Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Fictional Orgasm

For the fictional orgasm, the sky's the limit

I often wonder if we aren't setting ourselves up for sexual disappointment when we read - or in my case write - stories where the characters always experience mind-blowing orgasms. Of course, admitting to a run-of-the-mill orgasm is not generally done, except for comic effect. The orgasm tends to be an unspoken event. You might admit to a friend that you had sex last night, even great sex. But you would be unlikely to start describing the ins and outs, so to speak, of your orgasmic experience.

We can categorize our orgasms on a realistic scale from:

1. Reasonable
2. Good
3. Great
4. Fantastic
5. Mindblowing

(You'll notice there is no negative scale for orgasms. Because, let's face it, no one ever has a BAD orgasm. Bad sex, perhaps. But any orgasm, however meagre, is worth a thumbs-up.)

In erotic fiction, orgasms on the 1-3 scale tend not to exist, unless it's a preliminary - and deliberately disappointing - sexual encounter before the main thrust of the book begins. No, most fictional orgasms will be firmly on the 4-5 scale of Fantastic through to Mindblowing. One exception to this is the literary novel. Within its pages you may find any orgasm from Gritty Urban Reasonable - often with an unpleasant aftertaste - all the way up to Stream of Consciousness Mindblowing - accompanied by a poetic description of waves crashing on the shore or a memory of naturally occurring patterns, such as furrows in a ploughed field etc.

Reading erotic fiction, a woman can become anyone, do it with anyone

It's vital, however, to differentiate between the fictional and the realistic orgasm. For although distant cousins, there is often little resemblance at all. For a start, most romantic heroes, including historical types, include at least a brief bout of cunnilingus in their foreplay, and always enjoy it immensely. Yet it is oddly rare for men in real life to express a strong yearning for such an activity. There are exceptions. But it was only recently that a fellow writer expressed a concern that a loving description she had just read of a Tudor lord going down on his mistress seemed unlikely in the extreme. But was it?

Did Tudor men prefer to eat out or just toss the dog a bone? And how can we be sure?

When it comes to the orgasm proper, we may indeed part company with reality. But I have to admit, I would be failing in my duty to my readers if I did not pen a stirring description of an orgasm to end all orgasms for my heroines, and not once, but every time without fail.

So what do you think of the fictional orgasm?

Is it time for erotica to 'tell it like it is' or should writers like myself continue pushing back the boundaries of the fictional orgasm, each one better than the last?

Elizabeth Moss is the author of WOLF BRIDE: Book One of LUST IN THE TUDOR COURT


  1. As ever, for me, it's not how big it is but how skilfully it's used. The big O scene, that is. If I'm engaged with the characters then I enjoy their adventures, but unappealing characters can scar me for life! Badly-written or unintentionally comical sex scenes are a complete turn-off. And there are a couple of words, too, which, for me, instantly break the spell!

  2. Not sure I dare ask which words break the spell for you, Chris ... I've probably used them myself once or twice. ;-)

  3. Well,I avoided specifics because I'm sure a skilled writer like you could use them and still hold my attention, however one's 'throbbing' which always cracks me up because it reminds of ribald conversations between me and my sister when we were teenagers. If anything starts to throb in an erotic scene, I can't help laughing

    1. What on earth is the second word, Chris?

    2. I'll whisper it to you when I see you next, Alison!

  4. I fear things may throb in my books occasionally. But it's all done in the best possible taste!

  5. The 'ins and outs' of orgasms.... you were enjoying yourself there. I just hope that scantily clad lady is not in your house while the heating's broken down. It's amazing how in fiction, climate never interferes with the orgasms. Well, having had a good laugh at your excellent choice of vocabulary to illustrate your er..point, let's consider the matter. It's definitely not length [of description] that works but the believable relationship between the characters. Description of the mechanics can be so boring but sensations of bliss, well evoked, work for me.

    Perhaps we could do an exercise [written] and mark each other's..?

  6. We'd keep her warm if she was, Beth. ;-)

    Mark each other's ... whats??? LOL.

    Ow, my tummy hurts now. Too much giggling.


  7. Is that why my stomach hurts?
    Great post.

  8. Great write-up! Writing is a talent, and it must not be wasted. As with everything that we had been entrusted, we should

    let it grow and share it with the world.>how to

    motivate yourself to write an essay