SBD: moaning like a what?

Dear Erotic Romance Author:

My query for SBD is  — was that really the imagery you were going for?  Really?

What imagery? you may be wondering.  First, let me back track a little and say that you are (by far) not the first author of erotic romance to use this phrase.  But seeing it yesterday was the proverbial straw, y’know? 

In the midst of a sex scene, one of the characters "moaned like a whore."

Okay, I get that you (and countless other authors, published and unpublished) were trying to convey the wantonness of the character in question — let’s call the character Jay, just to make it easier for me to write this post.  Any way, Jay’s really getting into things, and the moaning is supposed to exemplify…surrender to sensuality?  how very turned on Jay is? Something like that, I’m sure.

Here’s the thing: whore is defined as a person who "has sexual intercourse for money; prostitute; harlot; strumpet" (Merriam-Webster).  Prostitution isn’t sexy.  In fact, I assume that most prostitutes don’t actually enjoy the sex they have with customers, and that any enthusiasm they show is fake, used to flatter the customer.  Except in Romanceland, where prostitute-heroines and prostitute-heroes who have sex with a customer who turns into their One True Love — they totally moan and get off.  And that is how they know the customer is the One True Love.

Anyway, back to your writing.  So Jay is moaning like a whore -> prostitute,  i.e., moaning like a professional sex worker who probably doesn’t actually enjoy the sex they have for money.  So Jay is faking it?  That’s what I take away from the sentence.  Is that really the image I was supposed to take away from that scene?  I think not, because it was the climax (no pun intended) of the interaction between Jay and the other main character, and was supposed to signify a turning point in their relationship. 

Was there no other word in the thesaurus that could convey a sense of complete immersion in physical sensation?  None?  

I dunno, that sentence was just lazy and sloppy.  My interest in the book has evaporated, and I’m not hanging around to read the HEA/HFN. 

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “SBD: moaning like a what?

  1. Anonymous

    There were other problems, right? I mean it wasn’t just one dumb phrase that made it a DNF? I hope?
    kate r

    • Hi, Kate.
      Yes, there were other problems. Poor copy editing, inconsistent characterization, too much sex and too little plot. That phrase just tipped me from irritated to no longer interested in spending my time on the book.

  2. Yikes.
    That’s way worse than my own personal favorite of “he caressed her sacrum.”

    • That…sounds like a body part that a female would not have 😉 I had to look it up. Even knowing what it means now, the phrase still sounds wrong. Her caressed a bone? The small of the back sounds so much better to my ear.

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