“Please. I need you…” she moaned, writhing beneath him as he finally took her, leaving her breathless, as he slid his beaver cleaver—
Wait. What? Beaver cleaver?
“Hurry.” She curled her fingers in the silk sheets, her meat wallet—
Okay. Stop. That’s just disgusting.
Why is it so hard to write love scenes? Why is it that those words…you know the ones, the words your mother always whispered? The ones that made your father leave the room? The ones you giggled at in seventh grade with your best friend, and her best friend, the girl you didn’t really like but you pretended to?
But Penis is so clinical, and vagina…well, there went all three of the male readers you somehow managed to gain anyway, because your cover had a sexy girl on the front, and a man with a gun.
So if you can’t use Penis and Vagina…
And words like beaver cleaver, meat wallet, French fry dip, bearded oyster, tampon tunnel, custard launcher, baby maker, flesh tower, heat-seeking moisture missile are, while admittedly hilarious, good only if you’re writing a satire…
What do you use?
What won’t turn your readers off?
More importantly…what will turn your readers on?
The most important thing is to write what turns you on, first.
What do you call it, when you’re with your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, guy-or-girl-you-just-met-at-the-bar-and-can’t-control-yourself, maybe-you’ll-feel-bad-in-the-morning-or-maybe-not? Do you call it your purple-headed yogurt flinger?
What do I call it?
I try to avoid calling it anything.
“Please. I need you,” she moaned, writhing beneath him as he finally took her, leaving her breathless. “Hurry.” She curled her fingers in the silk sheets. Finally, he moved. And then, they were moving together, a tightly coiling spring, clenching and twisting until they erupted.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, figuring out what to call those pesky little…or sometimes not so little…pieces is about so much more than just the words you pick. You have to make some decisions.
Wait…you mean you can’t just sit down and write about that one time you had with your boyfriend in high school in the backseat of his mom’s suburban?
Well, you can, but still, you have to make some decisions.
Who is your audience? Are you writing for a young adult audience? Then consider avoiding the sweaty, pulsing details that leave you panting in favor of the tantalizing hints and murmurs. Are you writing smut? Then by all means, leave us gasping for more. Figuring out who you’re writing for will help guide you to the right words, and away from the wrong ones.
And the most helpful advice of all…read.
Read YA novels, and how they gloss over the gritty details in favor of the pretty, the way they guide you to the action and then just pull away. By all means, close your bedroom door, dim the lights, and pull out that erotic novel you shoved under your bed last month and never got the courage to open.
Then, figure out why you’re writing. Are you writing just for the sex? Or are you writing a romance? If you take the sex out, will your story make sense? Will it be worse of?
Worse…will it be better?
Figure out this, and then figuring out the little things, what word to use when, will be as easy as fitting tab “A” into slot “C”.