Dirty Words and How to Use Them front cover

Dirty Words and How to Use Them front cover

By Alfred Ellison
Published in 1969 by Pendulum Books

This book has a slightly misleading title.  When I began reading I hoped that this book would be either a dictionary or style guide for dirty talk and profanity.

While I think that I do fairly well left to my own devices, I would much enjoy a guidebook for dirty talk.  Even William Shakespeare would quickly run out of imaginative ways to call his lover a nasty little slut whilst doing the deed, and I know that my dirty talk is far more repetitive than I would like to admit.  Sex itself is largely repetitive, so that doesn’t seem like the end of the world.  Still I would like to have new things to say when necessary.

Of course, just having new things to say isn’t enough.  It’s just as important to have the right words for that special moment.  Here too a guidebook would be useful. If Reader’s Digest® had an adult version of “It Pays to Enrich Your Word Power” I would be a regular subscriber.  Alas, I am left to my own devices for such things.

Dirty Words and How to Use Them is another of the great faux sociological novels that were prevalent in the 1960s.  This particular book examines various types of sexual fetishes driven by the written and spoken word.

Several things stand out about this book.  For one thing, it introduces a number of clinical words for dirty things such as coprolalia (defined in the glossary as “sexual pleasure derived from sexual or scatological language.”), erotolalia (same as coprolalia but limited to spoken words), erotographomania (a condition where someone derives sexual pleasure from writings and drawings about sex), and others.  Pull those out next time you play Scrabble® – just don’t expect them to be in The Official Scrabble Players® Dictionary.

That said, I would strongly advise against using them if you teasing your lover about you have in store for them later.  It’s hard to imagine that anyone would be filled with an overwhelming passion after you told them about your plans to tie them up and engage in an intense round of erotolalia.  Then again, perhaps there is such a person out there and I just don’t know them.  If that’s you, do drop me a line.

Another thing that stands out about this book is that it is very well written.  Even though most of the sex is rather tame compared to many of its contemporizes, the fluid style makes this a fun and easy read.  Even though reading about someone who gets their sexual thrill from writing dirty words on the bathroom wall doesn’t sound that interesting, it is.

This is a good read and I enjoyed it thoroughly.