When I was a kid parents were really fond of the saying, “Words can never hurt you.” As an adult I can say what I thought as a kid – words are important. They can hurt, lift up, tear apart, rationalize, give comfort, joy, kindness and surety.

I like words. This isn’t much of a surprise to people who know me, of course. I like to talk as well as write. Words frame things, they create a feeling, a lack of feeling, they cast a light onto things simply by their selection and use.

In erotic romance, or any kind of writing where sex and sexuality are part of the story, words are equally important and sometimes the search for the right words to set a mood gets forgotten in the never-ending quest to be a dirty as possible. Sadly in doing so, I think the book becomes *less* sexy/dirty and more checklisty “Page 56, time for anal!”

I know I use words some people don’t like. And that’s okay, we all have our own filters and perceptions. We like what we like! But I use the word “cunt” and I use the word “pussy” and I use the word “cock” – when a character would say so. Writing sex is complicated by how people think about sex. Some readers cannot read words on the page and feel comfortable. I’m totally fine with that – we all have our hot buttons.

However, I totally must object to the comment (and I’ve seen it several times) that women who ARE comfortable with the use of harder edged words for sex are somehow trying be men or are dirty and disgusting locker room whores. I call bullshit on that and it’s the kind of nasty crap that always keeps women down.

If *you* don’t like those terms, more power to you! But many women do, many women would say pussy and cock and it doesn’t make her a whore for saying so. This attitude really galls me, I have to say. It’s one thing to dislike a term and to not want it in your romance, but it is another to proclaim any book with these words is not a romance simply because these words exist on the page.

The solution is simple – put the book down. All books are not for all people. Personal taste rules reading choices, just like everything else. So stop being such a judgy grumpypants because others do like those words. Stop it with the gender slurs against other women whose tastes are different. I’m not calling you a prude, I’m totally supporting your right to be revolted by some words and to toss a book across the room. Even to say so in a review! I draw the line at being okay with women who aren’t revolted being referred to as whores or wannabe men.

I see this a lot with many things – people seem to think *their* opinions are general feelings. This is not so. If you don’t like a book, movie, pizza, song, whatever, that’s what YOUR opinion is. You have a right to that opinion, absolutely, but what you don’t have is a general statement of belief (for everyone) on the issue and any other belief is wrong or biased or whatever.

If you don’t like to see the word pussy on the page so much you can’t get past it, my erotic romances are not for you. And that’s totally fine – preferences make the world go around. I hate to see “slash” on the page and it may very well mean I put the book down. But that’s me and my preferences.

If I put a word in a scene, I’m doing it on purpose. No because I’m a whore, or want to be a man, but because I’m using words to paint a feeling on the page. It won’t work for every reader, or every scene, or taste. But really, it’s fine to understand words have impact and how they impact you may or may not be how they impact others.

11 comments to “Words”

  1. JP
    November 24th, 2009 at 11:13 am · Link


    That is all. :mrgreen:

  2. Christine
    November 24th, 2009 at 11:40 am · Link

    Great blog. It says it in a nutshell

  3. Victoria Janssen
    November 24th, 2009 at 11:43 am · Link


  4. Karen Erickson
    November 24th, 2009 at 12:03 pm · Link

    Thank you! So very very true.

  5. Rossy
    November 24th, 2009 at 1:05 pm · Link

    Well said Lauren! 😈

  6. Booklover1335
    November 24th, 2009 at 1:22 pm · Link

    I love your books Lauren and thank you for every written word. You labor over them and I savor every single one of them, even if they aren’t words that I would speak out loud, I will speak them in my mind and embrace the power behind them.

    p.s. can’t wait for Coming Undone!!!

  7. Mary G
    November 24th, 2009 at 2:19 pm · Link

    Well said Lauren!! Just keep that great writing style you have. That’s why I buy your books. There’s almost no excuse today for buying a book you don’t like. Most authors have web-sites & offer excerpts galore. You pretty well know the “hotness” level from that and as well at the publishers web-site (like Samhain) that gives you the content on the back cover.

  8. Mary G
    November 24th, 2009 at 2:21 pm · Link

    Oh Yeah. Don’t buy “erotica” if you don’t like those words.

  9. Estella
    November 24th, 2009 at 2:50 pm · Link

    Wtg, Lauren!!

  10. Beth
    November 25th, 2009 at 4:09 am · Link

    :grin:I love your books. If some people can’t handle certain things in writing then they can just choose not to read that. 🙂 😉

  11. cristina
    November 25th, 2009 at 9:12 am · Link

    OK so you are totally right that words have power. because we give feelings behind them. now i hated the word cunt. but there is reason. when i was 19 i was helping edit my friends paper on pornography and censorship for a women’s study class for university. now not being wordy myself or actually attending university i had to look up the word cunnilingus. (hey i was 19 i knew slang terms for that act) and low and behold cunt was right there in the Webster’s English dictionary. I must read what it says..

    cunt- 1. slang term for women’s reproduction system or vagina
    2. a woman.

    my tender 19 year old heart broke immediately. really only a women cuz i had actually used that term many times against men more so than towards women. and i prolly didn’t utter that word for the next 20 years. i would spell it, use the term C-word but i wouldn’t say it.
    then i started reading erotic fiction ( especially yours) and it gave me that word back. it started to get me hot and bothered etc. i began to see what power it had when it was used differently, in a sexy way as opposed to how i seen it as a word of hate.

    i got comfortable with it again, i try not to use it in terms of hatred useless it merits it. so i say fuk u Websters for that narrow minded definition it just makes you a bunch of cunts. i am sure they have updated the definition since 1989, lets hope.

    so thank you for giving me a word back.