Cunt as “a nasty word for a nasty thing”: a thought

The Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, by Captain Francis Grose.

In 1785 Captain Francis Grose published the first edition of his “Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue”. The book’s a useful collection of old, outdated slang. Gross claims he got most of the words by hanging out with soldiers.

The Dictionary is best remembered these days for Grose’s listing of “Cunt” and his definition: “a nasty word for a nasty thing”. 

That looks horrifically misogynist, and it’s always quoted as an example of Grose’s, or more generally of male, misogyny.

 

I’ve started to wonder, though. The first issue, for me, is that the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue doesn’t really have anything else that comes close to the level of fear and hate of women, or at least their genitals, that definition seems to demonstrate. And it gives more space to thieves’ cant (language used by criminals) than to sexual words, So could Grose have been saying something else?

Nasty as she wants it to be.
(Drawing: Betty Dodson)

We know the word “nasty” has a strand of sexual meanings. It’s everywhere in rap. “Do the nasty”, meaning, “have sexual intercourse”, anyone? But “nasty” has sexual meanings in blues, too. Which takes it back to the 20th century, and maybe the 19th, in US black culture.

But it’s older than that. The sexual use of “nasty” may have re-entered non-black English from its preservation among black culture. It’s not uncommon for words to survive in one cultural group while they disappear elsewhere.

So we go back in time looking for early uses, and we don’t find much, because sexual words seldom made it into print, before the 19th century.

But it turns out that “nasty” meant “lewd” from the 17th century.

Francis Grose: Geddit? Just kidding, folks!

“Lewd” means something like “overtly sexy”, with a connotation of “slightly more overtly sexual than the speaker is comfortable with.” But the sexual meaning is clear. “Lewd” is always a compliment, in my book. 

So, remembering that this meaning of “nasty” was in use from the 1600’s, and that Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue was published in 1785, it’s possible to see his definition in another way. 

Was Grose making a sort of joke? “Cunt:  a sexy name for a sexy thing”?

If so, he was Winding Up The Straights. And We Fell For It.  

Jerusalem Mortimer – among others – is on sale!

My first story sale is in print! And available in an e-book!

The story is called Desires. Gee, if you really loved me, you’d go buy the book it’s in.

You can buy it here. It’s available in paperback and as an e-book. I recommend the paperback because you can sit it on your shelf and take it down when you need to spank someone with it, or be spanked. 

Also, there are people who won’t have sex with you if there isn’t at least one book in your house. And in my experience Book Nerds Make Better Lovers.

The book is Identity, and it showcases a diverse collection of essays and stories by over twenty writers of sex fiction and non-fiction, and sex toy reviewers. It presents a range of talent from established writers and new writers, all of whom are coming to the 2017 Eroticon Conference in London. 

It’s a sex-positive anthology, moving from the heteronormative to show a truly representational cross-section of erotic identity. 

In this unique compilation, the central theme of identity is explored from many different angles. Some authors discuss their personal identity as writers, others how their fictional characters explore who they are through sex. Yet other writers examine the impact of the erotic identity, sexuality or personality and how this is celebrated or must remain hidden. 

As well as the amazing Jerusalem Mortimer, whose story really is rather hot, Identity features work by Velvl Ryder, Malin James, Eve Ray, Marie Rebelle, Meg-John Barker, Teresa Caves, sub-Bee, Emily Jacob, Jenny Guérin, Ella Scandal, Alun Norley, Ina Morata, Miss Ruby Rousson, cleareyedgirl, Heather Day, The Other Livvy, Zak Jane Keir, F.F. Sexton, Zoë King, Charlie Powell, BibulousOne, Emmeline Peaches and Girl on the Net. 

If you’re already reading them you’ll know that’s an amazing line-up. If you’re not, then this is an excellent place to start!

 

A library of filthy books 2: The bdsm case

top-shelves

These are the top two shelves of the (mostly) bdsm bookcase. It starts with Taschen reprints of Eric Stanton femdom fantasies. And a shiny gold book of historical erotic photos, most of which don’t have any bdsm relevance, but it’s there to be with the rest of the Taschen books. There’s safety in numbers. As the mathematicians say.

Then Sade, Sacher-Masoch, “Walter” and his secret life (I’ve read it all, so you don’t have to: god, that man was a terrible writer), then various books of Victorian porn, and a few samples from pre-Victorian times. 

middle-shelves

The next two shelves are mostly 20th century bdsm erotica, plus two of the 50 Shades books, which I picked up off the free book exchange table at the local rail station. Plus a few non-fiction books. The wiry brass couple fucking on the upper shelf are from Mali. And the stocky fellow with a thick (but short) erection on the lower shelf is a piece of Saami art, from Lappland.

bottom-shelvesThese are the two bottom shelves. On the left of the upper of these two shelves, there’s one of the very few actually valuable books or series I own. Those three volumes are the bibliographies of Henry Ashbee, possibly better known as Pisanis Fraxi. The Index Liber Prohibitorium, or Index of Forbidden Books, and its two successors. First editions, from Victorian times.

The very bottom shelf has various books of erotic art, including bdsm art, like the works of Guido Crepax and Milo Manara.

The thing with a Playboy Bunny Symbol is the complete set of Playboy from the 1950s, on CD-ROM. I’d get the collection for the 1960s as well, but I’ve never seen it in this format. I wouldn’t bother with the 1970s, though Robert Anton Wilson was still editing and writing there at the time. But it was an important and stylish literary mag, for a while. 

The duck? He’s a reed duck decoy, First Nation art from the Canadian prairies. He’s got no business being there amongst the sex books in particular. But the duck, he just wanted to be there.  Maybe he’s a mallard: they – unlike most other birds – actually have a penis.

And you need a duck, don’t you, if you want to write a rhyming poem about sex.

I was walkin’ down the road an I met a little duck.

He said, “How are ya, human, you look down on your luck?”

I said,”I saw that sexy Sally, tried to slip my nip inside her tuck;

She told me nobody loves me an I’ll never get a -” And so on.

Anyway, that’s the Concavity of Depravity, where Cinderella posed, waiting for her Prince. (Who did come.)  

UPDATE:

Cinderella has naming rights, for various reasons. She tells me the whole room is the Library of Depravity, and only the sex books section is the Concavity of Depravity. That seems fine to me.

 

A library of filthy books

sex-cases

This is the sex alcove in my library. It’s been named (not by me) the Concavity of Depravity. I like it, though, so it’s become my name for the whole damn library. 

Five cases of books about fucking. The case at the left, in the front, is for the pioneering sexologists: the complete works of Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, Havelock Ellis, whatever I’ve been able to get of Magnus Hirschfeld, Ivan Bloch and others. Plus Shere Hite, the legendary Juliet Richters of the Australian Survey on Health and Relationships (ASHR), and various others.

That long white object on the middle shelf of that bookcase is a whalebone dildo, which is probably Indonesian in origin, and was used for pleasure and (the head is relatively small) apparently to instruct young brides-to-be on their marital duties.

The case at the front right is devoted to less pleasant topics, like diseases, rape in the family, in the community and in prison, sexual abuse of children, and other horrible things.

The case on the inside left is for historical books – Aretino, Aristotle’s Masterpiece, the Memoirs of Casanova, and other good things. Also, sex work now and in the past. And pro-sex feminism, i.e. people like Lynn Segal.  

At the back, shining in the light, is the (mostly) bdsm bookcase. We’ll come back to that, on Thursday.

And the inside right bookcase, which is barely visible, contains people writing Theory (i.e. late 20th century pomo wankery) about sex and gender. And writing by anti-sex feminists, glowering across at their pro-sex counterparts in the left book case. 

Missing “Story of O” scene discovered!

An episode from the later life of O has been discovered in the pocket of an overcoat in the Department of Lost Documents. It takes place shortly before O’s notorious entry into Celebrity Rehab. The manuscript appears to be in Harold Pinter’s hand-writing.

bouncy!(First Bouncer, a man in a too-tight tuxedo, stands in a doorway under a discreet sign that reads: “Sir Stephen’s: All-nite Bdsm Club”.)  

First Bouncer: Quiet tonight.

(The club door opens and the Second Bouncer appears, pushing a naked woman, with “I Heart Sir Stephen” branded on her left buttock, out the door and down the steps.)

Second Bouncer: You shouldn’t be coming back, ma’am.

First Bouncer: I was saying, quiet tonight.

Second Bouncer: Mmf.

O (for the naked woman is she): Lemme back inside, you Nazi bastard!

Second Bouncer: You were bothering the proprietor, ma’am.

O: Look, all I said was, ‘Dominate me, Steve, you know, like in the old days?’ So what’s wrong with a girl asking for a bit of attention?

Second Bouncer: Sir Stephen says you’ve been stalking him.

First Bouncer: He said he can’t look out his window without you on his lawn, screaming for a flogging.

O: I belong to him! He must punish me.

070-02314_TFirst Bouncer: Rattling your pussy rings at him.

Second Bouncer: Most upsetting.

O: He put them on my body when he made me his!

First Bouncer: They’re not bloody castanets, you know.

Second Bouncer: Anyway, you were upsetting the patrons.

O: Patrons! I was upsetting his new slaveboi, more like. But, oh well… [Sighs.] You know, you’re kinda cute yourself, aren’t you? And you were pretty masterful, back there. A girl likes that.

Second bouncer: I’m gay, ma’am.

O: Oh. Well, how about…

First Bouncer: I’m submissive.

O: Men! You’re useless, the lot of you. I’m off to Anne-Marie’s. [O stomps off.]

Second Bouncer: Yeah. Pretty quiet.

[He holds the door for the proprietor, who leads another man on a leash.]

Sir Stephen: Coming, René?

René: No, Master, it’s just the way I’m standing.

[Tish-boom! Black-out.]

E[lust] 64

Elust #64

Cheeky minx
Photo courtesy of Cheeky Minx

Welcome to Elust #64 

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust.

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

Ownership: On Sexuality & Feminine Relations

Tool Time

Seven – A Fairytale of Sorts

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

The Love Letter of O
To My Single Submissive Friends – Be Brave

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

What S/He Said: Pressing Stop

Writing about Writing

How We Talk About Play

Erotic Fiction

The Warehouse
Taking Chance
The Little Mermaid
Trick or Treat
Bad Sex Turns Good
Shall We Dance?
Let’s Play a Game (Spuffy Erotica)
Firemen

Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

A MakeLoveNotPorn Reality Check
Pondering Dildos as Art
Where does bdsm come from? Other species/
A Females Perspective on Extreme Feminists

Erotic Non-Fiction

Fucking on Facebook
A lot of Patience
Hands Away
Tall Dark and Handsome Pleasant Surprise
Torture His Balls. Tease His Cock.
Caning Sometime?
I Took my Pony Slave Shopping
Private Dancer
Earning Pleasure The Hard Way
At the Movies

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

Finding Shelter in the Shadows.
My First Scarification
Q: “What’s stopping me from reporting owner?”
Squirting…Fact Not Fiction-Part 3

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Shiny Lesbian Syndrome
Communicate!
Losing it, asking for it
Celebration
How I Handle Being A Parent & Sex Positive
Sex as the most intimate performance
The crowded mirror
Sex Hangover

Poetry

Penisaurus – a Lusty Limerick

Blogging

Sex toys are NOT required for fantastic sex
My paint brush is empty.

 

E[lust] 63: I’m a “Molly’s Pick” in this edition. (So Molly’s cool.)

Welcome to Elust #63 

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #64? Start with the rules, come back November1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

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~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

I am Sexy at Every Size
Censored? Never By My Hand #DarkErotica #BDSM
Hovering

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Show Me, Daddy
The pride of being a dom

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

Ask Better Questions

Erotic Non-Fiction

Two Hours of Bliss
Save the Sheets
All He Could Do Was Moan.
I’ll Have What She’s Having
Attitude on the Autobahn
Go get a toy so you can fuck yourself.
Cumslut

Thoughts and Advice on Kink and Fetish

Why I love my Packer
Tools of the trade
On being a feminist and a dirty little slut
Stapled
Getting Acquainted
Not Your Fetish
Why Kinky Women Are All Gold-Digging Trash*
Schoolgirls a Lasting Obsession
Kink-Blocked by Burners

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

We Still Have To Work At It
Sex and Motherhood – Part 1
Tips for using sex toys & avoiding infections
How to Have Sex Naked
Bipolar Sex

Erotic Fiction

Oopps Wrong Number
Pour
Minister & Mistress
Surprises: A Threesome Story
Door Frame

Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Sex, lies, videotape & being a decent person
Two Women One Topic

Events

Rubber Band Brilliance

Blogging

Stripping away the Shadows

Poetry

Sweat Slick – An Erotic Sonnet
The Poem Challenge, Day 6: “Owned”
Sixty Years On – A Lusty Limerick
Poetry: I Am….

Writing About Writing

On Writing Daddy Porn

elustblacknew

 

The Cruel and the Meek

This is an illustration from a fairly trashy book about bdsm, The Cruel and the Meek.

It’s got comic elements: The caption, “The shaven head, black patent leather, tight corset and fetters, typical of a sado-masochistic relationship”, is priceless. It also has a certain sexual power. Anyway, I’ll talk about it more tomorrow.

wighead(Funny that the artist used the name “Wighead”, by the way. Did s/he have a skull-shaving fetish?)

Still in the library

"Of the organising of books there is no end, and too much shelving is a weariness unto the flesh." As Einstein said, on the internet. Or possibly Oscar Wilde.

“Of the organising of books there is no end, and too much shelving is a weariness unto the flesh.” As Einstein said, on the internet. Or possibly Oscar Wilde.

I’ve been working in the library. All the live-long day. I have a lot of things to blog, but no time at the moment.

I am building up to a post on why hitting children is a bad idea. Which links to theories about sexual development and interest in bdsm. But maybe it’ll be all the better for leaving it brewing in the back of my mind for a while before I write it.

Here’s another pic of the library, to give you an idea just how much work I have to do.