In mathematics, a function is kind of the same thing as the function of an object, but not really.
A mathematical function describes the relation between a set of inputs and a set of outputs. Each input is related to exactly one output. We use mathematical functions all the time, ‘times two’ is a function: it has an input, which is also called a variable. The input has a relationship with the number two, and the output is the product of the multiplication.
That sounds a little like sexual reproduction, but it isn’t, because 1 x 2 = 2, not 3. It’s not a polyamorous relationship, either? Because each input is related to exactly one output.
We all tend to lose our shit when we roll down the mathematical road to calculus and get to this beauty:
ƒ(x) = x2
But this is also all about rules, just like plain old basic arithmetic.
ƒ(x) says that the function is called ‘f’ (for ‘fuck off, Shawna, stop making me do math’? No, it could as easily be called ‘q’, ‘t’ or ‘cutie’). It’s just a name. (OOOOH, wait, it’s function in the function is to name the function…)
And x is the input, or variable, that goes into the function.
x2 says that the function ‘f’ takes ‘x’ and squares it, the kinky little thing.
ƒ(4) = 16
Often, the ƒ is not included in the equation, so we see
y = x2
I used to be terrified of ‘numbers’ and convinced myself that I couldn’t understand how to manipulate them. Then I got over my fear, with a good teacher. I use mathematical functions all the time to model houses and to do energy analysis work. Mathematics helps you prove that something is so. Because, Measurements ‘n’ shit.
BTW: Mathematics is just a language, and happily for English speakers and kinksters, it has very strict rules that cannot be bent. Learn the rules, you learn the language — and then you get to manipulate the shit outta those functions. Mwhahahahahahha.