The Top Nine Things You Didn't Know Were Based on Sex

November 15, 2010

Sex is perhaps the single most powerful force in the universe. It drives and inspires almost everything we do and say. Without it, the human race would just be a lumbering system of bloated, unproductive fat sacks just waiting for the sweet embrace of glorious death. Here is just a glimpse of some of the seemingly innocuous things that the horizontal mambo has influenced in everything from words to cuisine to music.

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By Danny Gallagher

9. The word “Vanilla”

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No food is more suggestive than a long, luscious ice cream cone. Try eating a tall, white mound of dessert manna and see how your friends react. Most of them will laugh and ridicule you and the creepy one will stare intently and whisper to himself, “Daddy likes it when you do it slow.”

But the suggestiveness doesn’t stop on the tip of your tongue. The word “vanilla” was created from a mix of Spanish words like the “vainilla” plant and the Latin words for the “vaina” sheath, which translates into “vagina” because of the vanilla bean pod’s similar looking shape.  That means when you order a swirl, you’re technically having a threeway.

8. “Steely Dan”

Photo: Denise Truscello/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

This soft rock powerhouse has been entertaining baby boomers who long for the days when sex was free, smoking was legal and drugs covered the streets like a light mist after a rain storm. The origin of the band’s name will make you wonder if the latter was actually a good thing.

The band came together in the 1950s, but they were unable to come up with a good enough name. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker both loved reading “beat literature” including William S. Boroughs’ “The Naked Lunch,” so they took their name from a memorable character from the book: Steely Dan, a giant strap-on dildo.

7. “Rosebud” from “Citizen Kane”

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Censorship and heavy government pressure may have prevented motion pictures in the early 1930s and 40s from showing as little skin as possible, but it left the door wide open for more suggestive phrases and sayings than a “Married...With Children” marathon.

Shortly after director Orson Welles passed away, writer Gore Vidal published a memoir that claimed that the word “Rosebud,” the immortal last words of the movie’s titular character Charles Foster Kane, was actually a pet name that William Randolph Hearst, the publishing tycoon on whom the film is loosely based, used for his mistress Marion Davies’ clitoris. It sure as hell would have made for a much more interesting movie than a dumb old sled.



6. The Notre Dame Shift offense

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It’s probably hard to imagine the rough and tough sport of professional football taking on  such a suggestive slant. Eleven huge muscular guys are going head to head against 11 equally huge, muscular guys in a non-stop slam fest of pounding, pushing and tackling and...I need to see something with naked women in it right now.

Knute Rockne, the legendary Notre Dame football coach, got the idea for one of his most famous offensive formations from the fairer sex. He was watching a line of sultry chorus girls dancing in a burlesque show and their luscious kicking and jumping gave him the idea of the “Notre Dame Shift” formation in which four backs all moved at the same time during the snap to confuse the defensive line. The move was so dumbfounding that the rules had to be changed to ban its use from regular play.

5. The “Velvet Underground”

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This groundbreaking 1960s and 70s rock band may have birthed just about every modern rock movement from alternative to grunge, but the name for the band came from something far more dismal and depressing than any bit of teenage poetry.

The band got its start in a New Jersey high school and was about to play their first money gig but they couldn’t agree on a title. Inspiration struck them when they found an abandoned S&M magazine with the title “Velvet Underground” on the cover and the name stuck. It’s a good thing they didn’t come across a copy of “Leather Sluts” or my parents wouldn’t have let me bring a copy of their album into the house.



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4. The Heart Shape

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Any guy who has forgotten to get their sweetie something for Valentine’s Day can tell you that they haven’t forgotten it since and they have either the keyed car or missing fingers to prove it. If they knew what that giant heart that says “Be mine” is really based on, they’d probably be dead.

Psychologist Galdino Pranzarone believes that the loving shape of the heart was created by the Greeks who were inspired by the shapely female bottom. They even created a temple called Kallipygos to worship the giant booty that translated into “Goddess with the Beautiful Buttocks.” Sounds like a sound religion to me. If L. Ron Hubbard can make up his own faith, why can’t Sir-Mix-a-Lot do the same?

3. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

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Back in college, if it weren't for the miracle food product of boxed cereal, I probably would have died of starvation. I also would have been a hell of a lot thinner, so at least my corpse would have had a chance of scoring with the blonde cutie in my study group.

Of course, the original use of this staple of the breakfast table had less sensual intentions in mind. Health nut (with an emphasis on the "nut") John Harvey Kellogg created the popular cereal as an aid to curbing sexual feelings in the reproductive organs, an activity that he believed was detrimental to human health. If that’s the case, then why is their a giant cock on the box?

2. “Jazz”

Photo:Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

It’s no surprise to anyone with a working set of genitalia (that includes your parents, try getting that thought out of your mind, suckers) that jazz music has such deep roots in sexual tones. The word itself, however, goes much deeper than you ever could with your girlfriend.

Some historians believe that the term for the smooth musical style came from the late 1860s from the Creole word “jass” that refers to a certain strenuous activity that your parents are probably doing right now (I’ll stop, promise) and the African word that means, um, a man’s “silly string.” If you’re not sure what I mean, go ask your parents. 

1. The Great Pyramid of Giza


When you think of the construction of great ancient structures like pyramids, you probably imagine them rising to the hot desert sun on the sweaty back of beaten slaves. One theory suggests, however, that at least one pyramid was built on the backs of another type of slave. The Pyramids of Giza often had trouble maintaining financing to finish the mighty structure, so the rulers would generate money for the project by soliciting prostitutes to make up for the shortfall. It’s a hell of a lot more effective than a bake sale.


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