Friday, December 15, 2006

Dirty Words

I love cock, but I hate dick.

It’s a personal thing, for sure, but when I’m fantasizing about being bent over a bed, or pressed up against a wall, or spread out in the back seat of a 1956 Chevy, the last thing I want is a man’s dick inside me.

Or his penis. Penis. I mean, Ew.

I’m all for rods and shafts, I can get into a good hard-on, I’ll live with an erection. But some words simply work better for me than others. The worst description ever in my opinion? An author submitted a story about a guy with a 57-year-old salami. Now, I’ll admit I’ve got thing for older men, but that sort of meat just isn’t going to make it on my table.

Of course, every writer has both favorites and pet peeves. I prefer pussy, but will use cunt in the right occasion (a term which horrifies many a writer). I avoid vulva, vagina, and cervix, which all have a medical-sound to me. (What is it about “battering against a cervix,” a phrase I read a lot in erotica, that makes me flinch?) I admire Anne Rice’s use of “sex” for both male and female organs, but can rarely pull that word off myself. I had a roommate once who described her nether regions as her “coochie” or her “kitty lips,” in such a delightfully uninhibited way I’ve attempted to steal both every so often, to what success, I don’t know.

What terms do I love? Most descriptions of lingerie are just delicious, from bikinis to panties to knickers—oh, yes, knickers. The word alone makes me want to take mine down.

And what words are on my personal hit list? I’m not a fan of drool. Conjures images of people in asylums. I don’t like to read the word “pucker” too often. I came upon the term “ass lips” fairly recently, and just could not deal with that one. Sometimes, I think, less is more.

But, unfortunately, it’s not only in the world of words that I am persnickety. I went on a date once with a handsome Australian architect who squired me back to his office after drinks and told me he wanted to “see my little titties.” The vixen in me wanted to lift her shirt. His accent was so damn hot. The editor in me wanted to jump out a fucking window. Titties? Please, no. But are breasts any better? Bosoms? Knockers? Melons? You’ve got me. Still, “titties” made me shudder. Made me say no to date number two.

My favorite story on this subject is “Coming and Cumming” by Susan St. Aubin. I had the opportunity to read the story on the Herotica IV CD, and it’s a gorgeous piece about the power of words.

And speaking of “cumming,” I believe this is one of the most difficult actions to describe in erotica. Some go for lots of moans and “ohhhs” and “ahhhs.” Others attempt to explain each action, the “contractions” and “spasms” (more common in US) or “clenching” (which I’ve read more in British erotica). But I think the best is still James Joyce:

“...I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

Oh, god. I need to go now. Yes. To find someone to take down my knickers. Yes. And to let me feel how hard he is. Yes.

As long as he doesn’t show me his dick.


PS What are your favorite words?
Have you returned to specific terms over and over, or are you a trend-setter, hopping from one word or phrase to the next? Any horror stories you care to share?
Pet peeves that make you squirm?
Or will I sit alone with my 57-year-old salami?
PPS And if you do love words, please check out this brand-new blog!


Anonymous said...

Alison - I've been reading your other blog and love it. I felt "dirty" at first since this is all new to me - this online erotica thing. I've always loved erotica... anyway...

I have a friend who refers to her pussy area as her "peach". I haven't been able to eat a real peach ever since. That was definitely a new one to me.
I've always taught my children to refer to their privates by the technical name. So, when my daughter was 2 I taught her that she had a "vagina". Ever since then (she's 10 now) she has called it her "gina" - guess that has stuck with me also.
I've always hated the word "cunt" and was never very fond of "pussy" but it has grown on me.
I totally agree with "dick". It just sounds stupid.
Anyway, hope you are feeling better and thanks for enlightening me! Rene

Alana said...

Love cock. Don't mind dick. Not in love with penis. Sometimes pussy is pretty. Prefer cunt, cunt is better, it's strong and hot. Orgasm is coming. Prefer not to cum. I suppose my biggest pet peeve are cheesy metaphorical references for cock. "His shining shaft of love," for instance.


Portia Da Costa said...

Don't like 'pussy' much. As a cat owner, it seems completely wrong to me...

Otherwise, I just use whatever words seem right at the time!

Mathilde Madden said...

I like cock too.

I also like cunt, but I find in writing it really seems to *shout*. To leap out of the page and have a lot more meaning than I need. So I'm getting into pussy. Pussy works well in my writing, but I don't really say that in real life. Odd.

As for James Joyce. I like puncuation, damnit.

Actually, that's kind of true. I find in writing sex that sentence rhythm and puncuation are way more useful at conveying meaning than a million words. Sentence fragments, ellipse, strings of adjectives. All that bad stuff.

Nikki Magennis said...

Ah, Alison. Thanks for starting my day with some filthy words!

words on my good list: Prick, cock, cunt, tits. I like them short and sharp and dirty. But then I also like comparisons with fruit and flowers and edible things - peach is lovely, anon.

Cum is accompanied by exclamation marks on the damp pages of a jazz-mag. I hate nubs. Pussy makes my mouth pout in a weird way. I like slit, somehow, for being so dirty. And seed.

and the most beloved and multipurpose, overused word I want to put in everywhere is 'hot'.

I like wank and screw and fuck and bang. (My, I feel like a teenager again!) I think I like it when the writing circles in vague metaphorical flourishes around the subject, only to pounce with a hard and very dirty word.

Anonymous said...

Fun with Dick and Jane

For those who don't know, that was the title of a children's reader from the 50s. When my kids were little, they somehow learned (though not from me) that the male organ could be called the "dick" and they figured that naturally the female organ would be called the "jane". I thought it was hilarious. And so maybe that's why I don't have the negative connotation around "dick" that some people seem to have.

And now what about names for the female part that is of special interest to many of Alison's devoted readers -- the ass, the butt, the derriere, the nether cheeks? Well, the most creative term I've heard for this delectable part of the female anatomy was from someone who posted under the name "Gretchen" on the long-defunct Ladies Spanking Forum. She called them "her chubbies". Now isnt' that cute. -- Karl

Mathilde Madden said...

Last time I looked, men also had arses. And a lot of fun they are to write about too!

Alison Tyler said...

Oh, just awesome interesting comments! I love "peach." That is so damn cool.

Nikki, I tend to find any words you across-the-pond writers use to be just amazingly sexy. "Arse," for instance, and I did say "knickers." "Prick" seems to be more of an insult in the US, though.

I guess the big dilemma as a writer is not to over-use any words, so you wind up avoiding reps and creating the type of terms Alana mentioned "pulsing joystick," and what not.

Often, when editing, I simply cut the last few words. So if an author has continually repeated a term, I can end a sentence with "He thrust inside her." Rather than "He thrust inside her naked pussy." Or whatever.

Also, does it depend on the audience you're writing for? I was excited to write two different holiday stories featured in Good Vibrations' catalog for two years. And they had very specific terms that tweaked them. I think they took out "rod."

One of my favorite "word" stories was early on in my career. I was out to dinner with a friend and his roommate who leaned over to me and whispered, "I nibbled slowly around her asshole." Or something equally filthy. I nearly fell off my chair. Turns out, he was quoting a line from my first novel. I wanted to hide under the table.

Flat out, words are far easier for me on paper than out of mouth.

Back to the sofa...

Janine Ashbless said...

Absolutely the worst simile I ever read was when someone compared some man's genitalia to "a horse's naughty bits." I don't remember which book it was in. I do remember throwing the book across the room with a howl of outrage.

May said...

No Manroot! That's just soooo soooo soooo wrong. I sincerely hope that it's not made it's way to erotica (it was in a romance novel, but I've a feeling it's happened more than once since a romance author blogged about it too).

And purple mushroom to describe the head of the penis. That's...undescribably bad.

Nikki Magennis said...

My peach, my clam, my cookie

- from My Puss by Margaret Cho

Manroot. Hmm. Manroot. That's a new one on me. Purple mushroom is just bizarre. Though I spose it's kind of evocative.

Olivia Knight a.k.a. angelsandinsects said...

(I'm coming out from under my pseudonym-rock with a barrage of filthy words) When I started running out of synonyms, I took some girl friends out for cocktails and we brainstormed filth for two hours. My favourites are the verbs... For 'penetrate', we found pummel, slam, graft, grind, pound, gallop, buck, impale, explore, piston, examine, drive, batter, drill, enter, skewer, rub, stab, slide, caress, hammer, slip, glide, slither, mount, force, prod, plunge, pump, fight in, rock, plummet, stoke, fill, delve, dive, shove, slap, stab, whack, pierce, stroke, dig,... The ones that really make me tingle, though, are pummel (phwaar, you can pummel me anytime, big boy...), impale, and piston... Guess I like it rough!

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi Olivia, nice to meet you properly! And wow, what a torrent of vigorous verbs. I'll be sure to ask next time I'm stuck for a pummelling simile.

Shanna Germain said...

I think my favorite phrase for female body parts is from Tom Robbins' book, "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues." It's "vertical smile." It just makes me giggle, and it has such a nice, positive feel. And it's kind of sexy, in a off-hand way.

When it comes to my own writing, I try to let my characters decide. I find myself thinking, "What would this person call that body part?"

Sometimes my characters don't know what to call their body parts, and then I can get away with the things Alison mentioned, such as "He slid inside her." Other times, my character's answer is a word I don't really like, such as penis, and then I try to talk the character out of it. "Don't you want to call that your cock? Please?" But no. And then I'm stuck with a word that I don't find particularly sexy, but that my character thinks is hotter than hell.

Thank goodness none of my characters have decided that they have a "manroot" or "womanhood." I might have to kill them off in the first paragraph (and thus my career would change from erotica writer to mystery-murder writer).

For my own personal preferences, I prefer the street-slang sound of cock, nipple, breast, ass and...well, I still haven't found a
word that I love for female parts. Pussy is probably closest, lips are okay, cunt for a certain feel...but I don't like any of the really medical terms (vagina, labia, etc.).

Okay, now I'm off to finish a story about a girl with a foot fetish. Let's see how many dirty words I can come up with for toes!

Sabrina Luna said...

Okay, I've used cock the most, penis very sparingly, dick never. I have written 'his member', but have tossed out the 'throbbing manhood'. :P

I've used pussy, nether lips (although some writers gag at this), slit, opening &, yes, her sex. I don't like cunt --just a personal turn-off.

There was a time when I wrote some realllly purpley prose. Thank goodness I write more in (what I call) hot pink phrases now. Hahaha! ;)

kristina lloyd said...

I must confess, I like dick. I like it because it’s so coarse and crude, although I generally save it for dialogue. Only a certain type of character would refer to his dick, and he’s a bit of rough, pleasingly arrogant, with a swagger in his stride. He might also use the word ‘titties’, said with an amused sneer and a glint in his eye.

Generally speaking, I do like a good, hard Anglo-Saxonism. I’m not keen on prick though. It sounds so little, and I prefer to use it in less engorged moments. Context is all. One well-placed cunt in a story can be far more potent than several dozen scattered throughout a porn mag. Pussy has a nice soft intimacy to it but can sometimes feel too American for me. Snatch is fun, if only to play merrily with its misogynistic ‘vagina dentata’ implications. I like hole and slit too. My next BL novel is called Split: very dirty and yet perfectly innocuous.

Knickers, yes. Panties, no. I also like gusset. It has a certain ugly thrill to it.

Arse, cock, balls, wank, oh yes. Bum, no. Not ever. Cum is also banned from my dictionary. Tits I like. Breasts too.

Verbs: fuck, slam, thrust, drive, shove, ram and so on. But sometimes, cooler, more clinical words can work: insert, place, put. Similarly, because I’m so accustomed to clit, the occasional clitoris can be hot. I like the way it clicks and clatters around the teeth. There’s a park in N. London called Clissold Park. I find that horny. (Honestly, I don’t get off on A-Zs or anything kinky but, mmm, Clissold Park. There’s even a kiss in there somewhere. And it glistens.)

I also like vulva and vulval, though I know I’m in the minority here. The sound is so lush; it’s velvety and plump, and it’s volcanic lava. Plus, I don’t often hear it used anatomically. Even today, people incorrectly use ‘vagina’ to refer to women’s external bits. Vagina and penis. Yuck and double yuck, unless, say, you’re writing about a priest and a nun getting it on. I tend not to write stuff like that though.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I must go wash my mouth out.

Sabrina Luna said...

I love some of your Brit-words for naughty things --sounds sexy & cheeky! I'm writing a few down for future reference. ;) However, I must confess, 'knickers' still throws me off. I'm thinking old-time granny pantalooms not sexy panties. Just my $1.01, for what it's worth.

Great topic, btw. :)

Mathilde Madden said...

Ooh Kristina I like your thoughts about vulva. In think you might have convinced me with your combination of volcano and larva!

Explosive, indeed.

Alison Tyler said...

I was reading The Godfather (again) last night, and got to the first brutal love scene between Santino and the maid of honor (can't remember her name). And the term is "vulva" in this scene.

I've read this book so many times, and I always forget how brutal the love scene is, and how part sexy, party squeamish the description makes me. Santino has a "pole." Was that a term mentioned before?

I love coming across dirty scenes in non-erotic books, like the anal one in Presumed Innocent. Could that be a future topic on one of the Wednesday discussion days? Favorite sex scenes in/and out of erotica?