Are we ‘Cocking and Arsing’?

Publish Date: 24/05/2012

At the Lesbian & Gay Foundation  we’re continuously curious as to what our readers want to see when it comes to gay men’s sexual health campaigns. In particular, sexual health and the language chosen to engage with each other and help us stay informed. 

Do you prefer clinical terms? Or slang words? Penis and Anus? Or Cock ‘n’ Arse? We want to know what  differing opinions there are out on the street.

So we took to them, (the streets) to find out first hand what men in Manchester's LGBT village think about the language used to promote gay and bisexual men’s sexual health.

*James, 39 said: “Using slang can undermine the message sometimes and make it less important. People may see it as less serious if the wrong language is used.”

However *Ryan, 21  said: “It can break down barriers and make the subject matter less ‘embarrassing’ if slang language is used.”

Not everyone agreed with *Ryan’s theory. Some said: “It’s quite a serious and personal thing and people may think that this very serious issue they are dealing with is being treated as a joke.”  Others have said:  “Because the language can be perceived as quite ‘aggressive’ it could scare off people who aren’t used to it or who are new to the scene. “

Do you agree? Do you think using slang to promote sexual health turns it into a joke and takes away the seriousness? Or do you think a more easy going approach to a serious issue is the way forward?

Although many sit on the fence when it comes to the language used. One man told us: “Slang terminology can be quite ‘cringe-worthy’ however being too clinical can be like being at school which can be equally as cringe-worthy.”

Of course, we have to consider various factors such as audience type etc age group, location and other things.

People in their mid twenties and over seem to have a preconception that younger people will respond better to slang terms. However, after targeted research on 16-18 year olds, we have found that they think in very much the same way as the older people asked.

“If someone is old enough to make the decision to have sex, they deserve to be treated like an adult.” - Student, aged 18. “

So now you’ve heard it all, what are your thoughts? Do you agree with these comments?

We want to hear what you have to say!

  • Dazz

    As far as I am concerned the language is less of an issue compared with getting the intended message across. Provided a campaign is successful the language is a small price to pay!

  • Alex

    Could use both words to ensure that the meaning of both vernacular and (medical) are used to get the message across