The orgasm is one of the best parts of sex, and one of the most fascinating and intense human experiences. When I write about them, which is quite frankly a lot, I try to do them justice. Ideally, I go into as much detail as possible, because there are just so many ways to climax, and so many different details. Every orgasm is unique, and each orgasm in erotica should strive to also be unique. There’s a limit to what words can convey, and how many different metaphors and terms we can come up with for “pleasure,” but it’s important to try.
Here’s some advice that I’ve given to other erotica writers in the past:
Writing about an orgasm is kind of like writing a miniature story within a story. You can’t just jump to the climax without any build-up, not if you want to do it right. You lead up to it with rising action, describing first the desire and the light stirring of sensations—the way the body first feels faint physical foreshadowing of what lies ahead, then the pleasure starts to solidify into something more real as the body (and mind!) are teased into varying states of increasing arousal.
You show each of these levels of pleasure along the way, taking the reader on a journey up a path of pleasure that rises higher and higher, building their anticipation of that ultimate peak that they know lies ahead. Bring the reader closer and closer, but wind the path just enough that they can only catch glimpses of the destination—glimpses are the key to anticipation, which is a key to hunger, which is the key to gratification.
The journey itself is part of the destination .
Wend them along the path as they let you take them higher and higher, closer and closer to that ultimate peak, until they know that they’re so close—so damned close—that they can almost feel their arrival.
But only almost.
Then let them see it, right there ahead of them, let them know what they’re about to find, where they’re about to go, and let them have that perfect moment when they know they’ve almost arrived, that there’s no turning back, that any moment now they’re…
Then they’re there! They’ve rushed those last few running steps, and they’ve fully arrived, and they suddenly realize that the peak is even higher than they could have imagined, so high that it perhaps even scares them a bit because they realize that they’re so far gone now that they might not find their way back—they’re afraid they might die here, and part of them wants to because it’s just so perfect, so thrilling, so wondrous that it breaks them a little bit and they know that even when they somehow find their way back down again, they will never ever be the same.
As you can see, I like to use metaphors. They’re extremely handy things, metaphors, the multi-tool of communication. I’ve rarely metaphor I didn’t like.
This is important when it comes to orgasm, because most of what we feel when it comes to erotic sensation is pleasure, and there are only so many words for pleasure, each of which comes with its own connotations that may or may not convey the right mood for the scene you’re working on. When it comes to sexual sensations, from the tingling build-up to the climax itself, I often try to pick a single metaphor and stick with it throughout the scene.
Often I go with electricity. It’s handy, common, and accurate. Things can start off with electric tingles of pleasure, then later there can be shocks and jolts of sensation, all rising and building like a thunderstorm, and when it all comes to a peak, the orgasm can hit the character like a lightning bolt, arcing from their loins to their nipples, to other parts of them that are being aroused depending on the scene.
Fire is good too. Start with sparks, or even a warm smoldering feeling. The character feels warm, then hot. Things heat up. Their skin feels like it’s on fire, their body burning with the heat of their passion, searing them with sensation until it all builds up and… explodes like a volcano, or even like a fiery bomb. Fire works pretty well.
During one of my May Challenges, when I was writing 31 stories in 31 days, I remember running low on ways to write orgasms. I did electricity. I did fire. Then I worked through the other elements.
Air: started off like light fingers of wind, and ended up like a hurricane.
Water: pleasure flowed through the character, starting off as a mild trickle, but over time turning into a river that threatened to sweep them away, then it did carry them away, orgasm crashing over them like a tidal wave, threatening to drown them, promising to carry them out to sea forever, to never let them come back to shore.
Earth: Light tremors of sensation building into rumbles of pleasure, leading to an orgasm that hits them like an earthquake, making them buck, thrash, and shudder…
You get the idea.
You probably got the idea earlier, when I was just using the metaphor of a path and a destination.
Make good use of it! Not enough writers do.