Thursday, September 26, 2013

Let's talk about Genitalia, not the parts, the words

I am an erotica writer. You know this, otherwise you wouldn't be here. So, you are warned, lots of rude words follow.

A friend of mine is saying "Ladies, love yourselves enough to include yourselves in your sexual fantasies." She doesn't get why I prefer to write men having sex.

Part of it is simple identification with male characters in media.
Growing up, I was Han Solo and Thomas Stubbins, Vad Varo and Legolas, Indiana Jones and Spock.

Part of it is being multiple choice with several male personalities.

But most of it is words.
I'm mildly synesthetic, so words have feels and tastes.

Cock is a nice, ordinary word. It fits together nicely and feels neutral in my mouth and brain. The sounds are mirrored at front and back, and the "ah" sound of the vowel is just right. Dick doesn't work so well, because of the D sound. The PR of prick leads into the short I sound better than the D. Di makes me think of "dip," "dipshit," "Dig" "dim" and other words not conducive to good sex. Penis is too clinical and the sibilant at the end makes it weak. And it puts me in mind of urination "Pee-nis."

And there are no good words for the female genitalia.

Vagina fits together all wrong and feels nasty and slippery in my mouth, as though I'm trying to hold a glass ball on my tongue. It's the "ina" coming after the j sound. Carolina works, because the N flows out of the L. The J is too hard to have anything flow after it. It needs a hard consonant, a D or T.

Vaj is relatively innocuous. It feels complete in my mouth but sounds immature.

Don't get me started on vajayjay. The redundancy makes me want to spit to clear my brain. And the "ay" ending is just wrong in every possible way. It gives me a headache to say it.

Twat works for me the same way cock does. The t sounds are mirrored and the vowel feels right. But the W makes it a silly word. It feels overly British and a little goofy and dated. It's like saying swive instead of fuck.

Pussy. Oh please gods no. The oo sound of the U and the double sibilant combined with the -y ending? It feels really vile in my mouth. It feels incomplete. And sticky. Pussy-cat works because the hard T ending and that short A balance the slithery, sticky S. It feels crude an it takes a specific type of character to use it. Not to mention it carries a connotation of weakness and cowardice.

Cunt is an unpleasant word. The hard C at the front clashes with the T at the end. It's a bitten-off word, a grunted word, with the U and the N in the middle. (sounds a lot like grunt too). It feels thick and harsh in my mouth and in my head. It is the insult of choice for those wanting to degrade a woman, because it not only reduces her to her parts, it sounds awful.

Cunny is appropriate in historical fic, but feels immature. Too close to "Pat the bunny." Anything with a -Y ending is a word that is hard to take seriously. It's less vicious than cunt, less offensive than pussy. It doesn't have the neutral feel of twat, but mentally it feels soft and a little squishy, not nasty, just odd.

And while my heroine (probably a steampunk one) may prefer to think of her equipment as a red velvet settee, soft and waiting to cradle the visitor, the audience will laugh at that.

So there you have it: why writing lesbians is tough for me. Why I don't like writing het. Why I dislike writing women in sexual situations. It's not a hatred of women. It's a hatred of the words used for women.

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