People disagree with me on lots of things. Like all people, I am occasionally offensive, often unknowledgeable, and far too frequently wrong. But one of the things people disagree with most often is the words I choose to use.
Language is an intensely powerful thing when it comes to sex. One person’s ‘hot’ is another’s ‘horrible’, with the result that despite having polite disagreements on sexual politics, one of the most heated rows I have is over my preference for ‘cunt’ over ‘pussy’.
I think it’s one of the biggest challenges for erotic writing. You don’t want to go too bland and be unable to conjure anything hotter than his ‘length’ penetrating her ‘sex’. Likewise you don’t want to go so hardcore that you put off readers who’ve warmed themselves up during the written foreplay, then fling your book/blog to one side if you get too gynaecological.
How much does a fuck cost?
My favourite sex words and swear words are the ones that have power – the ones that sound punchy and strong, and evoke that same passion as the kick you get in the bottom of your stomach when someone you fancy says something hot. Fuck, cock, prick, cunt. I know they’re not for everyone, but I think you can tell a lot about a writer by the words that they favour. So, I did a few quick calculations.
My book (which is currently on a 99p deal at Amazon, and that means it’s also cheap in the US too – at the time of writing this it’s $1.51) is 95,000 words long. It contains 499 instances of the word ‘fuck’. This includes words like ‘fucking’ and ‘fucked’, and to be fair some of those will be used in a non-sexual context, so fuck that for useful science.
More pertinently, there are 342 counts of the word ‘sex’. I think sex is a generic enough word that if you’re reading a sex book, you expect it to appear quite frequently. Perhaps slightly less expected is that there are 23 bastards, including one ‘weapons-grade bastard’. When looking into verbs, there’s one instance of ‘splattering’ that involves magnolia paint, as opposed to one of the more obvious substances:
Better, perhaps, as an indication of what I like, here’s a penis chart:
There’s no real conclusion to this other than that I’m sweary and I like it. I think words that are traditionally considered ‘offensive’ are hotter when you’re talking (or writing) dirty. Not because there’s an extra frisson of excitement contributed by the fact that they’re usually taboo – there are plenty of other things that are taboo which we leave firmly out of the bedroom. No, I think their power comes from the same thing that got them on the ‘taboo’ list in the first place – namely the plosive, punchy, staccato kick when you say them. They’re frowned upon because they’re often used with power, in hatred. They’re hot because they’re used with power, in love.
Some people agree with me about that sexy kick, where others prefer softer, mellower words with their wanking. As with everything sexual, to each his own. But I hope this has given you some explanation (if never an actual excuse) for why I swear so frequently. Like the groaning of horny men or the slapping sounds of skin-on-skin, without which I can’t enjoy a dirty video, swearwords are the soundtrack to the porn that I write. Without them I couldn’t get aroused.
To close, I’ll answer my original question: how much does a ‘fuck’ cost? It makes up 0.5% of the words contained in my book, so at a current bargain price of 99p in the Kindle Summer Sale, one fuck will cost you around half a penny. In the US, it’ll cost you 0.8 cents. Cheap as fuck.