We had a discussion on one of my editor groups the other day about words used for sexual organs. I decided to do a poll on my Emmy Ellis Facebook to find out what words readers dislike. Yesterday it was about the male bits, today is about the female. I’m interested to know what you guys think too because some of the words I could use in my books...well, I dislike them. A lot. Meat and rod spring to mind. They don’t sound remotely romantic to me. I don’t like reading words like that and don’t like writing them either, although I have given in during edits and allowed “rod” to go through on an editor change/suggestion. The same goes for pussy. I detest it but have used it.
Over the years, various and numerous editors have requested I stick to the basics and use the c word for women’s and men’s parts. It was painful to write the female c word at first because I’ve always associated it with a mean word used against women, but now I’m so used to writing it, it’s like I’m writing “the” or “and”. However, the discussion on the group was that there seems to be an overuse of the word “cock” these days. That doesn’t surprise me when we’re prompted to use it over any other word. So, what to do when you don’t like using other words? What to do when an editor suggests you use others? It’s a difficult one, because on the one hand I want variation, but on the other I don’t want to use words I hate, nor do I want to alienate readers by using those words.
Will you help a girl out here? What words do you hate seeing in erotica and romance for the male and female parts? I can compile a list to go along with my Facebook one and know that the ones mentioned the most are the ones to definitely avoid—although I’ll never give up using the two c’s!