Turgid Shaft and Other Embarrassments

Naughty Words's picture

I've been writing romances and erotica for over a decade. One of the first things I've noticed is some of the cringe-inducing terminology for various sexy body parts. I read a Huffington Post article by Andy McDonald about the most embarrassing sexual phrases from romance novels. Those words included the following for male and female aroused sexual organs:

Turgid shaft
Throbbing manhood
Pulsing core
Fiery slit
Molten need
Hot, wet sheath

Terms for sexual intercourse and orgasm weren't much better:

Staccato spasms
Frenzy of simultaneous explosions
Impaling her on his straining shaft
Rose up to meet his urgent thrust

That kind of terminology only makes me laugh. Other suggested words were just as bad (via The Online Slang Dictionary).

For the penis. Terms like shaft, schlong, and prick were listed, but so were these beauties:

100% all-beef thermometer
Baloney pony
Love shaft
Lady boner
Tonsil tickler
Pink tractor beam

For the vagina. First there were the usual like pussy, twat, beaver, cameltoe, cooter and cunt. Then there were these flowery words (via Urban Dictionary):

Home plate
Bacon hole
Spasm chasm
Skin canoe
Mound of Venus
Fish canyon

Why not simply use words like penis and vagina when writing erotica or erotic scenes? Here is a good example, from Haruki Murakami's "Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" (via Bookfox):

“And again, as before, she unzipped my fly, took out my penis, and put it in her mouth. The one thing different from before was that she did not take off her own clothing. She wore Kumiko’s dress the whole time. I tried to move, but it felt as if my body were tied down by invisible threads. I felt myself growing big and hard inside her mouth.

I saw her fake eyelashes and curled hair tips moving. Her bracelets made a dry sound against each other. Her tongue was long and soft and seemed to wrap itself around me. Just as I was about to come, she suddenly moved away and began slowly to undress me. She took off my jacket, my tie, my pants, my shirt, my underwear, and made me lie down on the bed. Her own clothes she kept on, though. She sat on the bed, took my hand, and brought it under her dress. She was not wearing panties. My hand felt the warmth of her vagina. It was deep, warm, and very wet. My fingers were all but sucked inside. …

Now, that's very sexy and I didn't feel an urgent need to groan and roll my eyes. Here is another example, from my sexy retelling of Rapunzel entitled "Climbing Her Tower". This describes Rapunzel's first kiss.

Stars spun before her eyes and she felt light-headed with arousal and excitement. His hands pressed against her delicate back with such force, she feared he would snap her in two. His touch stirred deep emotions in her that she both feared and relished; she wanted to give her will over to her arousal and to his desire. Her head spun in the throes of his stimulating kiss as his lips traveled from her throat to her waiting mouth. He crushed his lips against hers, taking her breath away, and her head spun in ecstasy.

As he parted her lips with his own he slipped in his tongue. At first alarmed, since she had never heard of such a kiss, she struggled against him; but in his tight grip, she was helpless to escape. His tongue explored her mouth, brushing against her teeth, and she gave into his amorous moves. He tasted of brandy and tobacco, a heady combination. Dizzy with the thrill of his touch, she pulled her head away from him when he released her pouting mouth; but she was eager to taste more of him.

Maybe my taste in erotic fiction is less flowery than that preferred by other readers. I simply can't help but laugh at some of the terminology. It takes the sexiness out of the story when I giggle at the word "turgid", one of the most notorious of flowery words. Save the purple prose for the Bulwer-Lytton Awards.


Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and her two cats.
Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD


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