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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » The word prude and my thoughts (advice please)

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Author Topic: The word prude and my thoughts (advice please)
Member # 41657

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OK, I understand why the word prude has problems because guys will be like "you don't want to have sex with me/don't like rape porn? ZOMG U prude!!!111!!!", but sometimes it's the best code I have when I'm not sure if I can get away with talking more explicitly about what I don't like about somebody's views on sex and the body, because if I could I would say "they think masturbating is wrong/think uncut genitalia are bad/think that mutually consensual sexual activity between two or more born homosapiens within each other's appropriate age ranges is wrong, or they think it's wrong if it's not penetrative sex or the partners aren't one man and one woman/they think periods are bad/they think bodily functions are really bad as opposed to just requiring attention to hygiene", but sometimes that kind of explicitness may get me in trouble so I have to resort to saying prude, which is perhaps not the best word, but more because it's too vague than because I don't think I should have a word for "someone who is uncomfortable with sexuality and the body" which is condemning of this sort of attitude. What's the reason for the site disapproval of the word? Is there something I'm missing perhaps? Can you think of a better word to use if I have to be understated about something?

Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

Posts: 840 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 41633

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Hi. The word I use for this kind of attitude is erotophobia. It avoids the unpleasant undertones associated with "prude" and it also politicizes the discussion...that could be either a plus or a minus, depending on your perspective. [Smile]

To me, "prude" is a word that's very tangled up with sexual bullying...even when it isn't used in that way, it makes it very easy for the target of the word "prude" to react defensively. In my experience, once a person gets defensive, your argument basically goes to hell...nobody likes to feel attacked; if they do, they won't listen to anything you have to say. The more you can do to avoid that kind of reaction, the better. [Smile]

Posts: 21 | From: guelph, ON | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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pcwhite summed up pretty much exactly why we're not big fans of people using that word around here: it tends to carry a LOT of judgment and negativity.

I'd agree that erotophobia is the best word for this, but if you really like prude, you might even just consider using it differently so that it is not being used to somehow define the whole of a person, but rather, one aspect of behaviour. In other words, even "prudish," as in "what you just said sounds prudish to me," is a big improvement over prude.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 39766

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Wow I'd never thought of it as a 'bad' word! But Im from a different part of the world so - colour - color
To me it just means some one who is rather reserved in their views on me lol So sorry if I use it, I dont mean to offend any one lol and more often than not I'll be refering to me [Razz]

If you are going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance

Posts: 12 | From: New Zealand | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 41427

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Prude is always a derogatory word, at least it is in my opinion. I don't really think it has a valid use unless you're trying to insult somebody for being adamant about talking about, or doing anything related to sex.

If someone really does have... erotophobia, then it's probably not a good idea to make fun of them for it.

Posts: 11 | From: Wisconsin | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 35485

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I'm with Mumbkin. I never thought of 'prude' as an insult; I just haven't considered being called straightlaced or prudent a terribly bad thing, I suppose [Razz] Whenever I've used it, it's been to describe someone who is sexually resevred, not as an attack. But I understand there are a lot of negative connotations to the word today.

And have a look-see:

Word History: Being called a prude is rarely considered a compliment, but if we dig into the history of the word prude, we find that it has a noble past. The change for the worse took place in French. French prude first had a good sense, "wise woman," but apparently a woman could be too wise or, in the eyes of some, too observant of decorum and propriety. Thus prude took on the sense in French that was brought into English along with the word, first recorded in 1704. The French word prude was a shortened form of prude femme (earlier in Old French prode femme), a word modeled on earlier preudomme, "a man of experience and integrity." The second part of this word is, of course, homme, "man." Old French prod, meaning "wise, prudent," is from Vulgar Latin prdis with the same sense. Prdis in turn comes from Late Latin prde, "advantageous," derived from the verb prdesse, "to be good." Despite this history filled with usefulness, profit, wisdom, and integrity, prude has become a term of reproach.

I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty. --John Waters

Posts: 206 | From: Bay Area, CA | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 35485

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(double post, sorry!)

[ 01-07-2009, 06:25 PM: Message edited by: SnailShells ]

I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty. --John Waters

Posts: 206 | From: Bay Area, CA | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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