“Would you like to come, sir, or would you like to cum?”
Writers of erotica and erotic romance have a bit of a dilemma when it comes to coming… or cumming, if you prefer. And readers have their preferences, too. Some just want to come, and some want to cum. But which is correct? Should cum be treated as a verb for orgasm, or should cum be reserved only for usage as a noun, as a synonym for semen.
And for that matter, where did ‘come’ and ‘cum’ come from in its usage as a word meaning ‘to orgasm.’
A Brief History of Cum
Of course, “come” came first. Although we cannot say for certain when the word “come” was used in reference to an orgasm, the first generally accepted usage can be found in the 1650 poem titled “Walking in a Meadowe Greene” collected by Bishop Percy (a dirty, dirty bishop indeed).
"They lay soe close together, they made me much to wonder;
I knew not which was wether, until I saw her under.
Then off he came, and blusht for shame soe soone that he had endit;
Yet still shee lyes, and to him cryes, "Once More, and none can mend it."
If you didn’t catch it, the poor fellow came too soon and was embarrassed, and the woman was pretty frustrated. It’s an age-old problem, for sure.
Even early usage appears in the poem “The Merie Ballad of Nash His Dildo” (seriously, that really is the title), which is thought to have been composed around 1592 or 1593, and contains several usages of “come” in the meaning of orgasm.
Regardless, the verb come/came was often used from there on out as a euphemism for orgasm or ejaculation. The verbs “spent” and “arrived” were similarly used, and are still used today as such.
But what about “cum”? Despite my Googling, I cannot find any first usage reference, apart from the following, which comes from the Online Etymology Dictionary: “verb (to ejaculate) and noun (semen), by 1973, apparently a variant of come in the sexual sense that originated in pornographic writing, perhaps first in the noun.”
From that explanation, it seems “cum” was simply used as a general synonym for semen, spunk, jizz, or splooge. That trend has continued, and today “cum” is generally accepted as a noun and a synonym for semen, as well as female vaginal fluids.
Its usage as a verb, however, is a bit more contentious. There are two schools of thought: 1) “cum” should not be used as a verb, and should only be used as a noun, and 2) it’s fine, we’re all just here to have fun, anyway.
More and more, “cum” is being used as a verb, specifically in the sense of orgasming, perhaps to avoid confusion with “to come” meaning “to approach or go to.”
Take the following example: “I’ve missed you so much, please come inside.” Now consider the following, “I’ve missed you so much, please cum inside.”
I’ll let you be the judge.
But there is one problem with using “cum” as a verb.
I cum, you cum, we all cum… It’s fun!
If cum is a verb, then it must be conjugatable. However, that’s where we run into trouble. Consider the basic conjugations of the verb “to come”:
Now, let’s attempt the same with “to cum”:
Past: Cummed? Cammed? Had Cum? Came? Screw this, I blew my load.
The past tense of “come” is not “comed,” but rather, “came.” Therefore, what’s the past tense of “cum?” The best possibilities are “cummed,” “cammed”, and “had cum”. You could also just use “came” as it is for the past tense of “come,” which then begs the question: is “cum” and “cumming” correct if I have to use “come” for the past tense of “cum”?
Consider the following:
A: “Did you and Dave have fun last night?”
B: “You bet! He fucked me hard and cummed inside me.”
Yeah, it sounds pretty daft.
But using “come” sounds much more natural:
A: “Did you and Dave have fun last night?”
B: “You bet! He fucked me hard and came inside me.”
This is one argument that is often used against using the word “cum” as a verb. But remember, “to come” is an irregular verb, and “to cum” is also an irregular verb. Irregular verbs are, well, irregular. They’re allowed to break the rules.
Moreover, the argument that cum is purely a noun is largely irrelevant in modern English. After all, verbing nouns is a common practice today. Google is a company and search engine, yet we often talk about “googling” on the internet. A bookmark is a ribbon used to mark one’s place in a book, yet we “bookmark” things all the time. A pencil is a writing implement, yet we “pencil in that appointment.”
Therefore, I posit that the correct conjugation of the verb “to cum” is as follows:
Present: Cum. “Oh, fuck, babe! I’m about to cum!”
Progressive: Cumming. “Oh, fuck! I’m cumming!”
Past: Came. “That was a good fuck. I came so hard!”
To Cum or Not to Cum, That is the Question
As you might have guessed by now, using “cum” as a verb is a purely stylistic preference. Some writers and readers abhor using “cum” as a verb, while for others it is perfectly fine.
If you are a writer and are wondering whether to use “come” or “cum” as a synonym for orgasm, you must consider the story’s genre and niche, and the target audience.
Speaking in general terms, “cum” should probably be avoided in sweet romance and historical romance, or any romance where the hot-and-heavy fucking is toned down. In steamy romance, erotic romance, and BDSM romance, which may have some pretty hardcore scenes, “cum” may be perfectly acceptable, and the same is true in fantasy and paranormal romance, depending on the “heat level.”
In erotica (i.e., quick and dirty smut), using “cum” as a verb is much more common. Reader expectations might even demand it, as readers of erotica are used to seeing “cum” used as the verb, a noun, and even as a lube. Moreover, “cum” is commonly used as a verb in porn, and a lot of erotica draws inspiration from porn.
As it is with many things in life, it’s all a matter of personal preference. It’s also a product of genre expectations. But if ‘cum’ leaves a bad taste in your mouth, it’s perfectly okay to spit it out and move on. Or you could draw a deep breath, swallow, and smile.
Regardless, it is my hope that the matter of conjugating ‘cum’ is now clear. Or, at the very least, a viscous milky white substance.
I came. I cum. I’m cumming.
That’s all for now, and thanks!