Monday, March 14, 2011

A Stomach Is An Organ That Digests Food: Just Sayin'



I have been reading a lot of erotica lately. Namely, Bearotica: Hot and Hairy Fiction, and more recently, Fairy Tale Lust: Erotica Fantasies for Women. I will be discussing these books at a later date. Today, I would like to discuss something that has been driving me crazy. Maybe it's because I used to be a biology teacher. Maybe it's because I'm a fan of horror movies. Whatever the reason, I need to point out a common error I have been finding in these erotica stories.

A stomach is an organ that digests food. See Diagram A....


Diagram A


A belly, or abdominal muscles, or abs look like this.....(see Diagram B)....



Diagram B (Courtesy of Marky Mark)


A "stomach" is not sexy. See Diagram C.....


Diagram C


Abs can be very sexy. See Diagrams D, E, and F.


Diagram D (Thanks, Hugh)




Diagram E (Thanks, Joe)



Diagram F (Yeah, it's the werewolf kid)


This is an unbelievably common error made in erotica, and it drives me nuts. There is nothing remotely sexy about someone licking another person's stomach (see Diagram A). No one can have a "flat stomach"....it is just not biologically possible. Nor is running your fingers over someone's stomach (unless you are a serial killer with a butcher knife). Here are some examples from the books I've been reading....


"...hair fans across his broad chest and tapers down his stomach."

"...his c*ck twitched, his nice tight stomach tightening again before her eyes."

"He began to come upward, licking her stomach and then her chest."

"I run my fingers over the taut skin of his stomach, pushing slightly to feel the shape of the muscles beneath."

"I squeezed a blob of shampoo into my bushy p*bes and lathered up my stomach and chest hair too."

"Golden-brown fur ran in a line down his muscled stomach and into his leather breeches."

"....as my own hard c*ck jumped against my stomach....."

Etc, etc, etc.



Honestly, I don't mind reading an erotic story with tons of mindless sex, unless I get to one of these sentences, and then all I can think of is......"Ewwwww! that is just....not.....possible!"

I am hoping that by educating erotica writers world-wide, this serious literary problem will be addressed.

I am also thinking of starting a side-business called "Penelope's Writing Tips and Rules of Grammar for P*rno Writers" which will include alternate terms for "stomach" and genitalia. As well as reinforcing the whole subject/verb agreement issue. Stuff like that.

Hope everyone is having a happy start to the week,
Penelope

23 comments:

KB/KT Grant said...

I do like a scene where the hair brushes along the rock hard hero's stomach and goes lower.

And the happy trail... nom.

Penelope said...

Lower....to the pancreas?

Tumperkin said...

Great post. And yes, I agree. But where does that leave tummies? Tummy is short for stomach, yes, but it definitely relates to the belly IMHO

Penelope said...

Tumperkin! Ha! How could I forget "tummy"...thank you so much for reminding me. Tummy is a perfectly acceptable synonym for belly or abs. Although it is also OK for stomach, too (I have a sick tummy.....and....his tummy was ripped with muscles.....both are good!).

Good one!

HistoricalRomanceJunkie Rita said...

"I squeezed a blob of shampoo into my bushy p*bes and lathered up my stomach and chest hair too."

Oh my.

Penelope said...

Hi Rita...like that one? hee hee....from the bearotica book!

Emily Veinglory: said...

My friend Merriam Webster seems to disagree: "c : the part of the body that contains the stomach : belly, abdomen"

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Oh thank you! That drives me absolutely nuts! I love a taut abdomen, but a taut stomach? Better get to a surgeon ASAP!

Penelope said...

Oh, Emily....Merriam Webster and I probably disagree on many things....especially when I am playing Scrabble. It's very irritating. Actually, the medical definition for stomach also includes "abdomen"....but I still don't like it. It's just not a sexy word, and the primary definition is a digestive organ.

(As an aside, when I taught biology, I used to give my students a matching quiz for organs and their functions, and I can't tell you how many kids matched "heart" with "digests food"....it was sort of unbelievable.)

Penelope said...

Hi Julia! I guess "taut belly" doesn't sound right either, does it? Belly has a Santa-ish connotation. I like "ripped abs" the best!

Lindsay Kiernan said...

I had to dissect a crayfish in Biology in 7th grade. I'm not ashamed to admit that after that I chose only Geology classes! I don't think I've made that mistake in my own writing but will not quickly do a word search just in case! Thanks for the biology lesson!

Penelope said...

Hi Lindsay! When the biology students split into "pre-med" and "hippy plant people" I went with the plant folks. And I LOVED geology....I am such a geek!

GABY said...

Hahaha you are so right! I always thought I was the only one thinking about this...but I see I'm not!

Penelope said...

Gaby...I'm glad you were thinking the same thing. I'm not alone! :^)

Patti (Book Addict) said...

Love this! I hadn't really thought about it but I can promise you I will now :)

Lindsay Kiernan said...

I tried getting into plants but everything I attempted to grow kept dying. I tried again a month ago with a potted daffodil plant. It died yesterday of unknown causes. Ekk.

Penelope said...

Patti....uh oh. Now you'll be looking for mis-placed organ references in your erotica. Sorry 'bout that! hee hee

Penelope said...

Don't worry, Lindsay. Those potted dafs aren't supposed to live forever. It's easier to plant stuff outside, believe me!

Cara McKenna said...

Sorry, Pen—your rightness is duly noted, but I'm totally sticking with "stomach". You can only say "abs" so many times before your hero starts to sound like a personal trainer, and "belly" so many times before it's just emasculating. My hero's stomachs will continue to tighten, just as their hearts will continue to swell.

Cara McKenna said...

Er, my heroes' stomachs. Dag! Poor pluralization just took a bite out of my indignity!

Penelope said...

Cara---I'm sure that most people won't notice. Unless they were former biology teachers. Or doctors. Or they just had gastric by-pass or something.

Also, hero's vs. heroes' is a tough one. I'm impressed you even noticed that one.

Cara's report card:
Using "stomach"... C-
Heroes' .... A+

p.s. I love your books so much I would overlook the digestive organ problem anyway! :^)

Anonymous said...

It's okay to be picky, but you have to acknowledge, also, that the English language evolves. And what apparently started out as (only?) meaning the organ that digests food, the definition of stomach, has come to mean abs/tummy/belly, etc. Get over it. It's the beauty of language over time. We can make it our own.

Although I will admit to having a pet peeve about the misuse of "literally." That makes me cringe. So, I suppose I'll have to let it go too. :)

Penelope said...

Hello Anonymous! I literally cannot get over it. It must be my biology background.

:^)

(I laugh when people use the term "literally" all the time....I think that is hilarious).