by Amanda Earl
If there's one thing that burns my ass, it's euphemisms about sex in fiction. Spare me the velvet chambers, the peaches, the slippery poles and all that dainty milquetoast jazz. Don't turn body parts into flora or fauna or machines. A cunt is not a flower or a piece of fruit; a cock is not a snake or a jackhammer. Just get to the point. Make it plain: cunt, cock, asshole, tits, fucking. Yes, I like the vulgarity of sex. It's one of the things about it that turns me on.
To be able to write whatever I want in whatever way I want and have people actually read my work is empowering for me. Not to say that I won't adjust my language depending on a character's personality and the tone of the work or play with language in an inventive way if the work calls for it. I will do whatever is necessary to serve the work. Does that mean using euphemisms? Sure, but so far, mostly in parody.
I worry about a society that speaks in code, that places manners ahead of information, uses euphemisms and double speak to mask homophobia, racism, misogyny and sex negativity, tries to depersonalize the bloody tortures and meaningless deaths of war with doublespeak to make war more palatable to society. Propaganda is alive and well in the 21st Century. One of the reasons I'm a writer at all is to get closer to the meaning of words and their nuances, to make people question the implications of the words we hear, read, write and speak.
I consider all of these issues in my diction; however, what I want most as a writer is to tell a compelling story with characters readers will love or loathe. I want my stories to leave readers breathless, to make them laugh, to bring them to tears, to get their neurons firing, to cause them to grab vibes, body parts and lovers for a fucking frenzy. I don't think I can do any of that with euphemistic language that pussy-foots around.
And while we're on the subject of feline analogies, I loathe the word pussy for cunt. It sounds childish to me, diminutive. My cunt is no baby cat, it's a lioness.
ps-the words my MS WORD spellchecker marks in red are precum, polyamorous, doms and submissives. [WORD is fine with the adjective submissive, but persnickety about the use of what it considers to be an adjective as a noun.] I don't bother to update my WORD dictionary; I like to be reminded that polite society has issues with such words, such ideas. Those red marks are little fuck you flags spread out all over the screen.