I can only think of the vulgar version. I wonder if there is a formal/non-vulgar one.


They had sex at night, in the wee hours, and then they had one last __ in the morning.

  • You could consider copulations, but the referent itself is a bit vague. What you might call two consecutive copulations might be seen as a single act by someone else (even your sexual partner! :). Is it still "an act of having sex" if either or neither party experiences orgasm, for example? Obviously it wouldn't always be (vaginally) penetrative, so how exactly do you define "the act"? – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jul 23 '18 at 15:40
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    What do you mean by a last? I'm not sure it's idiomatic, but we'd need to know what you mean. one last is a possibility. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 23 '18 at 16:07
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    In this specific context, you don't necessarily need a word for having sex, since that act was made explicit at the beginning the sentence. You could write "...then they had another round in the morning." You could also write "had another go" or "had another go at it." – Canadian Yankee Jul 23 '18 at 16:08
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    @alex: Concentrate on my critique of the question you've asked and perhaps you would get a more targeted answer than a list of words for fucking. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 24 '18 at 14:26
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    Alex, the community are usually the deciders of what should be put on hold, so it would be worthwhile to think about how you can improve your question based on the feedback you're getting from the community. There is no harm in explaining more clearly the type of word you're looking for because all we know right now is that you don't want to use a vulgar word. – ColleenV Jul 24 '18 at 16:53

What's the countable word for “the act of having sex”?

Any single words will be vulgar, medical/technical sounding, a bit silly, or have other implications.

Fling might have implications that could appropriate, it means "a short period of enjoyment or wild behavior" (Google).

Another example is tryst but this implies secrecy (Google's definition: "a private, romantic rendezvous between lovers").

You take on a dispassionate, non-silly tone by using the term "had sex" in the first part of your sentence. Only have sex really matches that tone.

They had sex at night, in the wee hours, and then had sex again last in the morning.

Since you are repeating the term, you can take advantage of elision and not even worry about the issue:

They had sex at night, in the wee hours, and then again in the morning.

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There are a number of formal terms, but none are usually countable:

Copulation, coition, coitus, sexual intercourse.

These started out a euphemism for terms that are now considered "vulgar". If you need a countable term you can say "an act of coitus" (for example).

These formal terms are not the normal way of talking about sex. In your example you could say "... and they had sex for the last time ..."

You could also use a verb. "Copulate" is formal, "... and they copulated for the last time..." An interesting verb is "know", this is used in the bible as "Adam knew Eve".

Note that using such formal language in a non-scientific context is not common, and sounds like a joke (a type of bathos).

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As in (I presume) any language, there are literally hundreds of words to describe the act of sexual intercourse. While you are probably thinking of the vulgar, "fuck", there are any number of options of varying degrees of vulgarity:

shag, screw, bonk, boink, bone, ball, bounce, bang, romp, roll (in the hay), (bit of) nookie, lay, hump, boff, roger, schtupp, score

and many others. There are also phrases such as

get laid, get it on, get lucky, bump fuzzies, make whoopie, get your freak on, hit it, go at it

and, again, innumerable others.

Or, of course, you could use a perfectly ordinary, mildly suggestive word:

They had sex at night, in the wee hours, and then they had a last jiggle in the morning before they both went to work.

The nuance will change depending on which word you choose. Jiggle is cute and playful, and in the same way you could use wiggle or giggle. Other words would imply different things.

(Edit) most of these are both nouns and verbs, for example you can have a shag or you can just shag. Since they are all slang they may be tricky to use correctly, and you should probably just use whatever term you hear other people around you use.

Naturally none of these is correct in polite company ... but then many people you might think "polite" are actually far less so than you would expect.

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  • Yes, but would one use the noun shag or any of them in the plural? – Lambie Jul 23 '18 at 17:36
  • @Lambie I suppose you could -- I mean, being American, I wouldn't use "shag" unless I was doing Austin Powers -- but I think it's more common to talk about multiple instances of "shagging". – Andrew Jul 23 '18 at 17:42
  • I was put off by the word countable, in the question. No worries. I think many people now do say shag, here. – Lambie Jul 23 '18 at 17:49

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