Thursday, August 21, 2008

when is a penis not a penis

When it's in a romance novel. A friend who is former editor for a romance publisher, informs me that words like "penis" and "cock" are redlined in manuscripts because the terms are considered too unromantic. (Interestingly, erection is allowed, but only two "erections" are permitted per novel.)

In case you ever decide to switch to the kind of copywriting that generates $1.52 billion a year, here's a list of acceptable euphemisms:
proof of his manhood
raging beast of his desire
tumult of his love
raging monster of his lust
love tool
his hardness
turgid shaft
unsheathed sword
the hard length of him
pillar of manhood
throbbing member
privy member
evidence of his masculinity
and (my personal favorite) the bald avenger
Of course, even in romance novels, manroots aren't always in action. When not "throbbing in her love grotto", a penis may be described as "a swaying promise of future delight."


HighJive said...

what the hell is the matter with you? first you dedicate a post to olympic swimmers looking like giant sperm, and now this. clean it up, lady.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Sheesh, Highjive. Isn't it obvious? Just trying to increase traffic following WAS's very informative post on the subject.

Anonymous said...

My dad had a copy of 'The Harrod Experiment' tucked under his matress and I remember many a nervous afternoon peaking at the 2 pages with the sex scene in it.

Lady Chatterly's Lover, however has plenty of sex and sex talk, but it's all 'cock' and 'cunt' -- pretty unsexy despite itself. Leave it to the British.


1. My first writing job was for a publisher of "adult fiction" in Greenwich Village (I lasted one day.) The big rule was this: when a woman was in ecstasy and was screaming "ooooooooooooooooh" we weren't allowed to use more than 3 O's.

Maybe there was an O shortage and they were trying to conserve.

More about it here:

2. I wrote a post titled "Interporn", about internet pornography. For almost 3 months 7% of my visitors were people who had searched for "interporn."

3. Please ignore highjive. I like it when you talk dirty.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@Auntie--The Harrad Experiment! Oh my trembling 7th grade hands...was it really only 2 pgs?

@Bob--funny how many copywriters started out in porn in the old days. My first ACD boss wrote bunny profiles for Playboy in Chicago. Love the three- O rule, I'll check out that post. Interporn. Hmmm. Sounds like racy branch office of Interpol.

Anonymous said...

a few thoughts:

orthodox romance. doesn't it already sound a bit stale? dry, boring, cookie cutter?

a good dirty book involving sex is to me erotica, at least for the sexy bits. romance is erotica's naive redheaded sister. i am a man and have amassed a horde of pornography from the internet (still mostly porn), sorting and categorizing it with the oddly complimentary feelings of pride and disgust. i can say with certainty that erotic writing is far more cerebral and that there should be at some point in the process a filter. an editor, a creative director, a porn king: something.

if the editor gave carte blance to 'cocks' and 'cunts' then the publishing house would probably drop in value, attracting less talent.

if you must know the rules before breaking them, then you must know why the rules were written before erasing them.

studying latin, something that stuck with me was this definition

vagina, vaginae (n): sheath

so i get the unsheathing of the sword, but had the thought regardless.

shaun. said...


hahahahahaha, genius.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@anonymous (or Porn King)--hmmm I am intrigued by the sorting and categorizing thing, can only imagine those file folder names. THanks for enlightenment on unsheathed sword.

@ shaun--I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!! And apparently--it's a commonly used reference.

Anonymous said...

“Dear Ad Broad,

I never thought this would happen to me...”

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Dear Bigger,
Thanks for writing in. Remember, it's not the size of your logo that counts, it's how you use it.

Rob Buccino said...

Is there any way to combine your last two posts, so that you'd be blogging about medical tourists shopping for replacement manroots?

Joker said...

I must admit, I couldn't resist and had to write a cock post ;) Thanks for the great read

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@Rob Buccino Ha! What a clever tallywacker you are.

@joker Glad you found, er, inspiration here.

Joker said...

It happens more than you think luv. This time it just happened to be a cock rant.