Most Americans are familiar with the “base system” baseball metaphor for physical intimacy. If you’re not familiar with it, you might check out this XKCD comic for the complicated version, or this excerpt from baseball metaphors for sex from Wikipedia:
- First base is commonly understood to be any form of mouth to mouth kissing, especially open lip (“French”) kissing.
- Second base refers to tactile stimulation of the genitals over clothes, or of the female breasts.
- Third base refers to groping naked genitals (handjob or fingering), or oral sex.
- Home run (or rounding the bases, scoring a run, hitting a home run, scoring, going all the way, coming home, etc.) is the act of penetrative intercourse.
For the visual-oriented among us, here’s a graphic (adapted from XKCD’s complex version):
I can understand that a country little love for baseball might be confused by this metaphor system. Apparently even Europeans are confused by it. However, some people in China have picked it up, but in the process changed the system (reference link removed due to malware at destination website]):
- “First base” represents holding hands,
- “Second base” represents hugging,
- “Third base” represents kissing,
- “Home” represents _____
Clearly, this is a whole ‘nother ballgame the Chinese are playing, and their playing field looks like this when superimposed onto the American field:
So much for “rounding the bases!”
Thanks to Marco from EnglishPod for bringing this interesting cultural difference to my attention!