The problem with writing erotica: erotic language

Before I started reading and writing erotica, my own erotic language was quite subdued. I referred to my vulva and vagina as “kitten” and only in my hottest moments with hubby would I refer to his penis as “cock”. I had never really given much thought to the specific language I used in an erotic setting.

This all changed when I started writing erotica. To be a good writer, you have to first be a good reader and in order for my to get more acquainted with erotic language, I read pretty much anything. I had not idea what erotica was good and what was bad, so I read whatever caught my eye on Amazon (and a few bits that came recommended by people).

I learned a lot. Not only from the good erotica, but also (and maybe even more so) from the bad erotica. Or I shouldn’t call it ‘bad’ erotica. It was just erotica that didn’t manage to entice me. Which taught me a lot about myself.

In order to write hot fiction, I have to be turned on while I write it. Otherwise it’s just garbage, in my opinion. At best boring to write, at worst embarrassing. I was surprised to find that I am more turned on by the traditionally vulgar words. ‘Pussy’ and ‘cunt’ are my favourites, cunt for when the scene gets really steamy, dialing it down to pussy for the more intimate times.

Using the right words when writing fiction – whether it be erotic fiction or not – is really important. The right words can evoke the right feelings, but what is “right”? Erotic language is quite personal. What turns me on might not be what turns you on . Yet, I cannot help but think that when you are committed to writing erotica, you don’t beat around the bush. Please don’t take a page out of EL James’s book and say “down there” when you mean the woman’s pussy.

I personally also don’t like the use of euphemisms. Romance as a genre is full of hilarious examples of writers trying to avoid being too crude and (unwittingly) ending up with hilarious word choices. “His rod of steel” being one of the less ridiculous ones. I detest words like snatch, twat or purse for pussy. Even “kitten” would be better than that, but that’s a word I would use around the house; in erotica I would find that mildly off putting as well.

I recently read a book that was sent to my by the author in exchange for a review. It was probably the worst example of bad erotic language I have read. You can read my review here; the book uses words like “meat curtain” and “cunt flap”. I am convinced the author is actually a man who has no idea what a woman even looks like “down there”.

So, there it is. Once I am finally ready to publish my book, you can be sure it will be full of cunts and pussies. I like to call a spade a spade and yes, if that makes me vulgar, then so be it. I guess vulgarity turns me on. Sue me.

1 thought on “The problem with writing erotica: erotic language”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this Isabelle. I am new to writing erotica and have had the same thoughts about the use of words. In English we don’t have many other words for a penis though it is better than those laughable euphemisms you mention. I prefer the word cock. (Willy is just plain silly.) I look forward to your book bursting with cunts and pussies.

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