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10 brilliantly weird slang words for lesbians and bi women

Katharine Swindells September 27, 2017
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Women’s sexuality has been repressed and ignored for hundreds of years, so naturally sapphic women had to come up with their own code to communicate.

Though things are much better now, it’d be a crime to give up on some of the incredible slang they invented.

Doughnut bumper

This is a woman who has sex with women – they “bump” their “doughnuts” together.

Game of flats

A 17th-century term for lesbian sex, because it could be visualised as rubbing two playing cards (AKA ‘flats’) together.


16th-century term for an untameable, wild woman or a tomboy.

Rosie the Riveter


Formerly a derogatory word for an old witch, it was reclaimed by older lesbians in the 1970s.


A 1950s term for a butch who could be “flipped,” i.e. from top to bottom.

Related: A brief history of Polari: the curious afterlife of the dead language for gay men

Gillette Blade

From the 1950s, this means a bisexual woman – because she ‘cuts both ways’.

Sappho and Erinna by Simeon Solomon

Related: The 19th century was full of incredible lesbian artwork, and here’s the proof

Stirring the bean curd

An English translation of a Chinese term for lesbian sex.


A mid-1900s term for a butch lesbian.


A queer woman who hangs out with ‘bears.’

Jill off

This refers to female masturbation. It’s the feminised version of ‘jack off.’

Related topics: bisexual, butch, femme, Gay, History, lesbian, Polari, Sappho, slang, Women

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