Tools of the Trade

How many times has this happened to you? There you are, hammering away at your latest erotic masterpiece, when suddenly you cannot go on without the perfect phrase to precisely describe what a three-quarters-erect uncut penis feels like through moistened silk. This is not the sort of thing that is designed for, and the help desk at the city library is notoriously unhelpful in these matters.

Erotica writers who are male have this one solved, of course. Even female writers with agreeable male acquaintances can manage. One only has to locate a scrap of silk and experiment, leaving one hand free to type. But what if you have no penis, either personally or to hand? Will kielbasa wrapped in a scarf suffice? Should it be microwaved first?

What if you’re a man trying to articulate that exact feeling achieved when a curved dildo rubs against the sweet spot just behind the pelvic bone inside the vagina? Can you fake it? Unless you have a convenient woman to ask, a healthy appreciation for invasive surgery, or you’re M. Christian, you’ll just have to guess and hope no one will notice a certain vagueness in your prose.

Type your cut contents here.


Verisimilitude is one of the biggest pitfalls you face as an erotica writer. You may or may not get away with describing an erection as “throbbing” but if you use even such likely-sounding words as “howling” or “pinging” your readers will suspect you’re making it all up. You are, of course. Anyone in a sexual relationship good enough to write about has no time to write about it. But they shouldn’t know that.

Your best course of action is to enter into your own intimate relationship and catalogue as many aspects of sex and sexuality as you can, for later use. Obviously this can have its own problems.

“You like that, baby? Huh?”
“Ooohh, god, yes!”
“How about this?”
“Aagh! Oh, Jesus…!”
“Better than before?”
“Oh yeah, lover, yeah, just keep…”
“How much better?”
“…unh… what?”
“Would you describe this as ‘pulse-pounding,’ ‘deliciously tantalizing,’ or just ‘arousing’?”
“What? Oooh… I don’t know, the second one?”
“Really? That’s interesting…” [makes a note]
“What… what are you doing?”
“Nothing, baby. Hey, is this an inner labia or an outer one? I can never remember…”

But with a bit of discretion and some skill in shorthand you’ll be able to sock away an enormous repertoire of erotic terms and exposition, often with pulse-pounding results. Even a disastrous one-night stand with a drunken coworker can yield pages of sordid analogies and fleshy passages to convey excitement, discovery of your own burgeoning sexual identity, physical ecstasy beyond your wildest dreams, betrayal, soul-searing heartache, and the correct terminology for generic penicillin.

This may not be suitable for all writers, however. Some writers may be celibate. Some writers may choose not to participate in the acts they’ve chosen to write about, something like writing about auto racing without ever getting into a car. Some writers may be virginal, a more common condition than you’d think and an excellent source of long-repressed imagination. And more than a few are married, in prison, or otherwise absent from any handy sources of romantic passion.

In these situations, substitutes must be found. You need props to help you visualize your characters and their wobbly bits, and fortunately they’re close at hand. Any number of online adult toy stores would be more than happy to outfit you with the genitalia of your choice. But what of the erotica writer with a budget?

Cheap sex toys are worse than nothing at all. Few readers are turned on by hearing about a lover’s plastic smell or visible seams, and describing a pussy by the squeaking noises it makes will never get you into Maxim Jakubowski’s anthologies. Instead, create more realistic versions at home yourself. It’s easy!

For a penis, take a thick pepperoni and cut it off at the desired length. Use a long drill bit or a chopstick to create a thin tunnel that extends almost to the end of the sausage. Get a bicycle pump and stick the nozzle into the hole you’ve created. Now pump rhythmically with one hand while you hold the pepperoni in the other. Feel that firm meaty wand, pulsing in your grasp like a wild animal straining to be free? There you go. You can name it “Carl.”

For a vagina, I recommend grapefruit. The pulp is moist with just the right amount of give, and the thick outer skin will help keep it together. Cut a diamond-shaped slit in the skin and use a knife to shave and soften the edges. Dip the entire grapefruit into boiling water for just a few seconds, and you’ll have a cunt to be proud of. It’ll start to come apart quickly, so have a pencil ready for your metaphoric inspirations. Do not do this if you have any cuts or open wounds on your fingers, as the effects of hot citric acid could give you some very unique concepts about personal intimacy.

Keep your refrigerator stocked with these items, as well as some cucumbers, tightly-bagged chicken breasts, zucchinis, and handfuls of raw liver, and you’ll never again be at a loss to capture that throbbing, pinging feeling again.

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