Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rug Burns, Broken Dicks, and Monster Penises – Realistic Sex in Erotic Fiction

Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and four cats. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page.


It seems to me that often enough in erotic romances, the sex is not only unrealistic, it is something that is not humanly possible. Now that anyone can upload erotic fiction to the internet and call themselves authors, readers must separate the wheat from the chaff. And get a load of that chaff! There is sex with Bigfoot who has a foot-long (or more) schlong. Alien sex. Perfectly built doms who tie their subs up in such a way they should be laid out on a stretcher and sent to a hospital. Anal sex that defies the laws of nature. Lack of lube. Lack of foreplay. The list goes on.

Did you know that there are awards giving out for poorly written sex? Here is an excerpt from the 2012 winner of the Bad Sex Awards, Nancy Huston's "Infrared". 

No sooner have we settled onto the bed and begun to remove each other's clothes with the clumsy gestures of impatience than I realise Kamal also knows about passivity — yes, he also knows how to remain still, fully awake and attentive, and give himself up to me as a cello gives itself up to a bow. Arching his back, he surrenders his face, shoulders, back and buttocks, waiting for me to play them, and I do — I play them, play with them. Most men are afraid to let go like this — whereas with a little finesse the wonders of passivity can be tasted in even the most violent throes of love-making.

In a delirium of restrained desire, I weigh, stroke and lick Kamal's balls, then take his penis in my hands, between my breasts, into my mouth. He sits up, reaches for me and I allow him to explore me in turn. He runs his tongue and lips over my breasts, the back of my neck, my toes, my stomach, the countless treasures between my legs, oh the sheer ecstasy of lips and tongues on genitals, either simultaneously or in alternation, never will I tire of that silvery fluidity, my sex swimming in joy like a fish in water, my self freed of both self and other, the quivering sensation, the carnal pink palpitation that detaches you from all colour and all flesh, making you see only stars, constellations, milky ways, propelling you bodiless and soulless into undulating space where the undulating skies make your non-body undulate ...

And orgasm — the way a man's face is transformed by orgasm — oh it's not true they all look alike, you have to be either miserable and broke or furiously blasé and sarcastic to say they all look alike — to me, every climax is unique.

My body hurt just reading some of that, especially the bit about arching his back and surrendering his face, shoulders, back and buttocks. I pictured a man having a seizure. "Violent throes of love-making" should not lead to unintentional pain, right? Then there were the horrid similes and all the undulations.

Why don't these people ever suffer from injuries from their passionate rolls in the hay? The most common injuries from sex play are most likely vaginal tearing or breaking, back injury, penis breakage, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and foreign objects stuck where they don't belong. Richard Gere isn't an internet meme for nothing, you know. Why don't lovers ever get carpet burn? Why don't BDSM aficionados ever get chafed wrists or ankles or sore joints from having their arms and legs pulled to the limits the human body can tolerate? No, lovers are "transfixed" or "propelled into undulating space". No one ever needs Vix Vapo Rub after an afternoon of hot, steaming fucking.

I speak from experience when I mention penis breakage. When my husband and I were younger and much more stupid, we got into a hot bout of sex play and… I broke his dick. I've never heard of this happening, but it's apparently much more common than you'd think. It was even covered on the American TV medical drama Grey's Anatomy. Dr. Mark Sloan got into some heated passion with intern Lexie Grey resulting in painful and embarrassing injury. The staff didn't know the identity of the "lucky" lady who did it so there was much guesswork going on.

When it happened to my husband, he heard a very loud snap, and then the pain began. Thankfully, it didn't require surgery. There was nothing to do but let it heal itself. All was fine and good until it happened again a few years later. He told a friend of his at his old job about it. That guy always gave me the biggest smile whenever I saw him. I think he was jealous we were so into it, although all of us could have done without the pain.

On a lighter note, I recall reading an excerpt from an erotic romantic comedy that described a woman's queef. It was meant to be funny, but I just cringed. A queef is a pussy fart, in case you haven't looked at the Urban Dictionary lately.

Such sexual accidents, while realistic, don't make for much romance although in some cases a little realism would go a long way to make the sex more believable. How about pink skin from the leather cuffs or an average-sized penis? Why are so many alpha males built like an Angus bull? Yes, I know it's about escapism, but still... What do you think?


  1. My subs often comment about aching muscles or sore pussies, not to mention the sting of the stripes.

    However, I do think that much of erotica feeds on fantasy, sometimes fantasies so extreme as to be impossible. It's a delicate balance. I have a scene in Incognito in which the heroine is taken on a billiard table in a seedy bar, by two low-life types. One of them pushes a pool ball into her cunt. Impossible? Maybe, maybe not, but certainly on the edges of realism. As I wrote it, I found it very hot. I still do.

    The trick is to draw the reader out of the real world and into the world of fantasy, until even far-fetched sex acts seem possible.

    At the same time, I bristle when I read about dangerous activities in S&M - especially when it's clear the author has no idea just how dangerous they are.

    (Great graphics, by the way!)

  2. Thanks, Lisabet. I've seen mention of the sting but not the aching muscles. Sometimes sore pussies. In some cases the pain brings the lovers closer together. I recognize the balance between fantasy in reality in erotica. I remember when "50 Shades" came out BDSM writers talking about how unrealistic and dangerous it really was.

    Glad you liked the graphics. :)

  3. I keep my erotic scenes realistic. I have my lovers discussing birth control, I have them being awkward with each other, and I have them fumbling when they're not that experienced. And they spend time talking about what they've done afterwards. I like realism in my sexual fantasies. And I've had females telling males they actually prefer "average" sized penises because just as men are proportional, so are women. So a short woman is going to be really uncomfortable with the huge proportions that get bandied about in erotic me, as a 5'3" woman, I know of what I speak!

    In my most recent book, the heroine runs her father's marketing company. When she comes in uncharacteristically late one morning, it's obvious to one and all that she's suffering from a sexual hang-over, since she walks awkwardly and can't seem to get comfortable sitting. The women in her office are shocked, the men are jealous that someone is getting to see the side of her she never shows at the office. Then she "cracks the whip" and they remember who signs their paychecks, so no one discusses the obvious.

  4. Thanks for the great comment, Fiona. I think realism in sex can still play into the fantasy aspect of erotic fiction. I notice when it's wrong though. Remember how BDSM fans rightly complained about "50 Shades Of Grey" when that book came out because the depictions of BDSM were both wrong and dangerous. I haven't read much BDSM erotic fiction, though, although I should read more.


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