Thursday, January 12, 2012

Love and Profanity

All dirty words are not created equal. For my own speech, you won't hear much beyond darn or describing a cruel person as a brat. As a child, we weren't allowed to say, "Shut up." I think the language we use affects our image and dirty words are crude. I don't want to be that person. My husband, on the other hand, thinks the sentiment is what matters. If you're talking about or comparing something to excrement, it doesn't matter what term you use. If you're insulting someone, it doesn't matter if you call her a brat or a female dog. (For the record, he doesn't swear around me, nor do most of his friends, because they know it bothers me.)

Nash was very sweet, even if she was a female. :-)

There is one word, however, on which we agree. Merriam-Webster defines it as a transitive verb, "usually obscene : to engage in coitus with —sometimes used interjectionally with an object (as a personal or reflexive pronoun) to express anger, contempt, or disgust." Whether you categorize dirty language based on intent or the word itself, this one is in a class of its own.

This is particularly relevant for those of us who see sexuality as a gift. If our sexuality is an expression of love, a treasure given to us by Love and meant to be shared within the covenant of marriage, it has no place being used as an expression of anger, contempt, or disgust. Referencing a sexual act in terms that make it at best impersonal and at worst violent or animalistic degrades sexuality. It profanes what is sacred.

So think about it. What words do you use? What do they say?


  1. I saw this come up on my GFC feed, and had to check it out because profanity is probably my biggest vice. I have to agree with your husband, that it's really about the intention, less the word.

    I don't want my daughter to learn the words, though, so I'm trying to kick the bad habit before she gets much older.

    My problem is "sh...." comes out a lot quicker than darn or shoot.... either way, though, I mean the same thing---usually, "ouch that hurt" or "oh no!"

    Thanks for the blog, it reminded me I really need to filter my words to be a better example.

    1. Crazy what we're willing to do for our kids that we never would have considered for ourselves! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I'm okay with using crass language (unlike my mom, I cheerfully say "poop" or "butt" if I'm referring to body parts or body functions) because I don't really see the point of beating around the bush if you want to talk about something. But that's as rude as my language gets -- things that are obscene (like the F-bomb) offend others for no good reason, and things that are blasphemous (like taking the Lord's name in vain) show a lack of respect for others. At the same time, I don't think it's sinful to swear if you aren't offending others or being blasphemous. My husband says there are some occasions where saying "oh, sugar" just won't cut it!

  3. I meant that things that are blasphemous show a lack of respect for GOD, not OTHERS ... oh well.

    1. I've wished on multiple occasions that there was a way to edit a comment I've posted! Oh typos...

      I'm with you on naming body parts and functions, bluntness has its place. I'm not really sure how PG-13 language fits the command to avoid unwholesome talk (Eph. 4:29). Did Paul just mean the intent or language that some find offensive? I don't know. It's difficult to always avoid language that someone might find offensive (i.e. does 'holy cow' offend Hindus?), so maybe he did just mean the intent. It's a difficult topic for me to make a certain judgment on what is appropriate, which is another reason I don't swear. The only one I'm absolutely sure about is what I highlighted in this post, because it degrades our sexuality. (And of course blasphemy. I may do a post on that one soon.)