"Hey, babe, talk dirty to me!"
Fuck yeah! Naughty words have a sexual power all their own, and it's fucking
puzzling why that should be so. They are, after all, only words, symbolic
scribbles on a page or collections of sounds that, by common consent, mean
something. Yet people have been fired, fined, and fucked over for uttering
them. What gives?
The easy answer is that dirty words refer to sexual (and excretory)
subjects. Though "fellatio" and "cocksucking" both refer to pole-smoking,
one is "dirty," the other's not. Is it bluntness, then, that makes a word
unspeakable? Maybe not - "crap" and "shit" are equally
abrupt, but one is "printable" where the other's not.
Clearly, cultural tradition plays a big part. Take the word "fanny," for
instance. Over in America it's just a cute word for the rump; while here
a much ruder word for the female genitalia. And the French
baiser, which literally means " to kiss," is common slang for "to
screw," so be careful trotting out your GCSE French on your next trip
to Gay Paree. Watch your fanny. Or not.
Interestingly, taboo words are often unmoored from their literal meanings
but forbidden nonetheless. "That guy is a fucking idiot" rarely means that
the fellow in question is ignorant about intercourse, and "Don't give me
that shit" has little to do with unpleasant Christmas presents. Most interesting
of all is the history of "bloody." A mere century ago,
the word was so obscene that it was unspeakable in polite
society. "Polite" is the operative word here. The Oxford English Dictionary
(second edition) notes it was " constantly in the mouths of the lowest
classes, but by respectable people considered a horrid word." Clearly, crass
has to do with class - heaven forbid we should use the slang of the earthy
Even the class angle is tricky, though. Distinctly high-toned magazines and
literary journals regularly print words in full that daily newspapers
censor through the use of dashes or even ! or *. (So
perhaps censorship has now become the tool of the supposedly less-educated,
less-liberal lower classes.) And speaking of those dashes, isn't it
odd that omitting some of the letters in words like "f--k" should be somehow
acceptable, when it's f---ing obvious what's being said? It's almost as if
the squiggles of letters themselves are deemed to have malevolent magic
power. Perversely, it's partly the banning that gives banned words their
transgressive power. "Bloody," after all, is now widely used as a mild
swear word, nothing more.
And what does all this have to do with hard dicks and
throbbing assholes? Well, clearly, even in this enlightened age, dirty
words retain power, and dirty talk is part of many a guy's bedroom repertoire.
It need not be balls-out verbal abuse; just murmuring a nasty word at
the right time can sure spice things up. "When I'm with a bottom," says
one obscenity enthusiast, "I love to call his butthole a 'cunt.' Not
only does it play with gender - and use a really, really forbidden word
- it also sexualizes his hole like no other word I know."
Clearly, some guys would object to the c-word during sex, while others will
lap it up. As with many another edgy move, initiating the use of dirty words
can be a matter of feedback. Say something naughty and wait for a response.
If it's enthusiastic ("Oh, yeah. Fuck that cunt!"), then charge ahead,
upping the ante. If your sex buddy is perceptibly cold, then it's back to vanilla
chitchat ("Any chance of putting it in there?") .
After all, even fucking without fuck-words can be
fucking great, no?