L World

L World
An Erotic Lesbian Romance

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nomencliture: Euphemism vs. Literal Description in Sex Scene Writing


Sexy euphemisms are hot. They take some degree of creativity to conjure and, when used appropriately, can be more sensual than describing private parts outright. Moist nests…rivers of desire...and hey, what about when she opens her honey pot? Sounds yummier than a tight hole or clit at attention. But sometimes just saying it like it is really does the trick.

What sounds sexier to you?

I say it depends on the context.

On the tone of the scene. Or perhaps on the overall tone of the story. I used to be shy about referring to my character’s wetness, or her swollen parts. But while in the throes of writing a sex scene, I've found that I'm simply at the mercy of my character’s visceral reaction to her love interest. If my story is in the first person, the descriptions that pop to mind are my narrator’s, which, depending on who she is, can be poetic and gentle or crude and literal. And the same thing goes for third person tone. How detached is my narrator? Does she have intimate knowledge of one or both of my heroines?

One thing I’ve learned to always keep in mind during a sex scene is that sensuality reigns. In romance writing, sex is rarely about the sex. It's usually about two people heightening a connection they have discovered by bringing it to a physical level. An intensely physical level. If a crude description will liven the sensuality between your two characters, go for it. A plain anatomical blow-by-blow doesn’t have to hearken back to high school health class. It may actually do a better job of keeping the reader in the scene than bringing to mind artful water displays and places where birds rest.

To illustrate how both euphemism and literal description can work together, here’s a short excerpt from my first ever published sex scene. In italics, you’ll find what I was thinking while I was writing it. What I’m going for here is the blog version of a director’s DVD commentary over her film.

My two L WORLD heroines finally come together after a cat and mouse chase. The scene picks up after Blake, the main heroine, has been pleasured by Janie for the first time. This is Blake's first sexual encounter with a woman.

Janie beamed, seeming thrilled that she brought her new lover to climax. But she could feel her own love juices dripping down her leg, reminding her how helpless she was to stop her body from crying out to Blake. She hungered for those strong hands and tongue. For me, love juice sounds appetizing, like a cup of fresh-squeezed O.J. or Ocean Spray. Hey, Ocean Spray—now there's a good lady lubricant euphemism!
Janie brought her mouth up to meet Blake’s as she settled down from her euphoric state. She embraced her, and Blake let out a deep sigh, their warm, sweaty bodies enmeshing. Warm, sweaty bodies enmeshing is a safe choice. I easily get a visual of legs wrapped around each other and arms connecting, using only a few words to get there.
“Janie,” Blake said, pushing an unwieldy strand of hair behind Janie’s ear. “Everything feels like it makes sense. It is almost as if I can see again.” That quote is a nod to the movie Bound, starting a steaming hot Gina Gershon and seductive Jennifer Tilly. 
They shared a tender kiss and Blake raised her thigh, meeting the hot cream between Janie’s legs. Janie slid back and moaned. Hot cream sounds desserty to me. More appetizing than wetness in this particular instance. And cunnilingus is on the way, so I need my ladies to be delicious.
“Make me come, Blake” she said with an intensity that at once seemed to excite and frighten Blake.
She pushed Janie back down and mounted her, kissing her passionately. Her mouth stayed glued to Janie’s as her hand massaged down her body, savoring her curves.
“Blake, I can’t take it anymore. Touch me!” Janie commanded, and she opened her legs. Whenever a woman "opens her legs" at just the right moment, it's a complete turn on, in any genre. With that deliciously simple phrase, placement is key to arousal.
Blake rubbed her hand in between Janie’s thighs, amazed at the slippery love potion she had inspired. It excited her and made her feel in control. She caressed Janie back and forth over her wetness and Janie took staggered breaths as if she were suffering.
“Is that good?” Blake asked, unsure of her skill but sure of her passion.
“Everything you're doing is good,” Janie assured her.

For more, check out L WORLD here, now in paperback and e-book, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on my sex scenes!

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