Editor Ellen Sussman moves from Bad Girls to Dirty Words with her new encyclopedia. Elizabeth Fenwick hide caption


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Editor Ellen Sussman move from Bad Girls to Dirty Words through her new encyclopedia.

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Elizabeth Fenwick
Dirty Words: A literature Encyclopedia the SexEdited through Ellen SussmanHardcover, 291 pagesBloomsbury USAList Price: $19.99

There space books, and also then there space "Books we Like." every week in publications We Like, our doubters review their peak picks for new fiction and nonfiction.

The an extremely best entries in this tightly pack A-to-Z the highbrow ribaldry research the sort of vulgarities the absolutely, positively do not belong on bsci-ch.org"s net site. However that doesn"t typical they"re not worthy of, er, rigorous pundit study.

Dirty Words: A literature Encyclopedia that Sex is a lewd however undeniably stimulating arsenal of essays, stories and poems from such pedigreed authors as Jonathan Ames and also Martha McPhee. Each entry probes a various indecent pleasure — native Affair to Virginity, v stops in ~ every C-, F- and also T-word in between.

It"s not all bleep-worthy. In just a few thoughtful pages, Philip Lopate explores the mysteries that duration, T Cooper gives a list of what transgender does and also does no mean, while Michelle Richmond go the mathematics — it"s algebra — top top the Lucky Pierre (I didn"t recognize what it was, either). One of the the strongest entries is Jonathan Wilson"s essay ~ above the American prejudice against a standard term for female parts — a vulgarism our British brothers and sisters supposedly dispense freely in the elevator.


Although it is virtually difficult to digest this compendium without emotion for days as if everything you to speak is a double entendre, PG-rated riffs on indigenous such as commitment, kissing and bad taste bind the collection with a promising moral: some words might be vulgar, however none room truly dirty. Reading Dirty Words cover to cover isn"t so much an exploration of sexual tastes and also boundaries as it is a celebration event of ours splendid imagination and capacity because that tolerance. Refer to it because that the things you don"t know (cicibeo) and also for the points you think you recognize (tantric), then keep it ~ above the peak shelf. Sooner or later it"ll come in handy because that a speak on the birds, the bees ... And also bestiality.


Excerpt: "Dirty Words"


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July 3, 200812:00 to be ET

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Dirty Words: A literature Encyclopedia of SexEdited through Ellen SussmanHardcover, 304 pagesList Price: $19.99
Language Advisory: This excerpt includes language some readers may discover offensive

"KISSING" by Victoria Redel

Definition: to touch or caress through the lips as an expression that affection, greeting, respect, or amorousness. Aka: sucking face, swapping spit, an initial base, tonsil hockey, make out. "A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to protect against speech as soon as words come to be superfluous."—Ingrid Bergman The first surprise of your mouth and mine, the instant method we begin to speak with each other a language we have actually never talked together, a tiny tentative, little promises, a fluency, accented, dialected, each vowel and also consonant specifically formed, sudden indigenous speakers, pun and slang, the slip of tongue, intentional.

On streets, on staircases, in bathrooms, in the back of cabs, in a field, versus that wall surface and that wall and the wall, under on the floor, my hair captured in it, the tongue, lightest tongue, hard and pressed and also reaching tongue, darted, flicked, down-yourthroat tongue, come increase barely because that air, in hotel beds, in a borrowed bed, and in the very same bed night after night after year after ~ night, through an open up window, under pines, underwater, ~ above a raft, in rain, salty with ocean, a peck at the door, a have actually a an excellent day, or again slow, slow, the melt, the beat of lips, a lower lip caught flicked v teeth, pulling ago just a small to breath together.

Into under through for beneath over inside far toward, our mouths, prepositional.

Eyes open, eye closed, your challenge in transport. Your confront so close to mine.

The entirety universe ignited. Combustible.

At the sink, act dishes and suddenly your mouth on my neck and you are turning me roughly to confront you, biting and licking, lifting me up, saying, "Give me her mouth," and also I am giving you mine mouth.

Coming up the end of it, stunned, discombobulated, like moving out native a dream.

Like over there is another room inside and then over there is one more room inside.

Strawberries, sourness of coffee, a slight fizzy sweetness or the clean grass taste as just you taste.

Mornings, just wakened, the tongue quiet slow and also thick and dreaming, transforming away native a kiss.

Kissing like something windy, like good weather. Kissing in winter, our mouths the warmest ar in the city. Kissing in rain, in suddenly drenching rain and also we space gladly wet.

Kissing prefer nobody"s business.

Or trying no to, make the efforts to hold back, restraint, restraint and then surrender.

Tongue and tongue and also lip and tongue and, unexpectedly I am every twitch and pull and also ache inside.

Snuck, stolen, last, first, unbidden, forbidden, sloppy, delicious,

French, farewell, slippery, criminal kisses.

Sacred kissing, a exclusive syntax.

"Was that legal?" ns ask once we come up the end of it. Could I have known once Charlie R. Take it me up the Harwood building stairwell because that my first, fast, dry, twelve-year-old kiss that I"d end up being a woman who loves kissing, a mrs who"d drive across state lines for the moment just prior to the kiss begins.

"What i really miss out on is the do out. That"s what I"d go for if I might have a night on the lam," the married woman said, looking in ~ a pair who have rolled appropriate off their picnic blanket. One of us might say, "Only kissing," and then it"s the very first night all over again and also we room making out and also making out and also making out, we room the tumble and press and wrestle, all pressure and also rub, everything concentrated in our lips and also tongues, all of it, every mystical, dirty, delicious thing that two human being can manage.

"Kiss me good-bye," girlfriend say, and on a street v strangers in floppy hats and winter coats, we slip right into one an additional to say come one an additional with tongue and lips the last apologies and promises. In the financial institution line or sitting at a dinner table through friends, ns touch my mouth, chapped, puffy, maybe a tiny raw, a souvenir of our intimacy.

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I am drifting or you space drifting and one pressed versus the various other whispers, "Good night," and also there"s the critical kiss, the day"s punctuation.

"BASES" by Peter Markus

Definition: the game of baseball is often used together a an allegory for physics intimacy, especially to define the level that intimacy completed in intimate to meet or relationships. Various other parts the the baseball an allegory include "striking out" (sexual frustration), "pitcher" (for the penetrating partner) and also "catcher" (for the receiving partner) in masculine homosexual intercourse, and an ext obscure allusions such together a "catcher"s mitt" because that a contraceptive sponge. —Alvin L. Hall and also Thomas L. Altherr, "Eros in ~ the Bat: American Baseball and also Sexuality in historic Context," The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, 1998 (McFarland & Company, 2002), 157–82.

When ns was a boy, i lived and also ate and breathed baseball. Baseball indigenous morning to night. Especially in the summer. So it to be confusing, come say the least, once one summer the boys in my town started talking around getting to an initial base, then second base, and also rounding third base, just to uncover out the they weren"t in reality talking about baseball. I myself had obtained to 2nd base, a fumbling sort of a check-swing bunt, through a girl named Lori Hetzel, who was my friend Richie"s tiny sister. We were in a field of scrub brush top top the edge of the golf course where we provided to walk swimming for golf balls that had been shanked right into the thirteenth-hole water hazard when she and I fell and fumbled into and onto every other and my hand, somehow—bless that is bony heart—found its means up come Lori"s second base. That was the exact same summer that I began to fantasize about getting to third base with other girls, such together Kristy McNichol of family fame, or the girl that played Joanie on Happy Days, or Brooke Shields, who, the following summer—the summer us were both thirteen—whispered right into the ears of American boys favor me that nothing came in between her and her Calvin"s. The summer, at night, i was what came between me and also blue jeans. And also once I started coming prefer this, allow me call you, I can not stop. Eventually I double my means into 2nd base in the basement the Shelly Longfellow"s home one day as soon as her mother was away at work. The finish of that summer ns tripled and also found myself sliding headfirst, Charlie Hustle style, right into third. It take it me rather a few summers before I knocked one the end of the park, despite I preserved swinging and also kept on striking out. I should admit that as soon as I did lastly hit a home run, the wasn"t rather as glorious together I imagined it might be. Once the ball climbed over the fence, is what ns am saying, it simply as easily disappeared. And also I was left come trot approximately the bases, mindful to touch each corner without tripping myself up. Once I ultimately reached home, ns walked earlier into the dugout, wanting to feel an ext heroic than I did. The reality is, I finished up sit by myself, ago in the shadows that the dugout, whereby my eyes appeared to only want to remain staring down. I didn"t recognize what to carry out with my hands. So ns picked up a bat—they were all wood earlier then—held it tightly in mine grip, and also knocked the dirt out of my rubber cleats.