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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Words, words, words

I like language, voices and writing - but good (by which, of course, I mean that which I enjoy) sexual language can be hard to find. Just as there is a lot of bad porn out there, there's a lot of bad erotica, with purple prose and awful gendered or hetero-normative stereotypes which make me twitch. I'll leave the more politically inclined bloggers to deal with the latter, I'll stick to the former.

Writing about BDSM, like doing it, is a matter of taste, personal preference, however, there is a difference between poor writing and writing that one doesn't like. For me, it can often be about word use. There are certain elements of style I've adopted in writing this blog which encapsulate some of my preferences: words I do and don't use, and I do try to be consistent. Practice what you preach, and all that.

My current pet hate is the word "cum" used for orgasm and/or ejaculate, it's a common occurrence and probably has a space in the OED by now, but I hate it. The truncated text-speak nature of it, deliberate misspelling of another word and (to my ear) it sounds ugly. I like orgasm. Orgasm is a nice word, especially if you break the word down into the oh of pleasure, the gasp of climax, and the lengthy mmm as you relax afterwards. Cum sounds a bit curt, for my tastes. Cut off in its prime.

I've also had a lengthy conversation with myself about dom/domme and the perils of capitalisation. I'm never especially keen on gendered pronouns, finding them obviously sexist, but sexuality is perhaps one of those very few areas where having a shorthand reference for gender is useful: it's good to be able to clearly describe whether the person I'm playing with is male or female as this has an impact on the way we will play, on the sexual connection. Ideally I'd like to just have one general term, and then use "he" or "she" where needed, but given that "dom" is conventionally taken to mean "male dominant" that might be confusing. Clarity being important to me.

Then there is the capital. To capitalise or not? This is an area where I acknowledge my inconsistency, because I attempt to use them where the people I am writing about also use them, just as one person might like to be called "master" and another "sir", certain folk might be as attached to their capitals (and lower cases) as they are to their favourite whip. Wouldn't want to deprive them of either. I'm personally undecided on the subject: it's considered bad grammar to use capitalisations for titles when referring to them in general, but certain high-ranking posts (and surely this is a case for a high ranking post) always take a capital. For the moment, I'm happy enough with where I am, pending some sort of formal survey at a munch, perhaps?

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