The question arose when I was writing my threesome story awhile back. Things were reaching a climax for both of the men involved, and I found myself at a bit of a loss for words. It wasn’t so much the act of coming, but the result of it that was giving me trouble. I’d gotten the impression that a fair number of erotica readers aren’t fond of the word “cum”, so I was trying to avoid going there. And I’ll confess now that the handful of sentences dealing with that mess1 delayed the posting of my story by a solid five days. Everything else was done, and I was left staring at a couple of stubborn “…???!!!” in the closing.
Upon realizing that I was having a vocabulary issue, I went back to my very first story to remind myself how I dodged the bullet there. I coyly referred to Eric’s photo showing the “evidence of his satisfaction”. Not bad, but this threesome tale was more hands on. And since I’m still very new to erotica writing, I realized was going to have to look outside my own work for answers.
Thus began Phase Two of the process: objective research. There were Google searches galore, there was scanning of erotic thesauri as I combed the internet in search of the perfect cum substitute2. Synonyms and euphemisms abounded, but nothing sounded right. Semen? Too clinical. Seed? Too poetic. Jizz? Spunk? Too silly. Load? Sounds like bad porn dialogue. What about just spelling it “come”? Sorry, no… my brain only accepts that as a verb.
In desperation, I tried to think of terms that my friends and I had used over the years to name the substance in question. The only new result this turned up was a term coined by my college roommate: “love yuck”. That’s not exactly the sort of erotically charged phrase I was looking for.
A couple days of frustration told me that a simple word substitution was not the answer. I needed some artful phrasing, a path around this stubborn word that was gumming up the works3 of my story. But how to find such an elusive technique? Read LOTS of erotica, of course! I abandoned Google in favor of Amazon. I snagged half a dozen highly rated anthologies, plus another dozen or so stories with free Kindle downloads available. I figured, being a quick reader, that I’d power my way through the material and come away with a head full of ideas in short order.
That was not what happened.
First of all, there are side effects to reading erotica. OK, fine…technically speaking, they’re the intended effects of erotica. But I was trying to do literary analysis and those reactions detracted heavily from my ability to parse the text.
Secondly, I realized that in a great number of the free downloads, the authors were either unconcerned with literary niceties or stopped short of the key moment in the hopes of enticing me to buy the next volume. Among the higher quality selections, a fair portion of stories were centered on the woman’s pleasure and faded out before the messy subject of male orgasms burst on the scene4. I applaud the focus on women getting off, I truly do… but in my head, this story wouldn’t have been complete without happy endings all around. After all was read and done, I was no closer to resolving my vocabulary crisis.
In the end, I ditched my attempts at finding a pre-existing solution and chose to just follow my own instincts. I thought about the sensations, the things that turned me on… and all of a sudden, words began to flow. The question marks were replaced. The story, at long last, felt finished. You can pop on over here and read it, if you’re curious how things finally came about5.
So there’s one lesson learned: I’ve got to be true to myself when I write, there’s no hiding behind other people’s words and phrases. I look forward to seeing what I’ll learn from my next story!