My book will not have cursing in it. If someone curses, I say, "He cursed." I don't use actual curse words. That's my preference. Others say they want their stories to be realistic, so they use curse words. As a former teacher, I've seen and read many books by popular authors who use no cursing in their books. I don't curse, and I don't like cursing. I'm not offended by it; I'm actually seldom offended by anything. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean it offends me.
My feelings are this: I want anyone to be able to enjoy my writing. Those who curse and those who don't. If I add cursing in my dialogue, I'm alienating a group of people who don't want to read books with cursing. If I don't use cursing, I'm not really alienating anyone. I asked a group of students if they preferred books with cursing or no cursing. They said it doesn't matter. What matters is if the book is good. But I have had students who didn't like books with cursing. It's a matter of preference and sometimes morals.
I do feel that what we read and hear affects us and the way we speak.
As a parent, I never wanted my children to be exposed to vulgar language. I wasn't exposed to it as a child, and I never had issues with cursing or vulgar words being part of my language.
I worked at school this week, and as I stood in the hall watching junior high students go to class, I heard the vilest language come from the mouth of a cute little blonde girl. I think this is common nowadays. How sad.
How do you feel about realistic dialogue? How do you feel about the use of cursing in books you read?