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Do you C what I C?

When I first sent my novel to the RNA for critique, I was asked to define which genre it fell into. At the time I was unsure if it could be classed as erotic romance, so I asked and - among other things - was told that erotica required the inclusion of "at least two of the three Cs."

Well, I'm pretty sure I understood which three, and I knew at least two of them were included. However, after reading a little more erotic fiction, I did start to wonder if my linguistic preferences marked me out in some way. I had no issue with one C, but would only accept one spelling of the second, and refused to use the third except when being thrown around as an insult by my foul-mouthed college footballer.

That said, it was only in my own writing that I objected. I have no issues, personal or otherwise, with anyone else's usage. I just found that typing them myself made me go "Ick." (If I'm honest, there aren't many words for female genitalia that I like. I'm happy to be explicit about men, but with women I tend to stick to "lips" or "centre" and have done.)

And then I found myself wondering about other objections I might have. These days, no matter how unlikely or unpleasant, there's a sexual term for every possible act and, well, some of them I'm just not prepared to write about. And I consider myself pretty damn broad-minded, much more so than the average person (although I recognise that, as erotic romance writers, we aren't really average people).

Take the term "blumpkin".

If you didn't already know what that was, you're much the same as me, since I had to look it up on Urban Dictionary when I first heard it. Frankly, I'm rather disturbed that it happens often enough that someone needed to coin a name for it. I'm unshockable, but I have my limits.

So, even if it wasn't again TEB's rules (and I think it is), nobody will be giving or receiving blumpkins in my writing.

Neither will anyone be "rainbow kissing", a beautiful term that overprettifies an act I find myself shrinking from.

Am I alone in this? Does anyone else have particular words or expressions they just won't use?


Wendi Zwaduk said...

I'm pretty sure I won't be using that word either. I'm not real thrilled about using the word cunt and cunny, mostly because cunny just sounds like someone's got something oozing. Oh well. Even if I won't use that word, there are plenty who will. And did you know there's another meaning for spackling that has nothing to do with fixing walls? Yeah, UD helped with that too, and gave me the heebie jeebies... Great post!

Tanith Davenport said...

OK, I just looked up "spackling" - ugh! I also found several new definitions of "fluffernutter" while I was on there, which made my character's choice of sandwich suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Tanith,

Personally, I don't think that erotica is defined by the use or non-use of specific words. THE STORY OF O uses few if any explicit terms and yet it is considered an erotic masterpiece. Erotica is about feelings at least as much as actions.

I did go look up "blumpkin" of course... sigh.

And I encountered a new and appealing term for the female genitalia just last night, reading an erotic novel from the U.K. The author is fond of using the word "pout". I rather like this, especially as it is quite descriptive.

widdershins said...

How disappointing. And I thought it might have something to do with The Hobbit! ... also *sigh*

And 'spackling?...I chortled!

Amy Valenti said...

See, I have no problem with the word cunt, personally... but I use it sparingly in my writing, because I'm very aware that other people may find it a) offensive and b) a turn-off. Then again, a lot of people find it a huge turn-ON, so...

Also, ewwww to these sex acts I wish I hadn't Googled. Some things just shouldn't be written about!

Araya said...

Ok, those works widened my vocabulary....then again I dont think that was needed as a visual too! Ugh!