The Language of Literary Sex


For this article we’re going to skip over the titillating parts about raging tumescence and disintegrating virginal barriers otherwise known as land of frankness and euphemisms. We won’t be discussing weeping fluids, honey, dew, or the elixir of love. We’re doing this American and bypassing all foreplay and going straight for the mechanics of making love/having sex.

Word choice says it all; how an author is feeling about their characters, what the characters are feeling, and what the readers will get from experiencing the passion vicariously. Compelling vocabulary attracts the reader and continued use keeps them involved while the use of bizarre or crass diction yanks readers out of the zone so fast it’ll make the ink fly right off the page. Not good! How do you prevent that? Application of the appropriate kind of words! Well… that and variety! This is why I urge writers to make lists.

gearsI’ve compiled my own list of terms and presented them here for the express purposes of sharing and expansion. Below you’ll find a series of alphabetized words used in describing the physical movements and actions of mating by both men and women in literary sex. For the purpose of this list they are all presented in present participle form or aka the verb coupled with an ing. Of course in practical application they will have to be conjugated to the right tense.


  • Breaching
  • Burying
  • Driving
  • Easing
  • Entering
  • Feeding
  • Filling
  • Fitting
  • Flexing
  • Forcing
  • Fucking
  • Gliding
  • Impaling
  • Invading
  • Joining
  • Lunging
  • Mating
  • Mounting
  • Moving
  • Nudging
  • Parting
  • Penetrating
  • Piercing
  • Pinning
  • Plowing
  • Plunging
  • Pressing
  • Probing
  • Prodding
  • Pumping
  • Punctuating
  • Puncturing
  • Pushing
  • Ramming
  • Riding
  • Rocking
  • Rooting
  • Rutting
  • Seeking
  • Settling
  • Shoving
  • Sinking
  • Slamming
  • Sliding
  • Slipping
  • Spearing
  • Stretching
  • Stroking
  • Stuffing
  • Teasing
  • Twitching
  • Undulating
  • Working


  • Absorbing
  • Accepting
  • Arching
  • Blooming
  • Blossoming
  • Clamping
  • Clasping
  • Clenching
  • Clinging
  • Clutching
  • Contracting
  • Cradling
  • Drawing
  • Enclosing
  • Engulfing
  • Enveloping
  • Flowering
  • Gathering
  • Grasping
  • Grinding
  • Gripping
  • Guiding
  • Holding
  • Hugging
  • Inviting
  • Keeping
  • Locking
  • Melding
  • Melting
  • Milking
  • Molding
  • Parting
  • Pressing
  • Pulling
  • Pulsing
  • Quivering
  • Reaching
  • Receiving
  • Robbing
  • Seeking
  • Squeezing
  • Taking
  • Throbbing
  • Trembling
  • Tugging
  • Urging
  • Widening
  • Wrapping
  • Yielding

While this list is fairly comprehensive, it is by no means complete. That said, what words would you add? What have you come across on your own reading and writing adventures?

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3 thoughts on “The Language of Literary Sex”

  1. I’ll be coming back to this often for times when i need to change it up. Some of my faves: melting to describe a woman’s love elixir and sweltering in cases where I am describing passion. Others: erupting, ravaging, and flowing. Otherwise you’ve pretty much summed it up.

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