I’m really torn on this one. I know people who fully embrace the colloquial term “cum” and use it freely. It’s a slang version of an established term, and that alone is perfectly acceptable by my standards. After all, language has to progress somehow. But, ‘cum’ always catches my eye in text, and something about it continues to bother me. Often, one is the action and one is the fluid- “she came on his chest and left cum on him”- though sources vary as to which is which. I continue notice and question the interchangeable use of these spellings. So, this post will be about the meaning of these two words, and how (I think) it doesn’t make sense to conflate them into one term.
‘Come’ didn’t achieve its current sexual use until the 20th century, and popular use not until the later half of the century. Linguistic roots of this word are all over the board- it’s not an unusual term. More traditionally, ‘come’ signifies an approach or arrival, whether of a person or event. A less-known meaning: growth, or the act of vegetation; as in, there’s a come on the ground, of water or vegetation (from the OED). That’s an interesting definition- it kind of calls up the image of something flooding over a surface, like water, or semen, etc. I can definitely see the development of the term ‘come’- hey, my orgasm is here, I’m coming! Especially in typical sexual contexts where orgasm is the goal…
‘Cum’ is a different story. It is also a word in its own right (outside assimilation into porn/sex culture), used mostly in the context of describing changing/overlapping uses of one item. For example, “bus-cum-greenhouse” (wiktionary’s example) means a bus that was converted into a greenhouse. This relatively common usage of the word ‘cum’ has been overlooked in its adaptation to sex.
My theory is that ‘cum’ is simply a misspelling of the word ‘come’, and as such does not merit acceptance as a slang term for either orgasm, ejaculation, or ejaculate itself. Technically speaking, both come and cum are slang terms, but let’s be smart about our slang.