My first collection of erotic short stories has just been published for the Kindle on Amazon. It’s called Sex with a Sting: Six Erotic Fantasies with a Kink in the Tail. You can read more about it here, but basically each story takes a standard fantasy and gives it a vicious little twist. It’s hot and steamy and erotic and hard and wet and wonderful. I do hope some of you will give it a bash. As it were.
Go on, buy it now…
Moan, Pant, Sigh
But now that slim volume is just another cock stuck in the big wide hole of erotic fiction, I’d like to write about a problem I’m having with what I’m calling, ‘Erotica Vernacular’.
Here’s the thing: there are a lot of words that recur, quite naturally, in erotica: push, pull, slide, kiss, lick, grab, moan, sigh, tug, bite, strain, slip, wet, slick, hard, come, stiff etc. Part of the challenge of writing erotica is to use these words in moderation and at the right times, and, where necessary, choosing synonyms that still fit the feel of what is happening in the story.
And sometimes that can be very difficult. The word ‘moan’, for example, is vital to almost every erotic tale, but it’s extremely tough to replace. ‘Pant’ sounds like the character has temporarily morphed into a chocolate labrador (although I think such an occurrence can happen in some shape-shifting erotica. I’m not here to judge, mind). ‘Sigh’ is okay, but it sounds weak and wet – it lacks the power of a moan. ‘Grunt’ conjures thoughts of flatulence. ‘Cry’, ‘sob’ and ‘wail’ work in some stories, but could seem disturbing in others. I have used ‘groan’, but it does sound like the noise a character might make when their male partner loses his boner. ‘Mewl’? Maybe for a very feline role. ‘Whimper’? In certain conditions, I suppose.
‘Caterwaul’? I have not used caterwaul yet. But maybe I should. Maybe we all should.
Pussy, Nub, Muff
But it’s when we get to the sexual organs themselves that I have particular concerns about the Erotica Vernacular. I think all of us probably get a little tied in knots trying to find new words to describe the vagina and the penis (giggle).
There’s plenty of choice for words to describe female genitalia, but strangely the biological terms seem reasonably rare. You scarcely see the word ‘vulva’, for example, which I think is shame because it’s a beautiful, almost onomatopaeic, word. Soft and sensual, with a hint of something velvety.
‘Vagina’ is the same. I’m not sure why it is so seldom used; it has a nice chime with ‘virgin’, after all. Maybe it’s because of that awful abbreviation used mainly by teenage boys: ‘vag’. Or perhaps it’s dismissed because it rhymes with ‘angina’? You don’t want to be thinking of an illness associated with the elderly during a lustrously lustful scenario, after all.
‘Hole’, ‘entrance’ and the queen of vagina synonyms, ‘pussy’ are all in frequent use, while ‘cunt’ is a particularly interesting case because it is so widely seen as the most offensive swear word in, ahem, ‘decent society’. However, its impact on an intense sex scene can be like a hand grenade going off – it has incredible power to really transmit the gorgeous, wanton desire present in the tryst.
‘Lady garden’, however, is best kept for comedy. ‘Twat’ and ‘snatch’ feel pointed and juvenile. ‘Muff’ is kind of sweet, but I’ve always felt muff reflected the state prior to arousal. Maybe that’s just me.
I’m uncomfortable with using ‘nub’ for ‘clitoris’, too. I can understand the need to find a rival to ‘clit’, ‘sweet spot’ and, if you like, ‘button’, but ‘nub’ just feels wrong. It sounds like ‘stub’; the grubby end of a cigarette, something cut off, something not whole, something broken even. Surely this most wondrous of protrusions deserves something more fulsome and complimentary than ‘nub’? How about: ‘Vagina Nose’? No. No. Sorry, everyone.
Cock, Rod, Dong
Words like ‘nub’ and ‘sheath’ (for vagina) tend to take me out of the moment and I find the same problems in the language of the male genitalia too. ‘Cock’ is fantastic, naturally, ‘dick’ is good and I think ‘penis’ is perfectly serviceable and a little underused.
‘Member’ feels like using a different word for the sake of it – I don’t think it carries enough meaning – not like ‘shaft’, or even ‘prick’. ‘Rod’, ‘bone(r)’, ‘knob’, ‘hard-on’ and, at a push, ‘pole’ all have their place. But plenty of others just have the effect of making me laugh: ‘trouser snake’, ‘dong’, ‘pecker’, ‘love muscle’, ‘skin flute’. ‘Fuck stick’.
Such words blink at me on the page. They interrupt the spell of sex. And sometimes I wonder whether in grasping for different terms, we actually hurt what we’re really trying to say, because, almost by their nature – that of being ‘alternatives’ – they are not quite right.
It is important, of course, to be creative and inventive and to discover and espouse all kinds of new words and different ways of expressing lovemaking, fucking, shagging, fornicating, screwing, mating, banging, penis-injecting and copulating, but all I’m saying is that, perhaps sometimes, the most obvious word is the best. Maybe I’m wrong, who knows?
Now, go forth and read and write erotica for the rest of the day until you’re really, really horny.
Buy Sex with a Sting: Six Erotic Fantasies with a Kink in the Tail