So, there’s been a lot of talk about words and their ability to turn people on/off going around on Twitter the past couple of days, and (as ever) I have more I want to say on the topic, so this is the first of a couple of blog posts about sex and words.
Juniper, of The cut of my jib fame suggested that we do a kind of linked post on this subject, so we agreed that we’d each write about our opinions on the following 5 words (she’s included some others too, I believe), and then link to each other’s opinions. I’m aware that we definitely don’t share the same view on at least one of them and I’m excited to see what she has to say about the others. You can read her post here.
So, in no particular order, here are the words:
1. Blow job
Remember this bit in the movie Cruel Intentions, where Selma Blair asks Ryan Phillipe if he ‘fancies a blow job?’ That’s what pops into my head whenever I hear the word – to me it sounds like a comedy term for something which, actually, I really like doing. Actually, although ‘suck my dick,’ ‘I want to stick my cock in your mouth,’ and various other ways of asking for oral sex are hot, ‘blow job’ isn’t the only word linked to oral that sends the bad kind of shivers down my spine. When I started my French degree, my parents had a friend who, whenever I saw him, liked to say ‘Ah, it’s the cunning linguist!’ *Shudder*
This was one of the words that started the whole debate. Nothing wrong with the word in this case, just the spelling. I’m not sure why it bothers me so much, but it jars me every time I see it spelt this way in erotica. Someone on Twitter suggested that it’s ok to spell it this way if you’re talking about semen rather than the act of ejaculation, and I’d agree that it’s certainly less offensive when used as a noun, but I still much prefer ‘come’ for both noun and verb.
I know Americans use this without a second thought, but to me it throws me instantly into the world of a Mills & Boon novel. Plus, no good comes of sex words that end -ies: you can keep your ‘boobies,’ ‘titties,’ and ‘panties’ out of my bedroom, thank you very much. For years, I felt similarly about ‘knickers,’ which limited me to using the seriously generic and inoffensive ‘underwear’ in my writing. I’ve done a complete about turn on that now though, and ‘Take your knickers off,’ causes less squick and more slick, as it were.
I think it was Caitlin Moran who said that she wasn’t a fan of the word pussy being used in porn because it always made her think that the director’s cat was just out of shot. I’m not sure it has any animal associations left for me anymore, but I sure as hell don’t like it. Want to tell me where you want to stick your cock? See 5. below.
Let’s finish on a high note. I had an Irish friend at uni who used this in the days when you heard it less, and with no reference to sex – just as a pure term of aggression. I, along with many of my female friends, hated it. Change the context though, and I think it’s the best word in the world – it’s hard and forceful and loaded with meaning and frankly, I’ll never tire of hearing it.
A couple of final thoughts. Firstly, this tweet from @Rosetintedguy, which, despite the above, I’m inclined to agree with. And secondly, the fact that just because a word squicks you doesn’t mean it should never be allowed in the bedroom. The shame of having to use words or ask for things in the bedroom that you’re not quite comfortable with is one of my biggest turn ons, hence this.
I’m interested too, in what words squick other people, or how they feel about these five. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments or, if you’d rather write about them on your own blog, let me know and I’ll add a link here.