Origin of expression 69

Thu, 4 Apr 1996 13:02:33 -0500

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Sender: Ian Gordon <igordon@magna.com.au>
Subject: Origin of expression 69

I teach at a design college. One of my older students, a graphic designer by
training, wants to research the origins of the expression "69" to refer to
mutual oral sex. She is looking to make links between the typography "69"
and theories of signs and signification. One of her questions is when did
the term come into popular usage? Having grown up in the Australia in the
1950s and 1960s I first came across the expression in the late 1960s early
1970s but that could simply have reflected my age. My student is from
Singapore and in her mid 20s and first heard the expression at work in

To give her research a bit of context can anybody think of another instance
where a sign, such as 69, has been intepreted visually to represent
something distant from its nominal meaning, in this case the number

Ian Gordon

Ian Gordon
KvB College of Visual Communication
Sydney, Australia