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What Makes a Hookup ‘Raunchy’?

It’s somewhere between getting fisted and sex with an orange

News that production on the reality show Bachelor in Paradise was temporarily halted due to allegations of sexual misconduct was depressing enough. News that the sexual interaction in question was described as a “raunchy hookup” gave an entirely different sort of pause: What is a raunchy hookup, exactly?

Bachelor in Paradise is the Bachelor and Bachelorette meat byproduct where the previous shows’ losers self-isolate on an exotic locale to get another chance at gluten-free love. The raunchy act in question involved contestants DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios going at something in a pool, filmed by a producer, the evidence of which launched in an investigation into whether it was consensual, whether the two were blackout drunk and why no one intervened if that were the case.

Warner Bros. legal team found no evidence of misconduct, but still lingering is the question of what really happened—as well as just what was so raunchy about it. The description came about because Los Angeles Times reporter Amy Kaufman spoke to a source close to the production:

As she tweeted, Olympios allegedly kissed DeMario at the hotel bar—which in and of itself is not raunchy. “They proceeded to the pool, where they got naked,” she continued in her tweets. This is definitely raunchy, but more on that later.

“From this point forward,” Kaufman tweets, “things turned into ‘soft core porn.’ They did not have sex. But it was very raunchy.”

Further reporting at TMZ indicates that DeMario described the interaction more specifically:

DeMario says Corinne jumped in his lap and started making out with him. We’re told there was lots of “intense rubbing.” DeMario says Corinne then suggested they retreat to the pool, with the cameras rolling. They took off their clothes, started making out and “rubbing, touching and fingering.” He says she put her genitals in his face and he began licking, but we’re told this allegation is a big point of contention and others disagree with his account. He says he was not able to engage in intercourse because of the alcohol.

Hollywood Life describes the old genitals-in-face, fingering/licking portion of the deed as “where it gets really raunchy.”

Raunchy, as defined by whatever the literally first result on Google is, means two things:

1. earthy, vulgar, and often sexually explicit

2. (especially of a person or place) slovenly; grubby.

Even though its origin is unknown (though its usage dates to 1939), a usage chart through 2008 indicates it started really picking up steam in the somewhat raunchy 1960s, and reached peak play in the insanely raunchy year of 1999.

What happened in 1999? The height of the teen sex comedy, or what you might call the ol’ dick-in-pie era of American Pie and Austin Powers flicks. There was also a raunch uptick in 2013, another year that produced a spate of profitable “raunchy” movies like Bad Grandpa and We’re the Millers.

Then there are raunchy jokes, which are basically dirty jokes that shouldn’t be uttered in mixed company, like “Why was the guitar teacher arrested?” “For fingering a minor.” (Groan.) To take it a step further, a “raunchy person” is also defined as someone who would tell such jokes. “A vulgar person who continually makes dirty jokes about sex is an example of someone who would be described as raunchy,” Your Dictionary explains.

In all these definitions of raunchy — the earth-bound vulgarity, the tawdry cheapness, the dirtiness, the inappropriateness and even lewdness of it — there are also clear markers of class. Classy, sophisticated men and women don’t talk about sex, and they don’t fuck in bawdy ways in public. They certainly don’t aggressively pursue it in a tits-out sort of way. They aren’t obscene, because they have the basic decency to be embarrassed.

Raunch is a woman in a cut-off denim skirt getting fingered in a roadhouse bar.

Raunch is meeting a guy at the hotel hot tub in Cancun, and letting him put his dick in for a minute, bareback.

Raunch is giving a blowjob while he’s driving, in daylight.

Raunch is getting a blowjob leaned up against the side of the bar out back from the bartender who is on a quick break.

In the South, the term is explicitly used to describe low-class women who looked overly sexual or behaved in a sexually aggressive way. But elsewhere, the focus is more on the act itself—raunch is not a way of life, but a set of circumstances wherein normal decency goes off the rails in a shamelessly horny way.

But still, what does this actually involve, sexually, behind closed doors? The internet is somewhat helpful. A woman took to the forum Girls Ask Guys to explain that her boyfriend, while cuddling after sex, said he likes “raunchy sex,” and wonders, “What does that even mean? What’s raunchy sex?”

The top answer? “Wilder then [sic] whatever you’re currently having. For some that means doggy position. For some that means adding a family of midgets.”

Men’s Fitness takes the question far more seriously, giving readers 15 “off-the-wall” positions that make for the best so-called raunchy sex. They include:

  • Doggy style
  • Doggy with a prop (like on a bench)
  • Flat-footed cowgirl (girl on top, but squatting on her feet and not knees)
  • Leaned-back cowgirl
  • Reverse cowgirl
  • G-Spot stroke
  • Heels over head
  • Face sit
  • Handcuffs
  • The Oyster

That last one deserves a description:

Have her lie flat on her back, and enter her like you would in Missionary. Have her bend her legs and pull them into the air, so they look like a capital-M in front of you. Rest one of your hands on the back of each of her thighs, and push her legs even further apart. You’ll get a phenomenal view and really deep penetration.

Hmmm. The so-called raunchy sex moves are pretty much the same around the internet; some of them toss in handcuffs and other sex props. Sometimes it means steamy sex; but often it just means you have sex in any other way that isn’t just straight-up missionary. But arguably raunch involves more than simply a sex position — it requires a specific setting and context that defies simply doing sex another way. It has to be sleazy in an unusual way.

On Reddit, a roundup of “raunchiest sex acts” from readers includes fisting, a threesome, sex while her husband watched, and eating a half-peeled banana out of a woman’s vagina during a sex show in Amsterdam. Oh, and one woman let a guy pee in her butthole.

So back to Bachelor in Paradise and the face-in-genitals drunken pool lick. Turns out, raunchy is the perfect word to describe this encounter. These basic strangers hooking up in a public pool in a shameless, explicit way hits on all the components involved in raunch.

  • Context: Raunchy sex is what happens between strangers or people urgently doing something outside the norm of their traditional, familiar sex. It’s so hot you can’t wait for a more appropriate setting, which is why you’re getting it on in a bar or a pool.
  • Shameless: Raunch lacks inhibition, and involves explicit sex acts we wouldn’t do in other circumstances. Your husband can fist you at home, but it’s not raunchy until he fists you in the bathroom of a hockey game three beers deep.
  • Drunkenness: Raunchy sex isn’t typically sober sex. It requires a lack of self-awareness that only drugs or booze can bring, allowing you to do this crazy thing in an inappropriate context, with someone you barely know, or wouldn’t normally let finger you in a Coachella Port-a-Potty.

We can conclude then, that raunchy sex is, in fact, no-shame-having dirty sex; it’s sex without class. Sex that falls somewhere between doggy position and a family of midgets, without excluding either. (Aside from the fact that midgets is no longer the correct term; it’s dwarf or little person.)

That said, as long as you hit these three critical notes, you have our permission to go forth and get raunchy. So slide on some cutoff jean shorts, find a fluorescent-lit parking lot and get to fingering. Raunch depends on it.