Manroot. Cock. Dick. Manhood. Shaft. Wiener. Baloney Pony. Dinky. Bone Phone.
Although the list is not endless, it is vast. Let’s not get distracted. I'm here to discuss my latest favourite cage match.
Dick vs. Cock One of the reasons I love to write historical is a) I love the potential for opulence in historicals and b) I hate constantly having to find plausible variations for penis and vagina.
While musing, yesterday, synonyms for Sir Whatshisname’s schwinghammer I realized that women just don’t say the word “dick”. We might call someone a “dick” but we don’t generally refer to a tallywhacker as a “dick”. I took this survey to the streets.
Findings In a totally unscientific survey of random friends and family I found:
· 100% response rate from women that they don’t use “dick” to refer to a man’s Johnson.
· 100% response rate from men that they do use “dick” to refer to their winkies.
So my new question was formed: in Romance, I have never EVER seen the word “dick” used. I have seen cock. In Erotica, I did some surveying, as best I could and I found two authors who DID use “dick” (as well as “slit” which personally makes me cringe) and it made me wonder: were these authors actually men and didn’t know a woman’s secret world? Or did people beyond my reach use “dick” and I just missed it? And were these stories written for a male audience? Was I overanalyzing? Did I have too much time on my hands? I wondered, too, why words like “panties”, “slit”, and “gash” also make me cringe. I confess I’m still working on this and the topic will have to keep for another blog.
I ask for an obvious reason: I write historical but I also write romance, erotica, “erotic romance” (whatever), and I need to use cock constantly. In my last two erotica stories (published on the lovely Lady Cheeky’s site: In the Library and At the Office, I stick to cock exclusively.
Manroot, manhood, shaft, head, etc in the historical world give me some variety, however amusing, without a cringe-factor. Contemporary romance depresses me because it’s cock cock cock or, bizarrely “him” as in “she held him in her hand” or “she guided him into her passage” etc making one desperately want to open a debate of ontology vs physiology. In brief, I could choke on all the cock I write in a contemporary. I am not the type or writer to avoid writing out the sex scenes although many do, in all subgenres. Sometimes I think I know why: it’s the vocabulary.
I asked my friends which words they did use to refer to their partners’ doohickey. This is what I got back:
· “Little Brian” (Joe, Steve.. you get the idea)
· “Purple-veined Monster of Delight” (ok, that was mine)
· “Cock” (said in undertones)
I asked them what they used when they talked dirty. Most of them cringed then replied:
Talking Dirty Know what else was universal? Discomfort with dirty talk. That actually didn’t surprise me. It’s called “talking dirty” for a reason. When we watch porn the dialogue can get pretty funny. I’ve seen more than my fair share and now watch it analytically more than anything.
I know several of my friends watch porn because either a) they enjoy it or b) they don’t want their partners to watch it alone. The dialogue, they tell me, is not realistic. And why should it be? It’s fantasy. Is the dialogue any more real in a so-called chick flick? Not really.
My friends tell me they simply don’t know what to say when their partners ask for dirty talk. They have little to draw on and feel almost stupid saying things like “fill me with your big dingus” or “my honey oven overflows with my desire” (ok, that’s me again). You get the idea. They feel stupid saying something which isn’t natural to them.
For some women, talking dirty is a very comfortable thing. I wonder if it has anything to do with our comfort level with just, in general, referring to our genitalia. Most of us have been raised on euphemisms. In fact, in our house (VERY Catholic) we didn’t refer to our parts at all. Not one bit. Ever. I never had “the talk” from my Mum. If it hadn’t been for Judy Blume I would have been in serious trouble. I actually had a doctor’s appointment once and gestured to my womanly bits with a downward glance and a serious of pointed head nods. No. Really. That was before therapy.
But it does mean that there are lot of us writers out there trying to decide which words to use when we write “scenes”.
Dick vs. Cock So I have come to the following conclusion, and I know there are many of you out there who will disagree: “dick” is a man’s word whereas “cock” is universal. Why “dick” doesn’t seem to be a woman’s word is beyond me except to say I prefer the word “cock” but overall, I will stick to historicals when I can so I can use my personal favourite: