We're thrilled to welcome author Sarah Anderson back to Heroes and Heartbreakers! Sarah had a memorable post on the variety of terms authors use for the penis, but we knew she was only telling half the story, so we've asked her back, just in time for A Man of Distinction to be released. Thanks for joining us, Sarah!
(Plus, read to the end for a comment sweepstakes!)
So, About that Vagina…
So glad to be back at Heroes and Heartbreakers! As you may (or may not) recall, I stopped by the blog a few months ago to start a Very Important Dialog about Our Friend The Penis, the many wonderful, varied nicknames The Penis goes by, and which of those nicknames one could safely use in a category romance.
We covered all the highlights: cock, dick, erection, turgid velvet-covered shaft of love . . . boy, those were good times. But I couldn’t help but notice that Something Else was happening in the comments section. Namely this: readers came for The Penis, but they stayed to talk about The Vagina and all of its little buddies, The Clitoris, The Labia, and The Vulva.
I don’t know about you, but I feel this is a conversation that is more than worthy of its own blog post.
Now, ostensibly, this is about words you can and cannot use in a category novel, because the clinical, medical terminology (see above) can be a) unintentionally funny or b) offensive to some people, both of which throw readers out of the scene. That is what we do not want.
But here’s the problem. Almost no one uses vagina in sex scenes. (Tiffany Reisz is a rare exception. She makes vagina work. In more ways than one!) Maybe it’s just too clinical to be sexy, but our poor little vagina almost never gets a mention by name.
So what to do? This is where things get very, very tricky. For too long, women didn’t get to name their own reproductive organs. Men did it for them, and in a vast majority of the time, the names men gave our vaginas were not meant in a complimentary, loving way.
I’m just going to say it. Cunt.
Of all the words readers discussed in the comments on the last blog, cunt was, hands down, the least favorite. Plus, it had the bonus power of being so derogatory that people refused to even spell it out. Almost everyone wrote “c*nt”.
Other words for vagina that are more suited to the world’s oldest profession include pussy, hole, twat, poontang, and more that I probably don’t even want to write down. Some readers helpfully highlighted old-fashioned insults such as cunny, slit, and gash.
On the other side of things, we women tend to get all soft and flowery in our descriptions. Rosebuds unfurling, all glistening petals and beads and pearls, are almost as bad. I’m not a freaking garden. Don’t plant me.
And how many of you had the discussion with an older parent or grandparent about your pocketbook? I don’t know about you, but I’m not keeping loose change anywhere near the area.
So we come to today. What the heck do you call the genitalia for a woman? Surprising, a lot of the readers who commented didn’t have a really good name for their own parts. Readers used bits, plumbing, lady parts, junk, and more to describe their sexual organs. Which is all fine and good, I suppose, but I have to tell you, writing, “He thrust his junk deep into her junk and sighed at the feeling of their junk joined together” kills the romance for me. Just kills it.
Now I get Glamour and Cosmo (which I read for the articles) (really!) and have been alerted to the hip, happening words that the young ladies of today (which are the wives and mothers of tomorrow, may I remind you) use to describe Our Friend the Vagina: vag and va-jay-jay.
Maybe vag isn’t so bad. Maybe vag can be like clit—shortened from a medically correct name into a powerful word that can carry a positive sexual reference without being demeaning or shameful. (At least, that’s how I feel about clit. I’m not there yet with vag.)
But va-jay-jay? Ladies, come ON. I have never heard such a ridiculous, comical name. Hell, I’ll take cunny (a medieval insult) and pussy over va-jay-jay every damn day of the week. You can bet your bottom dollar that va-jay-jay doesn’t work in romance. “He ran his thumb over her va-jay-jay, delighting at the way her body shivered at his touch.” Um, no. Not happening.
Instead, we wind up using center or core (which are not particularly sexy), or fumbling the handoff (ha!) even more with ‘where she was wettest’ or some other vague, Where-in-the-World-is-Carmen-Sandiego?-style set of directions.
So, I ask you—as a woman, wife, mother and, most importantly, an author—what words for vagina work for you? One commenter will be randomly selected to win an autographed copy of A Man of Distinction.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
- You Want Me to Put That WHERE?: Heroes and Their Large Penises
- Pimped-Out Penises: That Little Something Extra Heroes Bring to the Table
- A Penis by Any Other Name
To enter for a chance to win one copy of Sarah M. Anderson's A Man of Distinction, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment below.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2012/08/author-sarah-anderson-on-names-for-the-vagina beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) August 29, 2012. Sweepstakes ends at 1:59 p.m. ET on September 7, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/page/official-rules-a-man-of-distinction-comment-sweepstakes. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010
Award-winning author Sarah M. Anderson may live east of the Mississippi River, but her heart lies out west on the Great Plains. With a lifelong love of horses and two history teachers for parents, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves out in South Dakota among the Lakota Sioux. She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and to see how their backgrounds and cultures take them someplace they never thought they’d go.
When not helping out at school or walking her rescue dogs, Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and American Indians, all of which is surprisingly well-tolerated by her wonderful husband and son.
This post is brought to you as part of the A Man of Distinction Blog Tour. For a complete tour schedule, visit www.sarahmanderson.com. Comments on this blog post will be entered to win a signed copy of A Man of Distinction* (see rules in the post above). Plus—bonus—I’m giving away a handcrafted (by me!) book necklaces from everyone who commented throughout the week! (Official rules here—scroll to the end.) Check the Authorial Moms blog September 11th to see if you were the winner! All comments will be added to the weekly book jewelry prize drawing.