Faye Flam of The Philadelphia Inquirer asks the question, “Why are sex words our worst swearwords?”
Flam writes, “Several weeks ago the editors at the Philadelphia Inquirer debated whether to allow more dirty words in the paper. There was talk of loosening the restrictions on damn, which we've long placed in our category of lesser offenders though it implies something horrendous - condemnation to hell (a word we're also easing up on).
Topping our list of the worst possible words is the F-word, though in its literal sense it conveys something very nice. Writers are not specifically forbidden to use it but there are enough hoops to jump through that nobody has broken the F- barrier yet.
It's listed in our highest security class of obscenity, along with three synonyms for penis, two for vagina, two slang terms for oral sex, two variants on animal waste products and one expression that employs the F-word in an oedipal context.
What does this say about our society, and is there any scientific explanation for why people yell out a word for sex when they stub their toes?”
Flam further notes, “Overall, the scientific evidence suggests swearing is good for you, says psycholinguist Timothy Jay of Massachusetts College of the Liberal Arts and author of Cursing in America.
We're the only animal that can curse, he says, which sometimes helps us avoid physical violence. "It allows us to express our emotions symbolically and at a distance." For example, Jay says, when a woman was weaving in front of him on the road that morning he was able to call her a "dumb ass" instead of getting out of his car and biting her.”
Flam writes that Americans rely heavily on the F-word, which, she concludes, “In addition to helping Dick Cheney refrain from biting all the Democrats in Congress, it represents the most direct and concise English term for sexual intercourse.
Some commentators have warned that we're wearing out the poor word with gross overuse, draining it of its original cathartic power. But Jay says we have nothing to worry about. It's an old word, possibly stemming from German and not an acronym for For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, as urban legend has it. It's been part of the English language for more than 1,000 years, he said, and it's still so taboo you can't say it on TV or in school. Or in the newspaper.”
For Faye Flam’s full & enlightening article check out SunJournal.com
So, dear readers, what are your
thoughts on cursing? Please feel free to comment! :)
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Spicy Romance with a Touch of Magick