“She drew her knees up and gripped me with her calves and I went deeper into her and held her there, frozen in ecstasy. If I moved a millimeter, I’d explode and she knew it. We held tightly, not moving but struggling for breaths. In a moment, I don’t know how long, the first wave of urgency slowly receded. I probed her slowly and she rotated her hips in response – a slow, rhythmic, undulation done while looking me full in the eyes – a carnal intimacy that almost put me over. We moved and countermoved, sought and found, until I felt the last great wave coming with force from way offshore. She clung to me and whispered in cadence with our ever more frantic hunchng: ‘ Do it! Yes! Do it to me!’
The hot wave swept up from within me and I poured into her with a tight cry, clutching her to me desperately, as if I could absorb her through my skin. It had been a very long time and I seemed to gush on forever. I was releasing about a thousand years of compressed loneliness.
After a time, I raised myself up and looked at her. Her eyes were wide and she wore a sort of pleased smile. I had never seen a face more beautiful than hers at that moment.”
In reviewing the occasional romance novel, I am often asked to rate it for “sexual warmth.” The previous passage is an excerpt from Shepherd of the Wolves (reprinted here with the permission of the author, William Slusher.)
“Shepherd. . .” is one of the two most sexually warming novels I have ever read. Did I mention that it is a mystery – not a romance novel?
For most writers – novices and veterans alike – writing sex is difficult and often unforgiving. Because readers’ tastes vary widely in style and content, writers of sex constantly find themselves walking a fine line. It is far too easy to fall out of eroticism and start sounding pretentious, or worse yet, just plain silly.
Not that I mind the inclusion of humor in erotic passages. In fact, the second most sexually warming novel I’ve ever read was also one of the most hilarious. The point, however, is that the writer intended it to be funny.
Having been an editor for many years, I am perhaps more sensitive than most to language and the choice of words. Phrases such as “fingers found,” “lips tasting,” or “hands stroked” to me sound as though disembodied parts are acting on their own – as though the man or woman involved has somehow become a outside voyeur while their fingers, hands, tongues, etc., are off on some wild independent foray. I can even (dimly) recall a time when the penis was referred to as the “male member.” Member of what? The local Teamsters Union?
That said, however, I freely acknowledge the linguistic and grammatical difficulties the writer of sex confronts every day. There are, after all, only so many words and phrases one can use to describe essentially the same thing. This is one area in which the risk of redundancy is quite high.
Still, the best sex writing goes beyond mere anatomical description hopefully reaching the place where true eroticism exists in the mind of the reader.
To paraphrase an old saying, those who can write sex do. The rest of us are quite content to read.