Friday, November 16, 2012

Those naughty bits...what do you call them ?

I'm not trying to be flippant here.  I'm really wondering.  I've read humorous blogs on this topic that listed the most outrageous purple prose that the writers had ever read.  It was hilarious reading all of the euphemisms that writers had used to describe a handful of body parts.

Some of my favorites?
Male part: Manroot, purple tulip, turgid rod, rampant manhood, and throbbing pole/shaft/etc.
Female part: Quivering quim., slick love grotto, passion-bedewed portal,  honeypot,  love canal,  etc.  Other important female part: Love button, nubbins, pearl of pleasure. Other two female parts: Alabaster mounds, twin peaks of pleasure. 
Sigh.  You get the picture.
But what's an author to do?  It ruins the mood if you go all clinical and describe his erect penis rubbing her vulva, before entering her vagina.  Sounds like a medical program...maybe Makeus Sexy, MD? 

The reason I'm even thinking about this is because I just read a book that kept using a term for the female part, c***,  repeatedly in very hot, very long and descriptive sex scenes.  I'm sorry, but that drew me out of the scenes way too much!  I've used that word myself as a swear word when I'm really aggravated, and most females I know get agitated even hearing it used that way.  They give me shocked looks at my being so bold as to swear "like a Marine".  I learned to swear at my Mama's knee, and from her brothers who had all been in the army during WWII.  They all swore magnificently, with great flourishes of nastiness and humor.  And from my Dad who was in the British Army where swearing was raised to an art form.

But to use a word that has such a negative connotation in a sex scene that is supposed to be getting me all hot and bothered?  Nope...ruined the mood.  How about you?  Are there any particular words that will make you look away from the book and say, "Ew!"?

My latest release, Prophecy of the Undead, is now available. There are sex scenes, but after having read some other erotic books I feel that mine are romances with erotic bits, rather than erotica.  My sex scenes are not the focus of the story.  They happen then we go back to character development and the plot.  Sex is only a part of why my heroine and hero fall in love.  But it is too important of a part not to include.  I just hope I avoid anything that might make you say, "Ew!" Or giggle.

Read more about my books at: www.fionamcgier.com where the first page is my blog.


Tina Donahue said...

Do you read erotic romance often, Fiona?

Cunt is used all the time, not in a perjorative way, but as a descriptive/modern term - like cock is used for a man's penis.

I use cunt all the time. No one has ever said anything negative about it, most especially my editors. I'm certain if they thought someone would be offended, they would have let me know.

This is from the Ellora's Cave style guide for authors:

"“Cunt” is fine as a description of the female genitalia, but an offensive insult when used to refer to a woman."

Clearly, no writer of erotic romance that I know of uses cunt to refer to a woman. However, it is used all the time to refer to her pussy (a word I'm not particularly fond of).

And just so we're clear on something. Erotica (with an 'a' at the end) is a story about the character's sexual journey. It doesn't require an HEA or an HFN or even a remotely emotional connection between the participants. The story is all about the sex.

Erotic romance, on the other hand, (without the 'a' at the end - the kind of stories I write) is no different from any other romance (even the sweet kind). It demands an HEA or a HFN and an emotional connection between the participants. The only thing that makes it different from sweet romances is that the sex is detailed. That's it.

Not everyone likes erotic romance. That's cool. Not everyone likes inspirational or sweet romance either.

However, each of them appeals to an audience segment that aren't offended or put off by what they read.

It's all in finding what appeals to you as a reader.

Anonymous said...

I had to learn to use the word cock. It still makes me laugh when I write it. (Not so great when that sex scene has to be written.) We said dick in the inner city of DC. As for cunt, I don't mind as long as the character is not being called a cunt. I am the opposite of you Fiona, I don't care for some of the milder terms. My eye sort of skips over them. Tina, I don't mind the word pussy. When I was a teenager it made me cringe because it seemed like my mother's favorite curse word. She used it like other people used Motherf*ck$r. I think she just did it to make me squeel and roll my eyes. She doesn't use it at all now.

I think you just have to explore to see what you like or don't like.

jean hart stewart said...

Interesting column and comments. Hard to know what a poor writer's to do though, the same words can attract or repel a reader. I follow the EC guidelines and hope for the best...Just turned in a book to my editor where I use the word 'prick' and don't know if that will fly or not.

Fiona McGier said...

I guess I don't read much erotica. I thought I knew what erotic romance was, but maybe I don't. The women I talk to regularly think I'm way too advanced for them in how I swear. And they think my books are almost too sexual. Yet here I'm being schooled in what I don't know. I've never submitted to Ellora's Cave...I guess that's a good thing, since I'd be rejected for not using the correct terminology. I'm glad I brought the subject up. Obviously I still have a lot to learn.

One person's erotic romance is another person's sensual romance...is another person's "Ho-hum, how boring." We really do need to learn where our tastes fit in, both as readers and as writers. Thanks for the responses.