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Write A Better Orgasm

posted by Lucy V Morgan on ,


An orgasm is an event, people. When it comes to women--who account for a large proportion of the romance and erotica audience--it's also often but a fantasy, during sex. That means we writers are, above all, offering a fantasy experience. The perfect sex. The perfect orgasm. The words used to describe it should hold visceral weight, and the build-up should match the pace of the participants' uneven breaths.

Sex scenes are, for the most part, written to arouse the reader. They should feel and follow; sensation should build. When that climax comes, the line should punch them in the face...not wimp out and fuck up their rhythm. Treat the reader like your lover. Warm them up, tease them a little and then shove them off the edge of the cliff.

Three common mistakes in the writing of female orgasms:

1) Now You See It, Now You Don't

Or "where the hell did that come from?" Lack of build-up denigrates the reader's experience. Foreplay, foreplay, foreplay--focus on the growing arousal of the participants as well as your he licked/she sucked stage directions. Pay attention to the small things: the flush that appears across the heroine's chest, or the way sweat sculpts the hero's hair into a bed-tousled mess. The growing weight of blood in their veins as it rushes to swell (because we're often told how pussy lips get puffy or cocks get hard, but not what comes beforehand); the pain-diffusing heat of adrenaline; the warm, wet scrape of teeth across a collar bone. The little shift of the heroine's hips as she moves to guide her lover's fingers. The way her sighs feel in her throat, how they grow shorter and coarser.

Think about pacing. Vary the sentence structure and word choice to reflect jerkier movements, frantic sheet-twisting and breathless words. If your narrator can't think straight because he or she is so damn close, that's almost as sexy as the orgasm to come. Show rather than tell the chemical and emotional subtexts of arousal. (There's a nice guide to the stages of female arousal here, and it's worth a look in terms of structuring your writing).

2) Baker's Dozen

So we're writing "fantasy" sex; more than one orgasm is apparently the order of the day. Except it's not when they all arrive one after the other: oh look, another one! Well, that's nice. And hmm...is that...aha! Another! Break for dull descriptor paragraph....yes, another and another...no, that didn't do much for me either.

Treat every orgasm like the first, from a writing perspective. The second, third and fourth might not need such a long build-up, but they do still need one. Furthermore, how are they different from the first? If they're harder, where does the heroine feel this most strongly, for example? What does each consecutive orgasm do to her?

Women can have several different types of orgasms (vaginal and clitoral are two kinds; scroll down here for some differences). Mix it up a bit. Know exactly what is happening to your character's body, and tell the reader as if it's their first time too. 

3) Damp Squib

A strong build-up is all well and good, but it's only going to disappoint if the orgasm itself is poorly described. You want to write the Chuck Norris of climaxes, not the Where's Waldo? 

Stereotypical ways orgasms are presented in romance/erotica:

Her orgasm hit her
Her orgasm pulsed/coursed through her
She moaned/screamed (who actually screams?)/cried out as the orgasm...

Let us not forget the lovely vaginal descriptions:

Her pussy clenched (this happens just before orgasm, and it's only the bottom part of her pussy. The top actually gets bigger. Every day's a school day! During orgasm, you contract rather than clench).
She milked his cock (like a Dutch maid?)
Her sheath quivered (excuse me while I vomit quietly into a bucket)
Her womb contracted (who actually feels their womb contract? It's an abdominal sensation, no? Ever cried out "oh God, my womb!" during sex...? Answers on a postcard to bullshitlandia).

Also, gushing. Much gushing going on. Gushing is not particularly commonplace; if it was, we'd all have to carry spare knickers. If you're going to write about gushing then keep it for the later stages of arousal, when it's more likely (and remember that vaginal lubrication is rarely so abundant that it actually gushes. It's more of a little rush, an ooze even. Make ooze sound sexy. Er, somehow). The same goes for squirting--even more so, in fact. They're having sex, people. Not going for a swim.

Here are a couple of my favourite fictional orgasms as examples:

"Threads of pleasure slid down my legs, into every toe...it suffused me, carried me and lifted me...I came on his tongue, and he held me close as my body bucked and jumped. I cried out, his name like candy on my lips...licorice and whiskey...Dan."   Dirty by Megan Hart

"No crashing waves, no ripples of ecstasy. A violent pleasure tore through me, a whiplash at my clit that bloomed and radiated through my belly and chest."   Curio by Cara McKenna

"She felt the flash of heat again, followed by another and another as he continued pressing the secret spot, and she could not stop the noise that rose in her throat from escaping as she dissolved into his hand."   Taming The Beast by Emily Maguire 

And a couple from my books (toot toot. Also, I can use longer quotes from these):

"God, I fell.

Down, down, from a floating precipice to the smack of a hard fuck. There were no tears but I sobbed again, seared with the heat of a convulsing world and the wet mess of contractions that piled up inside me like traffic." Chairman of the Whored

"The orgasm was so different to the one which had drenched his bed last night. For minutes, it grew deep inside me in jerky snaps, conducted by the rhythm of his tongue. It peaked beneath my clit over and over before he caught on to it and pulled...pulled...

It was different. Longer, somehow wetter--as if I needed more of myself to pour into this man's mouth. As I calmed, he lingered over the swell of me and licked all the way down to my inner thighs.

Above, the branches of silver birch swayed like velvety eyelashes, and they span in the mess of oxygen I sucked from the air." 

"I fell in on myself--smash, crumple, shuddershudder--and the second he realised my orgasm had hit…he stopped. God knows, it was obvious, the way I stiffened and moaned his name. I writhed beneath him until he moved again, and then it was a slow dance as he made me work for every breath-sucking contraction. Fear pricked the back of my neck, the terror that it would fall away and I’d lose everything…but he forced me to fight until the last wave ebbed. I did beg. I begged until my voice cracked and my throat was dry."  The Whored's Prayer

So there you have it: three steps to writing a better orgasm. Like a magic spell; no wand required (although a wand is nice sometimes, let's be honest).



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