In being a writer and reader of erotica, I sometimes come across a phrasing that is obviously meant to excite the reader, but I end up feeling almost nothing. What comes to mind is a writer describing a woman’s excitement in a way that takes me out of the story–for instance, a female narrator describing her sopping pussy (or sometimes dripping, or gushing, or whatever watery phrase you can find). I saw the word “sodden”used in a piece of erotica today, which was at least a little different, although the writer lost me by repeating it two paragraphs later. I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way, but I don’t want to hear all that much about fluid leaking out of someone’s hoo hah.
As an aside, using the word “pussy” is okay and it’s one of those words that I think is fine to repeat within the same story. Variety is good as long as you don’t go crazy with distracting euphemisms. I happen to like the word “cunt”; it’s possibly overused, sure, but it’s still got enough of an edge and it feels raw to me. And I like raw. But how to describe that the main female character is turned on, without losing a reader, without being disgustingly graphic and/or cliched?
I was just talking about this yesterday with a fellow erotic writer, D.L. King. I’d run into her at the Wicked NY Fetish Flea Market, where she had a bunch of her books for sale. (Her latest is “The Harder She Comes,” an anthology of butch/femme erotica).
I suggested that “throb” is always a good word to describe arousal. I think one of us suggested “pulse” (although that’s not too different from “throb”).
I once challenged myself to try to put into words what my body went through during an orgasm. That was tough. When you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to think, let alone try to jot down your feelings. I wrote that it was like “a surge of heat, flowing downhill”–but then realized that wasn’t quite it.
It was more like an electrical charge starting in my core and pulsing (there’s that word again) through my entire body. Not just down, but up, down, sideways and right through my skin. With a good orgasm, these charges will cause me to thrash and twitch as if actually shocked. And then there are the aftershocks, those delicious shudders. Until the shudders dissipate I feel that I’m practically out of my own body. I’ve lost control; I’ve gone somewhere… This happens even when I’m alone, but it’s exponentially better when I’m with a partner who makes it happen again and again.
But in an erotic story, for me a description of arousal or an orgasm is not enough. It has to be combined with what the partner is doing to cause the excitement, what is getting the character all hot and bothered.
“He slammed me up against the wall, grabbed a fistful of my hair and kissed hard. I felt his knee between my legs, nudging them apart, then pressing hard into my groin. My legs felt shaky and I grabbed onto him to steady myself. He pulled back, took both my wrists into one hand and clapped them against the wall above my head, pinning me further. His other hand cupped my throat and he lifted my chin. ‘Open your eyes and look at me,’ he said. I blinked them open as I felt his physical strength trapping me. And I WAS trapped. I was suddenly very, very nervous. ‘I’m going to hurt you,’ he crooned. ‘That IS what you came here for, isn’t it?'”