Euphemisms Gone Purple, Putrid and More

With all this talk of mystery and suspense, sometimes the romance part of it is forgotten. I include explicit sex scenes in my books because I don't believe in teasing my readers, even though I find sex scenes to be the most difficult to write. The scene needs to be sexy without being vulgar. You need to find the balance between coldly technical and so ridiculously purple you expect Barney to make an appearance, which can be more difficult than you think. To start, it's best to avoid the following fifteen euphemisms that I found in real books edited by real editors and real copy editors.

It's a Religion!


Number 1
Staff of heaven.” *eye roll*

 

It’s an Animal!


Number 2
Raging beast of his desire.” I keep wanting to say, “You hairy like animal!” in a Moose-and-Squirrel accent.

 

 It’s a Plant!


Number 3
Jade stem/stalk/staff.” This phrase stems from the Chinese because they call jade the “stone of heaven.” Thus, a jade stem/stalk/staff is supposed to take you to heaven and back. Egotistical much? Personally, when human cells go green, they’re putrid. Of course, the phrase could work if you have a fetish for the Jolly Green Giant.

Number 4
Turgid shaft.” Turgid sounds like a plant disease.

Number 5
Manroot.” Mandrake keeps popping in my head. Just as mandrake is poisonous to eat, so should manroot be to read. 

 

It’s a Weapon!


Number 6
Sword of flesh.” I blame the medieval romances.

Number 7
Man sword.” See above comment.

Number 8
Love staff.” Ditto.

 

It’s Not Romance, It’s Not Erotica; It’s Porn!


Number 9
Meat of his confession.” Ew. Just ew.

Number 10
Love tool.” Unless batteries are required, it’s not acceptable.

 

Just Say It Already!


Number 11
Tumescence.” Everytime I read that word, I expect the penis to be glowing like Dr. Manhattan’s.

Number 12
Admission of desire.” I want to say only senior citizens would use this phrase…except I know a number of romance authors in their sixties who can make me blush.

Number 13
That which made him man.” See above comment.

 

If It Needs a Hyphen, Don't Use It


Number 14
Purple helmeted soldier of love.” The Trojan radio ads aren’t this corny.

Number 15
Purple-headed womb ferret.” I’m sure there’s a surgical procedure to cure this one.

Comments

Cathy Perkins said…
LOL - Just say it!

I'm far more interested in the relationship, the emotional intensity, than the Tab A, Slot B mechanics.

For me, the characters and the story dictate how much happens on the page vs closed door. Once I realize there is gonna be sex, I love writing those scenes. So much about the hero and heroine is revealed by that intimacy.
Marcelle Dubé said…
Thanks for my morning giggle, Ann!
Clare London said…
Those are brilliant LOL. I've come across plenty of falsely-coy phrases in my time in m/m romance - including things like "man treasure" and "love pole" - ulp!
Ann Bruce said…
@Cathy Perkins - Lucky you. My readers know me for, as one reader put it, sex so hot "it can peel wallpaper"...but I still don't love writing those scenes. I'd much rather do a fight scene, but sometimes you have to do what the characters want you to do.

@Marcelle Dubé - Glad to help. I don't believe there are many things in life that need to be taken seriously.

@Clare London - It amazes me that writers can use those phrases without laughing.
Toni Anderson said…
Ouch at the ferret!!
LOL--I've read a lot of those. I hope to God I haven't written them :)

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