"You should think of it. You don't want to be alone for the rest of your life. You'd die from sexual starvation for a start," Serenena quipped.

"I could bring home a stranger occasionally, to keep the proverbial sexual wolf from the door."

"Or at the door, depending how you look at it," Serena giggled.

Source: Joan O'Neill: "De-Stress". In Irish Girls About Town, 2004, pp. 30–31.

Maybe I am a bit slow on the uptake but I am not able to fully understand the bold passage of the above dialoge. It is not clear to me how it is possible to keep proverbial sexual wolf (probably the reference to the Little Red Riding Hood) from the door when you are admitting that you are planning to have a occasional sex with a stranger. I would understand it when she would say "I could bring home a stranger occasionally to let in the proverbial sexual wolf". Or is it meant that when you will have an occasional sex it will protect you from not to be eaten by sexual wolf (unsatisfied sexual desire).

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    -1. No source cited. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 25 '16 at 1:16

There are a few levels of word-play going on here.

First the phrase

Keep the wolf from the door

has an idiomatic meaning in English: to have enough money or resources to be able to feed oneself. So the idiomatic meaning has nothing directly to do with dangerous animals trying to get into the house. There are several possible derivations of the phrase, including starvation being like a wolf, or debt collectors being like wolves.


to keep the wolf from the door

have just enough food to avoid starvation

and then by parallel with sexual starvation

to keep the sexual wolf from the door

to have just enough occasional sex

Then, given the sexual connotations of wolves, the word-play follows

or (the sexual wolf) at the door, (wink, wink, giggle).

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