One of the comments I received from one of the judges on my contest entry was that I could lose the curse words--that they are often used as crutches. Even though no one else had pointed out this issue, I truly took that advice and gave my pages a hard look. First, because I respect the judge's opinion, but second because I don't want to be an unnecessary potty mouth.
However, here's my quandary: My hero is the lead singer in a rock band--the hard partying, irreverent, flip off the world kind of rock band. I've been to enough concerts to know those types of guys do not have any qualms about throwing out curse words. So, in order to capture a realistic voice, I used some cursing (mostly damn, goddamned, but the occasional Sh** and a rare f-bomb, I think there was one in my 25 page entry). So, I don't have it constantly or anything, but there are times where I feel it's needed. For example, when he's doing an internal rant or if two of the guys from the band are arguing with each other. I have a hard time picturing these guys saying darn or heck.
And for the record, in my heroine's POV, there isn't cursing, except for the occasional damn because she's more polite.
So I'm not sure what's more important--making sure I don't offend anyone with language or keeping what I believe is an authentic voice for my hero. Therefore, I'm throwing out the question to you.
How do you feel about cursing in books (excluding YA books--that's a whole other debate)? Does it turn you off or is it fine as long as it's appropriate for the voice? Do your own characters curse?