Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Small Things I've Learnt As An Erotic Romance Writer, Part Three: Never Useable Words and Phrases

I know you may want to. I know you may think: God, I really need to use that word. No other word can describe what's going on better. The word is perfect, it's awesome, it epitomises everything that's happening.

But I tell you now- the word "queef" doesn't epitomise anything. It's not cool, it's not the perfect word. It's a stupid word that's going to kill the eroticism in your story stone dead. No point getting the paddles. Don't charge them. That thing is cold and blue and in need of burying.

Queef is not sexy. It means fanny fart (which is another phrase you should avoid), but it reduces fanny farting down to its least sexy components. Imagine that! A word that actually makes fanny farting less sexy.

And then there are some other words and phrases and sentences, that may also turn your story into night of the living dead:

1. Leakage. Old people leak. Old people leak when they've lost control of their bodily functions. Your hot characters do not leak.

2. Seepage. Wounds seep. How gross is that? You want your main characters fanny to be like a wound? Ugh. Especially wrong when paired with the word "anal". Nobody wants to hear about anal seepage.

3. Flaps. As in fanny flaps. No.

4. Beef curtains. See: flaps.

5. "He penetrated her clitoris with his finger". This one falls into the "I don't know a fucking thing about anatomy category", but has as big a cringing effect as "She looked at the anal seepage that had queefed onto the bed". And yes, I've actually seen someone use that very series of words in a story. Not the anal seepage series, obviously. The other one. Thank God.

6. "He breached her womb". Same category as the one above. Dude, if you're breaching her womb with your cock, something's going wrong. Horribly wrong. It reminds me of the movie Alien, only in reverse. Penetration of clitorises and wombs means you're probably using a pen knife. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. A thousand times ugh!

And that is my list of things you should never say in erotica/erotic romance. Just don't. I mean, I'm sure I could be wrong. I'm sure there are some wonderful moments in both erotica and erotic romance that employ those words and lines. I'm sure.

But I'm also sure that authors should try to avoid contravening the laws of anatomy when writing about sex. And that every author should think, really think about what their potential readers are going to find hilarious in the middle of a steamy scene.

Hilarity can come from the characters - "they giggled at each other" - but it should never come at the expense of them, in good, hot, erotic fiction.


  1. My favorite word I probably shouldn't use in erotica but do anyway: weep. As in, his weeping slit. Rather not contemplate how many lady-rections I may have withered with that one. I know damn well it's probably oogie, a la seep and leak, but I'm sure I've used it at least twice in pubbed stories. It just sort of…fits. And I just know I'll use it again.

  2. Dear God. ONce again I've got the fear.

    The only thing that makes me feel safer is that if someone thinks they can penetrate my clitoris, chances are they wouldn't have been able to find it in the first place, so it's safe.

    Queef makes me snigger, though. But I agree, it has no place in erotica. What's wrong with people!!

  3. Queef? Well, you learn something new every day! I think fanny-farting is just one of those things that we have to pretend doesn't happen. Actually, when it comes to erotic romance you really have to pretend that neither your hero nor your heroine is liable to ANY type of farting.

    My pet peeve: authors who think the hymen is located an inch or so inside the vagina. It's amazing how many (female) writers get that one wrong. It's at the entrance!!!!

  4. Cara- Weep skirts close to the danger zone, but I think it flies clear. Although "weeping anus" would definitely wither my lady boner. Definitely. It's such a minefield! Like, one of my personal cringes is over the word "glans". There's nothing wrong with it, tho! Couldn't include it on the list, cos it's a perfectly acceptable word.

    Jo- Ah, you don't need to have the fear! If it's fear of someone piercing your clit with a penknife, chances are very slim that's ever going to really happen. And if it's fear of accidentally including some of these words in your next masterpiece, some of the most amazing writers have turned people off for centuries with their leaking this and their seeping that and their piercing of wombs. No doubt I've got a queef or two, lurking somewhere in my past. I know for a goddamned fact I've used glans, and I hate glans!

    Janine- It's true, any kind of farting is a no-no. Everything must be spotlessly clean- even a mild hint of tuna on someone's breath can throw the whole proceedings off. But then I have to say, if a dude in real life snogged me with a mild hint of tuna on his breath, I'd at least giggle. Things probably wouldn't seem as sexy as they had, a moment prior.

    And yessssss to the hymen thing! Should have included that one. Though if I'm honest, I can forgive that ignorance of what amounts to a bit of distance. I can't forgive a cock inside someone's womb. I suppose it depends on how much I feel the need to cross my legs and wince.

  5. Oh. Well. Now I feel moved to say that having borne a boychild, I have, officially, had a cock in my womb. Weird, eh?

  6. Although, I would of course have thought of it more as a teenie weenie peenie than a cock, in case that sounded disturbed and disturbing.

  7. May I also add any reference to the participants' bowels in anal sex scenes? Fair puts me off my perving, that does.

  8. Jo- LOL!

    Justine- Sometimes even a misplaced anus can put me off. Always find that anal sex scenes have to be very carefully done in order to come off sexy, rather than like a doctor examining someone.

  9. Here's one of mine: Ooze. I'd just told another writer that I didn't like things oozing, and then I watched a Gordon Ramsey cooking show — a *romantic* challenge — the word was used three times!

    "Deliver romance oozing off that plate."

    "A dish that oozed passion."

    "My dish oozes sexuality and romance."

    I'm also not a fan of drool.