Love Rods and Honey Pots: Euphemisms in Erotica

 

Erotica writers have a fascination with body parts. It’s natural. In a way, it’s our business to be fascinated with them. We write stories that tantalize (and in some ways educate/enlighten) our readers. We write a lot about sex, so body parts do come up…quite literally.

All erotica writers have their stance on using euphemisms for body parts. In some ways, it’s nearly impossible not to use euphemisms without sounding extremely repetitive. The sex scenes in my ebooks typically fill up a quarter of the story length, and if I repeated the same two terms over and over, you would notice. I promise you, you would notice.

So where am I on this line? First, let’s discuss a few euphemisms that are often found in erotica:

  • The abyss
  • Catcher’s mitt
  • Love rod
  • Happy valley
  • Heaven’s doors
  • Ship’s mast
  • Velvet glove
  • Sugar basin
  • South Pole
  • Pink canoe
  • Honeypot
  • Granite pillar

 

Trust me, these were among the more tasteful examples. While some of them I’m not wholly opposed to using, some of them are outright silly. There’s no use being turned on if you’re going to lose the mood by breaking into laughter.

So what do I use? I like to introduce a little bit of variety, but I’m very selective about what euphemisms I allow to participate. I tend to lean toward the words “lips,” “rosebud,” “shaft,” etc. They aren’t tremendously creative or outlandish, and that’s the point. My intention is to allow for a little variety without making people giggle–or without calling attention to itself.

What about you? Have you read some ridiculous examples of euphemisms in erotica?

 

 

35 thoughts on “Love Rods and Honey Pots: Euphemisms in Erotica

  1. I think it depends on what kind of story you’re trying to write. For example, you might have a rather outlandish character, or the story might have a funny tone. In these cases, I think using some funny terms lend to the story. There might be other cases where no slang is appropriate. It depends on what the characters are thinking, and the tone you want to set, I guess.

    You might also be interested in these timesliders of slang terms, which I found super amusing and interesting:

    The vagina:
    http://timeglider.com/timeline/07f47d6b843da763

    The penis:
    http://timeglider.com/timeline/194b572e19fd461b

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  2. I tend to gravitate toward a more subtle use of terms. If I cringe reading someone else’ work, it won’t be found in mine! Mostly, I write as I would speak, as my erotic writing isn’t fictional. I would very definitely expand the vocabulary if I were using the voice of different characters.

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  3. I’m always amused by the very human habit of using grandiose terms when referencing our actually rather mundane and (let’s face it, comparitively small) private parts. Whether in conversation or in erotica, it’s unusal to hear anyone simply say penis or vagina.
    Case in point:
    Rocket; as though it could achieve orbit, transport his lover to the moon, and perhaps even get her safely home again…
    I’m reminded of the comedian who made fun of the Trojan condoms with their “reservoir tip.”
    It ain’t the Hoover Dam, people!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! Possibly the funniest part of human nature is the way we put ourselves at the center of everything. Look at us from the point of view of anything else, and suddenly it all seems so ridiculous. Worth remembering, the next time you need a laugh!

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  4. I feel the words you use should reflect the tone you wish to appear, as well as the energy of the emotion you wish the reader to step into. We paint with words, so a silly sounding name for an erotic body part, to ME, might break the spell that’s being woven and make me laugh – not something you want your lover to do very often.

    Unless you do, of course. 😀

    The use of metaphor comes to mind, where some of those terms you listed above could appear in a more delicate manner, thus maintaining the energy and tension of the story. Once again, it depends upon the authors finesse.

    Cheers! insightful post, no matter the subject matter -SRG

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ava, thanks for raising this topic. I have definitely bee struggling in this area with my own writing. I have avoided euphemisms of body parts all together, and am starting to feel like I need to rethink that approach. I will either not mention any body parts at all or stick to cock, tits, etc.
    It is starting to feel like writing the same sex scene over and over again. Usually in the scene I am trying to convey the emotion of both partners, but also want to set the stage with erotic imagery. “We twined together” vs “My granite shaft found her dripping honey pot.”
    Initially, I thought erotica was just never going to be my genre. However now, I think I just need to put some energy and thought into growing my writing skills in this areas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point. Everyone goes at it from a different angle, which is why erotica is so great.
      I think a surprising element to erotica is the element of emotion. Some writers leave it out of erotica, but I feel it ads a great flavor.

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  6. I steer heavily away from euphemisms. “Shaft” doesn’t bother me, nor “erection.” Maybe “hardness.” I think I’ve used “cleft” and “mound.” The rest I pretty much save for humorous effect in dialogue. I just find them distracting. And yes, it also depends heavily on what the characters themselves would say, how they’re speaking, etc. I had fun trying to research what boys during the Revolutionary War would call things!

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  7. Omg love this article – you made me laugh and blush at the same time lol 🙂 for me, personally, it depends on the context..the plot as to how “dirty” the words should get.

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  8. You’re completely right. I’ve read books where authors have used words such as ‘love machine’ and that is one of the sober examples.
    I usually use more subtle euphemisms, though dirty talk can lean a little towards the wilder side.

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  9. As others have noted, more poetic terms bring the reader out of the story – fine for when you want people to focus on the language, or how characters are expressed through this, but when the fucking begins I tend to alternate cock and dick, pussy and cunt, throwing in the occasional shaft, pole, head, lips, clit, etc – good, short words that get the job done.

    I wish there was a good word for the ‘mons’ that everyone knew – would love to write about that without breaking the spell. Any ideas?

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  10. Relevant topic! I touched on it briefly (that’s what he said) in one of my posts; I believe the one I highlighted was Moon Grotto. *facepalm*

    Echo sentiments that it depends on the tone of your piece. Romance? The flowery fairy stuff.
    Gritty hardcore sex? So I avoid any risk of being censored on WordPress, let’s just say I use a lot more “rocks and bits, with calm flying over people’s faces.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When I first started writing erotica, my wife was a little put-off by some of the descriptors I used for genitalia, and I was pretty mild with them to be honest. As a challenge to myself, and to see if I could get her to like what I wrote (she was more used to “classy” romance stuff), I toned down the crudeness of the euphemisms a bit. It means I repeat words once in a while, but I don’t think it’s to the point where it’s distracting.

    In general, I think the voice of the story dictates what words you can use. Typically, my protagonists are intelligent people, so I can get away with the less crude words, but I recently wrote a story where the main character is a bit of a meathead jerk, so I could use the cruder words and euphemisms without worrying too much.

    Lastly, sometimes you don’t even need to use any words. As long as the actions are described well, you don’t need to point out that there’s a you-know-what going into a you-know-where.

    (And just for laughs, check out this song by The Bloodhound Gang, which is literally just a list of euphemisms for sex – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZpxaiNV_sM)

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  12. I think those “silly” words are from the days of paperback books, before the ebook was invented.In those day people might leave their book around the living room and didn’t want their kids, granny or hubby read those “filthy” words.
    I write “graphic erotica” so I cant really use hot poker, or love mound. Also the idea of saying to a guy “Kiss my happy valley” would make me laugh so much I would lose the moment.I like to write what people really say when they are doing the dirty dance. 🙂

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  13. I’m with the commenter about paying attention to mood when it comes to using phrases. If the mood is light and fun, then “love missile” may fit nicely. But with more serious passion and romance, a silly phrase may jolt the reader and ruin the mood. I’d rather use the basic words and be on the safe side.

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