Guest post by Michael Blaylock
Welcome back to an uncomfortably-thorough examination of cuss words and whether or not they deserve their "icky" status. Opinions and questions are very welcome; this is a discussion among other things. You can check out the previous three articles discussing cussing with Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.
USUAL WARNING: I'm actually going to USE the cuss words in these blogs for the purposes of study. I'm not inherently saying they're okay to use in daily life.
And here we have it! The number one cuss word of them all. One of the most spine-tingling and also one of the most frequently and creatively used, it needs its own article to discuss it properly. Ladies and gentlemen...fuck.
A basic(ish) definition
Fuck is a word of a thousand uses. However, in its most basic form, it is a verb, and the best description I can manage is this: to have vigorous or even dominant sex with someone. Now don't let the word "dominant" fool you. There's no automatic implication of whips, gags, or other BDSM practices. It also doesn't necessarily mean rape. When you fuck someone, it simply means you're the one "in charge."
It’s not the same as “making love,” or “fooling around” or “procreating.” It seems to have its basis in pleasure and passion more than romance, playfulness, or duty.
And that's not a bad thing, Christians. There seems to be this unspoken rule that only “making love” and “procreating” are appropriate. Sex is for candlelight and copulation. Fun and experimentation are sinful. However, 1 Corinthians 7 says that sex is for pleasure among other things, and Song of Solomon gets pretty kinky. And in the context of a loving, marital relationship, there’s security and freedom.
Christians would say that sex is not meant to be selfish, and they're right. And they'd also say that sex that pleases only one person is selfish. Well...hold up there, partner.
Just because only one side is "pleased" doesn't mean God isn't (I...just...said...that...). Maybe they're taking turns. Maybe one person needed it more than the other. And who says only the person making the motions is getting the pleasure? Vigor and passion are nice things to have in the bedroom. Besides, it’s biologically impossible that all sexual actions be mutually pleasurable (Women have a clitoris, men do not).
So all in all, fucking is not a bad thing. So…why is the word bad?
I will admit it’s a private thing. Sex is a general word, and therefore “safer,” whilst fuck is a very specific type of sex and not everybody wants to hear about your bedroom activities.
Not one for everyday public, especially not children, but absolute banning? That's not going to hold up in court.
Other meaningful uses
Now we get into the slang. Sometimes the word is used to describe unfairness or poor treatment. "That guy fucked me over." This has a callback to violent sex and is comparing your loss to "bending over" as it were. Since this has more rape-y connotations, I'd advise staying away from it.
Another common one is the insult “motherfucker.” However, I’ve never really understood why this is an insult. I know it's bad to violate someone's mother, but once again, violation isn't necessarily what's happening. I mean what about married couples with kids? There are plenty of Christian men who are a bad mutha shut-yo-mouth, and the Bible says they should be proud of it! (Proverbs 5:18-19)
Now what about the receiving end? What about when someone says "Fuck you"? Well, as I said a moment ago, being on the “receiving” end of things can be awesome, and usually is. The bedroom should be fun after all and their pleasure can quickly become yours. So if someone says this phrase to you, just reply, "I hope so!"
Now if they're wishing themselves upon you (or someone/something else), willingly or not, that's crossing the line. It's creepy at best and threatening at worst. Generally speaking, it’s not good to tell someone you’d like to hmm-hmm their ha-ha.
When it means nothing
I’d be willing to wager that 50% of the time the dreaded f-bomb is used, it’s being used out of context. And by out of context, I mean out of any real meaning whatsoever.
You’ve heard the f-bomb used as an adjective, right? But did you ever stop to realize it can’t possibly be literal? When you go to "that fucking place," is it an orgy or something? If you’re “fucking scared,” shouldn’t you stop and take the situation more seriously?
See, that's the funniest thing about this oh-so-terrible F-word. It usually means absolutely nothing.
Ever heard the word used as a noun? An adverb? An interjection? A laborious descriptor (fuckery)? These words can’t possibly play out literally, or if they do, man that is a niche conversation.
And WTF does "WTF" even mean? I know what it stands for, but what how does that phrase possibly play out in reality?
When a word means nothing, is it a bad thing? Some would say you shouldn't use a word if it means nothing, but that's more of a literary argument than a moral one. Others say all words mean something. To them, I defy you to tell me what "what the fuck" means exactly.
Still others would argue, “If it means nothing, why use it at all? Why not be creative instead of using a word that’s so commonly repulsive?” To them I would reply, “If it means nothing, why villainize it?”
Despite my ridiculous liberality with the word in this post (and you should see what I edited), I don’t think the f-bomb should be used constantly or in every situation. Sexual talk in general is unsuitable in many situations and always around kids. Even from a literary standpoint, the word is neither scientific nor romantic (to most).
Still, I don't think fuck should be banned from the English dictionary. The word is not automatically derogatory to gender, race, culture, or any other group. Going by the definition, it seems to mean good things or nothing most of the time. True, it can be used in horrible ways, but so can many innocent words (How many times has "Jesus" been used to hurt people?).
However! We must consider our audience. Many people are offended by the f-word, and while “don’t offend” is not a gospel, it’s still good to use it with caution. I used it liberally in this post because this is a study of the word, but you'll probably never see me use it on my Christian blog again because I don't want my freedom to unduly soil my reputation or make someone else violate their own conscience. Christians don't like it and I'm talking to Christians, so why rub my freedom in their faces?
So again, use with caution and only with those who know you well enough to understand. In my opinion, a harsh condemnation like "damn" should be more reviled than the oft-pleasurable "fuck." But as my dad once said, "'Should' denies reality."
And man, oh, man, I hope he isn’t reading this.