Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Words and Worlds of Desire


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Words and Worlds of Desire: The Power of Metaphor in Framing Sexuality

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

E-pub ahead of print
Publication date31/05/2022
Host publicationMetaphors and Analogies in Sciences and Humanities
EditorsShyam Wuppuluri, A. C. Grayling
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages20
ISBN (electronic)9783030906887
ISBN (print)9783030906870
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameSynthese Library
ISSN (Print)0166-6991
ISSN (electronic)2542-8292


The chapter looks at how metaphors frame and potentially distort our understanding of human sexuality. It first introduces conceptual metaphor theory, followed by a discussion of more recent developments, notably the notion of metaphor scenarios and the links between metaphor and ideology. The chapter then reviews existing work on metaphor and sexuality in different languages, arguing that one function of metaphors for sexuality is to organise gender relations, including those that are characterised by power asymmetry. The chapter finishes with a brief case study of metaphors for sexuality in the so-called ‘manosphere’, a loose online network of fora and websites that is made up of various groups and is notable for its members’ misogyny and reactionary views of gender relations. It will be argued that the violent and dehumanising metaphors for sexual activity and partners that can be found in the manosphere represent a difference in degree, not kind, from more mainstream metaphors. As such, they represent an extreme case of metaphor’s potential to limit and distort understandings of sexuality.

Bibliographic note

Export Date: 14 July 2022