Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Erotic Language

I’ve been reading an erotic novel (and loving it as it’s from one of my favorite writers). But it just struck me that this particular writer uses much more…lurid language than I’ve seen in other erotic books. I’ll admit I don’t read a steady diet of erotics but I’ve read enough to be familiar with the words.

Now before you get your panties/shorts in a twist, let me just say that I’m no wilting flower when it comes to strong language. However, I recall a certain publisher, who shall remain nameless even though they’re no longer in business, who defined an ‘erotic’ book by the language it used. This always struck me as funny because, for heaven’s sake, you could make the old nursery rhyme ‘Jack and Jill’ erotic if you used words from the ‘erotic’ word list. (I’m reminded of George Carlin’s famous list, LOL) And we won’t even mention Mary and her little lamb (though come to think of it, that would be bestiality and most publishing houses frown on that. Thank goodness.)

To me, erotic writing doesn’t need a splattering of racy or four-letter words to be, well, erotic. Not if I’m drawn into the story, not if I like the characters, not if I worry about the plot (and, yep, there should be a plot, IMHO) and how it will affect the characters. And I love hearing the strong, earthy language when the characters are in the deep throws of lust :D Most of the time. But there are a few words that just stop me in my tracks.

I’m afraid Blogger would come stomping down on us if I listed the words here so I won’t and you don’t need to know the ones I don’t like. You probably have your own short list (or maybe it’s a long list). As for me, after that one moment of squicky unease, I keep on reading. I’m sure those of you who read erotics do as well but…

Are erotic books defined by their language? If you cut the racy words out, can the book still be erotic?

What are your thoughts?

-- Lynda

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