Mindful Profanity

It was a tough choice this week deciding what to blog about. I came across two articles in my daily perusal of the news, and it was a toss-up about which I would choose. The story not chosen for this week was about a woman whose clitoris exploded (okay not really, it ruptured, but still very cringe-worthy). And, for those of you who really want to hear about the ruptured clitoris, I can’t resist blogging about that next week…so stay tuned.

Now, I’ve written about profanity before, because, well, there aren’t many of my books or characters who avoid swearing. I’ve made the case before that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a well-placed curse word. Unfortunately, as I age, I’ve lost my filter…left that sucker in the dust years ago. Now that I am retired, I feel empowered to let the words fly freely from my mouth. This is why I was delighted to read the article about how swearing can make a person happier.

In addition to that remarkable declaration, the article went on to make a few other points for mindful cursing. Here are some of the things I learned:

  • Americans have huge potty mouths. On average, out of every 1,000 words, five are curse words. This includes all those individuals who never curse in normal speech (nearly half of us).
  • Over the past two years, cursing has increased, including in children. And people are also swearing more at work.
  • There is good profanity and bad profanity (not the actual words): Using it as a modifier, such as that was f$%king awesome is somewhat acceptable in certain places. In a joking capacity, such as, “Some people believe there is too much profanity in Sapphic Fiction and to that I say, bullsh%$.” Personally, I think joking about profanity is perfectly acceptable. The kind that is bad is considered abusive obscenity and this can end a marriage, get you disciplined at work, or put you in Facebook jail.
  • Profanity is mostly voluntary, but there are examples of involuntary cursing such as instances of aphasia or Tourette’s syndrome. I’ve never written about a character with Tourette’s, but that could be interesting.
  • Profanity feels good and allows for emotional relief. Who doesn’t feel a smidgeon of relief after stubbing your toe and letting that “f*&k fly from your mouth? Not only that, but it can also lessen physical pain. Yup, there have been studies on that! The Brits asked people to put their hands in frigid water, some were told to use profanity, while others were directed to use non-profane words. The subjects who let the swear words fly tolerated the pain better. I’m waiting for my health care provider to write a prescription for profanity the next time I perform one of my klutzy maneuvers.
  • Another researcher found that while some may associate a person who curses as less intelligent (those arguments have been made about Sapphic works that have a lot of cursing, arguing it is lazy, unintelligent writing), another perception exists where those of us with potty mouths are believed to be more honest. Just to be clear, I have always vehemently disagreed with those who think fiction with profanity is lazy or unintelligent writing.

While I have written characters that abhor profanity and never swear, even going so far as to chastise those that do, most of my characters use profanity. Some more than others. Except for the characters who I intentionally develop as horrible human beings, I try to avoid abusive profanity. Ali must find me a challenge to write with because she doesn’t write a lot of profanity in her books, so if you see a swear word in the books we have written together, that’s probably all me! Want to check out our latest novel, feel free to click on the links below.

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Love Forever Live Forever
The Thanksgiving Baby Caper
The Book Addict
The Book Witch
Inspiration Takes a Vacation
Donner Junior Saves the Day

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