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Watch your fucking language

Today’s blog post is brought to you by the letters S. L. U and T.

Let’s talk dirty, and then let’s talk about whether ‘dirty’ is an appropriate word to use when describing something that is – at best – morally neutral. One of the constant struggles of being a lefty (weep for me) is that I frequently embrace things in the bedroom which would, in real life, horrify me. Words like ‘slut’ and ‘bitch’ used in the street? Fuck you and goodnight. Used in the bedroom? Get fucking in me right now.

I like to be degraded, and used, and treated as if I’m nothing. And in the process of that, guys I’m with often use words which are pretty powerful weapons. Words can be incredibly hot, and incredibly offensive, and sometimes both these things at once.

“I’m a dirty little slut”

Let’s unpack that phrase.

1. Dirty – implies ‘unclean’. The word itself hints at moral impropriety – ‘dirty’ things are usually those things which are frowned upon. The word, outside the bedroom, is usually spat with distaste. Understandable that it’s hot, then: there’s taboo there. And taboos are frequently those things we cling to for kicks, whether it’s to work through the taboo and reclaim something, or just to revel in the delight that we’re doing something that others might disapprove of.

By using that word, though, am I tacitly agreeing that what I’m doing is morally questionable? I don’t think so.

2. Little. Implies, well, small. And at nearly 6 foot, I’m pretty sure I am not small. So why the word? It rolls neatly off the tongue, for starters, adding a third element to the phrase: rule of three is hot. More than that, ‘little’ contributes to the word ‘dirty’, I think: implying naughtiness and potential punishment.

3. Slut. This is the one that I feel most strongly about. As someone who has frequently been called a ‘slut’ in anger, by people who think there’s something wrong with having had a lot of sex, I find the word irritating. I also find it smoking hot – especially if a guy calls me a slut when he’s fucking me. Ideally with his hands round my throat, one hard stroke punching into me as he exhales each word.

So: a lot of the language that turns me on is also quite dodgy.

I could argue that it’s sexy purely because it’s dodgy: that, as with the word ‘dirty’, there’s a shiver of illicit taboo when these words are uttered. The knowledge that not only are you breaking sexual rules, you’re breaking the language rules you’d hold yourself to in polite company. And there’s definitely something hot triggered by words you wouldn’t normally hear – just ask one of your well-spoken, rarely-sweary friends to tell you they love the taste of cock: the kick of something unusual can be powerful.

I think it’s more complicated than that alone, though: there are legitimate reasons to be wary of words. People who complain about ‘political correctness’ (and there may well be some in the comments) rarely credit the power that words can have. “Why can’t I say ‘bitch’?” they moan, arguing”it’s ‘only’ a word and can’t possibly do harm.” But they must know the word has some power, otherwise they wouldn’t be fighting to use it.

So when we use words like this during sex, are we actually reclaiming them? Possibly. The word ‘dirty’ sounds morally questionable when whispered by a stern nun, but when hissed at me in the bedroom sounds like a veritable compliment. Perhaps more than that, sometimes language which is used to humiliate can, in the bedroom, be a wholehearted acceptance of the awesome person you’re fucking. Nimue Allen (who makes hot BDSM porn, so the link here is NSFW) wrote a really interesting blog on the language of humiliation a while ago.

“I love when The Boss calls me a “fat pig”, when he tells me I’m a disgusting slut, that I’m filthy, and perverted, and wrong.  Because I am all those things.  But I feel no shame in being the things he calls me.”

This resonated with me a lot, particularly in relation to words like ‘slut’. I like being called a ‘slut’ because I am one, and because someone using that word while they fuck me senseless highlights how hot they find the fact that I am. ‘Dirty little slut’ would almost certainly mean less to me if someone didn’t know how true it was.

Language as closeness

One of my favourite theories about bedroom language is that the more offensive, dirty, weird and taboo we can be with our words, the closer we are to the people we’re fucking. Just as I wouldn’t open my mouth at a bus stop and let someone fuck me like an Oxford pig, so a guy I’m fucking wouldn’t use ‘bitch’ as a diminutive term when we weren’t in the middle of a shag. It’s not just that context is important, it’s that without context the words wouldn’t be worth saying.

Problem is, though, I’m not whispering words into your ear while I rub your genitals: I’m writing to you as a complete stranger. It would be ludicrous of me to assume that I can write thousands of words a week without ever offending you. I’m not using any given word to piss someone off, I’m using it to turn someone on: usually me, or a reader I imagine who is a) like me and b) who understands all the extra context that exists in my head. There’s more to it than simply fetishising particular words, though, and there’s definitely more to it than just ‘oh well free speech blah’ – not least because I spend a fair amount of time trying not to piss off the free speech brigade, who are often, ironically, offended by any possibility that someone might express opinions on a particular word or phrase. There are some instances where I’ll want to reclaim a word, or show it used in a sexy context where previously it’s only been used as a hateful label. There are other situations where the word will be the only possible one that I could conjure to highlight the tone of a specific shag. Others are there because they’re directly reported speech and, fuck it, I don’t want to lie.

When I first started this blog I wrote a fair few things that would make me twitch today. And while few people have commented to say ‘never use that word’, in the process of spitting out hundreds of thousands of the bastards, I think I’ve become more aware of which ones could and couldn’t have this particular power: the combination of sexiness and taboo. I don’t have an answer really – if we stop using them in sexual contexts then all they’ll ever be is insults. And if we were to ban people from using them (which I’m not saying we should do) then we remove a lot of their power to arouse as well as to offend.

When it comes to powerful language – bitch, slut, whore, pussy, etc etc – we can fetishise it, we can reclaim it, and in some instances we can be horrified by it. All I know is that I don’t want to ignore it.

10 Comments

  • RB says:

    ‘fuck me like an Oxford pig’

    Knew you’d get that into the blog somehow!

    This is fascinating, all of it. I boil it down a lot/make it very silly in a stand-up show I’m doing (erm…*cough* https://www.facebook.com/events/434042940112175/) but talk about context, and how important it is; I am being called these names in the privacy and intimacy of my own bed, and as long as it’s on both mine and his terms there’s no insult or violation. The problem would come (which, thankfully, it hasn’t so far) of someone who felt that they could bring that into the public, use it to break me down. If you’re with the right person then the words maintain that power but they have the security to use them in a way that they know you’re comfortable with.

  • Rol says:

    I find it sad that there is absolutely no male equvilant to ANY of these degradind words. As such, it always seems as if one is indulging misogyny. Which isn’t inherently a bad thing I just wish more people would discuss how and why these words have this power in an sexual context, as you have here. Too often than not, concerns are dismissed with something along the lines of ‘I like it, its my choice, so how can it be unfeminist’ – when I doubt such a reductive answer would be given regarding words like ‘nigger’ etc.

    • Perhaps mother-fucker, pimp, arsehole, cunt (cunt being about the worst thing you can call a man, LOL), wanker, fucker, little shit, and there are others Rol.

    • Bo says:

      I think the point is, as mentioned in the article, that the power of these words is that their use is transgressive and it is also reclaiming. There are no male equivalents that would have the same effect.

      The power from a left wing/feminist perspective comes from the reclaiming, in my eyes at least, which is what makes it hot. Hot like we’re having hot, filthy, left wing sex.

  • Chris says:

    GOTN,

    Great post !!!! I struggle with this same issue. I think the heart of this issue is the cognitive dissonance. When me and my GF/SO are having a particularly passionate sex session. I will frequently call her my little fuck toy and tell her how much she likes being used. Which turns her on immensely, which turns me on immensely, which turns her on immensely, etc etc. Do I think this way about her IRL? Quite the contrary, I love her intensely and passionately, I want nothing but the best for her. So, our language and behavior during sex is the opposite of our real life behavior. Hence the cognitive dissonance.

    Additionally, recognizing within yourself that you have desires for that which is the antithesis of your actual personality has real power. I.E. Being an ardent feminist, but wanting to be used as an object. Being an ardent feminist, but wanting to fuck a woman like she is a sex toy. Cognitive dissonance!!!!

    Just my two cents. Keep up the good work!!!

  • Cheryl says:

    I believe when we use words in the bedroom that we wouldn’t dare say on the street it is akin to a secret understanding between lovers. My lover knows to never ever call me a ‘cunt’ but in the bedroom that’s THE word that makes me happy. I find the same is true with my phone sex callers – all fine upstanding adults who wouldn’t dare say certain words at work or in front of their wife or girlfriend BUT when someone knows their secret desire (whatever that may be) some words help them hit the high notes ;-)

    Regarding the political correctness movement of the 90s which we are bathed in today, the point of the movement was to demonstrate that words have power. So, whenever I hear someone complain about “political correctness”, I smile to myself because they are proving the point of the PC movement – words DO have power.

  • I love GOTN’s writing and her use of language in its context, but she and I obviously like completely different things in the bedroom. If someone whispers I love you three times while nibbling my ear and gently caressing my breast I am liable to orgasm there and then, but it is rare that GOTN’s more commonly used words turn me on, although Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck shouted at the moment of ejaculation by the one I love does do it for me, too. This is about as violent as it gets for me: http://wp.me/p4bMUU-FV

    As for slut, GOTN, I don’t think the dictionary definition does apply to you. Are you immoral? You’re not a prostitute. Are you dissolute? Debatable, maybe. However, if being called a dirty little slut in mid fuck gets you off, I’m all for that.

    Attitudes are changing, thank goodness. Girls are allowed to have multiple partners, to ask for the type of fuck they want, to instigate it if they wish, to expect orgasms in the plural with a minimum of one per session mandatory. It is a good change and maybe I’m too old and old-fashioned to use much of the dirty language in the bedroom, but enjoying a penis, nestled into my hot vagina will always get me there if the man mumbles sweet nothings at me, even if he is shouting Oh, fucking yes, yes, yes to the the walls of the bedroom at the same time.

    Finally, Peter read your post, too and said, “Fuck me, six feet tall? Must have thighs to die for!” so I fucking hit the dirtly little shit!

    • Bo says:

      If I’ve called someone a slut in the bedroom in the past, it is effective just by virtue of us both being there and her enjoying the sex. Since there is still residual sexism in some quarters which sees a woman enjoying sex as being a slut, that’s what makes it work. So I don’t think the dictionary definition of immorality needs to apply, just the fact that the two people are there. And in fact by enjoying it, you’re kind of sticking it to the man, like “yes, I’m a slut and I’m enjoying this sex”. It’s sticking two fingers up to sexism. Purely my take on this, can’t speak for others.

  • Dawn says:

    Nice post :)
    I have been called a slut and a whore in public and I have never denied it. I wouldn’t say I’ve had an excessive number of partners and I have never been paid for sex (unless you’d count dinner and drinks as payment) but I like being called a whore, I embrace being called a slut. If they are the best words someone can come up with to insult me then I feel a little sorry for them. Do they have no imagination? The only time I did feel insulted was when someone called me a snob! I grew up in South London so wouldn’t consider myself to be a snob. Some people don’t like the fact that I have standards about some things.
    BTW I’m old enough to remember the days before all this political correctness. I think of myself as a sort of feminist but I don’t punch people who open doors for me, I’m just happy that some people still have manners.

  • Jenny says:

    Hi GOTN,
    there’s a video by School of Life that came to my mind reading your (btw brilliant as ever) post: https://youtu.be/7U8bhJHlrVI
    It offers another explanation on why we like to be used and called sluts in bed though we’re feminists etc.: It is an anxiety of ours, probably because we had to grow up early, take responsibility and had to be confident and dominant to build our lives. So in bed we want the opposite to release some of that tension.
    Sounds reasonable to me and I thought this might be a good addition to your argument about language.

    Regards from Germany :)

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