Being the word junkie I am, I’m still hung up on a lot of the intriguing terminology introduced to me by Sarah Waters’s Tipping the Velvet, to wit:
Gay: In Sarah Waters’s novel, although about lesbians, “gay” is not used to refer to homosexuality. Rather, it is used in the traditional way, to describe one who is happy or carefree, and also to refer to prostitutes, as in “gay girls.”
Masher: A woman who cross-dresses as a man, lesbian or not
Quim: Girlie bits; interchangable with “cunt.”
Tipping the velvet: Cunnlingus (the “velvet” is the tongue, apparently)
Tom: Boyish lesbian (what we today might know as “butch”)
Here’s a good website for further advancement of your Victorian era sexual slang: Victorian Slang – a Guide to Sexual Victorian Terms
. . . and that concludes today’s lesson. Class dismissed!