Apr 20 2011 9:00am

Squick Me Out!: Words Not to Use in Moments of Passion

Betty Crocker Super Moist Party Rainbow Chip MixWhile I definitely admit to being a lover of descriptive sex scenes, sometimes authors go a little too far with the wordy words. And certain words used in sex scenes take me right out of the story and straight into cleaning my eyes out with soap.

Take for example the “M” Word. I won't type it, but it ends with “oist.” That word should only apply to a Betty Crocker Cake, not a female body part! If I see that word in a book, I have to stop reading for a few minutes. It disturbs me that much, people.

Man Meat:  Really? We’re still using this to describe a penis? What kind of man meat are we talking about? Tube steak? Please stop using this term, I am fine with penis.

Suckle is another one that makes me queasy. I am not a cow and I'd rather no one “suckle” anything on my body. *shudders* Just add the word teats to that sentence why don't you. Got Milk?

Soap image courtesy of Horia Varlan via Flickr“She was musky with desire” REALLY? You might want to pause for a second to take a shower. Don't forget to use soap, lots of soap. The same goes for “dripping,” I don't know how anyone thinks that a dripping anything is desirable—quick, call a plumber!

Pulsating: That would be a vein, my friends, and I don’t know about you but I don’t want anything near me that is pulsating.

“He slurped up her juices” Typing that made me feel dirty, reading that makes me want a spa day. Slurp is what you do to soup and Slurpees. Words have certain sounds associated with them (at least in my head), and I can totally hear “slurp.“ And it's not sexy.

Speaking of slurping things: “Cream” or “Creamy” is another one of those totally unnecessary visuals. Please immediately step off of the ride and check into the nearest GYN office. HURRY!

I polled Twitter & friends for ones that grossed them out, and the worst by far involved comparing the swallowing of “thick gobs of cum” to the consumption of fine wine.

Anyone know CPR? This lady is going to choke to death!!

One of my all time favorites, that made me laugh so hard I almost wet myself was told to me by a guest blogger on my site:

“Macaroni sounds.” We all know that when you stir macaroni, it sounds like you’re diddling in a wet vajajay. But really. You want me to use it in a sentence? Sigh. And as I rubbed my man meat on her vajajay, her macaroni sounds spurred me to make her make more.

I haven’t looked at macaroni the same way since. So what words in sex scenes squick YOU out?

Can you believe we're not even done yet!? Find out what else squicks us out with Squick II | Squick III | Squick IV

Soap image courtesy of Horia Varlan via Flickr.



Natasha Carty reviews Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy on her website Wicked Little Pixie and lives in Toronto, Canada, with her cat, Seamus.

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shiloh walker
1. shiloh walker
you've ruined macaroni for me. sigh.
shiloh walker
2. Gale
You are right. But DANG you made me laugh! I think you've covered 'em all for me...
shiloh walker
3. smexys_sidekick
Slurping in a huge turn off for me. And anything remotely alluding to tuna smells or taste.
shiloh walker
4. Laura Kaye
LOL Macaroni sounds. That is totally hilarious. I can't stop hearing that sound in my head now. Damn you! I have to admit to using 1 or 2 of these in my writing, but, ya know, there's only so many words to describe the same physical description. It's hilarious to me that moist squicks you out. Reminds me of the fact that my grandmother HATED the word "tasty"--she interpreted that as an insult and meanwhile we were all like, "Wha?" LOL Thanks for a good laugh in the morning! I always love this topic!
Natasha Carty
5. WickedLilPixie
@ Shiloh LOL I'm sorry, but you won't ever write macaroni into a scene now will you? ;)

@ Gale I love hearing the words I'm right! hah

@ Smexy(Tori) Ugh at Tuna, I've read salmon too.

@ Laura My sister can't stand the word secretions & it ended up being one of the words that squicks me out now. But tasty? Thats weird, guess you can't say that was tasty macaroni hah
shiloh walker
6. Monica-Marie Holtkamp
"Heaving bosoms" always got me....why would they heave? Are there little muscle men underneath her trying to lift them up? Are they THAT huge that she can't hold them up herself? That one and the ever present "throbbing member"....I'm sorry...that one is just shudder worthy on it's own merits. Those were ones that I'd seen in all the romance novels of old....maybe there is a much better way to describe it....and I'm not the person to do that.....but c'mon people...."Her bosoms were heaving as she felt his throbbing member against her thigh." UGH....even typing that I threw up in my mouth a little.....

Thank you for writing made me laugh....
shiloh walker
7. Emma Cunningham
You could never ruin macaroni for me...but you DID make me laugh.
Natasha Carty
8. WickedLilPixie
@ Monica the word throbbing always makes me raise an everybrow, how can I have a throbbing headache & he has a throbbing member, I got jipped!!!

@ Emma Just wait until the kiddos bring home macaroni art *shudders*
shiloh walker
9. tgentry90
OMG! Macaroni?? Really? That's hilarious. I actually don't mind all the different words or phrases that authors come up with when writing sex scenes. I've even giggled while reading some of them. Some of them are very creative. I imagine it's not easy coming up with different descriptions. I know these words & phrases aren't used by most people in real life but reading them doesn't bother me. However, if I came up on the macaroni one, I'd probably read it again to make sure I read it right. That's just Ewwww!
Natasha Carty
10. WickedLilPixie
@ Tgentry I need to find a copy of that paragraph & have it framed, when I heard about it I laughed for days
shiloh walker
11. Carie Bosch
i love you nat. LOL!! those ruled, i also despise the m-word. i agree: for cake only. and that macaroni business is awesome; it's forever changed how i view making kraft m & c dinners, that's for darn sure.
shiloh walker
13. Micheline Harvey
The authors who used those terms are not authors in my opinion and have no talent for sex scenes. So there. God I hope I won't come accross any of those with a certain series of books I am trying to finish reading. Groan...Ugh.
shiloh walker
14. Kim M.
One of my friends was reading a book and it used the term "man milk" to refer to semen. That one really made me say "Gross!" Other than that, I haven't come across the 'squick' factor in my reading. There have been a few where I laugh out loud (disco stick, anyone?). Of course, lauging out loud during a love scene is never advisable either.
Natasha Carty
15. WickedLilPixie
@ Micheline, you don't read erotica do you ;)

@ Kim oh eww, I love laughing during a sex scene!!
shiloh walker
16. Callysta
Thank you for the much needed laugh!! Like tgentry, I dont mind the descriptive words, though I must say , never heard 'man meat' before.
Still grinning over the creamy mac n cheese....
shiloh walker
17. Noelle Pierce
I've read some doozies, though I have to admit some of the worst offenders came from Penthouse letters (mammoth mauler?? WTF? That one *must* have been written by a guy.).

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to make macaroni again. That was in an actual, published story? Like a non-satire one?


I've heard some of those were squick-worthy from others before..."Pulsating" doesn't bother me so much, but the others? Oh, yeah. I mean, it's romance, it's fantasy, so it needs to be romanticized. Too "real?" No thanks.

And who, in their right mind, would reference any form of seafood in books read mostly by women?? Just...ew.
shiloh walker
18. kyahgirl
This was a very funny post. Thanks for the laugh.

I stopped reading a particular author because her books had so many 'weeping pussies' I couldn't take it any more.

And one funny one from long ago, 'hard knot of desire'. I read that unfortunate description of an erection years ago. I told it to my husband once and, besides the painful imagery for a man, he thought it was hilarious. He still throws it into a conversation now and then when he wants to crack me up.
shiloh walker
19. Luvs2Read
The macaroni stuff was so funny I forgot I'm still at work and laughed out loud. I mean, REALLY loud. Then I had to fake a coughing fit so my co-workers wouldn't think I've gone around the bend.

You're right, musky, creamy or dripping should not be used in love scenes. Creamy makes me think of chicken pot pie (don't ask, as I have no idea why my mind goes there), which makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

Thanks for the laugh!!
shiloh walker
20. purpletwink1027
Really? Macaroni and cheese? That is not sexy, now way, no how.

Most of the words on the list are pretty bad. Pulsating is the only word on the list that I can handle, as long as it is used sparingly by the author. The one that bothers me to no end is heaving. Unless it is used in reference to someone throwing up, heaving should never appear in a book. Heaving bosoms and throbbing members should be outlawed! :)
Natasha Carty
21. WickedLilPixie
@ Callysta You are most welcome :)

@ Noelle Seafood is a WTF all the time! I have read it more then once & wondered why the author thought it was a good idea lol

@ Kyahgirl Weeping!?! Ugh UGH someone needs a doctor STAT, thats called an infection!

@ Luvs LOL sorry about the loud laughs! Creamy makes me think of food too, but not THAT specific thanks for ruining chicken pot pie for me ;)

@Purpletwink, I swear it's real! I agree, I think we should start a petition for ban'd words!
shiloh walker
22. Melody M Barto
Sometimes it does make you wonder what these Authors are thinking when they come up with this stuff.... Once i read "torpid member" and i was like ....Dam whats wrong with it? Good ,honest, nasty filth doesnt bother me! I would much rather read that than writing that sounded like it came from "Adjectives R Us" ! Lol!
shiloh walker
23. Lisa R
Whoa.......some of these date back to "Sweet Savage Love" (found it under my neighbor's couch while babysitting), which was my first intro to romance novels, such as they were then. I wasn't quite sure what a "throbbing member" was (I was an advanced reader for my age at 11), but I knew enough not to ask my mama, lol!

There are definitely some words that just take you right out of the moment, for sure.
Carrie Strickler
24. DyslexicSquirrel
Slurping. Shudder. That's just wrong. I wouldn't want to be slurped; I sure don't want to read about it! My vag is not a straw.
Natasha Carty
25. WickedLilPixie
@ Melody - LOL what in the world is a torpid member?!

@ Lisa - Hah I still wouldn't ask my Mom & I'm 30 ;)

@DyslexicSquirrel AHAHAHAHAH you made me cackle very loudly!
shiloh walker
26. JulieYMandKAC
OMG This post had me laughing until I cried! To be honest with you, I never thought about the slurping thing until reading this. Now it is ruined for me for life... One that bugs me is 'her juices coated her thighs'. Um...ew! And that is a LOT of juices. I mean, are there any left for, you know, what they're needed for?
Awesome post!
27. EvangelineHolland
LOL @ “He slurped up her juices”. That doesn't sound cute or sexy at all.
shiloh walker
28. Marissahaire
Suckle reminds me of nursing. so NOT sexy!
shiloh walker
29. etv13
I do think it's interesting that "creamy" always comes up as a squick factor when people talk about words used in sex scenes, with the people who are disturbed by it interpreting it visually when it is clearly intended as a reference to texture. And yet, no one would interpret a reference to a "creamy complexion" texturally, would they? It leads me to suspect something else is going on here.
Natasha Carty
30. WickedLilPixie
@ Evangeline I don't think there is a way to make slurp sexy!

@ EVT13 What would that be? And honestly I don't remember ever seeing creamy complexion in a story in the last 6+ years
Carrie Strickler
31. DyslexicSquirrel
@WickedLilPixie: -curtsies- I try. I might not have much, but I'll always have my sense of humor!
Lisa Collins
33. coolvstar650
I just laughed so hard at the macaroni thing I had to get out my inhaler! LMAO
shiloh walker
34. Cyn
What squick's me out is "her hungry pussy". It makes me think of a fish mouth or the plant in Little Shop of Horrors saying, "FEED ME".
shiloh walker
36. Cyn
How about, "He couldn't wait to finally enter her dark cave"?
Jeez, I shudder to think what might be in there. Mushrooms? Jimmy Hoffa?
shiloh walker
37. StormyNight
Riddle me this Batman - What in the world does the word "pork" have to do with sex? I know it's the other white meat and Oh so delicious, but seriously? Sexy? I think not. The word "jism" is squicky for me too. Makes me think of Pee Wee Herman and the back row of a rank adult movie theatre...eew.
shiloh walker
38. Tanja
"thick gobs of cum" I really hate that one. It makes my stomach turn. I gonna go throw up now.
Natasha Carty
39. WickedLilPixie
@ Cyn, he totally needed a flashlight ;)

@ Stormy LOL pork, I have NO idea I never understood that either!

@ Tanja ME TOO! *passes out vomit bags*
shiloh walker
40. SarannaDeWylde
Hehee. I've done my job. I was so happy to share the squick. *wink* I couldn't believe some of the descriptions people use and really think they're hot. When I was an editor, I actually had authors argue with me about a few of these. Like f*** juice. Really? OMG. No, spraying two gallons of your f*** juice on joy bags is not erotic. Sorry. And not possible. Take your hand out of your lap and place both firmly on the keyboard.

Creamy makes me think there's been a train and it's sloppy fourths, or there's some bread baking action going on down there with a yeasty beastie. Like pulling apart a grilled cheese.

I don't like the musky description either. Ferret dens are musky. Unwashed ball sac and vag are musky. I get trying to go for the animalistic and primal, but musky doesn't do it for me.

Thick gobs of... greasy grimey gopher guts?
shiloh walker
41. MiraMistHaven
This article made me laugh so hard! My family kept asking me what I was doing. I told my husband about it and he was baffled; why don't women like those words? LOL I will explain it to him better later! He likes to come up with "amorous phrases" of his own about sex that are for laughs and just plain gross at times. I don't like to read the word moist because it always reminds me of the mom in Dead Like Me because she says that word is pornographic! I hate to see the word cum; it just grosses me out horribly, and throbbing; it makes me think the man's tighty whiteys were way too tight! I hate creamy, slurp, juices, man milk (barf!), heaving never bothered me too much but now all I can see is that she's getting ready to hurl! All the comments were great and made my day!
Natasha Carty
42. WickedLilPixie
@ Saranna LOL I love you, your macaroni story continues to scar people world wide!

@ Mira OMG I totally forgot about George's Mom saying that! Baby batter is another WTF word for me. Glad you got a laugh out of it :)
shiloh walker
43. Aimee Graham
Squelching. What does that make you think of?
Leaking. A leaking body part, male or female, makes me think of incontinence. Or plumbing. That would go along nicely with dripping.
Also, I think I just read the book that had the sentence "he slurped her juices" in it. I had the same reaction. Soup came to mind. The creamy kind. I know. Gross. I just had to go there.
Jett Wells
44. tjwell01
HAHAHAHA, this is an awesome blog post. Agreed on musky and moist.

Sure, it's all subjective, but sex scenes are always awkward in the words, and ridiculously fantasized so people are going to use gross and weird words that turn them on as they're writing it.

"Suckle" is definitely a strange one tho. What's wrong with just "suck?"
shiloh walker
45. Bogpony
Laved *shivers* WTF? Her nipple was so dirty that he had to stop and give it a wash? In french?
shiloh walker
47. Rachel70
Moist &Throbbing members makes me cringe.. and I have been scarred now forever with the Mac N Cheese reference, LOL! Heaving Bosums are just scary! Someone grab a bag, she hyperventilating!! Love "Disco Stick", that makes me giggle... I don't care to hear or read about the "c" words, male and female and the "p" word for females.. I can't even spell them out, thats how squicky they are for me.. LOL! Thanks for the laugh Natasha!)
Olivia Waite
48. O.Waite
Best. Thread. Ever.

@SarannaDeWylde: 'like pulling apart a grilled cheese.' This is hideous in its perfection. I bow to superior wordsmithery!

@etv13: I would argue that using creamy is squickworthy because the word is mostly visual and signals whiteness. (Satiny or silky are textural skin words, for contrast.) And when it's the ladybits producing something white as cream—well, that's a reason to see your doctor or at least explore over-the-counter solutions.
shiloh walker
49. P.Smith
Took me forever to get around to reading it, but damn, this is an awesome post! I have read and been grossed out by most of the above. I'm a nurse, and probably a bit OCD about personal cleanliness, but I totally want to hurl whenever I read any reference to a musky smell - "she knelt in front of him... and leaned close to breathe in his musky scent". I just want to tell them to please, please shower.

Any "juices"- dear God, that makes it hard to drink my daily OJ- especially if they are dripping, slicking her thighs, pouring from her, etc. Ugh. Last but not least, suckle is hard for this former L&D nurse to read, unless I'm about to help a new mom nurse .

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the hilarious post.
Lisa Mckinney
50. EliseChevre
Any ref to meat should be avoided -- he spread her moist juicy lips and gazed upon their beauty, looking like lucious bits of rare roast beef, he bent to eat the juicy treat... -- Really brings out the ewwww!
Not a fan of suckle - reminds me of baby pigs or puppies.
While having a need to touch, grab, grasp various body parts works, kneading should be limited to baking or when done on the body, except during a massage, should result in being kneed.
MacNCheese squish is hilarious.
Thanks for the laughs. Now back to reading and looking for more silly descriptions.
shiloh walker
51. Livlife
Just stumbled across this one. Amazing!

Would like to vote that heaving bosoms don't bother me, neither does moist (though an awful lot of people are disturbed by that). I can fully get on board with the meat and fish and would go so far as to include all food products. "Her breasts were the size of plump, ripe, peaches" Ick. Just ick.

But the one that has always gotten me?

Lapping. "He lapped at her nipples." Really? Makes me think of kittens and that's NOT the image I want. (Possibly because I've actually read "he lapped up her cream" and, well, ick-again.)

No lapping, no sluping, no suckling. There should be nothing to evoke imagery of farm animals in a sex scene!
shiloh walker
52. Jen Loves Romance
I could not agree more with all these posts!! A friend of mine read a book her sister had that said something about a woman's vagina being soupy. I mean honestly? Who comes up with that? I personally would not want anything on my body being described as soupy. If a woman's "juices" are bad enough to be called soupy I think a doctor's appointment is needed ASAP!
shiloh walker
53. anonisgiggling
shiloh walker
54. Saranna DeWylde
@O. Waite- *blushes*
shiloh walker
55. katjameson
Nat & Saranna Eeeew! As an RN something funky down below is the first thing that came to mind and NO that's NOT sexy. As a writer I can't fathom why anyone would want to describe things in graphic yet nasty form. If you're being graphic then be accurate. We're all grown ups we know about penises and vagina's and how the two interact. So be real, not gross...
Natasha Carty
56. WickedLilPixie
@aimee - OH dear god no! I have the sour candy face going. @TJ - Suckle should NEVER be used in a sex scene, it sounds so wrong. @Bogpony - ROTFLMAO love it! @Chanpreet - Thank you :) It's still entertaining! @O.Waite - Saranna is the queen of nasty words ;)
Natasha Carty
57. WickedLilPixie
@P.Smith - Thank you, and musty is NOT a clean smell! I don't care how its used, musty is funky! @Elise -Kneading! Totally bread related, which leads me to yeast...which squicks me out! LOL @LivLife - Ahh! You said the M word! Any size description of nipples being large, no thanks! @Jen Loves Romance - YOU WIN! YOU WIN! Oh dear god YOU WIN!! I will never eat soup again. EVER.
Pamela Webb-Elliott
59. Spaz
I am so bummed that I missed this post and am so - wait for it - TARDY FOR THE PARTY! This is awesome, I cannot stop giggling.
DUDE! I know the author who used the "weeping pussy" term and I had to stop with her first book in the series because I couldn't keep reading that term over and over. I couldn't even bare to put it in my review. That ish is just wrong!
And suuuuuuckle, uuuuuuuuuugh that is soooo grossssss.
shiloh walker
60. Alyssa Cole
I HATE to read the word suckling in a sex scene. Glad I'm not alone! I also hate when it sounds like the author is describing a cannabilistic ritual, a la "He nibbled on her soft flesh." Or worse, when authors write things like "He licked into her and she melted." Really? Was the heroine an ice cream cone?!
Natasha Carty
61. WickedLilPixie
@Spazp - You are ALWAYS Tardy for the Party! And eww, don't you ever send me that book. @Alyssa - Better ice cream then salmon, and I have read it described at salmon flavored. *ugh*
shiloh walker
62. Saewod
'Swollen Mushroom Head' Ugh. It hurts to bring it up and I will probably have nightmares about it now. I read an erotic book where the 'heroine' described his 'unbelievably' large manhood and used 'swollen mushroom head'. Needless to say, it killed the mood and I skipped to the next chapter, hoping it improved. Yeah...not so much.
Jen Kendall
63. JenLovesRomance
Gosh all of these are just terrible!!! I still can't look at mac and cheese without shuddering!! Also someone I was conversing with once compared a penis to Squidward's nose. Seriously disgusting. Although I think the mushroom one is grosser.
shiloh walker
64. Saracee
This may be the funniest blog post I've ever read - I'm crying, I'm laughing so hard! I think you got all the ick ones for me, but I do remember an old (super old) Harlequin that always made me laugh when it said, "throbbing man root." Hilarious!
Jen Kendall
65. JenLovesRomance
Man root makes me think of a plant not a part of one's body. That's just wrong!
Shannon Mosher
67. mosher.shannon
New here - but had to comment on this one

@Jen - Man root? Just makes me wonder - is that something you learn about in Prof. Sprout's class? Related to Mandrake? Just sayin'
68. tinaperin
What a laugh reading these. Weeping pussy the worst in my opinion. I think of something injured. Still reading that author though.
shiloh walker
69. Valerie Bowman
Wow. Just reading this squicked me out a little. Duly noted not to use any of these in my scenes. Must admit I read an author who wrote "he fisted his meat" and I just had to put the book down. Made me picture a package of ground beef. Not sexy.
shiloh walker
70. Roxanne Rhoads
Ugh some of these are just horrible. LOL I read and write erotica and agree if it's weird or gross it will totally make me put a book down.

I hate: moist, juicy (this one really squicks me out for some reason), dripping, weeping, leaking- none of these should eb used to describe body parts in a sexy way.... because... the images they invoke... well they just aren't sexy. LOL

And any referneces to meat or fish is gross.
Sarah Smith
71. sasmith361
I haven't laughed so much at an article in a very long time. I wish I had read this sooner. Thanks that was hilarious. I do have to say the musky smell of desire always skeeved me out.
shiloh walker
72. MomBlogger
OMG! This is amazing - what a great idea for a conversation starter! and I mean OVER AND OVER! lol
Mind if I share this on my blog? I have to post a link to this - I haven't laughed this much all year! (

My most squicky recently read is "she could feel her juices dripping down her legs" I mean EWWWWWWW - take a shower already!! or at least get a MOP!!!!! totally ickkk

Not sure I'm going to be able to make Mac N Cheese for quite a while without thinking of this!!! and Totally NO SOUP!!! grossssssss!
And I have to agree with the Musky smell issue - reminds me of a damp basement or dog rolling in skunk :(

Heaving breasts don't bother me, but puts in mind an image of a rather large woman out of breath - not very sexy in my opinion, but I'm only an above average with droopy, not heaving. . . . never mind TMI - tee hee

Slurping, Laving, Dripping and Moist - all I can say is - take her to the EMERGENCY ROOM ??? or get a PLUMBER!!!

ROFLMAO - too funny!
Now every book I read I'll be examining the sex scenes under a microscope and coming back to this post to share! :) Thanks for the great entertainment!
shiloh walker
73. Jen Loves Romance
@mosher.shannon You know I never thought of the whole Professor Sprout Mandrake thing but that's probably something that an older wiser Harry Potter would learn about... Hahahaha not the pure innocent Harry Potter. Man root really? Who writes that and thinks "oh yea that's totally accurate!"?
shiloh walker
74. Charlayne
OMG, I'm dying over here. My husband has been treated to my enthusiastic reading of this (and most of the replies too). He has offered his own "squick" for your reading...uh...pleasure (?)...

"His purple-helmeted warrior of lust rammed his way through the gates of heaven."


"One-eye'd Willie, the Wonder Worm is what I call this baby, although sometimes I hug him and stroke him and I call him George." he said with a wry grin.

Don't blame me, my husband came up with these. Be afraid :D
shiloh walker
75. Sylvie
I've always thought that some words that are perfectly okay in regular speech become DO NOT GO THERE words in an erotic scene. Like, for example, 'nuzzle'. Oh yes, kittens can nuzzle you with their cute fluffy little faces. A penis does not nuzzle. Do not go there.

It's just one of those words where it makes me start thinking of dogs and cats. Seriously, if you're going to use any word like that, it makes it sound like a guy has a little dog down there instead of a dick.

And I'm pretty sure that most would find that humourous rather than hot.
shiloh walker
76. SuzJustSuz
"Creamy" = "Smegma"

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