Word Choice When Writing about Sex

Make your readers cum, not cringe

It can be difficult to find the right words to use when writing a sex scene. How do you describe each person’s anatomy? You don’t want to be too clinical and take your readers out of the story, but you also don’t want to be so graphic that readers are grossed out or embarrassed.

The terms you use also depend on your genre and your intended audience. Romance books use a lot more euphemisms than erotica. In the end, it’s all up to personal preference. As an erotica writer myself, I don’t shy away from graphic terms. I also personally hate anything too clinical. I don’t want to hear about the love interest parting the folds of her labia, thank you very much. There are however, some terms I won’t use, though I have included them below because they don’t take me out of the story, I just don’t like to use them in my own works.

I put the terms below in order of my personal preference and included links to much larger lists of words to use, though I find a lot of the terms on the huge lists to be laughable or totally cringeworthy.

The Penis

How to describe the penis without making your reader giggle or recoil? It can be difficult for sure. Plus, the testicles are so important, but in my opinion, there aren’t really any words that aren’t kind of gross.

  • Cock
  • Shaft
  • Manhood
  • Length
  • Rod
  • Member
  • Package
  • Head
  • Bulge
  • Groin
  • Knob
  • Phallus
  • Don’t forget the testicles: sack, balls, scrotum

Here’s 414 synonyms for penis by Power Thesaurus.  

The Vagina

The euphemisms for vagina are the worst. Her flower, her secret place, her honey pot – all of these make me cringe. I prefer using synonyms that are more straight forward. My favorites are listed in order below.  

  • Pussy
  • Core
  • Mound
  • Sex
  • Intimate folds
  • Center
  • Entrance
  • Wet heat
  • Cunt
  • Don’t forget the clit and g-spot

Here’s over 100 words for vagina from Reverse Dictionary.

The Act Itself

As an erotica or romance writer, you can’t forget the actual act itself. This list focuses on the penis entering the vagina (or ass), so you don’t have to repeat one word over and over again.

  • Thrust
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Drive
  • Push
  • Shove
  • Pump
  • Slam
  • Press
  • Plunge
  • Rock
  • Impale
  • Penetrate
  • Jab
  • Invade

Euphemisms for Sex

If you’re a romance writer (and haven’t already clicked away from this article in horror or disgust) and like to fade-to-black in your novels, then you want your reader to know it’s about to go down without making them clutch their pearls. This list includes my favorite non-silly innuendos without ever having to describe the body parts involved in the act.

  • Culmination
  • Rose to meet each other
  • Over the crest, over the edge (orgasm)
  • Making love
  • Being intimate
  • Intimate relations
  • Having relations

For more terms (you have to wade through the ridiculous ones), check out Thought Catalog’s 400 Euphemisms for Sex here.

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