AAR
Click here for full forums index
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
 
Euphemisms versus the "P" Word and "C" W
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    AAR Forum Index -> Romance Potpourri Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Anne Marble



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 606

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:50 am    Post subject: Euphemisms versus the "P" Word and "C" W Reply with quote

What do you think about the word penis in love scenes? Sometimes it works for me, and sometimes it sounds funny. (It is sort of a funny word. Wink) Do you think that substitutions such as "member," "shaft," and "erection" are better? People often refer to the other terms as euphemisms. But I see some as workable substitutions and others as outright euphemisms. "Member" works sometimes, "shaft" and "rod" work for me. But I'm kinda sick of "manhood" and of course, "manroot." And don't get me started on "mighty lance" and all that. Eek! Yet sometimes I don't mind euphemisms as long as they work and fit the story. I've read outright erotica that used euphemisms, and I've read stories with love scenes that weren't all that hot that used the slang. The erotica with the euphemisms came across as hotter simply because of the way they were written.

And what about the "C" word (the male one)? Some readers hate it. Yet others prefer it. I recently saw an on-line discussion about this. Someone was criticized harshly for using the C word and was told that word only belongs in erotic stories. But I've seen the "C" word more and more often, and certainly not just in erotic romance. I was startled when I read Robin D. Owen's "Heart Dance" last year and came across the "C" word. After all, the books aren't erotic romance. Instead, they're futuristic/fantasy romances with more emphasis on the characters and on the setting than on the body parts. And yet I thought it worked in the context. I couldn't imagine the heroes thinking of their body parts in any other way.

Yet slang terms can be offputting in many cases -- especially in historicals. (They might not have used that term yet, especially in Medieval and Dark Ages romances!) Also, some slang terms sound OK, and some sound ugly, and the ones that are OK vary from reader to reader. Also, the slang terms might be OK if you're in the viewpoint of, say, a rough-edged hero, but many heroines are less likely to use those terms. Also, have you ever read the slang terms people have used in the past? Eek! Shocked Authors are better off sticking to "member" or even "manroot" instead of most of those terms.

Finally, do you think authors should pick one term and stick to it throughout the entire book? Or at least the entire scene? Or should they vary it? Some people get sick of seeing the same word over and over again. But on the other hand, many readers think that varying the terms gets silly, especially if it's done a lot. (Look, now he has a member. No, wait, in this sentence, it's a spear!)

What about terminology used to refer to the heroine's body? In this case,
it seems that the clinical terms sound more clinical. And yet the slang terms... in most cases, forget it! Evil or Very Mad Maybe it's just me, but I verge away from them. Particularly as one of the best known terms has been used to insult women. In these cases, I think I'd rather stick to the euphemisms. What about you?
_________________
Join AARlist2 at http://www.likesbooks.com/listserv.html
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Kass



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 722
Location: under a cockatiel

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What do you think about the word penis in love scenes?

If only more romance authors would use this rather than stupid euphemisms. Look, we're adults, we know what it is, don't call it something stupid in an attempt to obscure the fact that it's a penis.

Quote:
And what about the "C" word (the male one)?

Works for me.

Quote:
What about terminology used to refer to the heroine's body?

Depends on the terminology. I have no problem with the female "c", but I know a lot of other people do.
_________________
Reality has a well-known liberal bias.

My blog: http://www.thoughts.com/allergywoman/blog
http://www.shelfari.com/o1517440994
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
Posts: 2064

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have real trouble not being shaken out of reader's trance by the "c" word. When I was growing up (back in the Dark Ages of the Dior New Look), it was one of the rudest things a high school boy could call a girl.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 'C' word makes me cringe, I absolutely hate that word. I don't want to see it in erotica even, a huge turn-off.

The 'P' word is ok..I guess. I don't dislike it but can't say it's a turn-on during a love scene either. Better than member, shaft, rod, and the like I suppose.

I'd actually rather authors be a little more vague during the love scenes, I don't need to read the play by play in minute detail. Feels a bit voyeuristic to me. *shrug* I've seen authors skirt around using any of these phrases and I was able to catch on to what they were doing and I was fine with that, there is such thing as too much information. IMHO.

Linda
_________________
"The Bookshop has a thousand books, all colors, hues and tinges, and every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges." ~ Nancy Byrd Turner
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1467

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me, vagina and penis are too clinical sounding to be erotic; I prefer euphemisms, usually the commonly used ones. I agree with the previous poster, though, that the female "c" word is too strong, too synonymous with a terrible insult, most of the time to be erotic. I do like the gentler term for women's genitals. synonymous with a kitten. I read somewhere where most men refer to their own genitals as c---ks, and I confess, I find it erotic. "Manhood" seems dated to me, but "erection" is perfectly fine.

Oh, Anne, can you tell us some of the common terms from the Middle Ages? I can't think of any. (I ask ONLY in the interests of education, mind you! <G>).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
Posts: 2064

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X wrote:
To me, vagina and penis are too clinical sounding to be erotic; I prefer euphemisms, usually the commonly used ones. I agree with the previous poster, though, that the female "c" word is too strong, too synonymous with a terrible insult, most of the time to be erotic. I do like the gentler term for women's genitals. synonymous with a kitten. I read somewhere where most men refer to their own genitals as c---ks, and I confess, I find it erotic. "Manhood" seems dated to me, but "erection" is perfectly fine.

Oh, Anne, can you tell us some of the common terms from the Middle Ages? I can't think of any. (I ask ONLY in the interests of education, mind you! <G>).


It's generally understood that a lot of men actually bestow a personalized name or nickname on the organ in question -- Johnson, John Thomas, Mr. Happy, etc.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1467

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I have heard that, veasleyd1, but to me, it is signals an immature hero--not attractive, at all.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Anne Marble



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 606

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X wrote:
Oh, Anne, can you tell us some of the common terms from the Middle Ages? I can't think of any. (I ask ONLY in the interests of education, mind you! <G>).


I left my copy of The Book of Filth at home, so I can't check it. Smile But I ran into this list of penis slang on-line. This includes terms over many years, so I'm not sure if any of them are Medieval:
http://www.totse.com/en/ego/no_laughing_matter/male.html

Do you really want to read a romance novel where the hero thinks about his battering-piece?! Or worse, his bauble?! Laughing
_________________
Join AARlist2 at http://www.likesbooks.com/listserv.html
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 1129
Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually prefer the correct medical names to most of the silly euphemisms in use. "Rod" I don't mind, but the others? Forget it. Besides, we hardly ever use euphemisms for other body parts, so why for those? If the correct term is appropriate, i.e. if it is a word that the character themselves would have used, then by all means use it.

As for slang, the male C and D-words are fine. And I know that I am in the minority, but I don't mind the female C-word but loath the female P-word with a passion.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2508

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I doubt there's a man alive who refers to his "manhood" with the word penis, except when he's talking to his doctor. C-ck, p--ck, d-ng, doodlywacker, even weenie in some situations, are far more likely. I doubt, too, whether he would use the word "vagina" except perhaps in general conversation or in a clinical situation. All those other terms--c--t, p---y, weenie warmer, p---k pocket, dong-deicer are far more usual. And, considering that human nature hasn't changed much, I imagine men have used those same terms for centuries. And you know, I've never seen anything wrong with the word f--k, myself. If nothing else, it has the cache of having a central core of meaning which hasn't varied.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anne Marble wrote:
Do you really want to read a romance novel where the hero thinks about his battering-piece?! Or worse, his bauble?! Laughing


+IHS+

I read one Romance in which the heroine referred to the testicles as "pretty baubles" (or something like that). She had grown up in a "rough" community where earthy language was perfectly normal.
_________________
"To be in a romance is to be in uncongenial surroundings. To be born into this earth is to be born into uncongenial surroundings, hence to be born into a romance." (G.K. Chesterton)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1081
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose at the end of the day as a writer one uses words that fit the pov character and/or that one feels comfortable using oneself. To be honest, judging by the differences of opinion here, one may as well suit oneself because you sure aren't going to please everyone no matter what you choose. Wink And that of course is part of the problem. Whichever solution you arrive at over this one, someone is going to be unhappy. Either you have been too clinical, too crude or too prissy.

As for using "proper" names - I wonder. Is one particular word ever the only right word to use, or should we be prepared to use different words for the same thing to evoke different moods, situations and characters? There is a richness to the English language, slang and all, that I would hate to chain in political correctness.

Schola - would the book to which you refer be Return of the Rogue by Jo Beverley? She also uses a different female "c" word, "c-nny" in place of the usual one. Gets the idea across but perhaps without being as potentially offensive.

Elizabeth
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elizabeth Rolls wrote:
Schola - would the book to which you refer be Return of the Rogue by Jo Beverley? She also uses a different female "c" word, "c-nny" in place of the usual one. Gets the idea across but perhaps without being as potentially offensive.

Elizabeth


UGH! Sorry, but that is just as bad! *cringing!* It just sounds so...porn. Egh!!

You're right, no matter what you use you're bound to turn off someone. LOL

Linda
_________________
"The Bookshop has a thousand books, all colors, hues and tinges, and every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges." ~ Nancy Byrd Turner
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Elaine S



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 667
Location: Rural England

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veasleyd1 wrote:
I have real trouble not being shaken out of reader's trance by the "c" word. When I was growing up (back in the Dark Ages of the Dior New Look), it was one of the rudest things a high school boy could call a girl.


Unless reading erotica (and I admit I read very, very little of it), I always find the c-word and other clinical terms like a bucket of cold water slung over me - they can be a real brake on the ambience of the romance. I don't think I am a prude but an author, as Elizabeth Rolls suggests, will get it right for some and wrong for others. I tend to think that more rather than fewer romance readers probably prefer a more euphemistic approach. Slang also has to be pretty carefully used in order to fit into the timeframe of the story. Somehow I can't imagine a regency character using modern slang (of any sort).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Maysa



Joined: 07 Sep 2007
Posts: 67

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Somehow I can't imagine a regency character using modern slang (of any sort).


Yeah, I don't mind either c word in writing in theory - but when I read historical novels (especially Victorian ones) where very "colorful" language is used - I just can't imagine that kind of language was being spoken among most upper-class people. I doubt most Victorian women even knew what 90% of those words meant. Things were so straitlaced then.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    AAR Forum Index -> Romance Potpourri Forum All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group