The problem with writing erotica: erotic language

romantic couple on the beach

I wrote about my experience with writing erotica and the specific challenges that comes with it here. In that post I focused on the practical matter of how to make sure you positioned everyone correctly in a sex scene. Today I want to write about erotic language.

Erotic language

Erotic romance and erotica (not the same, but I will refer to both as ‘erotica’ in this post) use specific erotic language. After all, the hallmark of erotica is the graphic description of sexual acts. It is not enough to allude to the protagonists having sex, you need to describe it too. And what kind of language you use is key to how aroused you – and your audience – is going to be when they read your book.

Personal preference

A lot of it comes down to personal preference. One reader will love the use of the more “harsher” terms like cock and cunt, another may quail at seeing those in the middle of a passionate love scene. I personally prefer the term pussy and cunt (cunt for when things get rough and passionate) and cock and dick. Occasionally I will use vagina and penis, but as those are quite clinical terms I find they tend to be more of a turn off than a turn on.

In my own sexual activities I rarely use the word cunt to refer to my, well, cunt, I am very genteel and say kitten or pussy if I want to be a bit harsher. But in books – whether I am writing them or reading them – only pussy and cunt will arouse me. I have read books which use the more colloquial snatch or twat and those words are such a turn off for me that I stop reading the book right away.

What turns you on?

My advice is to write what turns you on. If you are writing a sex scene and you do not get aroused yourself, that will transfer onto the page and affect the readers. There will be an audience for your books, no matter what terminology you decide to use. Erotic language is varied and vast and there are no rules as to what you should use.

So tell me in the comments: what is your preference?

This post is part of the Summer 100 Sex Blogger Challenge. Check out posts of some of the other participants:

Over at Chronic Sex, Kirsten writes movingly over how she hides her illness, even from those close to her.

And on the topic of erotic language, and what we call our lady bits, Vikki writes about naming your naughty bits, and she reveals the name of hers!

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