This past Fall, Lita-Luise Chappell published a new book, Sticks and Balls: A Sexologist Pokes Fun at Sports. Her website contains the following description:
“An informative and entertaining reference guide that explores the relationship between sports and sex, most especially in thirty-five stick and ball sports. Within is an introduction to each sport, a detailed description of the sticks and balls used, and a very specialized list of real terms that abound with sexual innuendo and slang. Sports and sexuality prove to be curious and fascinating bedfellows.”
Here’s part of an interview with Lita posted at her site:
- “Q: Doctor Chappell, would you please describe what your book, called Sticks and Balls: A Sexologist Pokes Fun at Sports, gets into?
“A: It is a book that was written to show the connection between sports and human sexuality. The work first looks into the history of many early sports created that use a stick and ball. It talks about why people are drawn to sports, and then goes into the physiological reasons. It does this by describing the many hormones that get stimulated within the body, regardless of whether the person is an athlete involved in sports or watching sports, and whether a person is involved in a sexually stimulating situation or watching a sexuality. The main body of the book is a guide to thirty-five different sports that use a stick and/or a ball, and some of each sport’s terms that describe what they mean in that sport, and which also have a sexual meaning. The chapters are divided up into sports that use a ball, sports that use a stick, those that use both a stick and a ball, and those that use a racket or paddle. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects about the book, is how sexual terms and slang have been sublimated within sports. And conversely, about how many sport’s terms have entered into the common sexual vernacular of our English-speaking cultures.
- “Q: How did you get involved in looking at sport’s terms in this way? You are a doctor of human sexuality. Did it occur within your practice?
“A: Yes, it began that way. In the early years of my career as a sex counselor and therapist, I was completely unaware of such shared aspects of sexuality and sports. That is, until one day when a client came to me with a certain problem. He was a baseball player who was having a difficult time with his erections, and for some reason it seemed to be affecting his game. If he did well in the game that day, he got a good erection that night, but if he did poorly, his erection suffered. I knew really very little about baseball, as I never was much of a sports enthusiast. My world was focused on science, not sports. But it gave me the opportunity to learn about what motivates an athlete and how to help them focus to improve their skills. What is more, it allowed me to see the very interesting relationship that sports and sexuality share.
“A lot of people want to succeed but don’t, because they either lack the knowhow, falter on determination with achieving a goal or experience because of an underlying feeling of unworthiness. I am not only speaking about sports, but in pretty much every avenue for success. Nonetheless, this one ball player got me into researching baseball, which helped me understand a connection between sports and sexuality. We both came to discover that his problem began when he overheard a guy on his team tease him about not being able to “get it up enough to make a good swing,” when it was a good pitch. Sometimes a misplaced comment can deeply affect us. When he realized that was where his fear had come from, things began to change. With some counseling of positive reinforcement, he began to believe in himself again. He was a good player, but all players now and then, will make a poor judgement as to how they respond during a game. Instead of him focusing on the fear of not achieving a good erection, he was better served by replacing that fear with focusing on his love of the game and how excited he could get about it. Once he did that, both his game and his sex life turned around.
- “Q: Was that when you made a connection between sport terms and sexual terms?
“A: That first experience introduced the connection of sex and sports, but not the words that sex and sports share. That happened with another client. A woman came to me who was frustrated with her husband because all he wanted to do on the weekend was watch sports, when she was hoping for something more intimate. He was especially into football and the season was fast approaching. She was not sure how she was going to cope. After that initial meeting, I looked into football like I had with baseball, and although I had not spotted it the first time I looked at a sport, I noticed a list of terms for football that also had a sexual meaning. When this woman came to see me the following week, I suggested that she study the game’s terminology. I handed her a sheet of football terms that also had a sexual interpretation. I suggested that she study the terms, and when watching the game with her husband, whenever any of those terms were used by the sportscaster, that she touch her husband to get his attention, and with a sexual gleam in her eye repeat that term. Then to wait and see what might happen. She was quite surprised about his response. It did not take his attention away from the program during the game, but it definitely made for fun with halftime and after game entertainment!”
Read the entire interview and order a copy here: