Premier Peter Malinauskas regrets using slang ‘Sloppy Seconds’; what does it mean?

"Our political leaders should be more careful of the choice of words and its impact on marginalised communities including women."

South Australia’s Premier Peter Malinauskas used the term ‘Sloppy Seconds’ during the press conference about his state being selected as host to all nine matches of AFL in April 2023.

Premier Malinauskas said he was happy because South Australia will be the first state to host it rather than New South Wales (NSW), which was also a contender.

Mr Malinauskas said:

“The objective was to get it here first — we wanted to be first.” 

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He added:

“I didn’t want anyone else’s sloppy seconds, particularly Sydney’s, so now that we’ve got the event, we put on the best show that we can and then that sets us up for the future.”

What do Sloppy Seconds mean?

According to Dictionary.com definition, “Sloppy seconds refers to dating someone after they’ve just broken up with someone in your immediate social group.”

Sometimes, it refers to having sex with someone who’s just finished a sexual act with someone else.


Where does the term ‘Sloppy Seconds’ comes from?

Dated to the 1960s, sloppy seconds stems from the idea that, if a man has sex with a woman directly after she’s had intercourse with another man, the relevant orifice will contain bodily fluids from the previous partner, therefore making it sloppySeconds also evoke getting another plate of food at a meal.

Since the 1970s, the expression has been gender-neutral; anyone can be another’s sloppy seconds.

Sloppy seconds found its way into a Fantastic Four comic book in 1964 and then again two years later in an issue of Daredevil. It’s unclear whether the editor of both issues, Stan Lee, understood the sexual definition of the term, as he used it to mean a superhero getting a swing at a villain after another superhero had already beaten them up.

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The term made its way to Hollywood in 1978’s Grease during an interaction between Danny (John Travolta) and his friend’s girlfriend Rizzo (Stockard Channing).

In the scene, Danny compliments Rizzo on her appearance. Taking it as a sexual advance, Rizzo snidely tells Danny to “eat your heart out,” to which he fires back “sloppy seconds ain’t my style.”

- Eat your heart out. - Sloppy seconds ain't my style.

In 1984 the term was adopted as the name of the Indianapolis band Sloppy Seconds. The punk group even hosted a music festival called Sloppy Palooza on a somewhat yearly basis. Don’t worry though, we won’t get into the fine details of what went down at the event.

Who uses ‘Sloppy Seconds’?

Given the crassness of the term, sloppy seconds is reserved for informal situations among friends.

For many, receiving sloppy seconds is considered very undesirable.

Poor Artie always getting sloppy seconds #MeTVWWWest

— Dippy Hippie Lady (@ladyisasmartass) September 15, 2018

It’s not uncommon to see the term used as an insult when directed towards someone who might now be engaging in sexual activity with an ex-partner, implying that the person is promiscuous.

You must reeeeally like my sloppy seconds 😴

— Coryne (@Corynnevictoria) September 22, 2018

Sloppy seconds It can also characterize any time a person repurposes something from an ex-partner for a new one, e.g., an engagement ring. That doesn’t feel very good, now does it?

South Australia’s opposition spokeswoman for women Michelle Lensink described Premier’s comment as “offensive.”

“They are clearly sexually loaded, they are offensive and he needs to apologise for this latest round in a series of offensive remarks that he’s made,”

she said.

“It’s a pretty gross and offensive phrase to use at best; at worst it’s yet another offensive slur against women and the Premier must apologise,” Ms Lensink added.

Rashmi Singh is Adelaide-based Gender Equality Advocate and works with victims of domestic violence.

Ms Singh told The Australia Today, “Our political leaders should be more careful of the choice of words and its impact on marginalised communities including women.”

“This is 2022 not the 70’s of the wild west. When this slang is normalised by men in positions of power it has a direct adverse effect on a large number of women.”

Perhaps Premier Malinauskas got the message of the women majority which overwhelmingly voted for him in the last state elections.

He further explained this on a radio show:

“When I used the term, I actually thought it was in reference to leftover seconds on a plate, in respect of food, like when someone eats a meal on a plate normally it can be categorised as sloppy by the time you’ve finished with it.”

However, Premier Peter Malinauskas did use the slang again but this time to offer an apology. 

“I regret it and of course I’m apologetic,” he said.