I am currently writing a science fiction novel. The characters are almost uniformly pirates and/or miners in the asteroid belt.
Having worked in the mining industry, and grown up around mining towns in Western Australia, I am quite well versed in the use of foul language.
The fact is, many people in the mining industry use language which would make a soldier blush continuously. I have known people who are able to fit four swearwords in a six word sentence. Swearwords can almost be used like punctuation.
And pirates, especially those who come from a mining, military or industrial background would likely be comfortable with a level of foul language and general lack of decorum.
In my book so far, I've maybe used an average of two or three swearwords per chapter. Far, far below the levels I've encountered in real life. And I'm aching to include more of the 'creative' combinations of possibly offensive words.
Are the benefits of trying to achieve a realistic pattern of speech, and a level of immersion that suits the environment I've chosen to write about outweighed by the possibility of offending my readers?
Personally, I have no problem with reading books or watching films which include swearwords (numbed to it I guess), but I'm aware that some people might have cause to be offended.