La Petite Mort: How do you Describe that Happy Ending?

Orgasm dictionary definition

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I was beta reading for a dear friend last week, and she stunned me with her orgasmic prowess: three long paragraphs to describe that monumental end to a sex scene.

I realized how short my climaxes can be (in my books, people–books!).  I spend all my time with the sexual tension, then the build-up (which probably includes a whole lot of hair-pulling, spanking or clever uses of the tongue). The climax gets one sentence, two max. And I can’t say I’m super creative with how I describe it. I might go into the clenching/contracting muscles of pelvic floor, sometimes with the inner thighs and ass working along too. Or I might use the euphemisms for the physical responses: waves of pleasure, delicious release, etc.

It’s harder still to describe how it feels for a man. Fortunately I am married to a man who doesn’t mind talking about his cock. But still, not having a cock myself, I hesitate to go into as much detail as he might share with me. I confess I’ve used all the stupid turns of phrases, like “spilled his seed” (in historicals!) or “shot his load”. There might be some groaning as his cum surges down his shaft just before the big O.

So how about you? I thought it might be fun today to ask for your best or favorite descriptions of the actual orgasm–either from your writing or someone else’s. I considered asking for worst, too, because that would be funny, but Write Sex Right is is not just sex positive, it’s also author positive, so we’d better keep it kind.

Post your favorite turns of phrase, descriptions, or euphemisms for the orgasm in the comments below.


Comment List

  • Casey McKay 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    Every time I come up to a sex scene I am writing in my head I always think “They banged. It was awesome. She was like ‘whoa’.” How funny would it be if all erotic novels described things like that?

    I think if people have never written one then they don’t understand how hard it is to write a sex scene sometimes. I mean I find it hard to keep it fresh and not sound repetitive. I constantly try to find another word for thrusting (apparently I have a lot of thrusting going on)- and you don’t want to make it sound too clinical, but if you get too flowery it starts to sound almost satirical.

    Anyway- I am a huge fan of reading the historical sex scene. I sort of love when the hero impales the heroine’s molten core with his pulsing rod. I mean, who wouldn’t? That’s a good day!

    • Renee Rose 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

      ooh yeah, I love the impaling of molten cores with pulsing rods!! They banged is pretty cool too. 🙂

  • Rayanna Jamison 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    I HATE this part! I always joke that I write the erotic equivalent of “and they both came! YAY!” and then wait for someone to take pity on me and fix it.

  • aubreycara3 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    I always use the same words, ( clenching, pulsing, spasming channels, coming, twitching) then have to go back through and change it up a little. Sometimes I read over the top spewing cocks and fireworks, and boiling cum shooting like lighting, and I think, “I’m going to do that sometime. I’m just going to have my hero ‘bust a nutt and spew his load all over the place, like a Pollock painting’.”

    • katherinedeane 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

      LOL, Aubrey, you are so funny! This makes me think of Poseidon or Zeuss. 🙂

    • Renee Rose 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

      OMG!!! Please Trademark that Pollack turn of phrase right now, or I’m gonna steal it! Awesome! 🙂

  • normandiea 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who only spends a few sentences on this. I remember one edit pointing out I’d forgotten the man’s climax altogether. WHOOPS!

    • Renee Rose 16 / 12 / 2014 Reply

      ha ha! At least theirs is easier to sum up…lol

  • Kallista Dane 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    I find my characters often end up “soaring into oblivion” together or “climbing higher and higher until they crash over the cliff in each other’s arms.” Now that I think of it, it seems I’ve taken “la petite mort” a little too literally!

    Some day I’m going to write a D/s set in ancient Rome so I can have my Dom hero utter one of the best lines I ever heard. Vidi. Vici. Veni. ( I saw. I conquered. I came!)

    • Renee Rose 16 / 12 / 2014 Reply

      ha ha!! Crashing over the cliff in each other’s arms is quite lovely.

    • Cora Montgomery 23 / 06 / 2017 Reply

      This is one of the best lines I have ever read. I laughed so loud ny kids came running to see what was so funny. I couldn’t tell them which just made it funnier.

  • katherinedeane 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    OMG, Rayanna, I am the same way!!

  • Maggie Carpenter 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    Ms. Rose, you have the best questions! Writing sex scenes is one thing, writing the Big O, it can be painful. LOL. Sometimes, if it’s at the end of a eventful day, I’ll simply describe some simple, “and when they finally fell together, he enveloped her in his body, and rode her until they were joyfully gasping with their mutual release” something like that, and other times it’s the Mt. Helene moment. Shooting sparks and rippling tingles. 🙂 I know I’ve had both, and I must assume most people have as well. It certainly is one the bigger challenge we face, and I’ll be very interested to see what others have to share.

  • Kayla Lords 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    There’s lots of spasms. Definitely clenchings and pulsings. Lightning streaking throughout bodies. Pressure builds. Muscles tighten. Backs arch. Fingers grip. Screaming or hissing commence. There may even have been a blossoming or two to go along with the spasms. And in my world, there’s usually a bit of gushing or splashing (no lie).

    I try so hard to describe them differently but I’m sure the climax itself is quicker than the build up. (In my books, I mean…)

    • Renee Rose 16 / 12 / 2014 Reply

      ooh, Kayla, sounds like you have a good handle on this. I’m a fan of the gushing and splashing, but I have been dinged in a review by an idiot who didn’t know what female ejaculation was…

      • Kayla Lords 16 / 12 / 2014 Reply

        Poor, poor soul to not know what that is…woe to that reader. I almost feel sorry for that person.

        My struggle is not to repeat myself over and over again. I write several sex scenes in each book, and I don’t want to sound like a broken record. But I know I’m on to something good if my own words turn me on. 🙂

  • Constance Masters 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    This is funny because I was just saying to my sister the other day that I thought I needed a break because I’d run out of ways to write everything. There’s only so many ways you can twist something you know? I think we need some more words in the dictionary, like printing more money 🙂

  • Jaye Peaches 15 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    I’m with Rayanna, trying to make it erotic when all I’d quite like to write is – she came, she waited, he came, it got messy. I try not to picture rockets firing or volcanoes erupting. Unless there is a great deal of emotional release going on, I avoid the lengthy descriptions.

  • Cara Bristol 16 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    I remember when I wrote my first erotic romance, and the couple had an orgasm. “But how does it feel?” My editor asked. It’s a hard thing to describe–and most authors skip that part.

    • Renee Rose 16 / 12 / 2014 Reply

      I think it is a hard thing to describe. And though no two are alike, it seems like my descriptions are…

  • sarahhegger 16 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    I had a hard time (sorry) finding words for cock in a medieval romance—at least words that weren’t pulsating man root or the like

    • Renee Rose 16 / 12 / 2014 Reply

      LOL. Oh but pulsating manroot is so perfect! ha ha!

  • Pat Powers 16 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    I have a lot of humor in my stories, so I occasionally will come out with a parody of the metaphors used to describe sex: “His blazing stallion of lust galloped through her tunnel of love like an express train hurling through a railway tunnel, only with considerably less engine noise and smoke, and a lot more backing in and out, in and out …”

  • Penn 17 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    Okay, can a guy weight in? I”m not crowding… a female sent me to read this. I note, I haven’t seen anybody comment about curling toes and burning soles. 🙂 Honestly, I tend to not try to write the O to die for, for the same reason some of you skirt the male’s simply because – we don’t know really what the other feels. So I learn toward physiological reaction sort of like one is experiencing the partner in climax. But, I really respect the writers that find creative ways to say the same old thing without getting corny.

    That said, it’s the “other side” of the O that seems more difficult. Ending and erotic scene after the orgasm can be a real bugger – where do you go from there without losing the high?

    • Renee Rose 18 / 12 / 2014 Reply

      Of course, we welcome your perspective! Good point about the post-orgasm scene. I think I usually go on to another sex scene (because my hunks have the stamina of stallions! lol) or end the section soon after. But you’re right, you can’t maintain the high.

  • Renee Rose 20 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    I have to add in this beautiful orgasm by Ashe Barker from her upcoming book The Widow is Mine:

    In the next instant I am flying. I have on occasions watched the birds gliding above me and dreamed of what of would be like to join them, to swoop and soar in the air, weightless. This is it, this is that sensation. I am spinning, swirling, my body and mind no longer my own, seized by an irresistible spasming that seems to start in my core and pulse outwards to the very ends of my fingers and toes. I am scared, and exhilarated at the same time. This is incredible, wondrously terrifying. But regardless of my discomfiture, my confusion, I am powerless to stop what is happening.

  • Grant Antrews 20 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    My strong, naked lover carried me to our bed and placed me on my belly, and he massaged me with a new silky aromatic oil. I thought nothing of it when he straddled me, facing my feet. His hands busied themselves at my thighs and buttocks, caressing me slowly and with pressures and motions that heated and stirred my depths. He literally and liberally poured the sweet oil onto my bottom, smoothing it, and tracing an intimate pattern from my tailbone to my clit. It was heavenly, so intense, and my hips tried to respond but his weight kept me in place. His left hand began to explore me intimately, probing my feminine place, while his other hand was stuck in the rut between my cheeks. I was close, so close, and then he poured another pool of oil over me and continued the massage and just at the very moment when I fell over the edge his fingertip slipped into my anus. It was electrifying, daring, and so exciting that I screamed! David rode me like a bronco as I bucked and thrashed, out of my mind in a tsunami of pleasurable sensations. He had only invaded my behind with a fingertip, but it was incredible! When I had calmed he came around to lay close and hold me. I thanked him profusely, my insides still quivering.

    • Renee Rose 30 / 12 / 2014 Reply

      ooh yes, a tsunami! that’s a great one. 🙂

  • Addy 20 / 12 / 2014 Reply

    Usually they climax and then come down together into post-orgasmic bliss. I use that a little too much. Otherwise he usually grunts or groans cause I normally write the scene from the female perspective and she gets “taken higher than she could remember going” and I usually mention a lot of white noise cause I see stars when I hit bliss…. they do too…

    Let’s see from my current WIP/almost release: “She bucked upwards and came as he held her tight then reached his own peak. He had enough sense to set her on top of him as they came down from the rush and physically sank down along the wall, catching their breaths. He pulled the condom off several moments later and scooted her off his lap to dispose of it”. – to be fair it’s the first time I’ve mentioned condom disposal. Which I think is sometimes overlooked – birth control in general I’d say… but that’s a whole ‘nother article.

    • Renee Rose 30 / 12 / 2014 Reply

      Thank you for sharing that scene! Sounds like you give it the same number of sentences as I do. 🙂

  • Sage L. Mattison 03 / 01 / 2015 Reply

    I happen to have my word doc open with my books and scrolled through a bit. I do a lot of “then a switch flipped” as I write light d/s so after the dom gives permission it’s go time!

    Lots of waves, but I try to alternate if my girl screams or moans or is so overcome she’s silent.

    I think the hardest part for me, is trying to keep it semi-realistic and not so over the top that women will read it and be all, “that has NEVER happened to me! WTF!” because as a reader, I’ve had those moments lol

    • Renee Rose 12 / 01 / 2015 Reply

      LOL, that’s a good point!! And it’s also true that not every orgasm shakes the earth…

  • Jay Spencer Green 12 / 08 / 2015 Reply

    Possibly not what you’re after, but here’s the description from my debut tome:

    And I credit my fervent heterosexuality for the fact that I’d been there for two minutes before I noticed that Frank was pulling himself off. And it was only when he came—shooting his diseased yellow jism all over my fucking carpet, mind you—that I managed to say, “Well, honestly!” and he realized that something was up.

  • Joanie 27 / 01 / 2017 Reply

    Holy crap these comments are great! My characters are almost always suffering from emotional turmoil or inebriated on some way. Try writing a sex scene with two men, one of which is emotional unstable, drunk, and refusing to have anal sex while the other is a young uneducated idiot high on cocaine. Oh my god, why did I even do that?

    It ended up just being really cerebral beforehand with a few physical descriptions at the end like gasping, shuddering, and then the unceremonious wiping of sticky hands each other’s shirts.

  • tiger hilton 13 / 01 / 2020 Reply

    Love it! If any Writers would like to share tips and collaborate on sticky parts of their writing which are yet to come together, let me know. PS. How do we get in touch? Is it just here on this website or do we e-mail? I am a Gay Erotica fiction writer for Audible and Kindle at the moment. Love to share ideas and help other Writers.

  • Caprice363 11 / 10 / 2021 Reply

    Thanks for blasting me out of my cliches – the words I keep desperately re-circulating.

  • I. DigAPony 24 / 07 / 2022 Reply

    This reminds me of an episode from Phyllis, a ’70s sitcom, starring Cloris Leachman. In one episode, she was freaking out that her 13-year-old daughter was learning about sex in school. In the end, it all works out, and she asks her daughter what the thinks about sex. Her daughter replies. “I think it’s funny.”
    Phyllis is taken aback, “Funny? What’s so funny about it?” To which the daughter replies. “If aliens came down and asked you to describe what having sex was like, from beginning to end, would you be able to tell them and keep a straight face?”

  • elizabeth 12 / 09 / 2022 Reply

    i’ve read through all these comments (lots of funny stuff here) and gathered some individual words for my scene with a pervert who gets off on murder – yeah, this guy had a messed up childhood! But I haven’t seen anything about what does an orgasm actually FEEL like? I need some descriptive words on the actual feeling – you know – “show, don’t tell.” Thanks

  • Robert Coker 12 / 02 / 2023 Reply

    Do you know the name of the book that had an orgasmic scene for three paragraphs?

  • Maddy 05 / 03 / 2023 Reply

    Based on the use of the term “beta read,” I’m guessing this was probably fanfiction rather than a book ;). That being said–I also want to know! LOL

  • Shareh T 19 / 10 / 2023 Reply

    I find it more difficult to describe a males big O since I am a girl and my husband uses words like – it feels like you know. like ahhh good? Yeah thats a good word to use.
    I now, have some more open guy friends who help me out in describing it. And when a girl in the books have a big O. I describe my own big O. I have a book I’m writing where the beginning to the end of the sex scene is probably 4 pages long. …it’s pretty hot if you ask me.

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