Dear Alice,

This is kind of embarrassing, but the other day, my friends were talking about sex and their boyfriends and everything. Well, one of them mentioned "putting out." I've heard the term before, but what does it actually mean?

Dear Reader,

Using slang terms such as “putting out” can cloud our understanding of various people, places, things, or acts to the point that we become unsure of what these terms refer to. The use of slang can be culturally useful and a lot of fun, but it’s important to understand the various meanings of slang terms before using them, especially when talking about sex. So don’t be embarrassed! It’s better to ask instead of saying something you don’t mean.

Traditionally, the term “putting out” indicates when a woman is willing to have sexual intercourse with a man. There is no evidence of when or why the term “putting out” adopted its meaning. There is no official definition of the term; therefore, its meaning has several variations. For example, some people interpret the phrase “putting out” as a derogatory term directed toward women who offer or readily agree to sexual intercourse. Other subcultures consider “putting out” to be the act of an “easy” woman offering sex to get something out of a relationship, such as gifts or fame. Still yet, other groups of people consider it to differentiate between extroverted and introverted women, and how likely a woman is to become romantically interested in a man. In this last context, “putting out” would simply mean accepting an offer for a date. The term “putting out” is generally used in relation to the discussion of women. Therefore, it is uncommon to talk about a man “putting out.” Many people find the term offensive and derogatory due to its one-sidedness. “Putting out” usually only applies to women in a negative way.

The next time one of your friends uses the phrase "putting out," ask what it means to her or him. This way you will know what it stands for in the context of your conversations.


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