Sex and Gender
- It wasn’t until the 1960s that feminists cranked up the word “gender” as a replacement for sex, but D. H. Lawrence unwittingly pushed things in that direction back in 1929. He was the first to use the word “sex” as a euphemism for coitus rather than to mean what distinguishes men from women. The expression “to have sex” is an absurd construction when you think about what the word “sex” really means, but it is now ubiquitous. It’s also completely unnecessary. English has plenty of polite words for the act—coitus, copulation, intercourse, rutting, congress—and even situational refinements such as adultery and fornication. The impolite variants are endless.
I never had much use for D.H. Lawrence, but I vaguely recall enjoying the lesbian subplot of the film adaptation of The Rainbow (1989).