with the chick from last night?

In general I still sometimes hear people referring to the whole "courting" process as "playing the game" which I suppose, carries the notion of escalating towards a "win", which you mention.

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    +1, when I was in a high school in Wales the baseball metaphor was used fairly regularly, despite the fact that we were very passionate about other sports (rugby, football) and had very little contact with baseball.
    – Ina
    Oct 24, 2012 at 15:34

Baseball is rarely played here in Australia but everyone knows this analogy. First base is the first kiss and third base is just about to score. The home run is not much used however everyone would understand.

As for other metaphors. Get it on, do the wild thing, check the plumbing (in the right context), make the earth move, score, do her, knock her up (with pregnancy), make a woman out of her. The list goes on, descending into unsavory slang and sexism.


In Australian slang, the term Have a bat... can mean to masturbate relating to sports from Cricket and of course to Score is to have sex - although I am unsure what sport in particular that refers to, I am assuming it is simply a generalisation.


Speaker hasn't specified whether she wants to limit the scope of countries to the English speaking ones or not.

Anyway, I am from Pakistan and over here there are a lot of different metaphors and idioms that are in use. Please note that I am translating from Urdu to English, the metaphors are used in Urdu.

Night match Cricket is pretty common here, and night matches of cricket is something the youngsters look forward to.

Play usually, we get the true meaning of the verb by the context. So if a person says playing with one wife is a widespread past time, we know that she means.

Another verb which is used, usually in slang or derogatory terms is thokna. Thokna is an Urdu word which basically means to beat something with something else, like driving a nail into wood or wall with a hammer. These two could be the two most widespread uses of this word. It is considered very rude to use this for sexual activity.

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    English slang includes "banging", "nailing", and "screwing" as synonyms for intercourse. One comic complained, "That's not sex, it's carpentry!" Oct 25, 2012 at 0:45

Robin, a fictional Canadian from the US TV series How I Met your Mother used a hockey metaphor that shows escalation:

“Blue line” is kissing, “red line” is getting naked and I think “in the crease” pretty much speaks for itself.

However, I can't verify this is truly Canadian (ie, a dialect) or just creative writing.


I had two British friends who used soccer terminology to refer to some of their shenanigans.

A yellow card was a minor and forgivable sexual violation.

A red card was significant and most likely a deal breaker.

While on the prowl, if one of the two was failing to make a pick up, the other would say "cross it" to mean that it was now his turn to make a move.

Pretty classy, those two guys.

Doesn't parallel the baseball euphemisms but it gives you an idea of what is likely out there in the dating pool today.

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