What's with homosexual insults?

I’m not talking about insults directed at homosexuals, but insults slung by one straight guy to another.

In other words (foul language ahead. Please ask your kids to leave the room), why, when guy1, pisses off guy2, does guy1 hurl insults at guy2 like, “Why don’t you blow me?” “Lick my nuts!” “Take a long, slow suck on my asshole!”, etc.?

I’ve had stuff like that said to me many times when someone got pissed off at some wise crack I made. But the insults were always said as a half-assed attempt to get back at me. In the insulter’s mind, he was one-upping me and putting me in my place, or, “What do you think of that, smart ass!”

I can’t see it as homophobia (unless it’s a suppressed Freudian deal) . If the insultee confronted the insulter as to why he wishes a straight male to perform homosexual acts on him, I’m pretty sure that what pissed off the insulter originally, just made things worse and fisticuffs would ensue.

Do women use insults like that? “Suck my nipples, bitch!”, etc.? So, my question is; why, when a straight guy asks another to perform homosexual acts on him, considered an insult to the insultee?

Where does “Bite me” fit in?

No. Women don’t do that.
Men doing it is a sign of immaturity. IMO.

According to sociologists, it’s a dominance ritual. “Fuck you” actually means, “I could fuck you!”, “Suck my dick!”–>“I could make you …”, et cetera. Many expressions of male dominance are either overtly or allegorically sexual in nature, often mapping to ritualized mate attraction behavior in other mammals, with a focus on having the biggest or most colorful possession or display possible. Women, generally speaking, have more complex ways of exhibiting dominance in a “Here is what I can coerce you into doing,” fashion, hence less need for sexualized insults, although I have certainly known women who use sexualized behavior or the implication of sexual inadequacy to insult and humiliate.

“Homophobia” as some kind of masculine fear is actually a pretty modern cultural innovation. Many historic cultures did not regard male-to-male sexual acts as necessarily taboo, although they were generally supposed to be secondary to the primary drive of reproduction (e.g. it was okay to be gay as long as you also managed to produce offspring). Homosexuality in ancient history and literature goes all the way back to the Epic of Gilgamesh, and homosexual behavior as an institution was at least tacitly and often actively accepted in Greek, Roman, Gallic, Celtic, and of course British history. Pretty much every historic culture has made allowances for homosexual behavior even if not acknowledging it as such. So the idea of homosexual behavior as an insult is, if not unique to post-Victorian Western culture (among others), at least amplified by a heteronormative ideal where the very idea of any physical contact between males that isn’t an act of simulated or real violence is abhorrent.


People never use an insult with something that they personally don’t think is insulting.

Bottom shaming, slut shaming and the penetrator-penetrated relationship are different colors of the same BS.

In some peoples minds the penetrator does not carry a social stigma as the penetrated party is considered to be the one violating social norms.

Note how “Let me blow you” isn’t used as an insult but is type of insult in the OP is a form of homophobia/sexism.

Homosexuality is perceived as contradictory to several traits of masculinity. So its a way of questioning someone’s manhood.

For women, who aren’t as straightjacketed into gender roles I guess it doesn’t matter as much. But when women do insult each other it seems to be more for being sexually loose or masculine.

Women do sometimes exclaim, “So-and-So can lick me” and similar; so-and-so is sometimes even a man in this case. However, like the ubiquitous “fuck you”, I suspect that people do not always give the insult too much conscious thought, rather repeating what they have been wired to through repetition by their friends and in movies and on TV. So, if we stipulate that men are more prone to come up with sexualized insults, it reflects the fact that contemporary Western culture is programming them to consider those an appropriately masculine form of expression.

It’s normal for two belligerent males to attack and question each other’s manliness. Other attacks are directed at their spouses, or mothers, or school, or church. So gays, if you see that, just take it as a complement.

Another way of making a very similar point: The insulter attacks by devaluing what the insulter judges to be the highest moral values (or in any case some of the moral values) of the insulted. And this often involves an educated guess (or even a bad guess) about what those values are.

Or - maybe - the insulter devalues the insulter’s own values, on behalf of the insulted.

On the other hand, sexism has been a reliable constant. A lot of these insults could properly be read not as, “You’re gay,” but as “You’re a woman.” And, of course, in many of those cultures where homosexual activity was accepted at some level, it was only acceptable to be the top, because being penetrated was something that happened to women.

Huh. I always toss those out there with the intent of derailing a fight into an exciting sexual encounter with a relatively random and incongruous suggestion.
“Montoya, your bullshit grows tiresome. Verily I shall dash forth your brainorgan with this pool que.”
“Nay, nay! Tis your right, in sooth I have played the jackanapes. Perchance my tongue could be dulled were you to suck the poison from the viper’s mouth?”

A man saying this sort of thing to a woman is just as insulting and has nothing to do with gender. It means, “You are of such low status that you should perform a sex act on me that would demean you and show my superior status.” Such usage can be seen in the parking lot scene from Thelma and Louise (warning: violence ensues after the relevant quote)

Nah, it’s not some Victorian invention. Cicero insulted Marc Antony by calling him a ‘catamitus’ meaning a young receiver of a homosexual act. Cinaedus was a word thrown around frequently by the ancient Romans that occasionally was a positive pet name, but generally a slander and referred to someone who was not just homosexual, but deviated from gender norms.

Similarly, in the Gragas (Icelandic law from the 12th century,) calling a man a homosexual or someone who received homosexual sex was allowed to be directly challenged in combat.

There’s actually a long and storied tradition of homosexual insults throughout many cultures. As you mentioned, it’s generally seen as submissive and in a dominance based society, being submissive is ‘bad’ or ‘insulting.’

The overweight actress who was booed singing at a baseball game; didn’t she yell, “Bite me!”?

I doubt Roseanne Barr is a good exemplar of cultural norms.

Yeah, I was going to bring up the Romans. In the same way that other exclamations and curse words have surprisingly ancient origins, is it possible the kind of insults the OP describes date at least back to the Roman culture. The Romans indeed looked down on those who received sex or were submissive, while outright admiring the dominant/aggressive/penetrative party.* Roman culture has had a profound effect on Western language, thought, and politics; if this was a holdover from the Romans it wouldn’t surprise me.

*Also I’ll hijack myself to suggest that a Dominant/Aggressive/Penetrative Party might pull in a LOT of votes in the mid-term elections. :wink:

I overheard my daughter say “suck my dick!” as an insult (yes, she’s a young adult). I’m not proud of that, but I know for a fact it isn’t only said by males.

It’s a power play.

“Suck my dick” and the other things you mentioned are orders given by someone in a position of power to someone in a position of submission. “Fuck you” - where you are being fucked, and I am doing the fucking.

This is also illustrated in the exclamation “fuck me in the ass” if something bad has happened. I am not in a position of power, but have been put into submission.

Expressions like this are essentially part of the rape culture. Even though they are said in jest, they are ascribing to a worldview that equates sex acts with power.

My first wife and I were having dinner with some people (this was about 35 years ago). One guy said something really offensive, I can’t remember what. I whispered to my wife, “I should tell that guy to suck my dick” and she turned back to him and said, “Suck my dick!” I still laugh whenever I think of it.

Ah, but if one suggests a cactus be involved, then what?