Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday thirteen: Squicky sticky terminology

Was watching tweets squawk by the other day and noticed this gem:

@eroticawriter retweeting @rantyeditor: Phrases that shouldn't be used as euphemisms for vagina: womanly gash, secret garden, love nest, pleasure pit.

Right on.

I've been reading in romance and erotica for a long time, long enough to have my own personal list of Wince-Worthy Words (and Phrases). I'll just go on ahead and share:

Top 13 Squicky Sticky Words

-- heaving
-- turgid
-- creamy (as flesh; okay if you're talking about risotto)
-- orb
-- cup (as a verb; the noun is fine)
-- knob (unless you're talking about a door or a stereo)
-- helmet (unless mentioning protective headwear)
-- teat
-- weeping [genitals] (eek! get thee to a medical professional!)
-- grasping [female genitals]
-- sculpted [muscles/faces/etc]
-- satanic (as generally positive description of a man)
-- ministrations (perhaps my least favorite word of all time)

As an addendum, I contend that the phrase "to her very core" should be used chiefly when writing about sex among planets or apples.

Well, then. Yes, I do feel better now. Nice to get that out of my system.

How's about you? Got any terminology least-faves you'd like to ease off your brain before you dive into that next steamy novel? How about newfangled knock-your-socks off good phrasing that you've come across in your reading? Or, if you're a writer, have you turned one of these oldies-and-baddies into something fresh and new? If so, please share: my brain could use the happy of some well-done terminology.


In addition to being an avid reader, Viv writes erotica and erotic romance. This nibble has been cross-posted to her personal blog. Her erotic stories are available at Paper Bag Press.


Monica said...

the singular cream makes me wince...*shudder* it should be not brought into sex unless it's whipped.

Christa Paige said...

The one I could never, ever get over and stopped reading the book because of it, was in Lady Ann's Dangerous Man and every time the author wrote about the hero's arousal, it was "his cod twitched." *shudders*

I will wall-bang any book that calls the male genitals a cod. I know it might be accurate to the time period, but, honestly, I don't have the ability to read past when all I see is a fish.

And, I am one of those who chooses to abuse the "core" word. I might have used weeping on occasion.

Unabashed, here.

Vivien Jackson said...

That was my first thought, too: He keeps a fish in his pants? There's a reason why some terms went out of vogue.

Monica, you mean the verb, like "she creamed her pants," or the noun like "look at his cream"? The former could be useful in dialogue or tight third, to build character voice, I think. The latter... makes me giggle just a little bit.

Amara said...

Totally agree with your list and will even cop to having used an objectionable phrase or two. :-)

Savanna Kougar said...

Well, Viv, you are going to probably hate me... however, given the severe restrictions of the English language... what choice do authors have???

And, yes, sorry, but I like 'heaving'. No, my books aren't filled up with that word.

As far as 'creamy' I can recall some erotic romance publishers almost requiring the use of that word. While, I restrict usage, still, it does describe a certain state of arousal.

And, YES! I have used teat, but, gee, in some cultures, like a cowboy culture, that is a usage that would occur. Ya know, the country. And how often can you say nipple in the same paragraph?

Personally, I AM FOND of sculpted as a description. And, why is the ubiquitous six pack abs better? I have liked 'sculpted' since I read horse books as a kid and that term was used to describe beautifully muscled and exquisitely built horses. And, yes, in my mind's eye I see sculpted, think sculpted when I look at certain men.

Generally, I don't or haven't used satanic... however, why is that so much worse than devilish?

As far as cod in that reference, I always think codpiece... and I don't really think of the fish. But, that's just me.

The rest of the terms, I don't use because I don't like them... unless, it was for the villain.

So, wow, are we all supposed to use cunt now, even if our heroines and heroes don't think in those terms and aren't part of that cultural way of thought?

And, I have to say, I'm pretty tired of seeing 'sodden'... like women are all waterworks factories the moment any arousal takes place.

Gem Sivad said...

Might have to go back and edit my most recent wip if I want to please you Vivien. :)


Vivien Jackson said...

Good heavens, it isn't about pleasing me. :)

My problem with these terms is that they are uncommon but used with the same frequency as more common words, like plain old "wet." I don't have instance statistics -- and this post would be a lot better if I did -- but these terms pop up often enough that I've noticed, and I'm certainly not the most prolific reader in the world.

Also, of course I've used some of the words on this list (and even worse ones, I'm sure). Like Savanna said, the choices are sometimes pretty sparse. However, I think that's a challenge to us all to come up with fresher metaphors and more interesting terms.