Monday, June 25, 2007

Cunt or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the C-word

by Kristina Lloyd

When I was a little girl, I didn’t have genitalia. I had a nebulous zone referred to as ‘between your legs’. I can’t blame my parents. They were simply part of a certain generation. But really. Between your legs? It’s like describing your face as ‘above your shoulders’.

For a long time, I had no word for my ‘down theres’. I wasn’t alone. Female sexuality is such a mysterious, scary element our language has evolved with a hole in it. We even lack an anatomical word for the whole shebang. Vagina is internal, vulva is external, and no 'official' noun unites them.

In my twenties, I quietly fell in love with ‘cunt’. Feminism and Chaucer helped: feminism because it insisted women reclaim the word; Chaucer because he was merrily using it in the Middle ages where it appeared as ‘queynte’ (quaint). Now, I don’t necessarily regard my nethers as quaint (and that wasn’t what Chaucer meant anyway) but queynte’s gentle bawdiness tempered the coarseness I was more used to. And somehow, Chaucer made it sexy in a way Germaine Greer couldn’t. ‘He shall have queynte right enough at eve,’ said Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, a character who, were she alive today, would surely be a member of Lust Bites. ‘Randy little bitch’ we’d probably call her.

Chaucer’s queynte is robust, vital, ordinary and sexy, and, in some contexts, so is cunt. Generally speaking, I love a good, hard Anglo-Saxonism, and nearly all the best sex words rhyme with ‘uh’: suck, fuck, cunt, grunt, lust, love, come. But it’s impossible to escape cunt’s taboo status, and the dark thrill of that makes it even richer. It’s a forbidden word for lovers and pornographers to share, a word to whisper, gasp or snarl. Try and murmur it seductively, and it will always top you. It’s too goddamn dirty, too monosyllabic and guttural to behave nicely by candlelight.

Whenever we use cunt sexually, we’re challenging language by trying to make the word our own. Cunt resonates with secrecy, deviance and vulgarity. You might aim to make it a glorious embrace of femaleness but shivering at the edge is the shock-language of porn – slutty redhead gets her cunt fucked (yay! did our hit rate just go up?) – and of abuse – you fucking cunt! The word is riddled with conflict. And conflict is hot because that's where, as individuals, we are all undone.

Some feminists, recognising the misogyny inherent in cunt being the ultimate insult, make a case for only using it positively. I think this is misguided. So many slang words are connected with sex. Trying to exempt cunt works only to reinforce its illicit potency, and to transform female genitalia into something precious and untouchable. Too much of this, and you end up with batty (but well-intentioned) women celebrating the ‘sacred portal to the feminine temple’, describing themselves as goddesses and making yoni art to honour the 'life-giving power of the feminine'. (Heck, you all like those snatch-bags, don't you?)

I’m not exactly the most tantric chick on the block and so, while I can understand the impulse to reclaim, I reckon all this mother Earth reverence takes us back to where we started. It steeps female sexuality in mystery, distortion and confusion; it elevates us into something we are not. What's more, it is horribly biologically reductive in privileging fertility over fucking, and is about as sexy as your granny's cushions.

Cunt is cunt. I do wish people could get over it. One of my favourite dirty books is My Secret Life by ‘Walter’, a diary of a 19th century gentleman. It runs to 11 volumes and contains cunt 5357 times. (I counted.) He uses the word cunt as matter-of-factly as ‘arm’ or ‘nostril’ and repetition soon neutralises it. I find the blankness curiously sexy but that perhaps says more about me and Walt than it does about cunt.

The word didn't make it into the Oxford English Dictionary until 1972 although its first recorded use was 1230 (Gropecuntelane was a London street - huh, guess what they did there). I could risk boring you all with various etymological debates about cunt's origins (is it from High German Kunte, Latin cunnus, Sanskrit cushi?) but what I really want to say is, wow, seven and half centuries of being ignored by dictionaries; that's one helluva word. Okay, so I know Dr Johnson wasn't around in the 13thC but doesn't it make you glad we have The Urban Dictionary?

So how does this affect me as an author? Darker Than Love, my first erotic novel, is set in Victorian London and features no instances of cunt. It isn’t that cunt doesn’t appear because I wrote an historical novel. Rather, I wrote an historical novel in order to avoid using cunt. Black Lace, then relatively new on the market (1998), advised authors to ‘approach with caution’. They had a similar warning about ‘fuck’. I couldn’t conceive of writing contemporary while watching my Cs and Fs so I stepped back in time.

One year later, guidelines were practically jettisoned. I wrote Asking for Trouble faster than anything I’ve ever written and used cunt 47 times. It felt right - for me, for the characters and the story. And it's a BL bestseller.

My forthcoming book, Split*, uses the word 9 times. My publisher has its eye on the US romance market, and is returning to its softly-softly origins. No one told me to go easy on cunt but there were rumours and it seemed prudent to do so. I am, appropriately, split about the wisdom of this. On the one hand, I want more women to enjoy erotica (and to buy my hot, dirty books) and if toning down the language achieves this, perhaps it’s a decent sacrifice. Or am I selling out? Because I also want people to feel okay about cunt, and sadly, it seems I can’t have it both ways in the current climate. (And I always want it both ways.)

Perhaps cunt sounds harsher to US than to UK ears. Perhaps writing which is comfortable with cunt will always be niche.

And perhaps I’m preaching to the choir here. Because I’m sure you’ll agree, ‘slutty redhead gets her feminine temple fucked’ ain’t going to work for any reader of Lust Bites.

Kristina X


In researching this article, I found this, possibly one of the most disturbing videos I’ve ever seen. And I just wrote a novel set in a puppet museum. I may need therapy.

*You see how I casually linked to Split there? Truth is, that’s the first time I’ve ever done that on Lust Bites. The book only appeared on Amazon a few days ago and I am madly excited I could link. I still am!

72 comments:

Mathilde Madden said...

I love using the word cunt. But it is impossible to make it sit back on the page and just mean what it means. (Unless you are Walter).

Sometimes you do need a 'between the legs' word that doesn't yell.

I like pussy. I use pussy a lot in Silver Werewolves. I also think it is kind of funny in that context.

Female sexuality is such a mysterious, scary element our language has evolved with a hole in it.

Love that. Brilliant.

kristina lloyd said...

Pussy is a very porno word - which means sometimes I love it but sometimes it feels wrong, especially in a female 1st person narrative.

Split is set in the Yorkshire Moors, Bronte country, and pussy just doesn't work up there. Too draughty. I used folds, crease, groove and various other non-sex words instead of cunt and pussy. Oh, and of course, I used 'split' at certain key moments.

I think if Emily Bronte were around now, she'd say 'cunt'. And I think she'd drink peaty whisky and have really rough subby sex. Heck, maybe she actually did. Where's Olivia to give us a Wuthering Heights update?

kristina lloyd said...

And thank you, Tilly, for liking my hole.

Erastes said...

eek - my fault for cruising my friends list at work - you nearly got me fired!

I don't like the word, never have - it's just about the worst word in the word. It has the same ARGH factor and passion wilting effect as "cum" does.

kristina lloyd said...

Gawd, sorry Erastes. I wish I could put up some NSFW curtains.

Can I apologise in advance if I get anyone sacked today?

Mathilde Madden said...

Erastes!

You *cannot* compare it to cum. Cum is evilbadwrong and not and actual word.

(Not that using the word cunt or not is really a big problem for you, eh, darling?)

Madelynne Ellis said...

I like using cunt and fuck in my writing, although in the normal world I rarely say either of them.

I don't like pussy, maybe it's because I'm from a place only a teeny bit further north than Bronte country.

Madelynne Ellis said...

Good point, Ms Madden. You don't get many cunts in m/m stuff, unless they're swearing at each other.

Cum just makes my skin crawl. It is just wrong on so-ooo many levels.

Alana said...

Kx, I wrote a thesis paper on My Secret Life in college, Victorian Literature class. Didn't the writer, "Walter," use the word "spent" rather than come, as in at the time that was the word used for ejaculation/orgasm?

Yeah, I'm sure I wrote two-or-three paragraphs on that, in which I examined "spent" in the context of England's culture at the time, just as it's interesting to examine "come" in the context of current culture.

Do you think Oscar Wilde and "Walter" knew each other? Has anyone else heard the rumor Jane Austen was a hooker, as in supported her writing habit by selling her randy sweet cunt to certain English gentleman?

Too bad Ms. Austen never used the word "cunt" in "Pride & Prejudice."

By the way, while I was a stripper I remember my peers and I refered to our cunts as cookies. In retrospect, I find that . . . worthy of a thesis paper.

Alison Tyler said...

I will never forget the moment when my ex-fiance asked me for his ring back and I pulled the glittery thing from my change purse rather than taking it off my finger. "Fucking cunt," he called me. The word resonated in my head for weeks. Doesn't the term have power?

In writing, I use "cunt" and "pussy" and "there" and others. The one thing that disturbs me the most, though, is when I use a nice clear word, like "clit," and an editor changes that nice clear word to "hot little love button." I want to put notes on the books to the readers to say: I DIDN'T WRITE "HOT LITTLE LOVE BUTTON." I SWEAR.

Kristina, You are awesome. Fantastic post!

XXX,
Alison

P.S. Oh, Erastes, I have to reference this story again. I will do it whenever anyone brings up the word "cum." It's by Susan St. Aubin and I was lucky enough to read it aloud on the Herotica 4 audio. The story is "Coming and Cumming," available here.

jaydeevixen said...

Personally as both reader and writer, I *love* the word cunt and use it a great deal. For me, it is a hard-hitting, straight-forward, no-nonsense, passion-pumping word that can rarely be replaced. Sure, there's opportunity for abuse, as there is in many things these days, but to me, it's all about context, context, context and a little discernment and trust. I could avoid the word and still write like a mysogynistic asshole! Or I can embrace it and write like an angel. I also love the word 'cum'!!! (I can see you all scuttling away right now ;-). Pussy is okay in certain contexts too though when it's wrong it sucks (no pun intended!). Whilst on the subject, what about male genitalia...what do you all prefer. I love cock, dick is up there with seventies porno on the names front:-) Great topic of conversation Kristina, thanks!

kristina lloyd said...

Alana, wow. See, I knew you were grubby. You didn't read all 11 vols of 'Walter', did you? I think I was sated after two. And yes, he did 'spend' a lot. I remember reading a fab analysis of this linking it to the economics of an industrialising nation. Really, it was a lot more interesting than I just made it sound.

Alison, when I was mulling all this stuff over, it occurred to me we don't have a slang word for clitoris (unless you count 'clit'). There are silly words like button and nubbin, but nothing that parallels the slang terms we have for pretty much all other sex parts. I mean, there's no slang word for perineum but do we need one? It seems clit has been neglected.

*I could avoid the word and still write like a mysogynistic asshole*. Absolutely, Jaydeevixen. Context and usage is everything as you say. And I love cock and I love dick. Dick sounds very dirty and laddish to me whereas cock is a tad more refined. So I have a, um, particular soft spot for dick.

I'm getting lots of weird mental images today - Alison pulling her ring from her purse, 'cum' making Madelynne's skin crawl.

kristina lloyd said...

Oh, and also in my research I learned that 'cunt-stand' was a 19C+ word for 'sexual enthusiasm in a woman'.

It's a noun. So we'd presumably need to say 'I have a cunt-stand'.

Which really isn't working for me because of the weird mental images I'm getting.

t'Sade said...

I'm very strange. I've used pussy and labia but I don't really use any other word. Cunt seems just off to me, but I think it is because of the connections more than anything else. Plus, my mate hates the word. But, I might use it a bit more.

Murray Suid said...

Kristina,

I took a Chaucer class in college. The only thing I remember is that it was boring.

Now, as I read your comments, oh how I wish that you had been the professor.

Murray

Janine Ashbless said...

Great post Kristina - very well put. I almost feel you've said it all and I have nothing to add.

'Cunt', like 'prick', ought to be capable of use in both scathing and positive sexual contexts. 'Pussy' strikes me as terribly American but I have to use it sometimes where 'cunt' will just be too strong.

'Cunt' also seems to be less porno in the first person - ie 'my cunt'. There aren't overtones of contempt if you're referring to yourself.

I used 'yoni' a lot in 'Burning Bright' but since they were all talking a fantasy version of Hindi that wasn't too twee.

Hate 'cum'. Like 'spend'.

Mathilde Madden said...

Kristina Lloyd taught me to love dick.

Alison Tyler said...

Kristina Lloyd taught me to love dick.

Ooooh, stop it Mat. I will run out of space at the T-shirt factory!

I think dick sounds like an insult. People say, "He's such a dick," but nobody ever says, "He's such a cock."

I always change the word "cum" to "come" in stories I edit. "Cum" seems too Hustler.

I like "twee" though. What does that mean, Janine?

Nikki H said...

Great post. Kristina, I think you ought to throw the challenge out there for people to come up with another word for 'perineum'. It really pulls me out a story. What do others think? You're reading a sexy little book with 'cunts' and 'cocks' galore and suddenly, along ambles 'perineum'. It's too medical. A word that should only be used by doctors and lecturers of midwifery.

Angell said...

I'm with you on this - I love the word. It's harsh, yet accurate and exciting. I tend to use it a lot, as well as pussy.

I need a thesaurus though. Any suggestions?

I also use the word cum a lot (please god don't shoot me ladies). I am still just an amateur....

Madeline Moore said...

Great topic, and a wonderfully written piece, Kristina. I believe cunt is a hot word for a lot of women because they've been called a 'fucking cunt' once too often (and once would seem too often.) Personally, I like the word and equate it to the male cock. Pussy goes with dick. Snatch (my personal favourite because of those great, vagina dente images it brings to mind) pairs up with johnson. And so on...

I abide by the BL guidelines and only use cunt in dialogue. It's tricky to describe what's going on without using 'cunt' and 'cock' or other such words to describe the actual parts involved, but I've gotten fairly good at it. Every once in awhile 'his cock' makes an appearance, but 'her cunt' doesn't...hmmm...sexist? wordist?

There is a word for the perinium, and it is 'tween. (as in 'between'.) It applies to both men and women.

Madelynne Ellis said...

angell, do you mean a general thesaurus or an erotic one? My favourite reference book for sex terms is 'The big book of Filth' by Jonathon Green.

As for male terms, cock and prick are my faves, but I do write a lot of historical stuff.

Alison, I've never had an editor change anything to 'hot little love button' thank god, but I have had 'arse-cheeks' inserted, which I hate, and my personal bugbear, where the phrase 'fucking above your station' was changed to 'swiving above your station.' It just doesn't have the same ring.

Mathilde Madden said...

I had something like oh-my-fucking-god changed to oh-my-good-god.

The problem being hyphenating god and fucking

I think we ended up with oh-my-fucking-good-god.

Which was fine.

kristina lloyd said...

Hurrah T'sade, a convert to the cause, albeit a tentative one.

Murray, thank you! I think my Chaucer classes would be great although no one would pass their exams.

Janine, cheers. I think yoni, like most words (apart from cum) is fine in the right context. And I think you are very good on context. I remember reading a story of yours in Cruel Enchantments (can't recall which, sorry) and you used the word 'bollocks' so perfectly. It's so rare to see that word in smut and I was amazed that you'd made it work.

Alison, 'twee' is another word for 'cunt'. You should try it in your fiction. It matches Madeline’s ‘tween.

*I have had arse-cheeks inserted* - good-fucking-god, these images keep coming. Please stop it, Madelynne.

claudia (jaydeevixen) said...

so I too now have the image thing going on with "Krstina Lloyd taught me to love dick"!!! great line :-). I don't mind the Hustler connotations of 'cum' myself and I agree wholeheartedly that snatch is a great word too. I'm having my eyes opened to you guys having your writing tweaked in editing here though...imagined you would all have carte blanche on your erotic expression...clearly not...hhhmmmmm.

Alison Tyler said...

My funniest editing moment -- being edited, that is -- was having the word "grooves" changed to "articulations." I can't even remember the sentence or the reference. But I remember knowing that I hadn't written the word.

Okay, KL, I'm going to put "twee" right up there with "hoo-ha."

I know I'm guilty of using asscheeks (not "arse" over here). But I hate "asslips," which I read repeatedly in a story and kept cutting. (There's another image for you, KL.)

But what I really want to know is this... what do I have to do to pass your class?

May said...

"Kristina Lloyd taught me to love dick" would make a great signature line. LOL.

I don't mind reading cunt, but I don't like to use it in my writing. At least, never written a sentence in which 'cunt' sounds right.

I like pussy better than cunt, and cunt better than pussy.

I like cock better than dick, but prick less than cock.

But these preferences extend only to my writing.

Doesn't skeeve me to read snatch at all, unless it doesn't work.

kristina lloyd said...

Oh God, I'm so slow. I didn't realise jaydeevixen was Claudia who I've been making bad jokes with on Myspace. I'm getting dizzy. Sorry, oh Evil Bite!

I once had an orgasm changed to an organism but I think that was a mistake.

Alison, to pass my class all you'd need do is show up. I like to give certain students an easy ride.

Smut Girl said...

Oh, I love this stuff. Great post! The first time I typed cunt, I swear I looked around to see if anyone had caught me. Now it is my favorite word. I have been known to get distraught if an editor changes my cunts to pussies. What I loathe are euphemisms. No offense to those who use them, it's a personal thing. My least favorite I believe is, "love oven" when referencing a cunt. I just think...Oww!

Cum is just wrong. When I see it in an otherwise wonderful story, it sets me teeth on edge.

Love cock, dick less, prick works in a pinch.

And I agree with Alison, never mess with "clit". Nice straightforward word that everyone knows. However, depending on your market, they want various descriptions, which is how one ends up with marbles, buttons, pebbles and...well, there are more. I just can't remember them.

I like twee. I've never heard that before. Where's my list...?

xoxo
Sommer

Smut Girl said...

Or should that be 'pussys'? Like monkeys? I always want to type monkies..but it's monkeys. And now I'm worried that pussies should be pussys.

Goddamn, I have to learn to spell...

kristina lloyd said...

Actually, Alison. Scratch that. I want you to learn these lines to improve your knowledge of Eng Lit.

Hamlet: Did you think I meant tweery matters?

The Miller's Tale (Chaucer): And prively he caughte hire by the hoo-haa.

DH Lawrence ... actually, I think that's enough for one day.

Class dismissed!

Anonymous said...

Before Lustbites there was DH Lawrence.
He would love this discussion.
His answer was John Thomas and Lady Jane
for prick and cunt.

Alison Tyler said...

I walk away for just a minute and KL calls me "an easy ride."

Did someone say t-shirt?

Kate Pearce said...

My parents called that place between your legs your 'whatsit'-I have never been able to eat cheesy puffy snacks as a result.
(US translation-in the UK Cheeto's or cheese puffs brand is Wotsits)

So despite the above confusion, I'm still not sure about cunt. I used to hate it because it was always used in a threatening derogatory way by men, but the more erotica I read, particularly by my fellow lusties, the more familiar and comfortable I get with it.

I haven't used it yet, having decided on the more American pussy and cock, but maybe one day!

Janine Ashbless said...

Aargh! Don't listen to Kristina's disinformation! She is a very naughty girl!

"Twee" = "Affectedly quaint or dainty."

It is applicable to people, words and interior decoration. It might appliy to a lot of euphemisms being bendied around today. "Love canal" is one I've really hated - and that was in a Nexus book!

Sorry, I had no idea is was a Britishism. What would the US equivalent be?

Janine Ashbless said...

My spelling has got to pot.

Janine Ashbless said...

I remember reading a story of yours in Cruel Enchantments (can't recall which, sorry) and you used the word 'bollocks' so perfectly. It's so rare to see that word in smut and I was amazed that you'd made it work

*blushes*

Thank-you!

Oh, my fave fantasy/historical word for "balls" (apart from "bollocks" of course) is "stones". Actually I think "balls" is my least favourite.

Alison Tyler said...

I think twee = precious

Do you think so, Kate (having hopped to this side of the pond)? As in, "I avoid going to Carmel, because it's so twee."

Tell me if I've used this incorrectly. I actually think describing Carmel as a bit "pussy" works, too, though, even though I do/did understand that "twee" was not an actual euphemism for cunt. I was just teasing there. Just like I knew Nikki—I swear I knew—that the little camera icon on my computer didn't mean you could see me. I was kidding!

Erin said...

There is a word for the perinium, and it is 'tween. (as in 'between'.) It applies to both men and women.

I've only heard of taint. But it's a nasty word and I can't imagine someone using that in the middle of a scene unless they're doing it for shock effect.

Kristina Lloyd taught me to love dick.

Seems to me like Kristina taught me to love cunt.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

I love all the dirty four-letter "c" words: cunt, cock, clit... Mmmm. There's a sound, not quite an alliteration, that speaks to the urgency of sex, the sharp thrusting.

"Cum," however, is not a real word--unless you're speaking Latin!

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Oh, and "arse," "prick," and "bollocks" seem very English to me--I don't think I've ever read a story by a US writer that used "arse"--whereas words like "cunt," "cock," "dick," and "pussy" all seem to, er, swing both ways.

Ally said...

This is hilarious, I recall long ago asking my mother what it was called and she actually said to me 'It's your "cunt", but it's a secret between just girls so don't ever say it, people hate that word, just call it your vagina.' I once snuck it out infront of my grandmother and she promptly dragged me to the bathroom and washed my mouth out with soap. Years later I began to refer to it with pet names like, "peach", "foofoo" and now she's "Wilma". Cock was always hard for me to say, I don't really know why, I love prick and especially dick, mostly if I'm using it with the phrase "dickhead", this always gives me the most hilarious mental picture. I've always referred semen as "cum" and recently Laughed My Ass Off at the UK term "spunk"... LOL I still find it funny, I had never heard it before.

Nikki, I read this on Wikipedia...

The perineum is popularly known among younger generations as the "chode" or "taint." The latter is frequently accompanied by the explanation, "It ain't quite the [anus], and it ain't quite the [vagina]," which includes the phonetic equivalent of "taint."

So where did they get "chode"?
hmmmm........

Erin said...

"Cum," however, is not a real word--unless you're speaking Latin!

I've cum to love that word as well.

Erin said...

So where did they get "chode"?
hmmmm........


Sadly, Beavis and Butthead.

kristina lloyd said...

Heck, I'm learning so much today. I am googling these new words - chode, taint, gooch.

Weirdly, if you look at The Urban Dictionary, it seems women don't have perineums. Or, uh, maybe women don't post their definitions of filthy language on UD.

If Janine hadn't ruined my evil masterplan to infiltrate American porn and introduce fake words, I might have put up my definition of 'twee': another word for cunt or pussy.

Example: Kristina Lloyd taught me to love twee.

kristina lloyd said...

And Ally, your mum sounds wild. I love that story.

kristina lloyd said...

Dayle, it is interesting, isn't it? It makes me think we'll never understand each other! Because pussy sounds American to quite a lot of Brits (rather than a 'swing both ways' word). And arse is simply our version of your ass. A bit like 'center' or 'centre'. I wouldn't expect a US writer to use it.

Heck, and let's not even get started on the whole knickers or panties debate.

But from what you say, cunt, cock and dick are the great uniters. Hurrah!

Alison Tyler said...

Oh, please, Kristina. Please talk to us about your knickers. Please....

kristina lloyd said...

I just took them off for the sake of Anglo-American relations.

Kate Pearce said...

Alison, Carmel is a perfect analogy for 'twee'

And it's okay-I don't live there :)

Alison Tyler said...

Oh, thanks, Kate!
Hmmm, so should I add that to my listof euphemisms for pussy now?

He slipped his hand under her knickers, gently fingering her Carmel.

Alison Tyler said...

What would that be for you Brits? Essex?

Amanda said...

this was a marvelous essay, Kristina. thanks for writing it and sharing it. i adore the word cunt; hate with a passion the word pussy. it sounds so patronizing to me. awww cute little puddy tat. yech.

split is a great word. what a great idea about Emily Bronte usine the word cunt and drinking peat whisky. you should write her into a book ;)

i love using the word cunt during sex. what i don't like is when it is used negatively to refer to someone.

i adore the word cum. love cock, dick, can't stand rod or pole or anything that uses car metaphors like piston for the damn thing.

i dislike saying vulva and labia, sounds like something from the steve martin movie, the man with two brains.

i love sex lips. in fact it's fun sometimes to write it as one sexy little word "sexlips" yum.

sex isn't bad either (i mean as a word for cunt). it was used a lot in story of O. it can come across a bit euphemistic sounding in a modern tale but in something older, it can work.

yeah, ooohie on the love button.

i like all these t-shirts that are being created. you should have a t-shirt day and show everyone wearing all these groovy slogans.

amanda

Anonymous said...

If we return to Kristina's opening words,
we find "queynte"/quaint as
Chaucer's take on cunt. And now many
thoughts later, we've discovered
quaint again, as a synonym for twee.
What a surprising journey. One the
Wife of Bath would have liked.

Jeremy Edwards said...

Marvelous, polysyllabic post on the divine monosyllable, Kristina! Erudite, insightful, and keenly witty. Your personal history with using/avoiding the word in your various novels is a fascinating slice of behind-the-scenes literary life, and your reflections on "earth mother" imagery are very interesting. And what a great crop of comments . . . and illustrations! (For any non-U.S. people who don't recognize the denomination in the origami money shot, that is a one-dollar bill, which features George Washingtongue. Washington. Sorry.)

Smut Girl said...

*(For any non-U.S. people who don't recognize the denomination in the origami money shot, that is a one-dollar bill, which features George Washingtongue. Washington. Sorry.) *

*snort*...*giggle*...And what really makes me sick, J, is that those things don't take you any time at all to think up. Clever boy :P oops. there's a tongue right there... ;)

Kate Pearce said...

No Alison, Essex is not 'twee'
I hesitate to offer an appropriate word for Essex as I might offend someone-even myself ;)

Um, 'twee' in the UK anyone?
Brighton maybe? (ducking)

kristina lloyd said...

Ah, thanks Jeremy. And Smut Girl, yes - it *is* amazing the way he tosses off these jokes so swiftly.

Brighton, twee. Haha, Kate, you're so funny. Brighton is one of the untweeest (sp?) towns in the UK. Naff and tacky at times, oh yes, but never twee. Twee is chocolate box cottages and chintz, swags and ruffles and ceramic squirrel ornaments. The Cotswolds.

Nb. For those in the US, cotswolds is another word for bollocks. Example: I sucked him off while fondling his cotswolds.

Janine Ashbless said...

Twee places in the UK?
Stratford on Avon, maybe.

There's a village in the Yortkshire Wolds called Wetwang. Now that really is quite rude! And there's one in the Orkney islands called Wank.

(Not as funny in the US, sorry)

BTW, I wanted to say I thought the photo collection for this post was brilliant.

Madeline Moore said...

Oops. I was thinking of 'taint' but I wrote 'tween'. So now we could have some poor new erotica writer blithely writing a line like, 'He stroked my tween until my twee ached...' and being very insulted when an editor replied with '?'.

I realize this post is already one whole day old, which in LB time is like a year, and has gathered a very impressive 59 comments, sixty counting this one, but...no one has mentioned the anus/asshole. I find it very difficult to come up with ways to describe it without using the word asshole. (Anus is just - not a sexy word. Like vagina. Vagina is not a sexy word. Neither is penis, or any of those proper textbook type words, I guess...)

I had some gastrointestinal problems last year which resulted in my english boyfriend taking me to the Emergency room of our local hospital. The doctor was an english lady, who, I swear, upon hearing my english bf speak, decided it best that she 'check the back passage.' I wonder what she imagined she'd find stuck up there by my twisted man...and btw, she found nothing.

So, I discovered 'back passage,' which I rather liked, but I've since seen it a lot, in English erotica. What other words are there? Hole is great, when one is being coarse, ie. in dialogue, where we can get away with all sorts of coarse language. And arsehole is even worse than asshole, in my opinion. Is it too late to fire up the debate one more time? Even disinformation would be okay by me, 'His fingers stroked her twee, lingered upon her tween for a tantalizing moment, then moved to her tend...'
(as in 'the end') ???

Erin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kristina lloyd said...

Ahem.

- her puckered rosebud

And thanks, Janine. I had to look at a lot of twee to find those images. Makes me think I should write a post on 'cock'.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Kristina, I think it's the other way around--we understand each other perfectly! I guess what I was trying to say (as someone who's lived on both sides of the pond and, I'd like to believe, speaks both versions of "English" reasonably well) is that I can usually tell by certain words whether a writer is American or British. Now you've got me running back to my library to see if I can find pussies in British erotica! (Oh, woe is me, what a horrible way to spend an afternoon! [swoons])

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

"There's a village in the Yortkshire Wolds called Wetwang. Now that really is quite rude! And there's one in the Orkney islands called Wank."

And let us not forget "Upper Piddle" and "Lower Piddle"...!

Erin said...

So, I discovered 'back passage,' which I rather liked, but I've since seen it a lot, in English erotica. What other words are there?

Actually this came from page 4 of someone's book:

"Looks like she's got a broom handle up her fundament, that one."

t'Sade said...

For that, nothing beats "chocolate tunnel of love" in one of the novels me and my mate were reading together one day.

I will admit, I'm very formal in my writing in that aspect. I use clitoris instead of clit almost universally and actually use labia and vulva in my descriptions. No clue why, apparently I need to get metaphysically laid to loosen up my writing a bit more. Maybe it will get published more. :)

jothemama said...

I love this conversation, I alwasy get here too late, then blogger eats my post anyway :(

I thought twee was overly cutesy and sugary too, never heard of it for genitalia!

I was reading a thread on a parenting board about how to term 'between your legs' and there were some bizarre ones - at least you don't get 'front bottom' in erotica, unless perhaps you're really into age play and napies...

But what really made me laugh was someone who said she'd known a posh toddler who referred to his bits as 'Little Bertie and the Twins' - cute in itself, but if you know that our primeminister's name is Bertie Ahern, known to all as Bertie, and that he recently became grandfather twin boys, it gets really funny.

I'm all for cunt, myself. I don't like pussy but I don't quite know why - here it's a cat, really.

I don't like prick, it's not sexy, dick sounds a bit silly - I think cock is best but we do use it as an insult here.


I think getting too euphemistic is dangerous, it cuts the heat. Love button? Come on. And asslips is hideous! Shudder!

kristina lloyd said...

Ha, Erin. Now who would write something like that?

Jothemama, I must fess up. Twee has nothing to do with female genitalia. It was a wild rumour started by Alison Tyler. Or, um, er, maybe it was by me.

*Hangs head in shame.*

Sorry.

Please spank me.

I deserve it.

Harder!

Erin said...

You know, I think it really matters in what context you use the word, or rather, what type of story you're writing should depend on how you use the word.


Romance *gag*
His chest pumped up and down above me, sleek muscles speckled with sweat. He picked up the pace, his cock thrusting in and out of my sex.

Roleplay
Lillian spread her legs in anticipation. She loved it when they played Doctor. The white blouse obstructed her view somewhat—all she could see was his head and the small doctor's lamp bobbing up and down.

“Now then,” he said, “let's have a look at your vagina.” He clacked something metal together and she felt the wetness between her thighs spread.

Rough
My face was yanked from the pillow and I gasped for air. His fingers tightened their grip in my hair and I squealed in pain. Rough hands shoved their way between my legs and slapped the flesh of my inner thighs.

His beard scraped up against my ear. “Open up, cunt," he whispered.

Urban
I leaned back against the headboard and spread my legs wide. His dreads trailed across my tummy like tentacles from some dark, aquatic creature seeking for a moist place to burrow into and gorge itself on. “Hurry,” I said. I needed it—now.

“Baby, your pussy so fine I'm gonna lick it 'til it turn itself inside out.” He ducked his head and started.

Childhood Trauma
Brenna ran from the room. “Mom! Erin just went pee with her twee all over the carpet!”

“Did not you little split!”

Lucy Felthouse said...

It's a word I don't often verbally used, but I do use it quite frequently in stories. But then, you can get away with lots of paper that you can't in real life ;)

Nikki Magennis said...

I'm soooo late. So all I want to say is I love cunt. Cunt kunt kunte cunt cunt. It's a great word.

Thanks Kristina! x

kristina lloyd said...

I know everyone's left but I just wanted to say: Erin, you're absolutely right and those are really hot examples. (OMG - medical fantasies!) Ha, and 'split'! Such a filthy word ... in certain contexts.

Cheers, Nikki.

(I'll stop linking now, promise.)