zam zaddy

Can You Call Someone ‘Zaddy’ During Sex?

Zaddy. Photo: Justina Mintz/Courtesy of HBO

The premiere episode of Insecure’s second season includes a crucial sex scene featuring Lawrence (Jay Ellis), his new sex friend/girlfriend/Sunday-night girlfriend Tasha (Dominque Perry), and a lingering shot of Lawrence’s butt. Lawrence and Tasha are going at it when, in earnest passion, Tasha yells out, “Oooh yes Zaddy!”

Lawrence keeps going, but laughs when they’re done. Tasha asks if it was weird that she called him Zaddy. (His answer: just funny.) Which obviously made me wonder: Is it?

Zaddy is my favorite term of endearment. “Zamn Zaddy!” is the best, most effective expression of appreciative objectification, for it captures all that is wonderful about a Zaddy: the swagger, the general sense of nastiness, a certain je ne sais why you make me so horny but you do. To paraphrase the Zaddy anthem, “Zaddy” by Ty Dolla Sign, a Zaddy is someone who just looks like he is “gon’ pull up … and fuck you all night.” Justin Theroux and Mahershala Ali are widely accepted Zaddies. Dane DeHaan is an example of an inexplicable Zaddy—someone who shouldn’t really be Zaddy, but damn. Ed Sheeran is not Zaddy.

But is Zaddy a term that can be used during sex? Or is it too much of a Twitter-approved internet-slang term at this point to be deployed during actual fucking? Would it be the equivalent of someone yelling, “Damn girl, give me that black-girl magic” mid-thrust? (Do not ever.) Alternatively, is everyone already screaming “Zaddy” and I’m just some sort of naïf?

Let’s investigate.

“Would you ever say ‘Zaddy’ during sex?” This is the question I posed to a cabal of sexually active adult friends, who wish to remain anonymous because it’s an invasive question. I received these responses.

- “Yeah, duh.”
- “Allison. You have already asked me this. No.”
- “It’s a silly word. Like saying ‘Zonkers!’”
- “Not in earnest!”
- “That’s not really my aesthetic”
- “What’s Zaddy? What does that mean?”
- “I have definitely said it to [redacted] and I haven’t gotten any notes, so think it’s fine.”

Conversely, “What would you do if someone called you ‘Zaddy’ in bed?” I presented this hypothetical to friends who had not had the experience, yet. One person reported that while he would not be into it, he wouldn’t necessarily “do” anything. Another predicted that it would most likely kill the vibe and end the act. But, he added — filling me with previously unimagined hope — there is probably a way to say it that would be funny and charming.

In general, these are inconclusive survey results. Usage could potentially kill a boner, or it could be fun and funny, or it could just go ignored, which seems like the worst possible fate. Lawrence and Tasha seemed to survive it just fine, but Lawrence posed another thought-provoking question: Should he be calling her “Zami”? My firm conclusion regarding that: Please get off me.

Can You Call Someone ‘Zaddy’ During Sex?