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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Those NAUGHTY words

Recently, I followed an interesting discussion centering around the words erotic romance authors use for genitalia, specifically words used for female anatomy. It appears people have very different opinions on what is most appropriate, based on wildly divergent impressions of a word's connotations. One term is sexy to one person while insulting to another.

Take, for instance, the word "pussy". There were some who found that word humorous, not sexy. Others felt it was perfectly suitable for erotic romance.

Another example: "cunt" This word was more often seen as an insulting term than a sexy one. Others felt is was the most suitable word to use.

It's interesting to see that even in the age of international communications--the internet and television,--that people still absorb and internalize such different views of words and their meanings.

And then there's the question of variety. Some authors felt there was no need to use different words for the same body part, since so many others were only named by one word--eye, for instance. Arm. Leg. One person voiced the opinion that the repetition of a single term as "lazy" on the author's part, since there were so many other choices available.

What's my take on this whole thing?

1. Using the same term for a woman's bits does not indicate laziness on an author's part. Puhleez.

2. "Cunt" is a insult hurled at a woman (usually by a man), most often meant to belittle and strip away her humanity. I can't use it in a sensual way.

3. "Pussy" is not a silly word. It's my word of choice. It's sexy and semi-sweet at the same time.

What words have you read or written in an erotic romance? Were there words that made you uncomfortable? Or made you laugh when they shouldn't have?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 5:01 PM |


Commented by Blogger Bernita:

Howled when I saw the term "sacs" used for a man's balls...
Think the verb "laved" is desperate.

11:29 AM 
Commented by Blogger Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan:

'Laved' always gets me giggling. I think of someone spraining their tongue. It's not a body part, but once I see 'turgid' I'm gone. I didn't like 'cock' until Karen Marie Moning used it and then - aha! The light came on. I positively can't use 'cunt' - it's a complete turn off for me.

12:17 PM 
Commented by Blogger Tawny Taylor:


*Striking the word "laved" from my list of words to use in a sex scene.*

I have used "laved". I've read it plenty too. Haven't used turgid, except for that awful submission on Crabby Cows.

Cock is my fave term for a guy's bits.

11:33 AM 
Commented by Blogger aries75:

Agree re cunt - too much of an insult for my tastes. The only place where it seems less so is an F/F scene.

"Pussy" I have no problem with in dialogue (esp. for male characters), but for some reason it still bothers me to include it in narrative (particularly if it would violate the heroine's voice). In cases like this, I try to avoid specifics as much as possible (the old "he entered her" trick), but it really makes me angry that there's no simple, non-clinical non-vulgar non-silly word for genitalia (just think, we call an eyelid an eyelid - not an "orbicularis oculi". So why the frick don't we have similar shortcuts for male/female plumbing??)

Anyway...that's my "curse the English language" rant of the day :) As for "laved", don't like it - too fancy, too purple. Keep it simple and stick with "lick."

10:25 AM 
Commented by Blogger Eva Gale:

Now see, when I see pussy I think of a cat. I think meow. I know what I'm supposed to be thinking, but I just don't link it. Which is why I prefer cunt. Let me explain.I used to hate the word cunt. Because of it's intent to offend as a gender specific insult. But actually I have come to like that word best although not many authors use it, and I don't use it because so many women would be offended.

Can we reclaim that word?

Laved. Depends on the setting. In a historical I would expect it and not snicker, but I wouldn't want to see it in a contemp.

10:55 AM 

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