Glossary of Relationship Terms

Marriage, Love Relationships

& Polykoity



Norman Elliott Anderson





Table of Contents


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- M -

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Feedback opportunity



dab at love:

A person who is adept in the arts of seduction and sex.

See also fast worker, love, operator, pick-up artist, playboy, player, playgirl, seducer, seductress.


See baby daddy, mack daddy, sugar daddy.

daddy/boy relationship:

1. A male homosexual relationship in which one partner is old enough to be the other's father, even if both are adults.

2. A male homosexual relationship in which the older partner adopts the younger as his son, this as a way of circumventing obstacles to gay marriage.

See also campsite rule, domestic partnership, gay marriage, homosexual marriage, intergenerational relationship, male marriage, man-boy love, same-sex marriage.

x boy/daddy relationship.


dad-shock, or dad shock:

The feeling on the part of a male of being stunned by the sudden and unexpected news that he has fathered a child; a jolt or perturbation on a man's part due to his emotional unreadiness for the advent of a new son or daughter.

See also father, surprise father.

Quotation from "Doctor Who" Illustrating "Dad-Shock"


Donna Noble (played by Catherine Tate): Oh, I know that look. See it a lot round our way. Blokes with pushchairs and frowns. You've got Dad-shock.

The Doctor (played by David Tennant): Dad-shock?

Donna: Sudden unexpected fatherhood. Take a bit of getting used to.

From the British science fiction TV series, "Doctor Who," Season 4 of the renewed series, Episode 6 (49 overall), "The Doctor's Daughter," directed by Alice Troughton, written by Stephen Greenhorn (first aired, May 10, 2008). "Pushchair" is British for what Americans call a baby stroller.


Don't ask, don't tell (q.v.).

x abbreviations and acronyms.


dainty love:

To indulge an affection or passionate desire for someone, especially to do so beyond one's means.

Comment: Note the English proverb: "Who dainties love shall beggars prove."

See also dote, love.


daisy chain:

1. A garland made of daisies.

2. Any series that can be likened to a garland, whether a wreath-style garland or a festoon-style garland.

3. A group-sex position in which three or more partners of any sex are linked together oragenitally in a wreath-like formation, or some variation thereof that leaves the basic formation intact.

4. A group-sex position in which three or more men are linked together by way of anal sex, or some variation thereof that leaves the basic formation intact.

5. A situation in which a person has sex with someone, who in turn has sex with someone else, and so on until the the next person in the sequence has sex with the first person. This can happen even over a broad span of time. The "chain" in this case is one of an intangible sexual connection — intangible, that is, unless something physical, such as a sexually transmitted disease, is passed from partner to partner.

See also alternate relationship geometries, chain, chains of affection, closed circle of f*ck buddies, cycling, dating chain, group sex, intimate network, Langdon chart, love tangle, merry-go-round of love, polycule, polygeometry, sexual connection, sexual network, spintry.

daisy chain link:

See group sex. 

Daisy Dumpling:

A middle-class married woman conceived as the ideal of femininity.

Comment: Gay slang from the 1970s, generally used in a disparaging way.

See also wife.



1. A short trifling relationship; a casual affair of brief duration.

2. An episode of flirtation and, perhaps, more intense amorous play.

Comment: The first meaning is often overlooked in dictionaries, but see the lexical example below.

See also action on the side, affair, affair of the flesh, amourette, casual relationship, casual sex, comet, escapade romantique, expiration dating, fling, flirtation, insignificant other, intrigue, liaison, ludic love, married at Finglesham Church, one-night stand, one-time thing, peccadillo, philander, pickup, sexcapade, short-term relationship, slut, tertiary relationship, whirlwind romance, zipless f***.

Quotation from Ethel S. Person Illustrating "Dalliance"


A married woman or man who takes a lover may only be indulging in a dalliance, in which case he or she may view it as irrelevant to the marriage.

From: Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters: The Power of Romantic Passion, [by] Ethel S. Person (New York, N.Y.: Penguin Books, 1989; originally published 1988): p. 227.


damaged goods:

Broken or otherwise spoiled products; but of relationships, by analogy:

1. A person who is no longer considered desirable or, in some cases, even acceptable for marriage, for instance, because no longer a virgin or because of having borne a child out of wedlock or because of having served as a sex worker or because of a loss of reputation.

2. A spouse who has fallen morally, for instance by having an affair.

3. A person in whom a sexual addiction of some sort, for instance an addiction to pornography, has been triggered and who thereafter might be expected to have trouble returning to and maintaining an acceptable sex life with equanimity.

4. A person who, because of a certain sexual history or because of controversial positions taken on matters of love and sexuality, is considered inappropriate for a certain job — for instance, as a politician because of a history of swinging, or as an actor in a PG-rated movie because of an earlier appearance in one or more X-rated movies, or as a religious leader within a particular congregation or religious institution because of an advocacy of freedom of choice with regard to abortion or gay marriage.

5. A person who has a mental disorder or physical disability and is therefore seen (perhaps by him or herself) as undesirable.

6. A person who is relationally impaired, for instance, one who has seemingly lost the ability to love due to an earlier love-related trauma; a victim of a personal history that leaves long-lasting emotional scars or mental patterns that adversely affect how that victim relates or might relate sexually or emotionally to a partner in a love relationship.

7. Anyone who has been emotionally bruised by the knocks of life, most especially people who have lived awhile.

Comment: Generally a pejorative term, but sometimes used instead as one that reflects practicalities relative to a culture, a person, or one's own life.

See also crime against the heart, dirty, fallen, love-trauma syndrome, Madonna-whore complex, purity myth, regretrosexuality, sexual addiction, sexual bigotry, sexual purity, sexual shame, stigmatic guilt, virgin.

x Occtan terms.

Quotation from Frederick Goldin's Translation of Guillaume IX Illustrating "Damaged Goods"


[In the original Occitan]:

A revers planh hom la tala  si.l dampn . . .

Tortz es ca . . . dan moi noi a . . .

[In the English translation]:

A man is wrong to cry damaged goods when there is no loss.
It is wrong to cry loss when there's no damaged goods.

From: Lyrics of the Troubadours and Trouvères: An Anthology and a History, translations and introductions by Frederick Goldin (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday1973; "Anchor Books"): pp. 24-25. Occitan word for "damaged one" is "tala." The lyricist is speaking of a woman: a fuller sex life for her, inclusive of others, is all gain for her man. <The diacritic in "si.l" should be a raised dot>


A man who much prefers the company of women to that of men and who enjoys participating in their womanly activites, thus opening himself to being called effeminate.

Comment: Beware when using this word, lest, like the word "sissy" sometimes is, it be taken as a back-handed insult to women.

I haven't yet found a complementary term for a woman, the closest being "tomboy."

See also friend, male-female friendship.

damsel-in-distress syndrome:

1. On the part of a man, a protective instinct with regard to women; the inclination to be a woman's rescuer.

2. On the part of a woman, the desire to be rescued or otherwise aided by a man, even when it is not necessary.

Comment: This syndrome is often connected with one of the dynamics that leads to attraction. It can also be an element in male-female roles within a relationship. She may seek the comfort of his arms during a horror movie, or scream for help when she sees a spider or a mouse, or expect a man to take care of a mechanical problem even when she is perfectly capable of addressing it herself; and he then plays the part of the strong unflappable man, the hero, the knight-errant, the dragon-slayer.

Sometimes a triangle is formed by "a persecutor," "the victim," and "the rescuer," in which case the rescuer is often vulnerable to being either victimized himself, or turned against by the victim, or both.

Occasionally the term is used without reference to the sexes involved, "damsel" meaning simply "damsel-like." Thus anybody could be the one to be rescued and anyone could be the rescuer.

See also altrusim, attraction, Florence Nightingale syndrome, rescuer, sacrificial love, sex role, triangle.

x distress.
x syndromes.


See danse de la vie, mating dance, prom date, purity ball, samba orgy.

dance barefoot:

To yet be an unwed woman after one's younger sister has wed.

Source: The Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs (1935): s.v. "To dance barefoot."

See also angélica, bachelorette, barefoot and pregnant, feme sole, lead apes in hell, maiden, miss, never married, nubile, nymph, single, unmarried, unwed.



See in danger.


danger myth of sexual desire:

The (supposedly) false notion that physical attraction and, more especially, acting on it entail a large risk of adverse consequences and therefore must be tightly controlled — consequences such as anarchism, predatory behavior, the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, unhappy matches, single-parent families, family break-ups, and, ultimately, eternal damnation.

Comment: This "notion" has been identified as a myth by various sex radicals. However, obviously, identifying it as such is controversial. I have provided a name for the supposed myth, without, for now, weighing in on the controversy (October 14, 2006).

This "notion" is thought by some to have contributed to double standards. For instance, one line of thought said to derive from it is this: Men are a combination of power and desire, a combination which must be brought under control by purity and sexual reluctance on the part of women, if civilization is to flourish and not degenerate into barbarism.

Typically, in place of the "myth" is substituted the idea that both sexual desire and its expression in a consensual context are healthy and even subversive of various tyrannies over our lives, and that the possibility of adversities can be separately addressed with little impingement on sexual desire.

See also attraction, double standard, lust, purity myth, sexual desire, unwelcome admixture with sexuality.

x myths.



Someone who hovers about a person out of attraction.

See also attraction.

danse de la vie (French):

"Dance of life," that is:

1. Imagery for the interaction of organisms — in the case of human beings, for social interaction.

2. Euphemism for copulation, especially between a fertile man and a fertile woman.

Comment: With the definite article, it's "la danse de la vie."

See also coitus, copulation, mating dance, pas de deux, sexual intercourse.

x dance.
x French terms.

Dante Alighieri syndrome:

Loving intensely and enduringly but only from afar and in such a way that inwardly one separates love from sexual relations.

Comment: Attributed to Edward M. Brecher, 1969.

Contrast brothel behavior (q.v.). See also amor umbratilis, Frauendienst, love, princesse lointaine, salutation of Beatrice, secret love, theology of romantic love, undeclared love.

x syndromes.

Quotation from Edward M. Brecher on the Dante Alighieri Syndrome


Their behavior [that of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) and the German novelist Hermann Sudermann (1857-1928)] is an illustration of precisely the evil against which Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell [1821-1910] and other Victorians fulminated: the divorce of sex from love.

The Victorians focused their attention on only one aspect of that divorce, sexual indulgence in the absence of love — what might be called brothel behavior. They failed to recognize the close tie between brothel behavior and what I shall call 'the Dante Alighieri syndrome' — sexual paralysis in the face of the most transcendent and enduring love. These are the two faces of the same coin. Both represent the divorce of love from sex. Victims of the Dante Alighieri syndrome are not only unable to achieve sexual fulfillment in the arms of the most dearly beloved; they are prevented even from seeking it.

From: The Sex Researchers, by Edward M. Brecher; with a foreword by William H. Masters & Virginia E. Johnson (Boston: Little, Brown, c1969): pp. 241.



Suffix meaning radar-like in being able to detect something, for instance (and most typically), about another's sexuality.

Comment: "Radar" stands for "radio detection and ranging."

See also gaydar, graydar, limbic resonance, playdar.

x radar.


See "All women are the same in the dark," "In the dark all cats are grey."


See cully.

dark-dirty-secret generation:

Those whose sexuality was queer, that is, non-standard — for instance, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender — during and (in some usage) a bit before and after the 1950s.

Comments: Also called the dirty-dark-secret generation or, simply, the secret generation.

It was so-called because in that era identification as queer entailed the certainty or near certainty of being shamed, stigmatized, and ostracized, as well as the risk, in many jurisdictions, of legal prosecution, so that people with non-standard sexualities learned to avoid revealing that fact about themselves to many of the people who mattered in their lives.

Regarding many who belonged to the secret generation and who are still alive today (in 2012, as this entry is being written):

In other words, the secret generation was the beginning of the transitional generations of gays and others who identifiy as queer.

See also alternative sexuality; biphobia; bisexual; Boston marriage; closeted; dirty; don't ask, don't tell; gay; generation; homophobia; homosexual; lesbian; lgbt; love generation; love that can never be told; love that dare not speak its name; queer; sewing circle; sexually marginalized; sexual minority; sexual revolution; sexual underground; stigmatic guilt; transgender; transphobia.

x dirty-dark secret generation.
x secret generation.


1. A term of endearment for someone with whom one is in a close love relationship or of whom one is fond.

2. A person who is particularly beloved by someone, as in, "She is his darling."

See also babe, baby, beloved, chéri, chérie, cuisle mo chroidhe, cutie, cutie pie, dear, dearest friend, dearheart, honey, jaina, love (as in "my sweet love"), lover, loverboy, lovey, partner, poplet, studmuffin, sugar, sugar doll, sweetheart, sweetie, term of endearment, valentine.



1. Having an age that can be determined, at least within a range; susceptible to having a time of origin established.

2. Available for social engagements with one or more persons of a complementary sexual orientation.

3. Especially desirable if available for social engagements with one or more persons of a complementary sexual orientation.

See also attractive, date, desirable, f*ckable, lovable, loveworthy, lustworthy, milf, osculable, phat, sexy, spongeworthy, swoonworthy.

date, as in "she is his date for the evening":

1. A companion, who is of complementary sexual orientation, for a social occasion or activity.

2. A person with whom one is becoming acquainted or more acquainted, through a social activity, for the purpose of assessing whether he or she would be a desirable sex or relationship partner.

See also arm candt, beau, blind date, brunch date, caller, cheap date, companion, date background check, date dinner, date from hell, date lunch, date movie, datemate, dating chain, dating pool, detached date, dinner date, "Don't bring sand to the beach," dream date, escort, friend with potential, gentleman caller, hot date, lady caller, law of relativity, lunch date, meal ticket, partner, picnic date, play partner, plus one, prom date, prospect, sex partner, Skype date, slump, walker, wedding date.


date, as in "I'm going on a date" or "we're on a date together":

A social activity with someone, or even more than one person, of complementary sexual orientation.

See also ambush date, ambush blind date, ask out, bachelor auction, bachelorette auction, bad date, bashow minhag, blind date, blind-date ambush, brunch date, casual encounter, chaperon, cheap date, coffee date, crewdate, date auction, date dinner, date from hell, date lunch, date night, dater, date rape, date sex, dating, dating agency, dating club, dating ritual, dating service, detached date, dinner date, double book, double date, dream date, first date, fix up, fling date, fraternization, go Dutch, go out, goukon, home bed advantage, hot date, little black book, lunch date, mad money, make-out date, mercy date, phonesia, picnic date, pity date, play date, precondition for sex, rendezvous, Ron's First Observation for Teenagers, Sadie Hawkins Day, safe call, set (somebody) up, sex date, Skype date, three-date rule, tryst, VBD, wife-date, yarikon.


date, as in "I have a date with twins" or (as an understanding between friends planning a social activity together) "but it's not a date":

An appointment to engage in a social activity with someone, or even more than one person, of complementary sexual orientation, not for the sake of business or friendship but for the fun of being with someone of complementary sexual orientation and for what it might lead to sexually and/or relationally.

See also blind date, free, nooner, pick-up joint, seeding date, Skype date, stand (somebody) up.


date, as in "I want to date only kind people" or "I am dating again":

1. To have social encounters by prearrangement with one or more persons of complementary sexual orientation, especially encounters that have the potential to lead to sexual activity.

2. To have social encounters by prearrangement for the purpose of exploring or further exploring whether any of those being dated (or the person being dated) might be a suitable partner in a love relationship.

See also alternative dating, antiquing, art of dating, backdate, back to dating, back to dating (someone), carpe datem, casual dating, court, courtship, crew dating, cyberdating, datable, date around, date down, date on and off, date out of (one's) league, date up, dating plan, dating violence, dirty dating, doe, double-date, escort, expiration dating, fish, fish off the company pier, fling dating, fly solo, fraternize, go out, group dating, hang out, hook up, in circulation, married but dating, Net dating, office dating, online dating, pair dating, pushbutton panic, return to dating, scent-free dating, see (someone), serial office dating, speed dating, stag, step out, triangular dating, uncommitted dating, video dating, Web dating.

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Dating"

[Mama] "... Making new friends is like dating. You reveal just bits and pieces of yourself at a time, and hope the other person doesn't run off screaming."

[Abigail Timberlake narrating] I had to wonder what Mama's dating years were like. How many guys had she sent running, and was Daddy ever among them?
From the mystery novel: The Ming and I: A Den of Antiquity Mystery, [by] Tamar Myers (New York, N.Y.: Avon Books, 1997): chapter 21, p. 187.

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Date"

[Abigail Timberlake narrating] Buster is not exactly my boyfriend, but we date and have a good rapport.

From the mystery novel: Estate of Mind: A Den of Antiquity Mystery, [by] Tamar Myers (New York, N.Y.: Avon Books, 1999; with imprint: Avon Twilight): chapter 12, p. 119.


date around:

To date a variety of people, not just one person.

See also butterfly, date, dating plan, f*ck around, jump from lap to lap, mate sampling, play the field, put it about, screw around, shark, shop around, sleep around, swingle.

x around.


date auction:

A public event where bids are made for the privilege of going on a date (q.v.) with a person who has volunteered to make him or herself available for the purpose, such bidding generally occurring multiple times according to the number of volunteers.

Comment: Typically such auctions are fundraising events for charities; and, when so, sometimes the term is further qualified to make the charitable purpose explicit, as in "charity date auction."

Some people object to such auctions on the grounds that they promote the objectification and monetary quantification of human beings.

See also bachelor auction, bachelorette auction, basket auction, charity slave auction, objectification.

Related terms beyond scope (since they entail sex for money): sex auction, virginity auction.

x auction.
x charity date auction.

date background check:

A screening process that involves an at least cursory investigation into the life history of a person of a complementary sexual orientation whom one might decide to meet for social interaction or whom one may be contemplating as a potential partner. A background check may include such activities as confirming that the person is who he or she claims to be and that the facts of his or her life, such as marital status and location, are as stated; reviewing that person's criminal records, if there are any; reviewing complaints against that person, if there are any to be found; reviewing a person's employment history and financial standing, insofar as they are available; and reviewing how a person has presented him or herself online. Some elements of a background check can easily be done by oneself, but some may require a specialized online service or even a private investigator.

Comments: Some extremely relevant factors in a person's life are not likely to be turned up in a background check, such as infection by a sexually transmitted disease.

Some people consider doing a date background check a matter of due diligence. However, the subjects of background checks sometimes feel violated and so can be put off. This introduces some issues: Do you keep a background check secret from a person with whom you wish to build trust? And, if not, just when do you tell him or her that you've done a background check and may even have some information about him or her that she or he has never yet volunteered, especially when certain information has been withheld in order to guard his or her own safety?

See also date, dating scam, mad money, online dating scam, romance scam, safe call.

x background check.

date dinner:

1. An evening meal served to individuals who are on a date together, as at a restaurant.

2. An evening meal that one serves to a date and/or that one's date serves to oneself.

See also date (twice), date lunch, dinner date, first date food, "way to a man's heart."

x dinner.

date down:

To court or otherwise socialize with a person of complementary sexual orientation considered to be of lower status, as measured, for instance, by class, power, wealth, intelligence, or attractiveness.

Contrast date up (q.v.). See also cheat down, cross-class romance, date, marry down, mating gradient.

date food:

See first date food.

date from hell:

1. A social activity, with someone of a complementary sexual orientation, that is disastrous or feels like torture.

2. A companion who is of a complementary sexual orientation for a social occasion or activity and whom one finds to be difficult to be around, for instance, because he or she is obnoxious.

Comment: The phrase dates back at least to 1988 in the form, "blind date from hell."

See also blind date (twice), date (twice).

x hell.

date lunch:

1. A midday meal served to individuals who are on a date together, as at a restaurant.

2. A midday meal that one serves to a date and/or that one's date serves to oneself.

See also date (twice), date dinner, first date food, lunch date, "way to a man's heart."


1. A companion, who is of complementary sexual orientation, for a social occasion or activity.

2. A person with whom one is becoming acquainted or more acquainted, through a social activity, for the purpose of assessing whether he or she would be a desirable sex or relationship partner.

See also date, little black book, mate.

Quotation from Maureen Dowd Illustrating "datemate"


In the 1959 Ask Any Girl, Shirley MacLaine snares Gig Young by stealing his little black book and imitating his favorite girlfriends. He likes one datemate's red hair. She dyes hers flame-colored. He like's another's perfume. She douses herself in it.

From: Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide, [by] Maureen Dowd (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, c2005): p. 22.

date movie:

A film one might go to see along with a person of a complementary sexual orientation, especially a film that stirs the emotions and leaves oneself and/or one's companion feeling adventurous, clingy, romantic, horny, or talkative in a self-revealing way or else one that either challenges or reinforces love relationship values; the focal point of a cinematic experience one would wish to share with a date (q.v.).

See also boy meets girl, discourse of desire, dramatic lover, leading lady, leading man, love on the run, love scene, love story, Mae West, romantic comedy, romantic drama, screen lovers, tear-jerker, Valentino, will-they-won't-they romance.

x movie.

date night:

1. An evening that has been set aside for a social activity with someone, or even more than one person, of complementary sexual orientation.

2. An evening, perhaps a particular one each week or each month, that partners in a love relationship or marriage set aside for one or each to date other people.

3. Within a polyamorous group, an evening that one has been invited by a person of complementary sexual orientation to spend together, in part making love.

See also arrangement, date, dinner date, hall pass, non-exclusivity pact, open marriage, open relationship.

x night.

date on and off:

To have social encounters by prearrangement in spurts, either in general with persons of complementary sexual orientation or in  particular with a given person of a complementary sexual orientation; that is, to have both periods of inactivity with regard to such encounters and periods of activity.

See also date, on-and-off relationship, push/pull attraction, quasi-relationship, rocky relationship.

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Date — On and Off"

[Abigail Timberlake, the narrator] ... I had been dating — on and off — a very handsome police detective named Greg Washburn who had recently been promoted (demoted, he claims) to a desk job downtown. Unfortunately our relationship was now in its "off" stage, and until Greg came up with a satisfactory explanation for why I saw him at Hooters in the company of a redhead with humongous hooters of her own, I didn't want to see him.

From the mystery novel: Gilt by Association, [by] Tamar Myers (New York: Avon Books, 1996: in series: A Den of Antiquity Mystery): chapter 1, p. 4.

date out of (one's) league:

To date (q.v.) a person who is far more attractive than oneself or who is far wealthier or who is much more famous.

See also cross-class romance, date up, hypergamy, mating gradient, out of (one's) league.

x league.


Someone who participates in a social activity with someone, or even more than one person, of complementary sexual orientation; someone who dates.

Comment: Ordinarily used with some distance. In other words, a woman on a date wouldn't normally call a person she's on a date with a dater, but a date; however, a sociologist, say, might speak of daters in general, or an observer might speak of the daters in this or that restaurant.

See also date, jdater, married but dating.


date rape:

Rape (q.v.) by the person with whom the victim is on a date (q.v.).

Comment: The social line is crossed after the victim either has been impaired enough so as not to be able to resist or in any way has said "No!" to a sexual activity. The legal line depends on the laws of the jurisdiction.

See also bad date, crime against the heart.


date sex:

Sexual activity with a person of a complementary sexual orientation during the time that one has set aside to be with that person socially.

See also coitus, copulation, date, sex, sex date, sexual intercourse.


Intelligent with regard to the various aspects of engaging in a social activity with a person of complementary sexual orientation.

Comments: Being date-smart entails, for instance:

See also relational intelligence.

x smart.

date up:

To court or otherwise socialize with a person of complementary sexual orientation considered to be of higher status, as measured, for instance, by class, power, wealth, intelligence, or attractiveness.

Contrast date down (q.v.). See also cheat up, cross-class romance, date, date out of (one's) league, marry up, mating gradient.


The practice of going on dates, that is, social activities with one or more other people of a complementary sexual orientation.

See also alternative dating, casual dating, crew dating, cyberdating, date, dating for Jesus, dating with a lowercase "d,"  Dating with an uppercase "D," dirty dating, expiration dating, fling dating, group dating, missionary dating, Net dating, office dating, online dating, pair dating, return to dating, scent-free dating, serial office dating, speed dating, triangular dating, uncommitted dating, video dating, Web dating.

dating agency:

A business that matches individuals, who have paid a fee, for dates.

See also date, dating club, dating service, marriage bureau, play Cupid.

x agency.


dating buddy:

1. A friend who provides advice and support with regard to one's social activities with persons of a complementary sexual orientation. Typically such a person will make sure that one is properly groomed and dressed, will know where and with whom one is going, and is available to come and take one home if a date doesn't go well.

2. A person who accompanies one for moral support to an event where dating — speed dating, for instance — is expected to take place.

3. A person in a list of instant massaging contacts whom one might date. (In the AOL Instant Messenger program, contacts are called "buddies.")

See also friend, grenade jumper, instant messaging, speed dating, wingman, wingperson, wingwoman.

x buddy.


dating chain:

1. In a way somewhat analogous to a food chain and with some similarities to a pecking order, a rankimg by which individuals may be ordered relative to their ability to attract a particular person for a date.

2. A group of couples within a social orbit, each individual being conceived of as a link, such that when one couple breaks up others are affected and likewise break up, most forming new couples months later, however typically with one or more links missing, leaving at least one individual to be either lonely or irregularly attached until the next set of break-ups.

Comment: Regarding the latter sense, the dating-chain hypothesis was popularized by the movie "Dog Park," directed by Bruce McCulloch (1998), where it is put forward by the character, Rachel. In real life, rather than being a serious hypothesis, it is referred to chiefly "where the shoe fits," so to speak. The hypothesis reminds one of the game, musical chairs.

See also assortive mating, can do better than him (or her), chain, chains of affection, cycling, daisy chain, date, Langdon Chart, merry-go-round of love, sexual network, trade up.



Characterized by inability to initiate a date or to date successfully.

See also incel, love-shy, shysexuality.

x challenged.

dating club:

1. A social organization, a central purpose of which is to provide opportunities for members to meet people of a complementary sexual orientation and to arrange dates with one or more of them.

2. A dating agency (q.v.).

See also date, dating service.

x club.

dating for Jesus:

The practice of using social activities with one or more other people of a complementary sexual orientation for the purpose of converting one's dates to belief in Jesus Christ, that is, to Christianity or a closely related religious movement.

See also convert, dating, flirt to convert, flirty fishing, love bombing, love jihad, missionary dating.

x Jesus.

dating plan:

A set of goals and strategies to achieve them with respect to meeting and socializing with people of a complementary sexual orientation.

See also alternative dating, art of dating, attraction venue, code, counter-Rules, cyberlove, date, date around, dating service, fish off the company pier, fix up, flirtation, gay bar, instant messaging, law of averages, man plan, matchmaking, mate sampling, mate selection, online relationship, open party, personal ad, pick-up artist, pick-up joint, relationship coaching, Rules Girl, set (somebody) up, shop around, singles bar, singles party, speed dating, toothing.

x plan.


dating pool:

The totality of those looking for a date (q.v.), sometimes as delimited geographically or in some other way.

See also "All the good ones are taken," availability index, hydraulic view of sexuality, marital opportunity ratio, marriage market, new scenery, somebody for everybody, "There are other fish in the sea," universal permanent availability.

x pool.


dating ritual:

Standardized behavior and interactions leading up to, during, and in the aftermath of a date.

See also rules of courtship, date.

x rituals.

dating scam:

Gaining a person's romantic affections in order to commit fraud or in order to put the person in a position where he or she will execute a fraud on the perpetrator's behalf.

Comment: Dating scams are a subcategory of confidence tricks, and there are many types of dating scams. Some of the terminology is organized around country of origin, most notably Nigerian dating scams and Russian dating scams.

See also date background check, dating scammer, honey trap, online dating scam, romance scam, scamming.

dating scammer:

The perpetrator of a dating scam (q.v.).

See also bloss, blowen, romance scammer, spoffskins.

dating service:

1. A business that matches individuals, who have paid a fee, for dates.

2. Any entity or person who assists in setting up dates, even if for free.

See also alternative dating, attraction venue, cyberdating, date, dating agency, dating club, dating plan, fix up, go-between, mail-order bride, mail-order husband, marriage bureau, matchmaker, mate selection, municipal matchmaker, Net dating, online dating, play Cupid, set (somebody) up, Web dating, Web-husband, Web-wife, wink.

x service.


dating sim, or dating simulation:

A computer game, usually for one player, the object of which is achieve a romantic relationship.

See also attraction meter, bishōjo game, cyberromance, Internet romance, neoromance, otome game.

x games.
x simulation.

dating violence:

1. The non-reciprocal sort: one or more physical assaults against a person that the assailant is dating.

2. The reciprocal sort: one or more physical fights, on the part of individuals who are dating, with each other.

See also abuse, batter, break-up violence, crime of passion, date, intimate partner violence, intimate terrorism, situational couple violence.

x violence.

dating with a lowercase "d":

Dating (q.v.) without a commitment of exclusivity.

Comment: Used only in contradistinction to "Dating with an uppercase 'D.'"

See also dating, Dating with an uppercase "D."

Dating with an uppercase "D":

Dating (q.v.) with a commitment of exclusivity.

Comment: Used only in contradistinction to "dating with a lowercase 'D.'" Otherwise "dating" ordinarily takes a lowercase "d" whichever sense is meant.

See also dating, dating with a lowercase "d," monogamy, sexual exclusivity.


See -in-law.


dawta (Jamaican):

1. Daughter.

2. Girlfriend.

See also baybee, catty, girlfriend, ooman, putus, sistrin.

x Jamaican terms.

"days of wine and roses":

1. Part of a line from a poem by Ernest Dowson (1867-1900), the phrase being a figure of speech (specifically, a metonymy) representing the present life as opposed to death. Since Dowson died, the words have taken on an independent life of their own and are often used in a more limited way, such as to mean:

2. A period of prosperity;

3. A period of youthful or romantic happiness; and,

4. The duration of a love relationship between alcoholics.

Comment: Note both the 1962 movie with that title, directed by Blake Edwards, and the song with that title written for the movie, with music by Henry N. Mancini and lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

See also alcoholic marriage; beer goggles; five pinter; rose; "wine, women, and song"; "wine, women, and wealth."

Quotation from Ernest Dowson (1867-1900) Illustrating "Days of Wine and Roses"


Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam

THEY are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
    Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
        We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
    Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
        Within a dream.

From: The Poems of Ernest Dowson, with a memoir by Arthur Symons; four illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley and a portrait by William Rothenstein (London; New York: John Lane, 1905): p. 2. The opening line, which is in Latin and from Horace, Odes 1.4.15, may be rendered: "Life's brief span forbids us to venture a far-off hope" (my translation). <The second line of each verse is indented and the last of each is double-indented.>


Deal breaker (q.v.).

x abbreviations and acronyms.



Drop-dead gorgeous (q.v.).

x abbreviations and acronyms.


See drop-dead gorgeous.

deadbeat baby dad:

See deadbeat parent.

deadbeat dad:

See deadbeat parent.

deadbeat husband:

See deadbeat spouse.

deadbeat mom:

See deadbeat parent.

deadbeat parent:

1. A person who willfully fails to meet key obligations to his or her children in the way of financial support and child-rearing, especially such a person who lives apart from the children.

2. A person who neglects or refuses to pay child support for his or her children when ordered to do so by a court or statutory agency.

Comment: Gender-specific terms include "deadbeat dad" and "deadbeat mom."

See also ex, father, mother, parent.

x deadbeat baby dad.
x deadbeat dad.
x deadbeat mom.

deadbeat spouse:

A chronically lazy husband or wife, one who fails to contribute in any significantly useful way to the marital household; a married person who neither supports the household by earning an income, nor does household chores, nor participates in child-rearing, but who is generally derelict with regard to household responsibilities and marital obligations.

Comment: Gender-specific terms include "deadbeat husband" and "deadbeat wife."

See also conjugal rights, husband, marriage debt, spouse, wife.

x deadbeat husband.
x deadbeat wife.

deadbeat wife:

See deadbeat spouse.

deaden the feelings for one another:

See kill the feeling for each other.

dead love:

A state of feelings in which sexual desire and special affection for a particular person are no longer present or able to be rekindled; a romance that is over forever.

See also die with love, dormant love, ghosts of relationships past, false love, left-over love, love, love-death, love-devouring, marriage-is-forever myth, once-beloved, razbliuto, undying love.

Quotation from Erica Jong Illustrating "Dead Love"


He put out his large hand and stroked my cheek. Nothing stirred at his touch. And I had written a whole book about him! Four hundred pages — more ...

"Nothing so dead as a dead love," my friend Grace used to say.

From: Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life, [by] Erica Jong (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, c2006): p. 104. The elision is hers.


Deadly Sins:

See Seven Capital Sins.

Deadly Vices:

See Seven Capital Sins.

deal breaker, or deal-breaker, or dealbreaker:

1. An unmet criterion, especially for entering into or continuing or advancing to the next level of a relationship.

2. An unacceptable expectation, especially with regard to entering into or continuing or advancing to the next level of a relationship.

Comment: Abbreviated DB.

Typical deal breakers include:

Sometimes personal ads are vehicles for announcing deal breakers, as in "Must love cats!" or "Must love garlic!" This helps readers with self-screening.

See also DB, grounds for divorce, incompatibility, personal ad, ROI.


dealing (Jamaican):

A sexual relationship or, at least, a dating relationship.

See also go-round, sexual relationship.

x Jamaican terms.

dear, as a noun:

1. A term of endearment for one's spouse or partner in a love relationship, as in, "Yes, dear."

2. A beloved.

3. A person who elicits one's affection or kindly sentiments, as in, "What a dear your child is!"

4. A gentle and generous soul, as in: "Thank you. What a dear you are!"

Comment: Also "dearie" and "deary," although these forms often have an ironic overtone.

See also babe, baby, babycakes, beloved, cutie, chéri, chérie, cutie pie, darling, dearest friend, dearheart, Dear Jane letter, Dear John letter, endear, erstwhile dear, honey, jaina, love (as in "my sweet love"), lover, loverboy, lovey, "Not tonight, dear," partner, spouse, studmuffin, sugar doll, sweetheart, sweetie, term of endearment, two most important words in a marriage, valentine.

x dearie.
x deary.

Sheet Music Illustrating "Dearie"

<Picture of sheet music not yet posted>

My Dearie, words and music by Ernie Burnett  (Chicago: Ted Brown Music Co., c1920).


dear, as an adjective:

1. Cherished; precious; as in, "dear to my heart."

2. Having qualities that elicit affection or kindly sentiments, qualities such as gentleness and generosity, as in "what a dear person!"

3. Important; vital; as in, "he was dear to our success."

4. Esteemed, especially in a conventional form of address at the beginning of a letter; as in, "Dear Mr. Anderson."

See also beloved, endear, heart.


dearest friend:

An affectionate appelation for one's spouse (q.v.).

See also babe, baby, babycakes, beloved, cutie, cutie pie, darling, dear, dearheart, dearly beloved, friend, honey, jaina, leman, love (as in "my sweet love"), lover, loverboy, lovey, partner, spouse, studmuffin, sugar, sugar doll, sweetheart, sweetie, term of endearment, valentine.



1. A term of endearment for one's spouse or partner in a love relationship; an appelation for one who is dear to one's heart.

2. A person who elicits one's affection or kindly sentiments, as in, "What a dearheart your child is!"

3. A gentle and generous soul, as in: "Thank you. What a dearheart you are!"

Comment: Abbreviated DH.

See also acushla, babe, baby, babycakes, beloved, cuisle mo chroidhe, cutie, cutie pie, darling, dear, dearest friend, DH, heart, honey, jaina, love (as in "my sweet love"), lover, loverboy, lovey, partner, spouse, studmuffin, sugar doll, sweetheart, sweetie, term of endearment, valentine.



See dear.


Dear Jane letter:

A message written to inform the female addressee that the love relationship with her is now broken off.

Comment: This term is on analogy with the much more commonly used, "Dear John letter."

See also break-up, dear, Dear John letter, discourse of desire, Lady Jane, love letter, mary jane, plain Jane, relationship obit.

x Jane.


Dear John letter:

A message written to inform the male addressee that the love relationship with him is now broken off.

See also break-up, dear, Dear Jane letter, discourse of desire, love letter, relationship obit.

x John.


dearly beloved:

1. In a religion, the congregants, typically as addressed by a member of the clergy.

2. One's partner in a love relationship.

See also beloved, dearest friend, partner.


See dear.



See love (somebody) to death, "until death or distance do you part."

deathbed bride, or death-bed bride:

1. A woman who marries a man even as one of them lies dying.

2. A female lover who brings a man to his ultimate demise; or, metaphorically, something to which a man has become joined, at first pleasurably, that has the same effect, such as a malignant venereal disease.

See also bride, femme fatale, maneater, siren, temptress, white widow.

Quotation from Stephen Jeffreys Illustrating "Death-bed Bride"


[54] JANE. [snip] They say men fall three times. First is calf love. Second is the one you marry. Third ...


[55] JANE. Third ... is your death-bed bride. Sniff her, sniff your own shroud.


Jane (as played by Kelly Reilly): They say men fall three times. First is calf love. Second is the one you marry.

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (as played by Johnny Depp): And third?

Jane: Third, third is your deathbed bride: you sniff her, you sniff your own trough [i.e. coffin].

The first version is from: The Libertine: A Play, by Stephen Jeffreys (Woodstock, Ill.: Dramatic Publishing, c1997): pp. 54-55. The "snip" is mine and the elisions are Jeffreys'.

The second version is as transcribed by me from the movie based on the play: "The Libertine" (c2005), directed by Laurence Dunmore; screenplay by Stephen Jeffreys. I have seen the exchange quoted differently, one of the differences being, "... a calf's love ..." As to the "trough" variant, that may be simply due to my mishearing of "shroud."


deathbed bridegroom:

1. A man who marries a woman even as one of them lies dying.

2. A male lover who brings a woman to her ultimate demise; or, metaphorically, something to which a woman has become joined, at first pleasurably, that has the same effect, such as a malignant veneral disease.

Coined by me in 2006 on analogy with "deathbed bride."

See also homme fatale.


death spiral of a relationship:

A period in a relationship (q.v.) when hostilities feed off of each other leading to a point where not only is the relationship beyond recovery or nearly so, but even ordinary civility between the partners or ex-partners becomes, for long thereafter, a major strain if not impossible.

Comment: A less dire sounding synonym is "downward spiral of a relationship."

The term is often associated with the period leading up to an exceptionally bad divorce, which can have both internal and external contributing factors to the hostilities, an example of the latter being the way some lawyers handle the situation.

See also break-up, cagamosis, divorce, dysfunctional relationship, emotional divorce, estrangement, extinct relationship, failed marriage, failed relationship, fall out of love, kill the feeling for each other, love-trouble, marital hell, marriage from hell, razbliuto, relationship obit, relationship trouble, stormy relationship, toxic marriage, trouble in paradise, unhappily married, where things went wrong for (us).

x downward spiral of a relationship.
x spiral.

debate on love:

See juec d'amor.

debt of marriage:

See marriage debt.

deceased wife's sister question:

In reference to Leviticus 18:18 in the Bible, the centuries-old issue of whether or not it is incestuous to marry the sister of one's wife, after one's wife has died, or otherwise whether or not it is wise to allow such marriages under law.

Comment: In England the Marriage Act of 1835 prohibited such marriages, and the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act of 1907 removed the prohibition.

See also adultery, affinity, arsenokoitês, bestiality, father's wife, first-cousin marriage, forbidden degrees, Holiness Code, incest, menstruant as forbidden, porneia, pornos, rival, sexual immorality, sexual sin, sororate marriage.

x marriage with a deceased wife's sister.


December-December romance:

1. The flowering of love between two old people.

2. A love relationship in which each partner is approaching a late stage of the typical human life cycle

See also anilogamy, gerontogamy, last love, last tango, late-lfe romance, mature love, mature person, May-December relationship, May-December romance, old-age romance, opsigamy, romance, sex after fifty, take the dottle-trot, take the giggle-trot, wrinkly romance.

December-May relationship:

See May-December relationship.

December-May romance:

See May-December romance.



See sexual deception.

déception d'amour (French):

Disappointment in love.

Comment: Note that this term is a "false friend," that is, a foreign word similar to a familiar English word but with a different meaning.

See also broken heart, cri de coeur, grief, lasslorn, lovelorn, lover's leap, love trauma syndrome.

x French terms.


decision of the flower:

See "He loves me, he loves me not."


1. An expression of one's desire to marry the person one is addressing; a marriage proposal.

2. A statement, especially a first-time statement, to the effect: "I love you." This would be called, more fully, "a declaration of love."

See also amorous protestations, declare, gamomania, grand gesture, I love you, love, offer of marriage, premature "I love you," proposal, undeclared love.

Quotation from Jane Austen Illustrating "Declarations"


They [Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot] were gradually acquainted, and when acquainted, rapidly and deeply in love. It would be difficult to say which had seen highest perfection in the other, or which had been the happiest: she, in receiving his declarations and proposals, or he in having them accepted.

From the novel: Persuasion, [by] Jane Austen (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, c2004): chapter 4, p. 35. Originally published posthumously in: Northanger Abbey; and Persuasion, by the author of "Pride and Prejudice," "Mansfield-Park," &c.; with a biographical notice of the author [by her brother, Henry Austen] (London: John Murray, 1818).

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Declaration"

[Greg Washburn to Abigail Timberlake, the narrator] "No, I don't think you get it. I really care about you, Abby. I love you."

I could hardly believe my ears. My close encounter had truly moved him. The Croats and the Serbs were welcome to settle their differences in my bedroom, if that's what it took to get a declaration like that from Greg.
From the mystery novel: Gilt by Association: A Den of Antiquity Mystery, [by] Tamar Myers (New York: Avon Books, 1996): chapter 21, p. 205.



1. To propose marriage.

2. To say, for the first time, "I love you," or something to that effect.

See also ask for (someone's) hand in marriage, declaration, I love you, love, pop the question, propose.

A Postcard Illustrating "Declare My Love to Thee"

<Picture of postcard not yet posted..>

Romantic color "carte postale," embossed and with gold highlights, showing a man dressed in a gray suit and hat seated on a bank in front of a tree beside a woman in a long blue dress; with two lines of verse at the bottom: "Alone at moonlight, by the tree, | I do declare my love to thee" ([S.l.: s.n., circa 193-?]). Date from a card with a similar back, dated 1939. Numbered on front: 523. From the author's collection, scanned <on such and such a date>.


de Clerambault's syndrome:

A delusion, generally due to psychosis or brain injury and usually elaborate, that one has an admirer, typically one who is of higher social standing than oneself and who is outside of one's social circle.

Comment: Named after the French psychiatrist, Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault (1872-1934), who, in 1921, wrote a paper on the subject: "Les Psychoses Passionelles," which is reprinted in his Œuvre psychiatrique, réuni et publié sous les auspices du Comité des élèves et dans amis de Clérambault par Jean Fretet; avec une préface de Paul Guiraud (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1942): t. 1. <Not examined>

The syndrome is more commonly called erotomania. It has also been called amor insanus, delusional loving, ertomanic delusion, melancholie erotique (French), phantom lover syndrome, psychoses of passion (from the French of Clérambault himself, psychoses passionelles), and psychotic erotic transference reaction.

See also erotomania, genicon, secret admirer.

x amor insanus.
x Clerambault's syndrome.
x delusional loving.
x ertomanic delusion.
x melancholie erotique.
x phantom lover syndrome.
x psychoses of passion.
x psychotic erotic transference reaction.
x syndromes.


Another person who serves in a pretended capacity in relation to oneself, this as a stratagem to divert suspicion or attention away from one's actual sexual orientation or some other aspect of one's self.

See also alibi, beard, frock, merkin, screen for love, straight credentials, straight spouse.

Quotation from Brooke Kroeger Illustrating "Decoys"


[144] Like many passers in the workplace, the Careerist [a lesbian in the U.S. Navy, where homosexuals known to be such are unwelcome] set up decoys. A male friend back home agreed to marry her — for the record... The two never lived together as a couple, but the marriage license allowed her to produce for the record the "idea of a husband" and gave her the use of his name as spouse on official documents... "You'd be surprised how many women do the 'marriage of convenience' thing. There are really a lot of them." And this is not only true in the military.

In her case, the fact of the marriage — ostensible testament to her heterosexuality — could be "verified absolutely and it kept the questioning off my back. It would be like, Well, why aren't you [145] dating anyone? and I would say, I don't date because I'm married." She snapped her fingers. "Boom! End of discussion."


From: Passing: When People Can't Be Who They Are, [by] Brooke Kroeger (New York: Public Affairs, c2003): pp. 144-145.


decree nisi (legal term):

"Decree unless"; a court order without force until a specified condition is met, for instance, until a waiting period has elapsed in order to allow for additional material facts to be brought before the court; used especially in divorce cases.

See also divorce.


deep in love:

See in love.


deep lover:

1. A person with whom one is in a sexual relationship who thinks profoundly.

2. A person for whom one feels intense sexual passion and who feels similarly in return.

3. A person with whom one has participated in PIV intercourse.

See also lover, PIV intercourse.

de facto:

A lover (q.v. in the first sense) with whom one shares a domicile.

Comment: From the Latin, meaning literally, "after the fact"; used in English to mean "actual, even if not in name," in this case implying, "actually a spouse, though without the legal paperwork to show for it."

The term is used in Australia and New Zealand.

See also cohabitant, cohabitee, co-vivant, de facto relationship, domestic companion, domestic partner, in-house friend, live-in boyfriend, live-in companion, live-in girlfriend, live-in lover, partner, PASSLQ, POSSLQ, umfriend.


de facto monogamy:

Each spouse having only one spouse, not as a matter of moral conviction, law, or custom, but as a matter of happenstance or personal preference — said either of a couple or of a segment of a society.

See also monogamy.


de facto polygamy:

Having more than one person who functions as a spouse, even though no more than one person is legally recognized as one's spouse.

See also adultery, clandestine polygamy, extramarital affair, extramarital love affair, out-of-marriage love affair, polyamory, polygamy.


de facto relationship:

A domestic arrangement between individuals of a complementary sexual orientation who are living together as spouses would, although without having been formally married.

Comments: The term is used in Australia and New Zealand.

In the event of a breakdown of the relationship and for the purposes of property division and child custody, any of certain criteria may be used to determine whether or not a de facto relationship has existed, such as its duration (for instance, two years or longer), whether or not it has produced a child, whether or not it has been registered, and whether or not a break-up would mean a serious injustice to one of the parties, without a judicial order, due to that individual's contributions to the relationship.

See also de facto, relationship.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):

1. A federal law in the United States of America designed (a) to allow various jurisdictions not to recognize same-sex marriages solemnized in another jurisdiction and (b) to define the terms "marriage" and "spouse" for legal purposes within the jurisdiction of federal law — all in order to protect the institution of marriage as traditionally structured.

2. A similar law at other than the federal level — that is, one designed to prevent same-sex unions formed in other jurisdictions from being recognized in that jurisdiction and to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

See also DOMA, marriage, same-sex marriage, spouse.

Defense of Marriage Act, 110 Stat. 2419 (1996)



This Act may be cited as the "Defense of Marriage Act" .




"1738C. Certain acts, records, and proceedings and the effect thereof

"No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.".




"7. Definition of 'marriage' and 'spouse'

"In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.".


defense polygyny:

See female-defense polygyny, resource-defense polygyny.


deficiency love (Abraham Maslow):

A bond between people that is characterized by possessiveness, dependency, and/or a lack of concern for the welfare of others.

Contrast being love (q.v.). See also jealousy, love, possessiveness.


degrading sex:

1. Activity involving genitalia or other erogenous zones that entails a loss or perceived loss of human dignity.

2. Bringing about the fall of the sexual activity of one or more persons from what is regarded by the speaker as a high estate, for example, a sole use for reproduction within marriage.

3. Mixing sexual activity with unwelcome admixtures, such as taunting, coercion, or commercialism.

Comment: Degradation is sometimes associated with:

Both the body and sexual activity have variously lent themselves to use as symbols of degradation. What one regards as degrading sex is often a gauge of one's attitude towards sexuality in general. People draw lines differently:

To the extent that the assessment of degradation is either subjective or culturally relative, it can be respected in personal ethics but poses various challenges to social philosophy and relational ethics. For example, are the prudes to veto the nudists or the nudists the prudes?

By the way, of special interest in the analysis of the nature of degradation is bdsm, that is, "bondage, domination, sado-masochism," which sometimes explores what is often viewed as degradation but, generally, on a voluntary basis.

See also bodily integrity, perversion, prudery, rape, sexual degradation, sexual ethics, sexual immorality, unwelcome admixture with sexuality.



See forbidden degrees.


Dei Genetrix:

See Virgin Mary.



A woman who betrays or can be expected to betray her male lover to his enemy.

Comment: From the story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible at Judges 16:4-21.

See also betray, betrayal, dulcinea, femme fatale, Jezebel, Juliet, Mae West, man bait, maneater, Messalina, siren, temptress, white widow.

x Bible.


delta triad:

A three-person relationship in which each person is romantically and/or sexually involved with the other two.

Comment: Also called a delta triangle.

See also FFM, letter group (delta), MMF, polygeometry, triad, triangle.

x delta triangle.

delta triangle:

See delta triad.

delusional jealousy, or amorous paranoia:

Irrational conviction that one's partner is being unfaithful, every possible sign, even maunfactured signs, being adduced to support that conviction.

See also conjugal paranoia, jealousy.

x amorous paranoia.


delusional loving:

See de Clerambault's syndrome.


A woman of the demimonde (q.v.).

See also courtesan, demirep, kept woman, prostitute.


demimonde (French):

"Half-world"; the class of kept women that strive for an appearance of respectability, especially such women of 19th century France.

Comment: Attributed to Alexandre Dumas fils, 1855.

The term is sometimes used broadly to refer to people on the margins, fringes, or outskirts of respectability.

For lexical example, see under "demi-vierge."

See also demimondaine, kept woman.

x French terms.



A person who is married but whose spouse is indefinitely absent due, for instance, to a formal separation.

See also desertion, enoch arden law, grass-widow, half-widow, half-widower, quasi-desertion, relict, separated, widow-bewitched.


"Half reputable" and half reprobate; a woman of doubtful chastity.

See also bimbo, box of assorted creams, courtesan, demimondaine, güila, kept woman, multicipara, punch board, punchbroad, shiksa, slut, whore.


demi-vierge (French):

1. "Half-virgin"; a woman who has engaged in sexual activity with one or more men, but not coitus of the penis-in-vagina sort; a woman whose hymen has remained intact despite sexual activity with one or more men.

2. A woman who is married and not a virgin but who is now living without phallic intromission, this last due not to a religious vocation but to some other factor, such as paraplegia on the part of her spouse.

Comment: With regard to the first sense, when the concern is a moral one, the point is often to avoid the charge of fornication. For a similar concern, see under "adultery."

See also abstinence, amor purus, compromise, inexperienced lover, virgin; agenobiosis, celibate marriage, diasteunia, fornication, intramarital chastity, involuntary celibate, mariage blanc, spiritual marriage, spiritual wife, syneisaktism, tease, white marriage.

x French terms.

Quotation from D. H. Lawrence Illustrating "Demi-Vierge"


[Chapter 1, page 1] She married Clifford Chatterley in 1917 [during World War I], when he was home for a month on leave. They had a month's honeymoon. Then he went back to Flanders: to be shipped over to England again six months later, more or less in bits. Constance, his wife, was then twenty-three years old, and he was twenty-nine.

His hold on life was marvellous. He didn't die, and the bits seemed to grow together again. For two years he remained in the doctor's hands. Then he was pronounced a cure, and could return to life again, with the lower half of his body, from the hips down, paralyzed forever.

This was in 1920. They returned, Clifford and Constance, to his home, Wragby Hall, the family "seat." [snip]

[Chapter 2, page 17] It was in her second winter at Wragby her father said to her: "I hope, Connie, you won't let circumstances force you into being a demi-vierge."

"A demi-vierge!" replied Connie vaguely. "Why? Why not?"

"Unless you like it, of course!" said her father hastily. To Clifford he said the same, when the two men were alone: "I'm afraid it doesn't quite suit Connie to be a demi-vierge."

"A half-virgin!" replied Clifford, translating the phrase to be sure of it. [snip]

He [Clifford] wanted to say something later to Connie about the demi-vierge business ... the half-virgin state of her affairs. But he could not bring himself to do it. He was at once too intimate with her and not intimate enough. He was so very [p. 18] much at one with her, in his mind and hers, but bodily they were non-existent to one another, and neither could bear to drag in the corpus delecti. They were so intimate, and utterly out of touch.

Connie guessed, however, that her father had said something, and that something was in Clifford's mind. She knew that he didn't mind whether she were demi-vierge or demimonde, so long as he didn't absolutely know, and wasn't made to see.

From: Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D. H. Lawrence; with an introduction by Mark Schorer (New York: Grove Press, c1959): pp. 1, 17-18. "This edition is the third manuscript version, first published by Giuseppe Orioli, Florence, 1928." The elision is Lawrence's.


democratic family:

A family (q.v.) in which the members that are old enough to be competent have equal say in family matters; a family in which the majority rules.

See also equalitarian family, household rules, liberated marriage.


democratization of eroticism:

The opening of a wide range of sexual phenomena to the public at large, from public displays of affection to, for instance, dressing sexily and the ready availability of erotica.

Comment: The term is sometimes used of a phenomenon that occured in Japan during the American occupation after World War II, circa 1946. However, the earliest example of the term I've found is from 1974. See the interview with Jean Elleinstein in Voyage à l'intérieur du Parti communiste, [par] André Harris et Alain de Sédouy (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1974): p. 284. There Elleinstein also used the term, "democratization of pleasure."

Per some theories, such as that of Wilhelm Reich, the suppression of eroticism is a tool of totalitarianism; and, when eroticism is opened up to the people, totalitarianism becomes extraordinarily difficult. However, per some classical religious theory, eroticism is or can be itself enslaving.


I'm using a quotation (presumably in translation) from Jean Elleinstein as found in: "PCF's Jean Elleinstein — Agent or 'Communiste de Boudoirs'?"  New Solidarity International Press Service (later continued by Executive Intelligence Review); v. 2, no. 46 (October 24, 1975): pp. 7-10, specifically p. 9, column [2]. PCF stands for Parti communiste français, that is, the French Communist Party.

See also eroticism, libertarianism, public character of sex, public display of affection, public sex, separation of sex and state, sexual toleration.


A non-human female with supernatural powers who mates with a man.

Comment: The demon-bride motif has sometimes been used in cautionary tales against marrying for love. See, for example, the ancient Chinese story, entitled "The Tale of a Demon-Bride," as found in: The Lore of Love, by the editors of Time-Life Books (Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books, c1987; in series: The Enchanted World): pp. 68-73.

See also alabaster, bride, demon-lover, leannan sidhe, Lilith, succubus.

demon-lover, or demon lover:

1. A person with whom one is sexually involved who is both irresistibly attractive and bad either for oneself or with regard to the effects of the relationship on others, or both.

2. A person with seemingly magical seductive power over oneself and others, especially such a person with whom one becomes sexually involved.

3. A being of the spiritual realm, such as an incubus (male spirit) or succubus (female spirit), who seeks sexual intercourse with a human being — whether this being is understood as a matter of the imagination, as a symbol, or as a reality.

4. The spirit of creativity in intimate relation with oneself, especially insofar as it is fickle, driving, ecstasy-producing, demanding of sacrifice, or in some other way seemingly separate from the self.

5. An allusion to "Kubla Khan," a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834). See below.

Comments: Some of the legends about demon-lovers are rooted in the story of Genesis 6:1-4, about the sons of God taking as wives the daughters of men and having children by them called Nephilim (cf. Numbers 13:33).

Even earlier, given the chronology of Genesis, but much later than Genesis in the telling, are Jewish legends of Lilith, in some accounts a demonic being and the first wife of Adam.

See also alabaster, boy of (one's) dreams, demon-bride, demons of relationships past, Dirty Harry syndrome, genicon, girl of (one's) dreams, incubus, leannan sidhe, Lilith, lover, man of (one's) dreams, Marilyn syndrome, person of (one's) dreams, succubus, woman of (one's) dreams.

x Bible.

Quotation from Samuel Taylor Coleridge Illustrating "Demon-Lover"


A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

From the poem: "Kubla Khan," in: The Complete Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with an introductory essay upon his philosophical and theological opinions, edited by Professor Shedd (New York: Harper, 1853): v. 7, pp. 212-214, specifically p. 213. The poem was first published in 1816, though first drafted, perhaps, in 1797.

Quotation from D. H. Lawrence Illustrating "Demon Lover"


[309] It was the ancient phallic mystery, the ancient god-devil of the male Pan. Cipriano unyielding forever, in the ancient twilight, keeping the ancient twilight around him. She [Kate Leslie] understood now his power with his soldiers. He had the old gift of demon-power.

He would never woo; she saw this. When the power of his blood rose in him, the dark aura streamed from him like a cloud pregnant with power, like thunder, and rose like a whirlwind that rises suddenly in the twilight and raises a great pliant column, swaying and leaning with power, clear between heaven and earth....

[310] She looked back at him, wordless. Language had abandoned her, and she leaned silent and helpless in the vast, unspoken twilight of the Pan world. her self had abandoned her, and all her day was gone. Only she said to herself:

"My demon lover!"

From the novel: The Plumed Serpent (Quetzalcoatl), by D. H. Lawrence (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926): chapter 20, pp. 309-310. 

Quotations from Erica Jong Illustrating "Demon Lover"


[63] But Ted [Hughes] was a force of nature — a walking talking demon lover — and he knew it. You [Sylvia Plath] not only kissed him but bit him on the cheek, drawing blood. You were determined to leave your mark on him. Biting him was also a communication. It said: "You may be a demon lover but I am a powerful witch. My magic is stronger."

[137] Of course, the muse or demon lover is an aspect of self. I know damn well that when I am summoning this creature, I am really trying to connect with the part of myself that is free, imaginative and able to fly... I objectify my imagination as a separate creature, knowing this is metaphor. The muse or demon lover is [138] inside me.

From: Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life, [by] Erica Jong (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, c2006): pp. 63, 137.


demons of relationships past:

Destructive psychological aftereffects of certain personal ties one once had — destructive either to one's peace of mind and sense of self or to one's current or budding ties.

Comment: Generally cast in the plural, although sometimes one might see "demons of a relationship past."

See also demon-lover, dysfunctional relationship, ghosts of relationships past, second-husband syndrome, second-wife syndrome, toxic relationship, trouble in paradise.


deprived sexually:

See sex-deprived.


derecho de pernada (Spanish):

See ius primae noctis.


dérèglement de tous les sens (French):

"Derangement (or deregulation) of all the senses"; a process of cultivation of the soul — which may entail, among other things, disregarding social mores — a process whereby one supposedly is able to reach depths otherwise unknown to human experience.

Comment: A phrase associated especially with the French poet, Arthur Rimbaud  (1854-1891).

The word dérèglement is masculine and so is often preceded by the definite article, le; hence le dérèglement de tous les sens.

See also libertinism, mores.

x French terms.
x sensory deregulation.

Quotation from Arthur Rimbaud Illustrating "Dérèglement de tous les sens"

Je dis qu'il faut être voyant, se faire voyant.

Le Poëte se fait voyant par un long, immense et raisonné dérèglement de tous les sens. Toutes les formes d'amour, de souffrance, de folie; il cherche lui-même, il | épuise en lui tous les poisons, pour n'en garder que les quintessences. Ineffable torture où il a besoin le toute la foi, de toute la force surhumaine, où il devient entre tous le grand malade, le grand criminel, le grand maudit, — et le suprême Savant! — Car il arrive à l'inconnu! Puisqu'il a cultiv
é son âme, déjà riche, plus qu'aucun! Il arrive à l'inconnu, et quand, affolé, il finirait par perdre l'intelligence de ses visions, il les a vues!

[Oliver Bernard's translation]:

I say that one must be a seer, make oneself a seer.

The poet makes himself a seer by a long, prodigious, and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of | madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, and keeps only their quintessences. This is an unspeakable torture during which he needs all his faith and superhuman strength, and during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed — and the great learned one! — among men — For he arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his own soul — which was rich to begin with — more than any other man! He reaches the unknown, and even if, crazed, he ends up by losing the understanding of his visions, at least he has seen them!
Letter to Paul Demeny, written at Charleville, May 15, 1871, as found in: Rimbaud, introduced and edited by Oliver Bernard; with plain prose translations of each poem (Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1962): pp. 7-17, specifically 10-11.

Quotation from David Brooks Illustrating "Le dérèglement de tous les sens"

And there was a romantic rationale behind all this fast living [in the 1960s and '70s]: Le dérèglement de tous les sens. Deregulate the senses. Great truths come from great sensations. The best live passionately and for the moment. The brave ones live free and fast and penetrate into the profound realms.

From: Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, [by] David Brooks (New York: Simon & Schuster, c2000): p. 195.

dernières faveurs (French):

"Last favors": the granting of full sexual access, generally by a woman.

Comment: Usually preceded by the definite article, so: "les dernières faveurs."

See also free with (her) favors, last favor.

x French terms.

descort (Occitan = langue d'Oc):

1. "Discord"; a song of being at variance or, often, more especially of unrequited love.

2. The genre of such song lyrics.

Comment: The term is associated with the troubadours of Provence (southeastern France) in the late Middle Ages.

In this genre, irregularities were often used in verse form in order to express the sentiment.

Source: The historical novel, The Fool of Venus: The Story of Peire Vidal, by George Cronyn (New York: Covici-Friede, 1934): p. 434.

See also comjat, courtly love, discourse of desire, escondich, love lyrics, love poem, love song, maldit, torch song, unrequited love.

x Occitan terms.


Abandonment of one spouse by another, especially for a duration defined by law. Often considered one of the legitimate grounds for divorce (q.v.) or a form of divorce (q.v.) in itself.

See also agunah, conjugal rights, demi-relict, ditch, enoch arden law, jilt, lasslorn, lovelorn, quasi-desertion, relict, surfeit response.


desert island partner:

1. A person with whom one works to survive on an otherwise uninhabited piece of land that is surrounded by water and remote from populated regions.

2. The person one would most like to live with in the aforementioned situation, ordinarily a person with excellent survival skills and/or a person of a complementary sexual orientation.

Comments: The term is sometimes extended, for instance:

The fantasy desert island partner can function in a number of ways, for instance:

Furthermore, the desert island scenario is sometimes used in ethical thought as a way of way of stripping a situation, especially a relational situation, down to its elementary features, without the intrusions and encrustations of cultural factors — although one of the flaws in such an approach can be to overlook ethical values in cultural factors.

See also as fit as a woman coming out of a lifeboat, circumstantial homosexuality, end-of-the-world lover, partner.

x fantasy desert island partner.
x island.
x marooned-on-a-desert-island partner.
x stranded-on-a-desert-island partner.

desex (someone):

To treat (someone) for certain purposes, ordinarily for social or relationship purposes, as though he or she were not a sexual being.

See also desexed, sex, sexuality.


Characterized by or pertaining to being treated for certain purposes, ordinarily for social or relationship purposes, as though one were not a sexual being.

See also desex, forbidden love, sex, sexed, sexless love, sexuality.

Quotation from Rita Mae Brown Illustrating "Desexed"

[Molly Bolt to Alice Bellantoni] "... But I never have been able to figure out why parents and children put each other in these desexed categories. It's antihuman, I think."

From the novel: Rubyfruit Jungle, by Rita Mae Brown (Fifteenth anniversary ed. Toronto; New York: Bantam Books, 1988): chapter 16, p. 165. Originally published: Plainfield, Vt.: Daughters, Inc., 1973.

designated hitter:

1. In baseball, a person who bats on behalf of the pitcher.

2. By analogy: In sex-related matters, a person who stands in for another, for instance, a person who serves as a body double for an actor during a movie love scene.

Comment: Abbreviated DH.

See also DH, love scene, surrogate lover, surrogate sex partner.

x hitter.


See habe designs on (someone).


1. Worth wanting; having sought-after, especially widely sought-after, qualities, characteristics, features, and/or advantages.

2. Attractive; appealing to at least one of the senses and thereby to at least one of the appetites: in the context of potential human relationships, especially the sexual appetite.

3. Unusually or especially suitable and thus wanted.

4. Any combination of the above.

See also attractive, bangable, bellibone, catch, datable, desire, f*ckable, human beauty, lovable, loveworthy, lustworthy, osculable, phat, sexual desire, sexy, spongeworthy, sultry, swoonworthy, toothsome, voluptuous, X-appeal.

desire, as in "a desire":

See carnal desire, sexual desire.


desire, as in "to desire":

1. To want; to wish for; to long for; to crave.

2. To feel attraction towards; to have an inclination to have sexual intercourse with; to lust after sexually.

3. To want as a mate.

4. To feel libidinous urges; to have one's sexual appetite kick in.

See also bream, clicket, desirable, eassin, go to his towrus, horny, lust, randy, sexual desire.

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Desired"

[Abigail Timberlake] "We've been over that a million times, Greg. I don't want to sleep with you until after we're married."

Actually, I did want to sleep with him. I had never desired anyone as much as I did Greg, and that included Buford back when I was a walking collection of collegiate hormones. My urges, however, were going to wait until after that plain gold band was officially slipped on my finger.
From the mystery novel: So Faux, So Good: A Den of Antiquity Mystery, [by] Tamar Myers (New York, N.Y.: Avon Books, 1998; with publisher's imprint: Avon Twilight): chapter 8, p. 65.


1. Characterized by an urgency, a chronically unmet need, or an unbearable situation.

2. Driven to take extreme measures.

3. Unable to find acceptable solutions to an inadequate love life or an unhappy home life and frazzled because of that situation.

4. Urgently in need of human touch, cuddling, sex, or compassion.

5. Suffering intensely due to unrequited love or the absence of a loved one or a trauma with regard to love.

See also blue balls, heartache, incompatibility, kick for a man, lover's leap, lover's nut, lovesick, love trauma syndrome, marital blues, marriage shock, pine away, pine for, sex-deprived, sex-starved, unhappily married, unahppily single, unrequited love, wertheritis.



Betrothed (q.v.).



Betrothal (q.v.).



1. Betrothal (q.v.).

2. A ceremony celebrating a betrothal.

3. A written declaration of a betrothal.


despotism of the petticoat:

See petticoat despotism.



1. To arrange that a dependent marry a particular person.

2. To betroth.

3. To give in marriage.

4. To take in marriage; to marry.

Comment: Note that the meaning is the opposite of what one might expect. The term is not "de-spouse," which would be to rid oneself of a marital partner.

See also betroth, espouse, give away in marriage, marry.


destination wedding:

A wedding (q.v.) and honeymoon all away at the honeymoon location.

See also honeymoon, weddingmoon.

detached date:

1. A person who, while engaged in a social activity with somebody of a complementary sexual orientation, has become separated from that person.

2. A person whose mind is on matters other than his or her date (q.v.) or who is cool towards his or her date.

3. A person who attends a social activity with somebody of a complementary sexual orientation so that, by design, each can spend most of his or her time with somebody else or with other people, including most of any time spent in sexual activity, as at a swing party.

4. A social activity with somebody of a complementary sexual orientation during which, by design, each person on this date (q.v.) spends most of his or her time either with somebody else or with other people, including most of any time spent in sexual activity, as at a swing party.

See also date (2), swinger, swing party, ticket.

Deus caritas est:

See love, as in "God is love."


1. A person who marries a second time.

2. A person who is supportive of deuterogamy (q.v.).

See also bigamist, digamist, digamite.



Pertaining to or characterized by deuterogamy (q.v.).



1. Remarriage after a divorce from or the death of one's first and, until then, only spouse; or, in general, the practice of such remarriages.

2. A personal history of having had two spouses successively, the current one (if there is such) being the second.

3. A second marriage, whatever the state of the first; or, in general, the practice of entering into second marriages.

Also called digamy (q.v.). Contrast monogamy (q.v.). See also bigamy, deuterogamist, deuterogamous, divorced, duogamy, -gamy, reiterated marriage, remarriage, widow-bride, widowed.


deux (French):

See égoïsme à deux, folie à deux, ménage à deux, pas de deux.

devalue sex:

To diminish or to fall short of expectations with regard to human sexuality, especially in one of the following ways:

1. To commercialize human sexiness or human sexual activity and thus to remove it from the sphere of purely personal exchange, body to body and spirit to spirit — a moralistic sense.

2. To separate sexual activity from love or marriage or both; to engage in sexual activity simply for the sake of sexual gratification and not as an expression of love and commitment — also a moralistic sense.

3. To be insufficiently selective with regard to sex partners.

See loveless sex, personalism, precondition for sex, sex, sexual ethics, sexual immorality, sexual morality.


develop eyes for:

See have eyes for.



See fertility-led development.

devil's threeway:

Two men with one woman in sex play.

Contrast tricycle (q.v). See also group sex, MFM, three-way sex.


1. A person, male or female, who has relieved someone of his or her virginity.

2. A person whose practice it sometimes is to relieve virgins of their virginity; a person who has been the first to have sexual intercourse or sexual intercourse of a certain type with a number of different individuals.

3. The organ that acts as the instrument for relieving someone of his or her virginity.

See also seducer, seductress, virginity.

Beyond the scope of this glossary: defloration, devirginate.


devitalized relationship:

See five kinds of relationship.



Ardent heart-felt loyalty; intense attachment or dedication; a deep affection, especially one that orients the will.

See also affection, ardor, belong to, courtly love, faithfulness, love, true love, unconditional love, worship (a beloved), worship one's spouse.

Quotation from Charles Williams (1886-1945) Illustrating "Devotion"


Of her [Chloe Burnett's] friends, of her young male friends especially, pleasant as they were, there was not one, she thought, who held that friendship important for her sake rather than for his own enjoyment. Even that again was but her own selfishness; what right had she to the devotion of any other? And was there any devotion beyond the sudden overwhelming madness of sex? And in that hot airless tunnel of emotion what pleasure was there and what joy? Laughter died there, and lucidity, and the clear intelligence she loved, and there was nothing of the peace for which she hungered.

From the novel: Many Dimensions, by Charles Williams (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,  1970): p. 51. Previously published: London: Victor Gollancz:, 1931; London: Faber & Faber, 1947; New York: Pellegrini & Cudahy, 1949.



1. Dear fiancé.

2. Dear fiancée.

Comment: This abbreviation is sometimes used in place of the word "fiancé" or "fiancée," as in: "My DF and I will be married soon."

See also DH, DW, fiancé, fiancée.

x abbreviations and acronyms.



1. Dearheart.

2. Dear husband.

3. Husband, modified by a contextually appropriate adjective that begins with the letter "d," for instance, "darling husband," "delicious husband," "dense husband," "doofus husband," "dumb husband."

4. Designated hitter.

Comment: This abbreviation is sometimes used in place of the word "husband," as in: "My DH and I are now parents."

See also BH, dearheart, designated hitter, DF, DW, husband.

x abbreviations and acronyms.


diagramming a love relationship:

Schematically presenting connections between the people in a love relationship (q.v.), especially the primary, secondary, and tertiary relationships (see under each). A primary relationship is represented by three parallel lines, a secondary relationship by two parallel lines, and a tertiary relationship by a single line.

See also alternate relationship geometries, chain, chains of affection, distal partner, dyadic notation, genogram, group complexity theory, Langdon chart, letter group, polycule, polygeometry, proximal partner, relationship levels, romantic network, sexual network, triadic notation, vee, Z.


diagramming kinship ties:

Schematically presenting in chart form how people are related to one another by consanguinity (q.v.) or affinity (q.v.). A triangle (or circle with an arrow extending from the outer edge upwards) represents a male, a circle (or a circle with a cross extending downwards from the outer edge) a female, an equal sign (=) an affinal or marital tie, and a line a consanguine tie. Generally such a chart represents the elder generations above and the younger generations below.

See also genogram, kinship.



See drunk dial.

diamond jubilee:

A sixtieth wedding anniversary.

See also anniversary, jubilee.



The habitual practice, on the part of some married partners, of sleeping in separate beds in order to avoid having sex with each other.

Comment: I've seen this word only online in the Sexual Dictionary. I speculate that it is to be broken down so: dia- ("in opposite directions"; Greek) —> diastema ("space between"; Latin); unio ("unity"; Latin); -ia (suffix indicating a disorder). Thus diaste + un + ia. In other words: a disorder of separated unity.

See also abstinence, accubitus, agapêtê, agapêtos, agenobiosis, celibate marriage, cock-teaser, cuntteaser, demi-vierge, drone, intramarital chastity, mariage blanc, marital virginity, sexless marriage, subintroducta, syneisaktism, syneisaktos, white marriage.



See call dibs on (somebody).

dictionary for sleeping with:

See sleeping dictionary.

die for love:

See love-death.


die in the saddle:

1. To have one's life come to an end while riding a horse, said especially of someone who has spent much time on horses — a cowboy, for instance.

2. Metaphorically, to have one's life come to an end while performing one's vocation or avocation.

3. Also metaphorically, to have one's life come to an end while having sex, as from a heart attack.

See also sex.

x saddle.

die with love:

To be consumed with romantic passion (for somebody).

Comment: Hyperbole.

See also dead love, heart-slayer, in danger, in love, lady-killer, love-death, love-struck, raked fore and aft, slay (someone's) heart, smitten, undying love, violently in love.

Quotation from D. H. Lawrence Illustrating "Dying With Love"


[Gudrun Brangwen to Gerald Crich] "Ah, Gerald," she laughed, caressively, teasingly. "Ah, what a fine game you played with the Professor's daughter — didn't you now?"

"What game?" he asked, looking around.

"Isn't she in love with you — oh dear, isn't she in love with you!" said Gudrun, in her gayest, most attractive mood.

"I shouldn't think so," he said.

""Shouldn't think so!" she teased. "Why the poor girl is lying at this moment overwhelmed, dying with love for you. She thinks you're wonderful — oh marvelous, beyond what man has ever been..."

From the novel: Women in Love, [by] D. H. Lawrence; with a foreword by the author and an introduction by Richard Aldington (New York: Viking Press, 1960): chapter 29, p. 406. Early editions:

  • New York: Privately printed for subscribers only, 1920.
  • London: Martin Secker, 1921.


die without ever having loved:

A usually wistful expression about living an entire lifetime and never having strong romantic feelings for anyone or experiencing deeply committed affection for anyone.

Comment: Variations and similar expressions abound, for example:

The usual wistfulness often implies that a person has missed participating in a vital stream of life or has missed one of the great pleasures of life. This sort of expression is often regarded as one of the saddest there is.

See also love, loveless, oh well, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

x saddest words in matters of love.

diffarreation (Anglicized form of the Latin, diffarreatio):

"Breaking of spelt-cake," that is, divorce (q.v.).

Comment: This term is reminiscent of a divorce custom of the ancient Romans.

See also confarreation.

x Latin terms.



See irreconcilable differences.

different-height couple:

See mixed-height couple.

different-sex marriage:

A marriage (q.v.) between people of different sexes, that is, typically, between a man and a woman.

Contrast same-sex marriage (q.v.). See also heterosexual marriage.



A person who has married twice but without the marriages overlapping.

Comment: For lexical example, see under "octogamist."

See also deuterogamist, digamite, digamy.



A person who has remarried after being divorced.

Comment: "Digamite" is generally used as a term of disapprobation.

See also deuterogamist, digamist, digamy, divorced.



Pertaining to or characterized by digamy (q.v.).



1. Remarriage after a divorce from or the death of one's first and, until then, only spouse.

2. A personal history of having had two spouses successively, the current one (if there is such) being the second.

Also called deuterogamy (q.v.). Contrast monogamy (q.v.). See also bigamy, digamist, digamite, digamous, divorced, -gamy, octogamy, reiterated marriage, remarriage, serial marriage, serial monogamy, trigamy, widow-bride, widowed.

Quotation from Henry R. Percival Illustrating "Digamy"


To distinguish contemporaneous from successive bigamy I shall use throughout this volume the word "digamy" to denote the latter, and shall thus avoid much confusion which otherwise is unavoidable.

"Excursus on Second Marriages, Called Digamy," in The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church: Their Canons and Dogmatic Decrees, Together with the Canons of All the Local Synods Which Have Received Ecumencial Acceptance, edited with notes gathered from the writings of the greatest scholars by Henry R. Percival, in: A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Second Series, translated into English with prolegomena and explanatory notes under the editorial supervision of Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, in connection with a number of patristic scholars of Europe and America. Volume XIV, The Seven Ecumenical Councils (preface dated 1899): pp. 72-73, specifically p. 72.



Two marriages that together extend or, if one or both are merely contemplated, would extend affinal relations, especially insofar as such affinity is capable of impeding another marriage under a given code.

Comment: Such affinal relations might be created, for instance, when an individual marries one person, divorces, and then marries another; or, when one person marries and then his or her blood relative marries.

Source: New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967): v. 13, p. 615.

See also affinity, forbidden degrees, impediment, incest, trigeneia.


digital lipstick on the collar:

Electronic text messages insofar as they serve as evidence of an affair.

Source: "Text Messages: Digital Lipstick on the Collar," by Laura M. Holson, in: The New York Times, December 8, 2009. Link.

See also affair, chat cheat, cyberadultery, cyber-affair, cyber-betrayal, cyber-cheating, cyber-infidelity, cybersex, infidelity, instant messaging, Internet affair, lipstick on the collar, online affair, sexting, signs of infidelity, techno-straying, text messaging relationship, textual infidelity, toothing, unfaithfulness, virtual adultery, virtual affair.



See -in-law.

x abbreviations and acronyms.


dilectio (Latin):

Love, especially agapic love.

Comment: Like caritas, it sometimes translates the Greek word agapê. However, caritas tends to emphasize the affection element of love whereas dilectio tends to emphasize the attraction element of love.

See also agapê, agapic love, caritas, love.

x Latin terms.


See Don Juan dilemma, porcupine dilemma.

Look also under paradoxes.

dilf, or DILF:

Acronym for "dad I'd like to f*ck."

1. A man who is old enough to be one's father and whom one finds sexually desirable.

2. A man of paternal age who excites one's sexual desire, especially but not necessarily one who actually is a father; an attractive mature (but not elderly) man, especially one who at some time in his life has sired a child.

See also father, filf, fylf, hilf, -ilf, milf.
x abbreviations and acronyms.

dilution hypothesis:

See resource dilution hypothesis.


dink, or DINK, or D.I.N.K.:

"Dual income, no kids," in reference to:

1. The household status of a couple, namely, having two jobs and no children (which presumably allows for disposable income);

2. The couple itself; or,

3. A member of such a couple.

Comment: Alternatively DINKY: "dual income, no kids yet."

See also couple, husband-and-wife team, power couple, two-earner household, working wife.

x dual income, no kids.


See date dinner, dinner date.

dinner date:

1. A social activity with someone, or even more than one person, of complementary sexual orientation, an activity that begins with or features a midday or, more usually, an evening meal as the main meal of the day.

2. One's companion(s) in such an activity.

See also breakfast together, brunch date, cinq à sept, date (twice), date dinner, date night, first date food, love à la carte, lunch date, meal ticket, picnic date.

x dinner.


direct-affront myth of affairs:

The often false notion that extra-relationship sex is something a person meant to do to his or her partner in the primary relationship instead of simply for him or herself (an exception being revenge sex).

Comments: The identification of this notion as a myth arises out of the school of thought that insists that individuals are wholly responsible for their own emotions, including their sense of hurt. I have provided a name for the supposed myth without, for now, weighing in on any controversy that might surround it (October 18, 2006).

A frequently constructed corollary to the myth is that this notion on the part of a partner must be compensated for by covering up in order to protect the partner from a sense of betrayal.

See also affair, betrayal, extramarital affair, extra-relationship sex, love-ends-interest-in-others myth, myth of affairs as symptomatic.

x myths.



1. A person presumed to have sufficient control over something to influence the course it takes.

2. The head of an agency, department, or other enterprise, such as a library or museum, this head usually having supervisory responsibilities and, in many cases, answering to someone yet further up in a hierarchy, such as a cabinet official (in educational institutions, typically a vice president; in government, typically a secretary of this or that).

3. The person who guides the creative aspects of a dramatic production, such as a play or movie, and who supervises the actors and crew.

4. The person who operates a swing club establishment, generally the owner. (The director may place a person in charge of swing parties, and one of the terms used for this other person would be "manager.")

See also host, swap coach, swinger, swing club.

x manager.


1. Forced separation of marital partners who do not desire to be separated.

2. A forcible separation more generally.

Compare and contrast fribusculum (q.v.). See also separation.


diriment impediment:

An impediment (q.v.) to marriage that would render it null and void from the beginning.

Comments: From the Latin word dirimo ("bring to naught").

Regarding diriment impediments to marriage as determined by the Roman Catholic Church, see Code of Canon Law (1983): canons 1073-1094.

x Latin terms.


diritto feudale (Italian):

See ius primae noctis.



1. Smudged with earth or earth-like matter; grimy; sullied; soiled.

2. Needing to be cleaned.

3. Corrupt or otherwise characterized by conduct officially considered improper.

4. Mean.

5. Said of things or behaviors: sexually suggestive or explicit, especially insofar as outside the bounds of strict propriety; designed to stimulate sexually; smutty, that is, erotic or pornographic; in violation of sexual taboos or in tension with sexual inhibitions.

6. Said of persons, souls, minds, etc.: characterized by a focus, whether momentary or frequent, on the sexually suggestive or explicit, as in "a dirty mind"; given to sexual matters for purposes of arousal or of getting laid.

7. Having to do in a vulgar way with urination or defecation.

Comment: Why the mental association of sex with dirt? One common surmise is that the association stems from the close proximity of the generative organs and the organs used for the excretion of waste. However, more probably the association came about by way of the metaphorical use of "dirty" to mean "impure" or "improper" in reference to conduct. From there it was an easy step for the word "dirty" to be applied descriptively to things considered sexually impure.

Some people object to the use of the word "dirty" in any way that associates sex with being soiled, since that would seem to perpetuate a sex-negative stance. However others find erotic power in the tension between purity and dirtiness; while yet others rehabilitate the term, as in, "A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste," said by the character Ouiser Boudreaux (played by Shirley MacLaine) in the movie "Steel Magnolias," written by Robert Harling and directed by Herbert Ross (1989).

See also alabaster, carnally minded, clean, damaged goods, dark-dirty-secret generation, dirty dating, dirty old man, dirty talk, filthy, immoral, impurity, lascivious, lecherous, naughty, obscene language, obscene words, obscenity-purity complex, porn addiction, sexual purity, sexual shame, unchaste.

Related terms beyond the scope of this glssary: off-color (British: off-colour).

Quotation from Theodore Sturgeon Illustrating "Dirty"


He [Mensch] learned a whole portfolio of dirty jokes and dispensed them carefully, two-thirds sex, one-third bathroom.

From the short story: "Brownshoes," in: Sturgoen is Alive and Well...: A Collection of Short Stories, by Theodore Sturgeon (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, c1971): pp. 153-163, specifically p. 158. The story has as the copyright date, 1969. The ellipsis is part of the title.

Quotation from Susie Bright Illustrating "Dirty"


My title, How to Write a Dirty Story, is tongue-in-cheek because I don't think anything about sex is "unclean" or unspeakable. I speak candidly about sexuality and the craft of writing in these pages because I want to give you the honest dirt on a subject that is too frequently hidden by shame, ignorance, or elitism.

If any of you garden, you know that you can't grow anything without tending to your soil first. You want the very best dirt for the very best fruit. In that sense, let me offer you an excellent dirty book on a supremely fruitful subject.

From: How to Write a Dirty Story: Reading, Writing, and Publishing Erotica, [by] Susie Bright (New York: Simon & Schuster, c2002; "A Fireside Book"): p. 13.

dirty-dark-secret generation:

See dark-dirty-secret generation.

dirty dating:

Accompanying a person of a complementary sexual orientation to a social event that involves genital play.

See also date, dating, dirty, party, recreational sex.

Dirty Harry syndrome:

1. A confrontational, unsympathetic-to-supposed-bad-guys, ready-to-break-the-rules-to-get-results, quick-to-pull-a-gun, tough-guy attitude, especially in law enforcement and, by extension, in international politics.

2. With regard to romance, thinking one wants a Dirty Harry type but really wanting a Clint Eastwood type. (Dirty Harry is a tough-guy movie character; Clint Eastwood is the mild-mannered actor who played him.)

Comment: The allusion is to Inspector Harry Callahan in the movie "Dirty Harry," directed by Don Siegal, screenplay by Harry Julian Fink, Rita M. Fink, and Dean Riesner (1971); and in the sequels.

Source for the second sense: The pilot for the American TV drama series, "Men in Trees," season 1, episode 1, written by Jenny Bicks, directed by James Mangold (first aired, September 12, 2006).

See also bad boy syndrome, demon-lover, dream date, fantasy life, genicon, ideal, lovemap, Marilyn syndrome, Mister Wrong, perfect catch, rich man/biker paradox, template (for a lover), type.

x syndromes.


dirty old man; plural: dirty old men:

1. A middle-aged or elderly human male with sex much on his mind, especially:

2. A middle-aged or elderly human male with a reputation for the preceding.

3. A middle-aged or elderly gay male.

Comments: Abbreviated D.O.M.

A proposed collective term: A lech of dirty old men. Cf. An Exaltation of Larks, [by] James Lipton (The ultimate ed. New York, N.Y.: Penguin Books, 1993): p. 161.

See also dirty, DOM, gfilf, gilf, sex after fifty, vieux marcheur.

x collective terms.

dirty talk:

1. Conversation in which the topic of sexuality plays a lascivious role; in other words, the opposite end of the spectrum from a clinical discussion of sex.

2. Verbiage, often no-holds-barred verbiage, meant to be erotically stimulating, for instance as a prelude to or as an element of sexual activity.

See also bawdry, dirty, discourse of desire, flirtation, gymnocryptosis, intimate talk, obscene language, obscene words, pillow talk, pornolexicology, sex talk, sex talking, taboo terms, talk dirty.

x talk.

discard (someone):

1. To fire (an employee); to terminate (a person's) employment.

2. To leave (a fellow traveler) behind who is no longer needed or who is a drag.

3. To shuck off (a friend).

4. To break up with (a lover or a spouse).

Comment: For one of the ethical dimensions of termination, see, in the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books, Ecclesiasticus = Sirach 34:22.

See also break up, ditch, dump, flush (somebody), jilt, sack, throw over.

discordant couple:

Two people who are sex partners, one with a sexually transmittable infection, such as herpes or HIV, and the other not.

See also bug chaser, couple, safe sex.

discourse of desire:

A verbal expression, especially in literary form, of sexual or romantic longing, or regarding sexuality or love more generally.

Comment: Largely an academic term.

See also amatory numbers; bawdry; birds and the bees; blue verse; boy meets girl; BtB story; carte de tendre; catcall; comjat; conditional love song; cross-class romance; date movie; Dear Jane letter; Dear John letter; descort; dirty talk; dub-con; epithalamium; erotic journal; erotographomania; escondich; express love; flirtation; flirtext; flirtexting; frontiers of sexuality; gymnocryptosis; iconography of love; instant messaging; intimate talk; language of fans; language of flowers; language of fruit; language of love; language of vegetables; lexicography of love; love-book; love-discourse; loving wives; love language; love letter; love lyrics; love-news; love on the run; love poem; love poetry; love prate; love reminiscences; love-rhyme; lovers rock; love scene; love song; love's thermometer; love story; maldit; map of matrimony; Mary Sue story; melody of love; nuptial ode; obscene language; obscene words; pillow book; politics, religion, and sex; polyjargon; pornolexicology; prothalamium; Regency romance; Reich der Liebe; relationship obit; River of True Love; romance novel; romantic comedy; romantic drama; romantic voice; royaume d'amour; RST; sentimental cartography; sex and shopping; sex talk; sex talking; sexual awakening; sexual desire; sexual semaphore; slow jam; station amoureux; stroke story; sweet talk; symbology of love; taboo terms; talk dirty; tear-jerker; textual harassment; trattàto di amore; Truelove River; use porn together; wedded lust; will-they-won't-they romance; wolf whistle. (Note also the cross reference from "most romantic expressions.")

Quotation from Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth Illustrating "Discourse of Desire"


[1] If love is a pervasive subject in Renaissance literature, attitudes toward it are hardly uniform. The discourses of desire of the period embrace works as dissimilar as the sonnets of frustrated love that [2] dominated the late Elizabethan era and the libertine invitations to lust that prevailed in Caroline court circles. They include both the obsessive (and resentful) devotion of Sharkespeare's sonnets to a young man and Spenser's (uncharacteristically placid) celebrations of chaste married love. Among Renaissance discourses of desire are world-weary expressions of disgust with physicality as well as idealistic Neoplatonic love lyrics; and they incorporate traditions of erotic poetry ranging from the urgency of carpe diem to the philosophical bemusement of the senex amans.

[4] The cultural specificity of sexual attitudes demands a historical approach to discourses of desire. Insofar as literature documents (or challenges) its period's sexual beliefs and prohibitions, it is an extraordinarily valuable resource for setting and charting the outlines of sexual ideology at any particular time. More than any other form of discourse, literature most fully articulates desire, presenting it from the inside rather than from the outside, expressing emotion and subjectivity as well as reason and logic.

"Introduction," [by] Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth, in: Renaissance Discourses of Desire, edited by Claude J. Summer and Ted-Larry Pebworth (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, c1993): pp. 1-12, specifically 1-2, 4.


1. Marked by discernment and good judgment.

2. Prudent, especially with regard to revealing confidentialities and other secrets.

3. Circumspect; self-restrained.

4. Unpretentious (said of things).

5. In personals where something is being described, as in the phrases "discreet affair" and "discreet dating" and "discreet meeting," code for "on the sly so that any current partners will not find out" or "looking to fool around but married so needing to keep this quiet"; characterized by having to be kept secret in order to avoiding disrupting relationships.

6. In personals where someone is being described, as in the phrases "discreet adult" and "discreet escort" and "discreet friend," code for "willing to date someone who is married and to help keep knowledge of the date or dates from his or her partner as well as from others capable of adversely affecting his or her life."

Comment: Do not confuse with "discrete," which means "unconnected and distinct."

See also absolute code, clandestine polygamy, code of discretion, code of silence, kiss and tell, lie about sex, personals, rules of adultery, secret-false, sexual etiquette, trail.


See code of discretion.


See discrimination on the basis of sex, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, personal discrimination.

discrimination on the basis of sex:

Policy or behavior — typically arising from bigotry, prejudice, bias, or a belief system (which are not mutually exclusive categories) — that results or would result but for countervailing forces in disadvantaging one or more persons simply or partially because they are members of a particular gender.

Comment: Also called sexual discrimination.

See also ambisextrous, double standard, female chauvinism, gender, hetero-relations, male chauvinism, matriarchalism, patriarchalism, sex, sex and power, sexism, sexual bigotry, sexual chauvinism, sexual politics.

x discrimination.
x sexual discrimination.

discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation:

Policy or behavior — typically arising from bigotry, prejudice, bias, or a belief system (which are not mutually exclusive categories) — that results or would result but for countervailing forces in disadvantaging one or more persons simply or partially because of the sex of those they choose or would prefer to have as sex partners.

See also sexual orientation.

x discrimination.


The end of romantic idealization on the part of a spouse sometime after his or her marriage has taken place, typically after the honeymoon (q.v.).

Contrast enchantment (q.v.). See also jaded, marriage shock, shock theory of marriage.



To divorce (q.v.).



1. A plate on which food is served.

2. A serving of food.

3. A given type of food.

4. An attractive person, especially an attractive young woman.

Comment: In British slang, the last sense is sometimes expressed as "a bit of a dish."

See also attractive, bellibone, butterfly, cherub, cutie, dishy, flicka, fox, Lady Jane, mary jane, nymph, talent, tottie, wench.

x bit of a dish.



Comment: British slang.

See also attractive, dish, human beauty.

disordered ontically:

See ontically disordered.



See ladder disparity.

dispersed polyandry:

A situation in which or practice whereby one female has multiple male mates, not all in the same location.

See also bigamy, cyclic monogamy, dispersed polygamy, distributed commitment, droit de la vocation, geographical non-monogamy, polyandry.

dispersed polygamy:

A situation in which or practice whereby one person has multiple mates, not all in the same location.

See also bigamy, cyclic monogamy, dispersed polyandry, dispersed polygyny, distributed commitment, droit de la vocation, geographical non-monogamy, polygamy.

dispersed polygyny:

A situation in which or practice whereby one male has multiple female mates, not all in the same location.

See also bigamy, cyclic monogamy, dispersed polygamy, distributed commitment, droit de la vocation, geographical non-monogamy, girl in every port, noyau social system, polygamy, search polygyny.

displaced homemaker:

A person whose principal job has been the management of her or his own household but who has lost the main source of income due to the death or disability of a spouse, separation, divorce, or the loss of eligibility for public assistance.

See also alimony, child support, divorced, homemaker, separation, widowed.


displaced incestuous triangle:

A triad (q.v.) in which a person who has lost out in a rivalrous triangle (q.v.) now psychologically compensates for that loss by dividing his or her attention between two people who are close relatives of each other. This is a sub-species of the reverse triangle (q.v.), which in turn is a type of split-object triangle (q.v.).

See also triangle, vee.



See courtship display.

disposable bachelor:

An unmarried man who can be called upon from time to time to serve as an escort but who is not a candidate to become either a long-term lover or a husband.

Comment: This term can easily be perceived as callous.

See also bachelor.

Quotation from Ruth Dickson Illustrating "Disposable Bachelor"


... it never hurts to have a disposable bachelor on tap to stand escort duty when necessary.

From: Married Men Make the Best Lovers, by Ruth Dickson (Los Angeles, Calif: Sherbourne Press, c1967): p. 69.


disposable bachelorette:

An unmarried woman who can be called upon from time to time to serve as an escort but who is not a candidate to become either a long-term lover or a wife.

Comments: Coined by me, 2006, on analogy with "disposable bachelor." But perhaps it already exists.

This term can easily be perceived as callous.

See also bachelorette.



1. The melting away of personal and social barriers with a lover during sex, especially during orgasm, such that one seems to meld with one's lover and perhaps also with the universe itself; the temporary loss of a sense of self which can happen during sexual activity and especially orgasm.

2. The cessation of a bond between individuals, whether it be a personal bond, a formal bond, or both.

See also jouissance (note lexical example), mystic marriage, one flesh, spiritual connection, unitive meaning; break-up, divorce.


distal partner:

A person who is once or more removed in a chain of people who are sexually or romantically connected.

Contrast proximal partner (q.v.). See also brother in lust, bukis, buksvåger, buksvägerska, chain, chains of affection, diagramming a love relationship, ex-in-law, husband-in-law, intimate network, Langdon Chart, lover-in-law, lover-once-removed, poly web, romantic network, sexual connection, sexual network, sister in lust, ungetaken, wife-in-law.


See "until death or distance do you part."


See damsel-in-distress syndrome.

distributed commitment:

An arrangement in which the partners in a non-monogamous love relationship live separately, typically because they are geographically distant from each other.

See also commuter marriage, commuter romance, dispersed polyandry, dispersed polygamy, dispersed polygyny, duolocal residence, e-mail marriage, geographical non-monogamy, hundred-mile rule, long-distance relationship, non-monogamy, telegamy.



1. To dispose of definitively; to discard; to throw aside; to cast away; to leave behind.

2. To break up with (someone) by deserting that person; to jilt.

See also break up, desertion, discard, divorce, dump, E&E, EwE, flush (somebody), give the mitten, jilt, leave (someone), let go, plaquer, sack, split up, uncouple, walk out.

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Ditched"

[Abigail Timberlake narrating] You can't get any lower, if you ask me, than to ditch your wife while she's in the hospital having a hysterectomy. But that's just what Malcolm did. He dumped Jenny in favor of a tart named Miranda.
From the mystery novel: Nightmare in Shining Armor: A Den of Antiquity Mystery, [by] Tamar Myers (New York, N.Y.: Avon Books, 2001): chapter 10, p. 83.

divine form:

An inwardly perceived mystical particpation of a beloved in the Highest Being or in some infinite attribute thereof; God as perceived by a lover in a beloved.

See also forma divina, human beauty, mystery, theology of romantic love, vision of romantic love.

divorce, as in "a divorce":

1. Kicking out or leaving of a spouse with the expressed understanding that the marriage with that person is over. In some cultures only a man has the power to effect a socially acceptable divorce.

2. Termination of a marriage by agreement of the spouses.

3. Official social recognition that a marriage is over although the parties are still alive.

Comments: Divorce generally implies the freedom of the divorced parties to marry others, even if one or both were previously restricted in this regard. It also generally implies the freedom of the parties to remarry each other, although some cultures limit such remarriages (see, for example, Deuteronomy 24:1-4).

Divorce has been one of the biggest traditional issues of sexual morality.

See also agunah, annulment, apopemptic, apopemtoclinic, BBD, bomber, bona gratia divorce, braking hypothesis, break-up, Carmela effect, cheaper to keep her, collaborative divorce, country divorce, covenant marriage, death spiral of a relationship, decree nisi, desertion, diffarreation, dissolution, divorcé, divorce a mensa et thoro, divorce attorney, divorce a vinculo matrimonii, divorce by consent, divorce-by-purchase, divorce from bread and board, divorce sale, divorced, divorcée, divorcer, divorce rate, do-it-yourself divorce, domino effect, ecclesiastical divorce, emotional divorce, enoch arden law, estrangement, ex, exfamiliation, ex-husband, ex parte divorce, ex-wife, failed marriage, foreign divorce, four-year itch, get, grounds for divorce, humpfort, indissolubility doctrine, irreconcilable differences, joint custody, judicial divorce, judicial separation, last time, left-over desire, left-over love, limited divorce, live-in divorce, mail order divorce, migratory divorce, no fault divorce, "Once married, always married," over, post break-up funk, postmarital blues, premarital divorce, privilegium Paulinum, rabbinical divorce, relationship obit, remarriage, separation, serial monogamy, seven-year itch, sexual immorality, sexual morality, sexual rejection, shared parenting, surfeit response, talak, toleramus, unsuccessful marriage, voidable marriage, void marriage.

x Bible.


divorce, as in "to divorce":

1. To kick out or leave a spouse with the understanding that the marriage is over.

2. To terminate a marriage by agreement of the spouses.

3. To obtain official social recognition that a marriage is over though the parties are still alive.

Comment: One of the biggest influences on the discussion of divorce and morality has been the Bible. Hence the following charts, which I have lifted from another book of mine, Synoptic Analysis of the Divorce Sayings of Jesus: Mark 10:11-12 and Parallels (as last modified, February 12, 2001).

Hebrew Terms Related to Divorce

Hebrew Term

Basic Meaning of Hebrew Term

Greek Term Used in Septuagint (LXX)

Basic Meaning of Greek Term

Sample References


"to deal faithlessly"


"to disregard"

Jeremiah 3:20; 9:2 = 9:1 (LXX); Lamentations 1:2


"to act lawlessly"

Psalm 25:3 = 24:3 (LXX)

Not specifically family related, but note the qualification, "without cause"


"not standing by a covenant," "untrustworthy," "undutiful"

Jeremiah 3:8, 11 (cf. 3:7, 10)


"to leave behind"

Exodus 21:8; Hosea 5:7; Malachi 2:11, 14, 15, 16


"to disdain"

Hosea 6:7 (may evoke the bagad of 5:7)


(last letter is teth)

"certificate of divorce"

(not applicable)

(not applicable)

MGittin 1:1


"to banish" or "drive out"


"to throw out"

Leviticus 21:7, 14; 22:13; Numbers 30:9; Ezekiel 44:22


(from chalats; begins with the letter heth)

Rite of "drawing off" the shoe in response to the refusal of a man to perform his levirate duty


"to untie from below"

Deuteronomy 25:9; MYebamoth 12:1-6

For a First Century description in Greek, see Josephus Antiquities 4:254-256 = 4:23


"to go away"


"to go away"

Genesis 38:19; Judges 19:2


(last letter is aleph)

"to lead out"


Compare 1 Esdras 8:93 = 8:90; 9:20 (contrast 9:9, which uses chörizö, and 9:36, which uses apoluö)

Compare also Sirach 7:26 (contrast 25:26, which has apotemnö, meaning "to cut off")

"to throw out"

Ezra 10:3

For the Hebrew word, see also MYebamoth 3:5 and MEduyoth 4:9


"to take out"

Ezra 10:19


(from karath)


Root meaning is "to cut off"



Deuteronomy 24:1, 3; Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 3:8

sefer kerithuth

(begins with the letter samekh)

"certificate of divorce"

biblion apostasiou

"certificate of divorce"

Deuteronomy 24:1, 3; Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 3:8


(begins with the letter Ayin)

"to forsake"


"to abandon"

Proverbs 2:17


"to leave" or "to send away"

2 Samuel 15:16 (note the result in 16:21-22; 20:3)


"to leave behind"

Joshua 22:3; Psalm 27:10 = 26:10 (LXX); 94:14 = 93:14 (LXX); Proverbs 4:6; Ezekiel 24:21


"to leave behind"

Genesis 2:24; Exodus 2:20; Ruth 2:11


"to send away"


"to send away"

Genesis 21:14


"to send away"

Deuteronomy 21:14; 22:19, 29; 24:1, 3, 4; Malachi 2:16

Greek Terms Related to Divorce and Remarriage

From the New Testament

Greek Term

Basic Meaning

Sample References


"to release" or "to send away"

Matthew 1:19; 5:31-32; 19:3, 7-9; Mark 10:2, 4, 11-12; Luke 16:18


"certificate of divorce"

Matthew 5:31


"to send away"

1 Corinthians 7:11-13

biblion apostasiou

"certificate of divorce"

Matthew 19:7; Mark 10:4


"to bind"

Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:27


"to enslave"

1 Corinthians 7:15


"free" or "independent"

Romans 7:3; 1 Corinthians 7:21, 22, 39


"to go away"

Mark 10:12 (some manuscripts)


"to be released" (passive sense)

Romans 7:2, 6


"to be bound" (passive sense)

Romans 7:6


"to release"

1 Corinthians 7:27


"subject to a husband"

Romans 7:2


"to separate"

Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, 15

Comment: There are yet other Greek terms for the verb "divorce," besides those terms used for "divorce" in the New Testament, such as apopempö, "to dismiss," and ekpempö, "to send away." By the way, those are lexical forms, which are in the first person singular, despite the infinitives given as meanings.

See also banish (a person one's) bed and company, break a marriage, break up, call it quits, change (one's) spouse, disespouse, ditch, dump, give up on a marriage, let go, reject (someone), remarry, split up, uncouple, untie the knot, walk out.

x Bible.
x Greek terms.
x Hebrew terms.



1. A divorced man.

2. A divorced person of any sex. This usage of the word has been suggested in recent decades for the sake of expanding the availability of common-gender words.

See also divorce, divorced, divorcée, divorcer, formerly married, frequently married and seldom divorced, marital status, only parent, parent without partner, reject, re-singled, second-hand husband, single, single parent, starter husband, zoo daddy.


divorce a mensa et thoro (legal term, Latin):

"Divorce from table and bed"; a limited divorce in which the spouses cease to cohabitate and any control of one spouse over the other is terminated, but which leaves the marriage and property rights in full effect.

See also banish (a person one's) bed and company, divorce, divorce from bread and board, judicial separation, limited divorce.

x Latin terms.


divorce attorney:

A lawyer who specializes in handling the legal aspects of marital separations and of the dissolution of marriages.

Comment: Sometimes the term "divorce lawyer" is used instead, especially in popular discourse.

See also divorce.

x attorney.
x divorce lawyer.

divorce a vinculo matrimonii (legal term, Latin):

"Divorce from the tie of marriage"; a divorce (q.v.) in which a marriage is totally dissolved.

x Latin terms.


divorce by consent (legal term):

Legal dissolution of a marriage for which blame need not be shown or proved in either spouse; divorce on the ground that a marriage has irretrievably broken down or for irreconcilable differences.

See also divorce, grounds for divorce, no fault divorce.


divorce-by-purchase, or divorce by purchase:

A divorce (q.v.) brought about by a man's accepting money from another man for possession of his wife.

Comment: Perhaps the most infamous incitement to divorce-by-purchase was when the pirate John "Calico Jack" Rackham (1682-1720) offered to buy his lover, Anne Bonny (ca. 1700-ca. 1782), a pirate-to-be, from her husband, James Bonny in the Bahamas. He was refused. Anne and Jack then ran off together.

See also brideprice, marriage by purchase, own (somebody), wife-purchase.

divorce club:

The set of those in a given society who are divorced (q.v.).

x club.


Rendered free from a spouse or spouses by the dissolution of the marital bond with that spouse or those spouses.

See also apopemptic, deuterogamy, digamite, digamy, displaced homemaker, divorce, divorcé, divorce club, divorcée, divorcer, estranged, ever-married, extinct relationship, feme sole, formerly married, marital status, marriagefree, once married, parent trap, pentapopemptic, polyapopemptic, previously married, relationship status, re-singled, split-parent household, Splitsville, trigamy, zoo daddy.

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Divorced"


Mama sighed. "Or as cute [that is, I've never seen a man as cute as Homer]. Too bad he's not who he said he was."

[Abigail Washburn] "He said he was married, for crying out loud."

"Married men can get divorced, dear."

[Abigail narrating] I dragged Mama out of the mall. It behooved us to | shake a leg while Homer was still in the shop. There would be plenty of time on the way to Arcadian Designs to chide Mama for her wanton ways.

From the mystery novel: Splendor in the Glass: A Den of Antiquity Mystery, [by] Tamar Myers (New York, N.Y.: Avon Books,  c2002): chapter 26, p. 257.



A divorced woman.

Comment: Collective nouns suggested include: cackle of divorcées, desperation of divorcées, settlement of divorcées.

See also Carmela effect, divorce, divorcé, divorced, divorcer, feme sole, formerly married, frequently married and seldom divorced, `idda, marital status, miss, Mrs., only parent, parent without partner, reject, re-singled, second-hand wife, single, single parent, starter wife.

x collective terms.


divorce from bed and board: (legal term):

A limited divorce in which the spouses cease to cohabitate and any control of one spouse over the other is terminated, but which leaves the marriage and property rights in full effect.

See also banish (a person one's) bed and company, divorce, divorce a mensa et thoro, judicial separation, limited divorce.


divorce lawyer:

See divorce attorney.

divorce party:

1. A social event for a person who has just suffered the dissolution of his or her marriage.

2. A social event for (and usually thrown by) individuals who are dissolving their marriage, an event which is meant to serve as an opportunity to make an official announcement of either their impending divorce or its finalization, to change the "relationship status" of each online, to celebrate the transition of each to the next chapter in life, and/or to give the family and friends of each a chance to say goodbye to or to make a different kind of connection with the other.

See also break-up party.

x party.


A person who is divorcing or who has divorced.

See also divorce, divorcé, divorced, divorcée, formerly married, re-singled.

Quotation from Elizabeth Enright Illustrating "Divorcer"


At all age levels, midlife divorcers did quite well on our survey's measure of contentment and expectations for their future. When compared with respondents to other recent surveys, they reported roughly the same measures of happiness as other single Americans their own age, and those who remarried also scored very high.

"A House Divided," By Elizabeth Enright, in: AARP, The Magazine; May 27, 2004. I've consulted the Web version.

divorce rate:

A ratio or percentage indicating how many marriages are or are expected to be ended by legal means. Different calculations yield different sorts of numbers. Often when people speak of a divorce rate they have in mind this ratio:

However, that ratio is elusive, since the necessary information is notoriously difficult to assemble. Among the ratios and percentages commonly calculated instead are these (or some variation thereof):

Cautionary comment: Each of the above ratios and percentages has it limitations, and conclusions derived from it should be carefully circumscribed. Sometimes patterns emerge as different time periods are surveyed, so that projected divorce rates are possible, but they should not be confused with those that are actual. Furthermore, some people are tempted to use divorce rates as the measure of marital risk, when, in fact, factors specific to each marriage have much more to do with whether that marriage will end in divorce.

See also divorce, law of averages.

x rate of divorce.

divorce sale, or divorcé sale, or divorcée sale:

An event one sets up for the purpose of divesting oneself of possessions from a former marriage that ended in divorce (q.v.), by offering those possessions individually at prices generally well below retail.

Comment: Similar to an estate sale but prompted by divorce rather than death. It sometimes takes the form of a yard, garage, or sidewalk sale.

x sale.


Down low.

See on the down low.

x abbreviations and acronyms.


DNA test (deoxyribonucleic acid test):

See maternity test, paternity test.

x abbreviations and acronyms.

do a Lady Jane:

See Lady Jane.


do an Emmanuelle:

See emanieru suru.


1. A pal; a friend.

2. A girlfriend.

Short form: bash.

Source: Sea Slang of the Twentieth Century: Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, Yachtsmen, Fishermen, Bargemen, Canalmen, Miscellaneous, by Wilfred Granville; introduction and etymologies by Eric Partridge (New York: Philosophical Library, 1950): p. 81.

See also fishing fleet, friend, girlfriend, girl in every port, jelly, knitting, landlady, long-haired chum, party, pash, popsey.

x bash.


doe, as in "a doe":

1. A female in the deer family (Cervidae), except that a female red deer (Cervus eplaphus) is generally called a hind; also the female of some other mammals, such as the antelope, gerbil, goat, guinea pig, hamster, hare, hyrax, kangaroo, mouse, pronghorn, rabbit, rat, springbok, and squirrel.

2. A woman at a social event without a date or, at least, without a male companion.

Comment: Like many nouns, sometimes used adjectivally.

See also hen night, hen party, stag, woman.

Quotation from Spider Robinson Illustrating "Doe"

[Tim] "... I'll pass on the stag and doe Lounges for now."
From the science fiction novel: Lady Slings the Booze, [by] Spider Robinson (New York: Ace Books, 1992): chapter 4, p. 55.

doe, as in "to go doe":

Without a date at a social event, said of a woman.

See also alone, date, fly solo, go solo, single, stag, unaccompanied.

x go doe.


1. A land animal with the scientific name of Canis familiaris (family Canidae): a mammal which is particularly compatible with human beings and which exists in a wide variety of breeds.

2. An unattractive woman.

3. A man who cheats sexually.

See also animalistic, bitch, cheat, cockhound, fox, horn dog, Men are pigs, pussyhound, vixen, wolf.


A person who participates in dogging (q.v.).


1. Covertly watching others engage in sexual activity in a semi-public place, such as a car or a park.

2. Watching others engage in sexual activity in a public or semi-public place, with their consent. (This is a later sense than the preceding definition.)

3. Engaging in sexual activity in a public or semi-public place, such as a parking area for cars, especially when others are encouraged to observe or even to join in.

Comments: The origin of the term, which is reputedly British, has been variously explained, for example:

Consensual voyeurism, even mutual voyeurism, as well as exhibitionism and outdoor swinging are typicxal elements of dogging in the third sense. Frequently encounters are arranged ahead of time, sometimes with strangers, for instance by way of text-messaging.

See also amomaxia, animalistic, anonymous sex, dogger, group sex (see also chart there under "musical dogging"), martymachlia, mixoscopia, outdoor swinging, stranger sex, toothing.


doing an Emmanuelle:

See emanieru suru.

do it all:

1. To complete a task or set of tasks.

2. To perform not only the tasks allotted to oneself but also those ordinarily allotted to others, such as to other family members or other team members.

3. To be skilled and willing in every aspect of a field or, at least, in each of the major aspects — relative to relationships, a field such as sexual activity.

4. To be an attentive spouse, an attentive parent of children at home, and a career person as well; to be a homemaker for one's family and to have a job as well. Said especially of women in the wake of the feminist revolution of the 1960s and '70s.

See also feminism, have it all, homemaker, it, sexual activity, spouse.

x all.

do-it-yourself divorce:

Undertaking the legal steps to end a marriage without the help of lawyers.

See also collaborative divorce, divorce.



See marital doldrums.


See sugar doll.

doll's house marriage:

A marriage (q.v.) in which one partner, typically the man, makes all of the principal decisions and (presuming monogamy) the other partner accepts them as a passive follower.

See also amaeru, androcracy, Cinderella complex, doll's house relationship, female chauvinism, fictive widow, gynocracy, "head of the wife," male chauvinism, maritodespotism, matriarchal family, patriarchal family, pussy-whipped, sexual chauvinism, she who must be obeyed, tied to her apron strings, under petticoat government, unilateralism, uxorodespotism, wear the breeches, womaned.


doll's house relationship:

A love relationship (q.v.) in which one partner, typically a man, makes all of the principal decisions.

See also See also androcracy, doll's house marriage, female chauvinism, fictive widow, gynocracy, "head of the wife," male chauvinism, maritodespotism, matriarchal family, patriarchal family, pussy-whipped, sexual chauvinism, she who must be obeyed, tied to her apron strings, under petticoat government, unilateralism, uxorodespotism, wear the breeches, womaned.



A mistress; a woman with whom a man has an ongoing sexual relationship without being married to her, especially one he supports financially.

See also mistress, playgirl, poplolly.


dolphin effect:

See three-dolphin technique.

DOM, or D.O.M.:

1. Date of marriage.

2. Dirty old man.

See also anniversary, dirty old man, marriage, wedding.

x abbreviations and acronyms.


Defense of Marriage Act (q.v.).

x abbreviations and acronyms.



See master of (one's) domain.

domestic companion:

A person, perhaps a lover, with whom one shares a domicile.

See also cohabitant, cohabitee, companion, co-vivant, de facto, domestic partner, in-house friend, live-in companion, live-in lover, living together, long-time companion, partner, PASSLQ, POSSLQ, shack up, umfriend.


domestic economy:

1. The production and workings of material wealth in a given country.

2. The workings of family or household finances.

3. Those aspects of personal finances that are distinctive to people who are married to each other or who are sharing the same domicile.

4. Household thrift.

See also family, household.

A Postcard Illustrating "Domestic Economy"

<Picture of postcard not yet posted..>

Comic "post card" in color, showing a young man and a young barefoot woman leaning against a tree; with this caption and conversational exchange at top:

"DOMESTIC ECONOMY," (Practical).
Mike — It's proud I be to make you my bride, but I haven't the keepin' of two.
Kathleen — Didn't you hear Father O'Flynn last Sunday say that marriage made two into one?

(Dublin: Lawrence Publisher, [1907?]). Numbered 8284. Date from a nearly illegible postmark. The date is consistent with the divided back era, into which this card fits, and similar cards by the same publisher that have been dated. From the author's collection, scanned <on such and such a date>.

domestic family (Carle C. Zimmerman, 1947):

A family (q.v.) in which individual interests and family interests are more or less balanced and in which closeness and continuing connections are cultivated and practiced.

Contrast atomistic family (q.v.) and trusteeship family (q.v.). See also family.


domestic happiness:

1. A sense of well-being associated with one's home and family.

2. Satisfaction in a spouse or mutual satisfaction of spouses in each other.

See also bliss, compatibility, conjugal felicity (which see for lexical example), conjugalism, happy marriage, keep (someone) happy in bed, levament, nomogamosis, shalom bayit, successful marriage, Ten New Laws of Love, true love.


domestic love:

1. Affection that subsists between members of a family or household.

2. Settled love; a relatively calm and secure affection that has come after living together for a while, this in contrast with the emotions at the initial stages of a relationship, such as the flurry of emotions often associated with falling in love or the anxieties that typically attend the beginning of an arranged marriage.

Comment: Sometimes domestic love, in the second sense, is contrasted with romantic love; sometimes (as generally in this Glossary) it is treated as a subset of romantic love.

See also conceptive phase, established relationship energy, familial love, family love, fondness, habit of each other, household, long-term love, love, mature love, old relationship energy, romantic love, storgic love.


domestic partner:

1. An unrelated (or not closely related) adult with whom one has established a household as an adult, especially if that person is also a sex partner to whom one is not officially married.

2. A same-sex lover in a commited love relationship, especially one that has been formalized.

Comment: Abbreivated DP.

See also cohabitant, cohabitee, co-vivant, de facto, domestic companion, DP, emergency contact, friend with legal benefits, homosexual, household, housemate, in-house friend, life's companion, live-in boyfriend, live-in companion, live-in girlfriend, live-in lover, partner, PASSLQ, POSSLQ, sex partner, spousal equivalent.


domestic partnership:

A formalized relationship, especially between individuals of the same-sex, that is analogous in at least some respects to marriage between a man and a woman. Under some law codes, such formalization confers certain rights.

Comment: Abbreviated DP.

See also Boston marriage, civil union, colligation, domestic union, DP, female marriage, gay lifestyle, gay marriage, homosexual marriage, male marriage, marriage, partner, permanent arrangement, same-sex marriage, she-troth.


domestic relationship:

A relationship (q.v.) within a household, especially a family relationship within a domicile, as between a husband and wife or between a parent and child.

See also household.


domestic trio:

One person in a sexual relationship with two others or all three in a sexual relationship with each other, either way all living together.

See also biamory, bi-trio, duogamy, eternal triangle, French arrangement, have two strings to (one's) bow, letter group (V, delta), mariage à trois, ménage à trois, non-monogamy, three-cornered establishment, threesome, triad, triangle, troika, trouple, vee.


domestic union:

1. The continuing companionship of adults at the core of a household, especially such a companionship that includes a sexual bond.

2. A formalized relationship, especially between individuals of the same-sex, that is analogous in at least some respects to marriage between a man and a woman. Under some law codes, such formalization confers certain rights.

See also domestic partnership, friend with legal benefits.

Quotation from Herbert Spencer Illustrating "Domestic Union"


These indications that the earliest marriage-ceremony was merely a formal commencement of living together, imply a preceding time when the living together began informally.

Moreover, such domestic union as results is so loose, and often so transitory as scarcely to constitute an advance.

From: The Principles of Sociology, by Herbert Spencer. Vol. I-2 (New York: D. Appleton, 1896): §279, p. 615. Originally published, 1876.


domestic violence:

Abusive physical force perpetrated by a member of a household against another member of that household.

See also abuse, batter, black widow, break-up violence, conjugicide, crime of honor, crime of passion, cruelty, dowry death, feel threatened, honor killing, husband abuse, intimate terrorism, marital rape, mariticide, ran-tan, spousal homicide, spousal rape, spouse abuse, uxoricide, viricide, widow maker, wife abuse.

x violence.


Dominant/submissive relationship:

1. Capitalized (ordinarily): A stylized situation in which, according to mutual consent and for their mutual pleasure, one individual controls another erotically and perhaps in other aspects of life as well.

2. Uncapitalized: A domestic situation in which one person is controlling and the other endures being controlled.

Comments: "Dominant/submissive" is often abbreviated "D/s," which also stands for "Dominance/submission."

The capitalization (for the first sense) is sometimes insisted upon by practitioners in order to emphasize the dominance. Often the capitalization is used consistently for any word that refers to the Dominant One.

In the stylized situation, the Dominant One is generally called the Master or Dom (for a male), the Mistress or Domme or Dominatrix (for a female). The submissive one is generally called the sub, slave, or pet. Often the words "Dominant" and "submissive" are themselves used as substantives.

As the above paragraph begins to show, the vocabulary of D/s relationships is extensive; but most of it is beyond the scope of this Glossary.

Contrast vanilla relationship (q.v.). See also D/s relationship, lovetrix, monogyny, munch, play party, polygyny, relationship.

x submissive.


domino effect:

A resulting tendency, whereby the more divorces there are among friends, the easier divorce (q.v.) is to contemplate for oneself.


domna (Occitan = langue d'Oc):

"Lady; Mistress"; a title of address for an esteemed woman, often a female beloved.

Comment: The term is associated with the troubadours of Provence (southeastern France) in the late Middle Ages.

See also courtly love, mistress, Mrs., title.

x Occitant.


A woman, especially one who, with her husband if she has one, leads a household.

Comments: Variant spellings include: donah, doner, donna, and donnay.

Probably related to the Italian word donna ("woman").

See also jomer, woman.

x Italian terms.

Dona Juanita:

The female equivalent of a Don Juan:

1. A woman who is promiscuous with men; an indefatigable female seducer of males.

2. A male's enchanting but impermanent lover.

See also Don Juan, Don Juaness.

Quotation from D. H. Lawrence Illustrating "Dona Juanita"


[Gudrun Brangwen thinking about Gerald Crich] "... Every woman he comes across he wants to make her in love with him. He doesn't even know that he is doing it. But there he is, before every woman he unfurls his male attractiveness, displays his great desirability, he tries to make every woman think how wonderful it would be to have him for a lover. His very ignoring of the women is part of the game. He is never unconscious of them. He should have been a cockerel, so he could strut before fifty females, all his subjects. But really, his Don Juan does not interest me. I could play Dona Juanita a million times better than he plays Juan..."

From the novel: Women in Love, [by] D. H. Lawrence; with a foreword by the author and an introduction by Richard Aldington (New York: Viking Press, 1960): chapter 30, pp. 454-455. Early editions:

  • New York: Privately printed for subscribers only, 1920.
  • London: Martin Secker, 1921.


donas amizu (Marion Zimmer Bradley):

Sexual expression between friends of the same sex.

See also freemate, gay, homosexuality, lesbianism.

Quotation from Marion Zimmer Bradley on Donas Amizu


Then Regis [Hastur] said softly, aloud:

"Among my people [the Comyn] they say that when men come together with men, or women with women, as lovers — we call it the donas amizu, the gift of friends — it is recognition of a deeper truth. That within every woman is a hidden man; within every man, a hidden woman. And it is to this inner self, the polar opposite of your own, that you give your love."

From: The World Wreckers: A Darkover Novel, by Marion Zimmer Bradley (New York, N.Y.: Ace Books, c1971): p. 178.



See Don Juanism.


Don Juan:

1. A womanizer; a man who is promiscuous with women; an indefatigable male seducer of females.

2. A female's dashing but impermanent male lover.

Comments: The term derives from Don Juan (also known as Dom Juan and Don Giovanni), a profligate fictional character who, from 1630 on, has appeared in many literary works, musical compositions, and movies.

In 1973 a movie appeared entitled "Ms. Don Juan," directed by Roger Vadim and starring Brigitte Bardot in the title role as a temptress.

Contrast Messalina (q.v.). See also agapet, Casanova, Céladon, crumpet man, Dona Juanita, Don Juan dilemma, Don Juaness, Don Juanism, God's gift to women, jeune premier, jock, ladies' man, Ltin lover, Leporello list, Lochinvar, Lothario, lover, lovertine, love scene, macadam, macadamo, masher, multimitus, philanderer, pick up artist, rake, Romeo, roué, rover, satyr, seducer, serial philanderer, skirt-chaser, smellsmock, stud, Valentino, wolf, womanizer.

Quotation from the Angus Davidson Translation of Alberto Moravia Illustrating "Don Juan"

Now that I knew all about him [Antonio], however, I seemed to feel nothing except pity mingled with contempt — a feeling which was humiliating not only for him but for me also, since I now saw myself suddenly degraded to a mortifying rivalry with a village Don Juan.

From the novel: Conjugal Love, by Alberto Moravia (New York, N.Y.: New American Library, 1952, c1951; in publisher's series: A Signet Book; 922): chapter 8, p. 62. Translated from the Italian of L'Amore Coniugale (1949) by Angus Davidson. Originally published in English: New York, Farrar, Straus and Young, 1951.

Quotation from Lucy Freeman and Harold Greenwald Illustrating "Don Juan"

To some men and women courtship, instead of ending in marriage, becomes an everlasting stage. Rather than a way station on a path to marriage, it turns into a haven in which they seek to dwell forever. Such are the Don Juans and their feminine counterparts who fly from one affair to another, ephemeral as the butterfly flitting from flower to flower.

From: Emotional Maturity in Love and Marriage, [by] Lucy Freeman and Harold Greenwald; foreword by George S. Stevenson (New York: Harper, c1961): chapter 1, p. 22.

Quotation from Malcolm Muggeridge Illustrating "Don Juan"

In matters like money and sex, in which the ego is heavily engaged, no satisfaction is attainable; what one wants is to be both rich and poor, to be Don Juan and St Francis at one and the same time — which cannot be managed.
From the autobiography: Chronicles of Wasted Time. Chronicle 2: The Infernal Grove, by Malcolm Muggeridge (New York: William Morrow, 1974, c1973): chapter 1, p. 21; cf. p. 36. I would have written "when" instead of "in which."

Don Juan dilemma:

The difficulty, on the part of the partner of a womanizer, of deciding whether or not to leave him.

Source: The Don Juan Dilemma: Should Women Stay with Men Who Stray, [by] Jane F. Carpineto (New York: William Morrow, c1989).

See also Don Juan, extramarital affair, extra-pair copulation, womanizer.

x dilemmas.

Don Juaness:

The female equivalent of a Don Juan:

1. A woman who is promiscuous with men; an indefatigable female seducer of males.

2. A male's enchanting but impermanent lover.

See also box of assorted creams, Delilah, Don Juan, Dona Juanita, dulcinea, floozy, Juliet, lothariette, Mae West, Messalina, minx, multicipara, nymphomaniac, pick up artist, punch board, punchbroad, rake, seductress, she-wolf, slag, slapper, slut, walking sperm bank.


Don Juanism:

Obsessive and unscrupulous womanizing.

Comment: Also known as the Don Juan syndrome.

See also Casanova complex, Don Juan, gynecomania, libertinism, promiscuity, satyriasis, serial philandering, sex maniac, sexual addiction, sexual varietism, womanize.

x dongiovanism.
x syndromes.


"Do no harm":

See "an it harm none, do what ye will."



See sperm donor.


A frequent sperm donor, especially one whose kink is to have many genetic offspring by way of sperm donation; a man who repeatedly makes his sperm available to women who wish to become pregnant, especially such a man who takes particular pleasure in using this means to spread his genes widely.

See also -sexual, sperm donor.

don't ask, don't tell:

1. An attitude in some love relationships and marriages whereby any inquiry into or revelation regarding outside sexual affairs is discouraged, the understanding often being that they are acceptable so long as not out in the open.

2. A policy, implemented in the United States military, beginning in 1993 during the Clinton administration, of both:

Comment: Abbreviated DADT.

President Bill Clinton proposed lifting the ban on gays in the military. Senate Armed Services Chairman Sam Nunn (Democrat of Georgia) advanced "Don't ask, don't tell" as a compromise measure, and the policy was passed into law. The DADT policy was repealed by Congress on December 18, 2010; and the repeal was signed by President Barack Obama on December 22, 2010, thus allowing gays to serve openly in the U.S. military, starting September 20, 2011.

See also absolute code, arrangement, ask-and-tell eroticism, boundary, DADT, dark-dirty-secret generation, extramarital affairs, kiss and tell, lie about sex, non-exclusivity pact, open-marriage pact, open-relationship pact, rules of adultery, tell all.

U.S. Code: Title 10, 654(b). Policy (Now Repealed) Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces


(b) Policy.— A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations:
(1) That the member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts unless there are further findings, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations, that the member has demonstrated that—
(A) such conduct is a departure from the member’s usual and customary behavior;
(B) such conduct, under all the circumstances, is unlikely to recur;
(C) such conduct was not accomplished by use of force, coercion, or intimidation;
(D) under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the armed forces is consistent with the interests of the armed forces in proper discipline, good order, and morale; and
(E) the member does not have a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts.
(2) That the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual, or words to that effect, unless there is a further finding, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in the regulations, that the member has demonstrated that he or she is not a person who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts.
(3) That the member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.

Following the text as found at the Cornell University Law School site, which was up to date as of January 5, 2009.

The Pentagon's Policy Guidelines to Commanders on Homosexuals in the Military During the Era of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

Accession Policy

Applicants for military service will no longer be asked or required to reveal if they are homosexual or bisexual, but applicants will be informed of the conduct that is proscribed for members of the armed forces, including homosexual conduct.

Discharge Policy

Sexual orientation will not be a bar to service unless manifested by homosexual conduct. The military will discharge members who engage in homosexual conduct, which is defined as a homosexual act, a statement that the member is homosexual or bisexual, or a marriage or attempted marriage to someone of the same gender.

Investigations Policy

No investigations or inquiries will be conducted solely to determine a service member's sexual orientation....


Bodily contact between service members of the same sex that a reasonable person would understand to demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts (e.g., hand-holding or kissing in most circumstances) will be sufficient to initiate separation.

Activities such as association with known homosexuals, presence at a gay bar, possessing or reading homosexual publications or marching in a gay rights rally in civilian clothes will not, in and of themselves, constitute credible information that would provide a basis for initiating an investigation or serve as the basis for an administrative discharge under this policy.

The listing by a service member of someone of the same gender as the person to be contacted in case of emergency, as an insurance beneficiary or in a similar context, does not provide a basis for separation or further investigation.

Speech within the context of priest-penitent, husband-wife or attorney-client communications remains privileged.

Off-Base Conduct

No distinction will be made between off-base and on-base conduct...

"Gay Rights in the Military: The Pentagon's New Policy Guidelines on Homosexuals in the Military," New York Times, Tuesday, July 20, 1993, section A, p. 16 or at the New York Times site.

x don't tell.

"Don't bring sand to the beach":

An expression to the effect that:

Comments: According to the Urban Dictionary (here), this is a "saying originated by EF in 1988." However, on the side of an earlier date, I have an inkling that I heard the expression, in the second sense, decades earlier; and, on the side of a later date, in a cursory search the earliest documentation I find for the expression is in lyrics with that title by Kinnda (2000).

The expression is often preceded by a pronoun, such as "You" or "I."

Expressions with a sense similar to the second sense exist, for example:

See also cockblock, date, "There are other fish in the sea."

x beach.
x bringing sand to the beach.
x sand.
x "You don't bring sand to a beach."

"Don't care where you get your appetite so long as you eat at home":

A saying to the effect that one's spouse (or domestic partner) is okay with one's being aroused by other people, at least by the visual stimulation one receives from them, provided that one turns to one's spouse (or domestic partner) for sexual satisfaction, in other words, provided that such stimulation has a comarital benefit.

Comments: The form of the entry follows the earliest form I've found, which is from the novel, Little Augie’s Lament, [by] Mark McGarrity (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1973): p. 98. The author omitted the assumed pronoun, "I."

One source attributed the saying — in the form, "Don't worry about where he gets his appetite, as long as he eats at home" — to Italian grandmothers. See the magazine Mademoiselle; v. 94, issues 10-12, p. 121. <Snippet view only.>

Variations abound, for example:

Some forms with greater structural variation include:

See also comarital, home, lust, sexual desire.

x appetite.
x "Don't worry about where he gets his appetite, as long as he eats at home."
x eat at home.
x "He doesn't care where I get my appetite, as long as I eat at home.”
x "I don't care where you get your appetite, as long as you eat at home."
x "It doesn't matter where you get your appetite, as long as you eat at home."
x "It's not where you get your appetite, as long as you eat at home."
x menu.
x "She doesn't care where I get my appetite, as long as I eat at home."
x "Who cares where you get your appetite, as long as you eat at home?"

"Don't get the wrong idea":

A common expression to either this or that effect:

1. Keep yourself from misunderstanding or taking a false implication.

2. Keep yourself from thinking, mistakenly, that there is anything romantic or sexual going on between (us or them); that was not a come-on or a sign of tenderness.

Comment: Verbal context usually explains the expression in the first sense. However, situational context is often sufficient when the expression is used in the second sense. In other words, when the expression is used by itself between two people of a complementary sexual orientation, it is often to be taken in the second sense.

See also put-off, reject, reject (someone), sexual rejection.

x wrong idea.

"Don't give away the milk for free":

See "Why buy a cow when you can get milk free?"

"Don't look at the mantelpiece when you are stoking the fire":

An expression to the effect that:

1. A person shouldn't try to do two things at once when doing so increases the risk of a serious accident.

2. It doesn't matter what a woman looks like when you are having sex with her; and, if it does, keep your eyes closed, cast them elsewhere, or turn off the light.

Comments: In the second sense, the metaphor "mantelpiece" often refers to the woman's face.

The expression has been described as "an old army adage," "an old adage," and "an old joke"; it has even been described as ancient and as Confucian; but the earliest example I've found is from the 1980s.

Among countless variations:

The expression, perhaps in the form "You don't ...,"  can be used as one answer to the age-old adolescent-male debate, "Would you prefer a woman with an ugly face and a beautiful body or a woman with a beautiful face and an ugly body?"

Beware! Use of this expression might, in many a context, be taken as vulgar, offensive (because of the implication that the woman is unpleasant to look at), and/or an affront to the idea of love in sex.

See also "All women are the same in the dark," "In the dark all cats are grey."

x fire.
x mantelpiece.
x poking the fire.
x stoking the fire.

Quotation from a South African Play Illustrating "You Don't Look at the Mantelpiece When You're Stoking Fire "


ARTHUR  A woman's a woman's a woman!
PIETER   Ja. (Smoke out.)
ARTHUR  You don't look at the mantelpiece when you're stoking fire eh! (Nudge.)

From a play in: South African Theatre: Four Plays and an Introduction, edited by Temple Hauptfleisch and Ian Steadman (Pretoria, R.S.A.: HAUM Educational Publishers, 1984) p. 200. <Snippet view only. The play is probably Cincinatti, Scenes from City Life, by Barney Simon and the cast (first performed in 1979)>

don't tell:

See don't ask, don't tell; "They don't tell, they don't yell, they rarely swell — and they're grateful as hell."

"Don't worry about where he gets his appetite, as long as he eats at home":

See "Don't care where you get your appetite so long as you eat at home."

donut theory:

See nearest donut theory.


door of the heart:

1. The way to a given person's affections.

2. The core of one's being as open or closed to kindly, amative, or forgiving feelings towards another person.

See also heart, master-key of love.

A Postcard Illustrating "Door of My Heart"

<Picture of postcard not yet posted..>

Romantic color "post card" showing a red-haired woman dressed in white leaning on a fence, with hills and a church in the background, the whole framed by a red heart; at top: "Valentine greetings"; at bottom are two lines of verse: "Love knocks at tthe door of my heart, | O! be my Valentine sweetheart" ([S.l.]: Lehrer(?), [ca. 1919]). Date from postmark: Feb 18 1919.  From the author's collection, scanned <on such and such a date>.


See what (they) do behind closed doors.


See camp out on (someone's) doorstep.



See chemistry of love.


do right by (her):

Marry the woman who has accepted one's proposal of marriage or whose virginity one has taken or whom one has made pregnant.

See also do the honorable thing, make an honest woman of, marry.

x right.

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Do Right By This Woman"


[Buford, with regard to his out-of-wedlock child] "... But Abby, just so you know, I plan to do right by this woman [Loretta]. I plan to marry her — give the kid a father."

From the mystery novel: Tiles and Tribulations: A Den of Antiquity Mystery, [by] Tamar Myers (New York, N.Y.: Avon Books, c2003): chapter 14, p. 163.

dormant love:

A state of feelings in which sexual desire and special affection for a person have receded to seeming nothingness, for instance because of long separation, but are susceptible to rekindling; old romantic feelings for a particular individual that generally are no longer felt but are capable of flaring up again.

See also cavolo riscaldato, dead love, ghosts of relationships past, left-over love, long-lost love, lost and found lover, love, love remembered, old flame, once-beloved, razbliuto, rekindled romance, rekindle the flame, spark of love.


dormitory effect:

See McClintock effect.

dos (Latin):

1. In Roman law, a dowry (q.v.) paid by or on behalf of the bride.

2. In Old English law, property bestowed upon the bride by her husband.

3. In Old English law also, a widow's portion from her deceased husband's estate in the event that he had not endowed her.

See also adventitia dos, dos rationabilis, dowager, marriage portion, profectitia dos, receptitia dos.

x Latin terms.


dos rationabilis (Latin):

A reasonable part of a deceased husband's estate to which a widow is entitled.

See also dos.

x Latin terms.


dot and carried:

Rhyming slang for "married."

See also been and done it, cash and carried, cut and carried, gone and done it, hitched, married, yoked.

x carried.



1. To express fondness lavishly.

2. To feel infatuation or the experience of being in love.

3. To lavish attention.

See also adore, dainty love, fancy, fond of, infatuated, in love, love, sprung, take a shine to.

Quotation from Jane Austen Illustrating "Doted"


[Captain Harville]: 'Poor Fanny! She would not have forgotten him [Captain Benwick] so soon!'

'No,' replied Anne [Elliot], in a low, feeling voice. 'That I can easily believe.'

'It was not in her nature. She doted on him.'

'It would not be the nature of any woman who truly loved.'

From the novel: Persuasion, [by] Jane Austen (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, c2004): chapter 23, p. 279. Originally published posthumously in: Northanger Abbey; and Persuasion, by the author of "Pride and Prejudice," "Mansfield-Park," &c.; with a biographical notice of the author [by her brother, Henry Austen] (London: John Murray, 1818).


do the honorable thing; British spelling: do the honourable thing:

1. Follow the course of action that meets a high standard of social expectation, even if there is a high cost to oneself.

2. Follow the course of action that meets a high moral standard, even if there is a high cost to oneself.

3. Marry the woman who has accepted one's proposal of marriage or whose virginity one has taken or whom one has made pregnant.

4. Care or arrange to care for a child born out of wedlock, when that child is genetically related to oneself or one's family.

Comment: The third sense has nearly become obsolete. Among the reasons:

See also do right by (her), make an honest woman of, marry, thing.

x honorable thing.

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Did the Honorable Thing"

[Abigail Washburn, regarding the child of a now deceased female servant, the child being the genetic offspring of "Daddy"] "Your parents [Daddy and Mama] did the honorable thing and took the baby in, and that baby just happened to be Constance."
From the mystery novel: Splendor in the Glass: A Den of Antiquity Mystery, [by] Tamar Myers (New York, N.Y.: Avon Books, 2002): chapter 13, p. 119.

doth protest too much:

See protests too much.


See take the dottle-trot.

double adultery:

1. In a culture where sexual monogamy is presumptive, a situation that entails voluntary copulation between two married people who are not married to each other.

2. Adultery committed with two different people.

3. Sexual and emotional unfaithfulness, both, to a spouse.

Contrast the first sense with single adultery (q.v.). See also adultery, emotional infidelity, unfaithfulness.


double avail:

See avail of marriage.


double-bed dread:

An uneasy feeling one might get when about to start sharing one's sleeping space with somebody; anxiety about moving in together.

See also bungalowing, cohabitation, cold feet, cosominate, living together, move in together, premarital nerves, share the same bedroom, sleep together.

x bed.
x dread.

double bigamist:

A person who has taken three spouses at the same time, where having more than one spouse is illegal.

See also bigamist, double bigamy, polygamist, trigamist, triogamist.

Quotation from the Associated Press Illustrating "Double Bigamist"


When Melvyn Reed's three wives showed up to visit him at the hospital, they brought an unexpected curtain call to his years as a double bigamist.

British police confirmed that after Melvyn Reed woke from his triple bypass heart operation earlier this year, his complicated marital affairs took a turn for a worse. All three of his spouses had turned up at the same time, despite his efforts to stagger their visits.

Media reports say that, upon realizing that something was amiss, the wives held a meeting in the parking lot, and learned that they were all married to the same man.

The 59-year-old company director from Kettering in central England turned himself into police on May 12 saying he was married to three women at the same time, and confessed to bigamy, an illegal offense in Britain, London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement....

He pleaded guilty to two charges of bigamy on July 19 at the Wimbledon Magistrates' court, and was given a suspended sentence of four months in prison and ordered to pay 70 pounds ($126) in costs, police said....

The Metropolitan Police said Reed married his first wife, Jean Grafton, in 1966, then left her without divorcing her. He went on to marry Denise Harrington in 1998, then married Lyndsey Hutchinson in 2003.

From: "3 Wives Greet Man After Triple Bypass Surgery: Briton Nabbed on Bigamy Charges After Meeting of Spouses in Hospital," Associated Press report, August 11, 2005. No byline.


double bigamy:

A situation in which a person has three spouses at the same time, where having more than one spouse is illegal.

See also bigamy, double bigamist, polygamy, trigamy, triogamy.


double book:

1. To take reservations from two different parties for one set of accommodations and for the same time period.

2. To arrange two dates in such a way that, apart from cutting at least one short, they would be expected to overlap.

See also bad date, date.



1. On the part of a female of a given species, laying two sets of eggs, each set in a different nest, in one egg-laying season; or the practice thereof on the part of some or all of the females.

2. On the part of a male of a given species, providing care to the eggs or offspring of two females simultaneously; or the practice thereof on the part of some or all of the males.

3. By analogy: on the part of a human being, having parental responsibility for two sets of children, each set in a different household.

4. Having both arms around a dance partner.

5. Hanging on to two at once.

Comment: Of course, there can be triple-clutching, quadruple-clutching, and so on, the more general term being "multiple clutching."

This is also a driving term, a sports term, a financial term, a drumming term, and a drug term.

See also multiple clutching, stepfamily.

x clutching.

double date:

A social activity in which two relationship units, typically two couples, participate together.

See also date.



1. As a relationship unit, typically a couple, to engage in a social activity together with another relationship unit.

2. As two relationships units, to engage in a social activity together.

For additional lexical example, see under "foursome."

See also alternative dating, date, pair dating, swing.

Quotation from J. D. Salinger Illustrating "Double-Dated"

[Holden Caulfield narrating] The trouble was, I knew that guy Stradlater's technique. That made it [the idea of his parking with Jane Gallagher] even worse. We once double-dated, in Ed Banky's car, and Stradlater was in the back, with his date, and I was in the front with mine.
From the novel: The Catcher in the Rye, [by] J. D. Salinger (Boston: Little, Brown, 1951): chapter 7, p. 64.

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Doube-Dated"

[Abigail Timberlake narrating] Many southern boys like to hunt, but Gilbert had his own armory. I know, because I once double-dated with him and Debbie Lou. The name of my date escapes me now ...

From the mystery novel: Estate of Mind: A Den of Antiquity Mystery, [by] Tamar Myers (New York, N.Y.: Avon Books, 1999; with imprint: Avon Twilight): chapter 6, p. 55.


double-deprivation theory:

The idea that often, when a partner is sexually or romatically deprived in the context of an exclusive relationship, another would-be partner is deprived of such fulfillment as well.

Comment: Coined by NEA for ethical and sociological discourse, December 10, 2008.

See also sex-deprived, sexual deprivation.

x theories.

double life:

See lead a double life.


double-life man:

A bisexual male; a male who will sometimes engage in sexual activity with a female and sometimes with another male.

See also bisexual, lead a double life, on the down low.


double-life woman:

A bisexual female; a female who will sometimes engage in sexual activity with a male and sometimes with another female.

See also bisexual, lead a double life, on the down low.


double love triangle:

Four people in relation to each other this way: two partners in a love relationship, each with an outside lover; or, two couples, a member of each also being lovers of one another.

See also alternate relationship geometries, four-cornered marriage, foursome, letter group (Z), polygeometry, polygon, quad, quartet, sexual geometry, tetrad, triangle, Z.

Quotation from Stefàn Einarsson Illustrating "Double Love Triangle"


Finally there is that most famous double love triangle of Sigurðr-Brynhildr and Guðrún and Brynhildr-Sigurðr and Gunnarr, where the original lovers Sigurðr and Brynhildr are separated by magic so as to marry respectively Guðrún and Gunnarr, the children of Gjúki, king of the Burgunds.

From the article: "Icelandic Literature, Sex Problems in," [signed] S.E. [i.e. Stefàn Einarsson], in: Encyclopaedia Sexualis: A Comprehensive Encyclopaedia-Dictionary of the Sexual Sciences, edited by Victor Robinson (New York: Dingwall-Rock, in collaboration with Medical Review of Reviews, 1936): pp. 369-379, specifically p. 370. The love story appears in various sources, including the Poetic Edda and the Volsunga Saga.


double monastery:

A religious house for people devoted to a life of asceticism and prayer, both men and women. Generally, in such a monastery, the two groups are kept separate.

Comment: For more information, see The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed., 1997).

See also agapêtê, agapêtos, celibacy, subintroducta, syneisaktism, syneisaktos.


double mono, as in "a double mono":

A person who is both monosexual, that is erotically oriented to one sex only, as opposed to bisexual, and who is a monoamorist, that is inclined to love and to have only one partner at a time, as opposed to polyamorist.

See also bisexual, heterosexual, homosexual, monoamorist, monosexual, polyamorist, straight.


double mono, as in "double mono person":

Characterized by or pertaining to being both monosexual, that is oriented to one sex only, as opposed to bisexual, and monoamorous, that is inclined to love and to have only one partner at a time, as opposed to polyamorous.

See also bisexual, gay, heterosexual, homosexual, monoamorous, monosexual, polyamorous, straight.


double paternity:

The idea that one has been begotten by both a divine father and a human father.

See also hierogamy, partible paternity, paternity, Virgin Mary.

x Bible.
x dual fatherhood.
x dual paternity.

Quotation from Cyrus H. Gordon regarding Double Paternity


Dual fatherhood, human and divine, is often attributed in variant forms by Homer to members of the nobel warrior class. One example is particularly instructive for understanding the Davidic extraction of Jesus. Odysseus is called "the Zeus-sired son of Laërtes" ([diogenes Laertiadê, in Homer], Iliad 10:144), attributing to Odysseus superiority as the son of the chief deity but also, at the same time, legitimacy as the King of Ithaca through his human father King Laërtes of Ithaca.

From: "The Double Paternity of Jesus," by Cyrus H. Gordon, in: Biblical Archaeology Review; 4 (June 1978): pp. 26-27, specifically p. 26. Gordon uses the terms "dual fatherhood" and "dual paternity" as synonymous with "double paternity."

For Jesus as descended from David, see: Matthew 1:1-17 = Luke 3:23-38; Matthew 9:27 and 20:30-31 = Mark 10:47-48 = Luke 18:38-39; Matthew 12:23; 15:22; 21:9; 21:15; Luke 1:27, 32, 69; 2:4; John 7:42 (compare Matthew 22:42 = Mark 12:35 = Luke 20:41); Acts 2:25-36; 13:22-23, 34-37; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8; Revelation 3:7; 5:5; 22:16.

For Jesus as conceived by the Holy Spirit, see: Matthew 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35; and for his divine origin more generally, see, for example: John 1:14; 17:3-6, 24; Ephesians 1:3-23; Philippians 2:6-8; Colossians 1:15-20; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:9, 14; 1 Peter 1:20-21.


double penetration:

Having, as a part of sexual activity, two erect penises in one or more orifices of a body (mouth, vagina, and/or anus) at the same time.

Comment: Abbreviated DP.

Sometimes the word is used as well if one or each of what's penetrating the orifices is an artificial phallus, such as a dildo.

See also DP, group sex, sandwich, team f*ck, triple penetration.

x penetration.

double peptide:

See group sex. 

double standard:

1. Differing sets of rules or moral expectations or ethical standards for two different categories of people within the same social system, for example, for people of different social classes or people of different sexes or politicians of different parties.

2. A set of mores whereby men are allowed greater sexual latitude without being ostracized, marginalized, or otherwise penalized than are women.

See also conflict of gender interest, cupcake party, danger myth of sexual desire, discrimination on the basis of sex, female chauvinism, feminism, free with (her) favors, girl with sass, "goose and gander" theory, hetero-relations, lose (one's) rating, male chauvinism, man's sphere, matriarchalism, moral code, moral equivalence, patriarchalism, play hard to get, purity myth, respect, sexism, sex role, sexual chauvinism, sexual immorality, sexual morality, sexual mores, sexual politics, "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," woman's sphere.


double vision:

Seeing a lover or spouse at a given moment in way that is favorably informed by how he or she appeared to oneself at an earlier stage of life and at a much earlier moment in one's love for that person.

See also eye of love.

x vision.

Quotation from Gail Sheehy Illustrating "Double Vision"


[159] This is one of the reasons that love affairs from years past are so quick to be rekindled, because of what Dr. [Judith] Wallerstein calls "double vision — holding on to the early idealizations of being in love while realizing that one is growing older and grayer and cannot turn back the [160] clock." Couples she studied who were in long, good marriages still preserved a treasured image of the partner from one of their first encounters... "That double vision," says Wallerstein, "I think is central in maintaining a romantic relationship.

From: Sex and the Seasoned Woman: Pursuing the Passionate Life, [by] Gail Sheehy (New York: Random House, c2006): pp. 159-160.

The reference is to: The Good Marriage : How and Why Love Lasts, [by] Judith S. Wallerstein & Sandra Blakeslee (Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1995).



In love, said especially of a mariner.

Source: Sea Slang: A Dictionary of the Old-Timers' Expressions and Epithets, by Frank C. Bowen; illustrated by Saville Lumley; with frontispiece by Kenneth Shoesmith (London: Sampson Low, Marston, [1929]): p. 40.

See captivated, enamored, in love.


doused lights:

A sex game, originated by Eskimos, that entails sharing partners in a group.

Comment: The game is variously called changing wives, douse-the-lights, and putting out the lamps.

See also aiparik, allupaareik, anutawkun, aytpareik, group sex, mate swapping, nuliaqatigiit, partner sharing, sex party, swinging, Young People's House.

x changing wives.
x Eskimo terms.
x games.
x party.
x putting out the lights.

Quotation from Peter Freuchen on Doused Lights


There was also [among the Eskimos] the rather popular game of 'doused lights.' The rules were simple. Many people gathered in a house, all of them completely nude. Then the lights were extinguished, and darkness reigned. Nobody was allowed to say anything, and all changed places continually. At a certain signal, each man grabbed the nearest woman. After a while, the lights were put on again, and now innumerable jokes could be made over the theme: 'I knew all the time who you were because—'

From: Peter Freuchen's Book of the Eskimos, edited and with a preface by Dagmar Freuchen (Cleveland: World Publishing Co., c1961): p. 92.

Quotation from Helen E. Fisher on Douse-the-Lights


The Eskimos traditionally play a game called 'douse-the-lights' to exchange sex partners. When the oil lamps are turned on again, gales of laughter and 'I knew it was you' jokes add a touch of merriment to the long dark months of the Arctic winter.

From: The Sex Contract: The Evolution of Human Behavior, [by] Helen E. Fisher (New York: William Morrow, 1982): p. 22.


dove of Venus:

See amorous dove.

dovetailing neuroses:

Emotional, but not psychotic, disorders — involving symptoms such as phobias, insecurity, anxiety, and/or depression — on the part of each partner in a marriage or other relationship, disorders that together generate an unhealthy dynamic in a relationship whereby those disorders are reinforced, for instance by the raising of defense mechanisms.

Comment: Dovetailing neuroses can play a part in mutual attraction; and so a frequently raised question is this: Is it love or is it dovetailing neuroses? Some people suggest that dovetailing neuroses play a part in all attraction of human beings to each other.

The mutual reinforcement of neuroses is called collusion, and a marriage significantly characterized by dovetailing neuroses is called a hysterical marriage. However, both "neurosis" and "hysterical" are terms that have largely dropped out of scientific discourse.

See also attraction, hysterical marriage.
x neuroses.


1. A widow (q.v.) who retains her deceased husband's title or property.

2. An elderly woman with title or means.

Comments: Collective nouns suggested include: bevy of dowagers, frost of dowagers.

There seems to be no male equivalent closer than "male inheritor." For this reason and because the term indicates, on the one hand, a woman's marital status or, on the other, her age, it has fallen into disfavor in some circles. Some might also dislike the class consciousness inherent in the term. However, it may yet serve a useful purpose, as when contextualized and serving as an indicator of certain historical or cultural attitudes.

See also dos, marriage portion.

x collective terms.



Dowery (q.v.).

"Do what ye will":

See "an it do no harm, do what ye will."


down low:

See on the down low.


downward spiral of a relationship:

See death spiral of a relationship.


1. Property or money given by the bride or her family to the prospective husband or his family upon betrothal or wedding.

2. That which a woman is expected to bring to her marriage.

3. A man's marriage gift to his bride or her family (archaic usage).

For lexical example, see under "virginity."

See also adventitia dos, amober, avail of marriage, brideprice, conquest, dos, dower, dowry death, frankmarriage, maritagium, marriage portion, morganatic marriage, nedunyah, profectitia dos, receptitia dos.


dowry death:

A case of a bride who is killed by her husband or inlaws because of what is considered to be an inadequate dowry (q.v.).

Comment: Dowry death is most associated with India, where such murders are often made to look like accidents.

See also bride burning, domestic violence, spousal homicide, uxoricide.



1. A mistress, especially of a beggar or rogue; a female lover.

2. A sweetheart.

3. A prostitute.

Comment: A term of Sixteenth Century vagabond cant.

See also blowen, floozy, harlot, lover, mistress, mob wife, sweetheart, Westminster wedding; chippy, courtesan, güila, hoe, moll, parnel, prostitute, slattern, slut, squaw, tart, tottie, whore.


Do you like what you see?

See like what (you) see.


1. Dear partner.

2. Domestic partner (q.v.).

3. Domestic partnership (q.v.).

4. Double penetration (q.v.).

See also partner.

x abbreviations and acronyms.

Drachenfutter (German):

"Dragon fodder": a peace offering to one's spouse, for instance in the form of chocolate.

Comment: This is often defined as "a peace offering to one's wife"; however, there is nothing gender specific about the term.

See also marital conflict.

x German terms.


See green dragon, jade dragon.


See baby-daddy drama, baby-mama drama, dramatic lover.

dramatic lover:

1. An actor who plays a character in love.

2. A lover (q.v.) whose actions or verbal expressions give the appearance of being theatrical.

See also date movie, heartthrob, jeune premier, jeune première, Juliet, leading lady, leading man, Lothario, lover, love scene, Mae West, Romeo, screen lovers, showmance, Valentino.

x drama.

Quotation from Charles Williams (1886-1945) Illustrating "Dramatic Lover"

Adela Hunt, for instance, was anxious that Periel and the Chorus should be her adequate background, and that her dramatic lover [in the play] should adore her urgently.

From the novel: Descent into Hell, by Charles Williams (New York: Pellegrini & Cudahy, c1949): chapter 8, p.152. Originally published: London: Faber & Faber, 1937.


draw to:

To attract, that is, to evoke or induce the attentions of, especially in such a way as to bring into closer proximity.

Comment: Often used in the passive, as in "I feel drawn to you," to mean "attracted to, in part because sensing the possibility of a deep personal connection" or just "attracted to."

See also attract, gravitate towards one another, inseparable, magnetism, pull, set (her) cap at him.



See also double-bed dread.


1. A set of psychological processes that occur during REM sleep, processes which produce sensory-like perceptions, as of moving images and sounds, and which may also involve bodily sensations, the whole often attached to either a fragmentary or elaborate and either a nonsensical or somewhat sensible narrative, which can be highly symbolic.

2. A reverie; an imagined development, as in "daydream."

3. A vision; when speaking in a context of love, sometimes a beatific vision.

4. A desired goal.

5. A person who is unusually attractive to oneself, especially one who is also available for courting by oneself; a person who fits what one has imagined as a suitable mate for oneself; a person who appears to meet or surpass one's ideal for a lover or spouse or who evokes within oneself a beatific vision.

6. A state that seems unreal, as when together with one's beloved who has recently returned one's love.

See also boy of (one's) dreams, dreamboat, dream date, dream of (one's) heart, fantasy life, genicon, girl of (one's) dreams, ideal, knockout, Liebestraum, love dream, lovemap, man of (one's) dreams, mental harem,  perfect catch, person of (one's) dreams, template (for a lover), ten, ticket, unicorn, white whale, woman of (one's) dreams.

x love's dream.

A Postcard Illustrating "Dream"

<Picture of postcard not yet posted..>

Romantic "post card" in color, reproducing a painting of a young redheaded woman in a diaphanous white gown, who is leaning into a young dark-haired man in a red cap and, perhaps, 13th-century garb; with caption at bottom: "Love's dream" (United States or Canada: [s.n., between 1915 and 1930]). The artist is unidentified. Date from the white-border period. From the author's collection, scanned <on such and such a date>.

A Postcard Illustrating "Dream"

<Picture of postcard not yet posted..>

Embossed color "Postkarte," with white borders, showing a man and a woman outdoors with birds (apparently swifts) flying overhead; he is dressed in a yellow suit and hat, she in a blue gown and hat; he has his left arm around her shoulders, she her right arm around his waist; they look as though they've just pulled slightly away from each other; with caption at bottom: "Love's dream startled" ([S.l.: s.n., between 1915 and 1930]). Date from the white-border period. Numbered: Serie 122. From the author's collection, scanned <on such and such a date>.

Sheet Music Illustrating "Dream"

<Picture of sheet music not yet posted>

A Rendezvous with a Dream, words and music by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger (New York, N.Y.: Famous Music Corp, c1936). "From the Paramount picture starring W C Fields in "Poppy"[1936] with Rochelle Hudson, Richard Cromwell."

Quotation from Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979) Illustrating "Dream"

To know a woman in the hour of possession, a man must first have loved her in the | exquistie hour of a dream. To be loved by man in the hour of possession, a woman must first want to be loved, fostered, and honored as an ideal. Beyond all human love is another love; that "other" is the image of the possible. It is that "possible" which every man and woman love when they love one another.

From: The World’s First Love, [by] Fulton J. Sheen (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996): chapter 14, pp. 171-172. Originally published: New York: McGraw-Hill, 1952.  The first sentence is apparently a paraphrase of a quotation the author used often, which he elsewhere attributed to a French author (whom I have so far been unable to identify): "To know a  woman at the hour of desire, one must first respect her at the exquisite hour of dream." See his Three to Get Married (New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1951): chapter 21.


dreamboat, dream boat, or dream-boat:

1. An oft-used poetic metaphor, the referent varying widely according to context.

2. A longed for sweetheart.

3. An attractive person one fantasizes having for a mate.

See also dream.

Quotation from Alice Morgan Wright Illustrating "Dream-Boat"

The Dream-Boat
By Alice Morgan Wright

More near the drifting dream-boat bore
     Till, 'neath the idly swinging sail,
Its purple shadow lipped the shore.
     I leaned and caught the rail.

Hard in the sand the prow I drew
     To rest, still swaying in the sea,
And slow as sunlight draws the dew
     I drew my heart's desire to me;

Though she might come but once nor stay
     At all. — Beside the faithless deep
I saw my dream-boat drift away
     Across the ebbing tides of sleep.
From: Harper's Monthly Magazine; v. 120, no. 716-29 (January 1910): p. 229. Every other line indented.

Quotation from Cliff Friend and Dave Franklin Illustrating "Dream Boat"

When My Dream Boat Comes Home

Dreams call to me over a rose
tinted sea. I wait on the
shore for the one I adore.
Then my dreams no more will roam.
I will meet you and greet you,
Hold you closely "My own."
Moonlit waters will sing of the
tender love you bring. We'll be sweethearts
From the sheet music: When My Dream Boat Comes Home, words and music by Cliff Friend and Dave Franklin (New York: M. Whitmark, c1918).

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Dreamboat"

[Abigail Timberlake] "Look, C.J., I know you want to string popcorn, but remember the sergeant from Shelby I was telling you about? Well, Greg is dropping by with him and —"

"Ooh, Abby, I'd love to meet my new dreamboat, but like I said, I can't tonight."
From the mystery novel: Estate of Mind: A Den of Antiquity Mystery, [by] Tamar Myers (New York, N.Y.: Avon Books, 1999; with imprint: Avon Twilight): chapter 19, p. 185.

dream date:

1. A person to whom one is or would be intensely attracted and with whom one wishes to spend time; a person about whom one has romantic or sexual fantasies and with whom one wishes to participate in social activities.

2. A person who would ordinarily be beyond one's reach romantically but with whom one has a chance to engage in social activity.

3. A social activity, real or imagined, with one or more persons of complementary sexual orientation that has a fantasy quality to it, perhaps because of the longed for or handsome company or the quick rapport or the romantic setting or the extravagance or the fulfillment of a wish thought practically unobtainable.

See also boyfriend material, boy of (one's) dreams, date (1), date (2), Dirty Harry syndrome, dream, fantasy life, genicon, girlfriend material, girl of (one's) dreams, ideal, lovemap, man of (one's) dreams, perfect catch, person of (one's) dreams, template (for a lover), ten, unicorn, white whale, woman of (one's) dreams.


dream of (one's) heart:

The person who inspires happiness when one imagines circumstances in which one is with him or her romantically.

See also dream, heart.

Sheet Music Illustrating "Dream of My Heart"

<Picture of sheet music not yet posted>

I Love You, Believe Me, I love You (The Dream of My Heart), words by Rubey Cowan; music by Phil. Boutelje (New York: Harms Incorporated, c1929). "Sung by Rudy Vallec in the Radio Picture 'The Vagabond Lover.'"

Dreiheit (German):

Threesome (q.v.).

x German terms.

drift apart:

1. To gradually reach a point of being separate from each other when formerly together.

2. To be less and less intimate with each other and/or to see less and less of each other.

See also death spiral of a relationship, red flag, relationship trouble, separate.

x apart.


See romance drive, sex drive.

droit de cuissage:

See droit de seigneur, ius primae noctis.


droit de la vocation (French):

"Right of the calling"; due to the nature of one's job, the assumed right to have or recognition of the need for sexual outlets that at home or under ordinary circumstances would be considered inappropriate.

See also cyclic monogamy, dispersed polyandry, dispersed polygamy, dispersed polygyny, geographical non-monogamy, girl in every port, hundred-mile rule, "What goes on the road, stays on the road."

x French terms.
x vocational right.


droit de seigneur, or droit du seigneur (French):

1. "Right of the lord" over his vassals; in some times and jurisdictions, the presumed right of a certain male, senior to the groom, to have sexual relations with the bride.

2. The special allowance, in the minds of some, for a powerful and attractive man to have his love affairs.

Comments: French has many other terms for the same phenomenon, including among them: droit de cuissage, droit de cullage, and droit de jambage.

In English it is perhaps more common to use the Latin term, ius primae noctis.

See also amober, avail of marriage, custom of the country, ius connubii, ius primae noctis, Law of the Conquered, maritage, mercheta mulierum, praegustator, rape.

x droit de cuissage.
x French terms.

Quotation from Shirley Abbott Illustrating "Droit du Seigneur"


On our kitchen wall was an autographed photo of [John F.] Kennedy on his sailboat, in khaki pants and a sports shirt, his legs parted — all the seductive verve of a pinup boy, a male version of Rita Heyworth kneeling in her lace nightie.

Carol and I relished the rumors about his love affairs. Ah, droit du seigneur, and welcome to it. He had more power than anyone in the world ...

From: Love's Apprentice, [by] Shirley Abbott (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998): p. 128.



1. A male bee whose primary function in the hive is to mate with the queen bee.

2. A man who habitually fails to service his mate sexually.

3. A man who attends a woman in all but sexual ways.

Comment: The analogy with male bees in the other senses of the term apparently have to do with uselessness in one or more categories of functioning.

See also accubitus, adectia, agenobiosis, animalistic, anti-slut defense, celibate marriage, diasteunia, intramarital chastity, involuntary celibacy, mariage blanc, sexual camel, white marriage.



A brief unannounced visit, especially of a friend, a lover, a person one is courting, or (if by a member of the clergy) a parishioner.

See also camp our on (somebody's) doorstep, courtship, gentleman caller, lady caller.

drop-dead gorgeous:

Breathtakingly beautiful or stunningly handsome; slangily: hot enough to bowl one over.

Comments: Abbreviated DDG.

If someone is told to drop dead, that is an expression of intense antagonism akin to a curse. As a modifier, "drop-dead" can have a similarly hard-nosed sense, as in "drop-dead date," which means an appointed time that cannot be changed even if one's life depends upon it, that is, a serious deadline.

However, as a modifier, "drop-dead" often indicates instead a riveting or striking effect, either in general or upon the speaker. Thus as an adjective modifying a noun, "drop-dead" means "impressive"; and as a modifier of adjectives — these are almost always adjectives that indicate some sort of superbness, such as "gorgeous" — it serves as an intensifier.

Note the frequent use of the term "drop-dead gorgeous" as a title, for example:

Note also the musical group, the name of which plays off the term: Drop Dead, Gorgeous.

See also attractive, DDG, handsome, hot, human beauty, knockout.

x dead.
x gorgeous.

Quotation from Time Magazine Illustrating "Drop-Dead Gorgeous"

"Trim, smart and drop-dead gorgeous, [Michelle] Pfeiffer has been nibbling at stardom since her stints in Grease II and Scarface."

From: "Cinema: In the Kingdom of Chic and Sleaze into the Night," by Richard Corliss, Time, February 25, 1985. Available online, here.  <Confirm this as source> If this is the first occurrence of the term (and it may be so), it would seem that Michelle Pfeiffer in her physical appearance on screen virtually defines the term  and fittingly so.


See sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.


See drunk dial, goat-drunk.

drunk dial:

To make a regrettable phone call, while inebriated, to an ex or to a person in whom one has a romantic interest.

Comment: Such calls are usually late at night and thus compound any problems.

See also beer goggles, ex, five pinter, goat-drunk, love interest.

x dial.
x drunk.

dry as a stick:

See dry stick.

dry spell:

1. An unusually long period without rain or other precipitation.

2. An unusually long period without having had sexual relations.

See also abstinence, bed death, marital doldrums, "not tonight, dear."

dry stick:

1. A relatively small lifeless piece of wood, usually with greater length than diameter, such as a twig or branch that was long ago broken off from a tree.

2. An allusion to a sentence written by D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930): "If a woman hasn’t got a tiny streak of a harlot in her, she’s a dry stick as a rule."

Comment: Lawrence is sometimes misquoted, so that instead of coming out as a metaphor, the sentence comes out as a simile: "... she's as dry as a stick as a rule."

An interpretation as to his meaning: If a woman is utterly unwilling to venture into the riské and bawdy, she lacks verve, élan, joie de vivre, a vital element of which is the ready capacity for sexual excitement and arousal.

Note the similarity in rhetorical structure and force to this maxim by Joseph Joubert (1754-1824): On ne peut trouver de poésie nulle part, quand on n'en porte pas en soi ("He who has no poetry in himself will find poetry in nothing").


The quotation from D. H. Lawrence is from the essay: "Pornography and Obscenity," This Quarter; v. 2, no. 1 (July-August-September, 1929):  pp. 17-27, specifically p. 17. <Snippet view only.> Reprinted: Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D. H. Lawrence, edited and with an introduction by Edward D. McDonald (New York: Viking Press, 1936): pp. 170-187, specifically p. 170.

The Joubert maxim is from: Pensées, essais, maximes et correspondence de J. Joubert, recueillis et mis en ordre par Paul Raynal; et précédés d'une notice sur sa vie, son caractère et ses travaux (2e éd. Paris: Librairie Ve Le Normant): t. 2e (1850), p. 40, titre 21, maxime 46.

For the English translation of the maxim, see: The French on Life and Love, selected by Edward Lewis; with frivolous illustrations in color by John Trotta (Kansas City, Mo.: Hallmark Editions, c1967): p. 18.

See also anhedonia; aphanisis; frigidity; hyphedonia; hyposexuality; ice queen; Inside every woman, there's a whore trying to get out; sexual inhibition; woman.

x dry as a stick.
x harlot.
x "If a woman hasn't got a tiny streak of harlot in her ..."
x "she's a dry stick ..."

D/s relationship:

Dominant/submissive relationship (q.v.).

Comment: Note the capitalization, which is sometimes insisted upon in order to emphasize the dominance.

x abbreviations and acronyms.


dual-employed marriage:

A dyadic marriage in which both partners earn an income, at least one of whom is working simply to earn the income.

Contrast dual-career marriage (q.v.). See also dyad, marriage.


dual-career marriage:

A dyadic marriage in which both partners are committed to achievement in jobs or professions of their own.

Contrast dual-employed marriage (q.v.). See also commuter marriage, dyad, marriage.


dual fatherhood:

See double paternity.


dual income, no kids:

See dink.

dual-military marriage:

Two individuals, considered together, who are married to each other and who are both serving in the armed forces.

See also marriage, military marriage.

dual paternity:

See double paternity.


dual relationship:

Both a professional/client relationship and a set of interactions in one or more different roles outside of that relationship, for instance, between a psychotherapist and a patient when the patient interacts with the therapist also as a family member, friend, co-worker, business associate, student, or sex partner. Promised interactions (for instance, "We'll hook up after therapy"), and indirect interactions (for instance, when the client is a close friend of a close friend) also count.

Comments: Sometimes the term "multiple relationship" is used instead, especially when the client is known in more than two roles.

Dual relationships are often a major topic in professional ethics.

See also clerical marriage, countertransference, Florence Nightingale syndrome, transference.

x multiple relationship.



"Dubiously consensual"; characterized by being questionable as to whether a character's involvement in sexual activity was or was not against his or her will — said of an element in a story plot line.

See also consensual sex, discourse of desire, No means no, nonconsensual sex, rape.

x dubiously consensual.

dubiously consensual:

See dub-con.

dub sweethearts:

To call certain people each other's sweethearts, thereby treating them, especially in a playful way, as romantically involved with each other, whether or not they actually are.

See also sweetheart.

Quotation from D. H. Lawrence Illustrating "Dubbing of Sweethearts"


And the feud continued, with periods of extraordinary amity, when Ursula [Brangwen] was Clem Phillips's sweetheart, and Gudrun was Walter's, and Theresa was Billy's, and even the tiny Katie had to be Eddie Ant'ny's sweetheart. There was the closest union. At every possible moment the little gang of Brangwens and Phillipses flew together. Yet neither Ursula nor Gudrun could have any real intimacy with the Phillips boys. It was a sort of fiction to them, this alliance and this dubbing of sweethearts.

From the novel: The Rainbow, by D. H. Lawrence (New York: B. W. Huebsch, c1915, 1921 printing): chapter 10, p. 246.


ducky lucky:

A term of endearment, as for a childhood sweetheart.

Comment: The name is from the fable often called "Chicken Little." The earliest form of the fable I've seen that uses the form of the name, Ducky Lucky, dates back to 1853.


For the 1853 form of the fable, see: "The Little Chicken Kluk and His Companions," in: Yule-Tide Stories: A Collection of Scandinavian and North German Popular Tales and Traditions, from the Swedish, Danish, and German, edited by Benjamin Thorpe (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853): pp. 421-422. The tale is categorized as Danish.

See term of endearment.


1. Two who sing together.

2. A couple.

See also couple, duet for life, duo, dyad, ménage à deux, pair, pas de deux, twosome.

A Postcard Illustrating "Duet"

<Picture of postcard not yet posted..>

Color "post card," in landscape format, showing a dark-haired man in tails and a red-haired woman in a green gown seated at a piano kissing; with caption at bottom: "A duet"; signed by the artist: Sherie [or Herie], 14/1 (London, W.C.: Inter-Art Co. [International Art Company], Southampton House, [1914?]; in: "Cupid's" series; no. 910). Date inferred from the divided back era and the "14/1" in the artist's signature. Inter-Art is known to have published from 1909 to 1931. From the author's collection, scanned <on such and such a date>.


duet for life:

1. A married couple, especially a happily married couple; a marriage, especially a happy one.

2. A couple in a long-term relationship, especially a harmonious relationship.

See also duet, lifemate, life partner, light of (one's) life, long-term relationship, love of (one's) life, marriage, married couple.



1. A beloved woman; a female sweetheart.

2. A woman viewed in a way similar to the way the character, Don Quixote, viewed his lady, Dulcinea, or who has some similarity to the character, Dulcinea.

3. As "my dulcinea," a term of endearment.

See also babycakes, beloved, Delilah, jeune première, Juliet, lothariette, Mae West, Messalina, sweetheart, term of endearment.

x Spanish and Spanglish terms.

Quotations from Cervantes on Dulcinea


[17] By deeds of valor he sought to gain
His lady's love, and ease his pain;
His model Orlando Furioso,
And Dulcinea del Toboso
Was the one whose favor he would obtain.


[29] As the story goes, there was a very good-looking farm girl who lived near by, with whom he [Don Quixote] had once been smitten, although it is generally believed that she never knew or suspected it. Her name was Aldonza Lorenzo, and it seemed to him that she was the one upon whom he should bestow the title of mistress of his thoughts. For her he wished a name that should [30] not be incongruous with his own and that would convey the suggestion of a princess or a great lady; and, accordingly, he resolved to call her "Dulcinea del Toboso," she being a native of that place.

From: The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha, [by] Miguel de Cervantes, a new translation from the Spanish, with a critical text based upon the first editions of 1605 and 1615, and with variant readings, variorum notes, and an introduction by Samuel Putnam (New York: Modern Library, c1949): pp. 17, 29-30.



Veneration; adoration; honor paid (to); secondary servitude.

Comments: Chiefly a theological term, which derives from the Greek word douleia = "servitude, bondage, slavery."

In Roman Catholic theology, dulia, which is due to saints, is generally distinguished from (a) latria (that is, "worship"), which is due to God alone, and (b) hyperdulia ("special veneration"), which is due to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Whereas the difference between dulia and hyperdulia is largely a matter of degree, an infinite divide is understood to subsist between dulia and latria.

It is specifically with such distinctions in mind that the theologian of romantic love, Charles Williams (1886-1945), an Anglican, applied the term to romantic adoration.


The Figure of Beatrice: A Study in Dante, [by] Charles Williams (New York: Noonday Press, 1961): p. 15. Originally published: London: Faber and Faber, 1943.

See also adoration-lust, adore, altar of love, Bridegroom Fallacy,
conjugal passion, Frauendienst, gyniolatry, husband worship, king of (one's) heart, love, Minnedienst, pedestalism, place on a pedestal, princesse lointaine, queen of (one's) heart, vision of romantic love, wife worship, worship one's spouse.



To break off a relationship with (somebody), as in: "I dumped her, she didn't dump me."

See also bad breaker-upper, break up, discard, ditch, E&E, EwE, flush (somebody), get the mitten, get the sack, get the shaft, give the mitten, jilt, leave (someone), love and leave, plaquer, sack, separate, split up, throw over, unflushable, walk out.

Quotation from Tamar Myers Illustrating "Dumped"

If only I had been more — whatever it was Buford really needed — he wouldn't have dumped me for Tweetie, and we [Abigail Timberlake (the narrator), her then husband, and their two children] would have stayed together as a family.

From the mystery novel: Larceny and Old Lace, [by] Tamar Myers (New York, NY: Avon Books, 2000, c1996: in series: A Den of Antiquity Mystery): chapter 14, p. 112; cf. chapter 18, p. 147; and chapter 20, p. 161.



Two people together; a couple.

See also couple, duet, dyad, pair, twosome.



1. A man with two wives or a woman with two husbands.

2. An advocate or supporter of duogamy (q.v.).

Comment: Absent in the dictionaries I've checked, but a natural permutation of the word "duogamy," so here included.

See also bigamist, monogamist, polygamist, trigamist, triogamist.



Pertaining to or characterized by duogamy (q.v.).

Comment: Absent in the dictionaries I've checked, but a natural permutation of the word "duogamy," so here included.

See also bigamous, monogamous, polygamous, trigamous, triogamous.



A form of polygamy (q.v.) in which one person is married to two.

Contrast bigamy (q.v.). See also biamory, deuterogamy, domestic trio, duogamist, duogamous, -gamy, have two strings to (one's) bow, monogamy, trigamy, triogamy, vee.

Duogamy in Wooden Sculpture from Ghana

From the personal collection of the author. Acquired in 1999. Photographed, in a chillier clime than Ghana, in Rowley, Massachusetts, January 15, 2004. The accompanying note reads: "These intricately carved wooden objects radiate the magic of Africa. Rich with folklore, ritual and beauty each object is carved from a single piece of wood. Absorb the universal energy within each hand crafted piece. Hand Crafted in Ghana."


duolocal residence:

In reference to the married, the husband and wife living in separate residences, generally in accordance with custom.

See also ambilocal residence, amitalocal residence, avunculocal residence, bilocal residence, commuter marriage, distributed commitment, e-mail marriage, long-distance relationship, matrilocal residence, matripatrilocal residence, neolocal residence, patrilocal residence, sambandham, telegamy, unilocal residence, uxoribilocal residence, uxorilocal residence, uxoripatrilocal residence, virilocal residence, visiting husband, visiting marriage, walk-in marriage.

x residence.


duped dad:

1. A deceived father.

2. A man who has been fooled into thinking that he has sired a child whom he is either raising or paying support for, when the child was actually sired by another man.

See also cuckold; Mater semper certa est, pater est, quem nuptiae demonstrant; pass the baby off as his; paternal discrepancy; paternity.

duplicem valorem maritagii:

Double the value of a marriage.

Comments: A legal term under feudal law.

For lexical example and fuller explanation, see under "maritagium."

See also avail of marriage, valorem maritagii.

x Latin terms.


See go Dutch, hot as Dutch love.


Dutch terms:

See minx (minne + -kijn), queesting.


dutiful spouse:

See play the dutiful spouse.


See clean-up duty, husbandly duty, marital duty, wifely duty.


See group sex.


1. Dear wife.

2. Wife, modified by a contextually appropriate adjective that begins with the letter "d," for instance, "darling wife," "delicious wife," "dense wife," "doofus wife," "dumb wife."

Comment: This abbreviation is sometimes used in place of the word "wife," as in: "My DW and I are now parents."

See also BW, DF, DH, wife.

x abbreviations and acronyms.



See little couple.


1. A two-person love relationship or marriage; a monogamous relationship.

2. A love relationship consisting of two primary partners (q.v.).

3. A pair in the context of a relationship with more members.

See also alternate relationship geometries, biracial couple, couple, couple of mixed ethnicity, dual-career marriage, dual-employed marriage, duet, duo, Eurasian couple, extradyadic, extra-pair copulation, female couple, flexible monogamy, genetic monogamy, hexad, imaginative split triangle, interracial couple, male couple, ménage à deux, mixed race couple, monogamy, mono/poly, mono/poly relationship, multilateral sexuality, Noah syndrome, nonexclusive monogamy, one, one-and-only, one true love, open couple, open marriage, pair, pentad, quasi-conjugal dyad, religion of two, serial marriage, serial monogamy, sexual monogamy, social monogamy, synergamy, syzygy, tetrad, triad, twosome.


dyadic notation:

An abbreviated scheme for a two-person love relationship or sexual connection, whereby F = female, M = male. Thus FF, FM = MF, MM.

Be careful not to confuse FM in dyadic notation with FM (q.v.), meaning formerly married. See also alternate relationship geometries, diagramming a love relationship, genogram, letter group, personal ad, triadic notation.

x notation.


dyke bar:

See gay bar.


dysfunctional family:

A family (q.v.) characterized by habituated role-playing on the part of its members, role-playing designed to cope with, to enable the family to accomodate, and to save face with regard to one or more serious and chronic deficiencies on the part of one or more of its members, ordinarily adult members, deficiencies such as:

Comment: Since children brought up in dysfunctional families adopt or are channeled into an ongoing coping mode, this becoming for them an ordinary way of life, the problem is not limited to the deficiencies of a family member and the dynamics of the moment, but it extends to long-term aftereffects. Those brought up in such a family might never develop adequately a sense of self or grow out of the roles in which they were habituated, they may feel unprepared for adulthood, they may experience chronic anxiety or rage, they may seek relief from the pain of their past in alcohol or drugs, or they may feel impelled to perpetrate the abuse with which they grew up.

Terms for Common Roles in Dysfunctional Families

The Caretaker

A family member who takes responsibility for being the family breadwinner, in lieu of the Dependent. Also known as the Doer.

A co-dependent

Someone who adopts and becomes habituated to a special role within a family due to another family member's chronic self-destructive behavior.

The Dependent

A person with a serious and chronic deficiency that affects the family; commonly a parent.

The Doer

See the Caretaker

The Enabler

A person who tries to accommodate the Dependent for the sake of the family or the relationship and who thereby may prevent the crisis which might bring about change; typically the Dependent's spouse.

The Family Priest

A child in whom the family has invested religious expectations, who represents the spiritual dimension of the family, who is expected to live by a strict moral code, and who is to be groomed for a life devoted to religious ministry.

The Good Child

See the Hero

The Hero

A child who seeks to appease and nurture the parents and to bring esteem to the family; typically the first-born. Also known as the Good Child.

The Little Man

A boy who is the family favorite and who services the needs of the parents. Compare the Princess.

The Lost Child

A young family member who seeks escape from family chaos, who tends to be shy and solitary, and whose needs are often ignored or hidden.

The Mascot

The center of attention due to clowning or hyperactivity; typically the youngest child.

The Mastermind

The opportunist who capitalizes on the faults of others in the family to achieve selfish ends.

The Princess

A girl who is the family favorite and who services the needs of the parents. Compare the Little Man.

The Problem Child

See the Scapegoat.

The Scapegoat

A child who rebels and is blamed for many of the family's problems; typically the second-born. Also known as the Problem Child.

See also dysfunctional relationship, love-found-solves-all myth, sexual addiction.


dysfunctional relationship:

1. A relationship (q.v.) that doesn't work, that is, one in which the parties are made chronically unhappy or in which the point of the relationship is otherwise defeated by the dynamics obtaining within the relationship, such as failures in communication, lying, emotional abuse, breakdown of trust, defensiveness, blame-shifting, resentment, and faults of the parties combining and taking on a life of their own to the detriment of human beings in the way.

2. A relationship that brings out or helps to enable some of the worst in one or more of the parties.

3. A relationship between two members of a dysfunctional family insofar as they are fulfilling habituated roles in response to the center of chronic family disturbance.

Comment: With dysfunctional relationships, in the first sense, there is usually some threshold that is crossed before they are so labeled. However, even in a generally happy relationship, it can be said that there is a measure of dysfunctionality. In other words, there is a continuum, but a continuum with a threshold.

See also abuse, cagamosis, death spiral of a relationship, demons of relationships past, dysfunctional family, emotional divorce, estrangement, failed marriage, failed relationship, grounds for divorce, heterogamosis, incompatibility, love dare, love-hate relationship, loveless marriage, love-resolves-all myth, love-trouble, marital blues, marital conflict, marital hell, misérables, odd couple, poly-agony, poly hell, poor match, red flag, relationship anarchy, relationship ecology, relationship parasite, relationship trouble, rocky relationship, save a marriage, slob love, stormy relationship, toxic relationship, troubled marriage, trouble in paradise, unequal marriage, unhappily married, unsuccessful marriage, where things went wrong for (us).



A marriage in which the difference between the partners' ages varies widely from the norm.

See also age-gap relationship, alphamegamia, anilojuvenogamy, anisonogamia, campsite rule, cougar relationship, dysonogamist, dysonogamous, -gamy, gerontogamy, intergenerational relationhship, isonogamia, Lolita, May-December relationship, May-December romance, opsigamy, rob the cradle, spring-autumn romance.



1. A participant in a marriage in which the difference between the partners' ages varies widely from the norm.

2. An advocate of dysonogamia (q.v.).

Comment: Absent in the dictionaries I've checked, but a natural permutation of the word "dysonogamia," so here included (2004).

See also alphamegamist, anilojuvenogamist, anisonogamist, biddy fiddler, cougar, cradle-robber, cradle-snatcher, gerbil, turkey vulture.



Pertaining to or characterized by dysonogamia (q.v.).

Comment: Absent in the dictionaries I've checked, but a natural permutation of the word "dysonogamia," so here included (2004).





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