Because release week combined with vacation week doesn’t play all that nice with one’s ability to concentrate or get anything done, naturally I had no idea what to post about when I sat down with my morning panic coffee and a blank doc. So I did what any self-respecting procrastinator would—I delegated. I asked Twitter, what should I blog about? And blessings be upon @JuliaEdits for offering an excellent suggestion—dialogue during sex scenes. Yea or nay? Hot or cheesy? Hot and cheesy and wrong and yet still weirdly delicious, like Velveeta?
It’s so subjective. Two people could read about a hero murmuring, “Good girl,” to the heroine, and one would get all clenchy and overheated and the other would roll their eyes and DNF the book.
Anyone who’s read just about any of my stories knows I’m pro-filth-talk during sex scenes. With very, very few exceptions, I write noisy heroes. I wrote one who had to be asked by his wife even to moan during sex, but aside from him, I think all my made-up men are talkers. I also write a lot of horny, cocky guys, the types to demand feedback and even praise. I also write doting heroes, the kind who ask for instructions. That all adds up to a chatty stable of fictional lovers.
I think I’m also just aurally fixated, as a person. Hot snippets of dialogue do it for me as much as—even more than—dynamic actions or a beautiful visual or a vibrant description of sensation. I don’t feel what the hero is doing to the heroine with his body, but when I read his spoken words, it hits me with more weight than any other thing going down between the characters. I read those bits over and over. Or replay them in my head again and again, if it’s from a movie or TV show’s sex scene. For example, I can tell you every last creepy-hot word Fassbender utters during that super sketchy thing that happens in Fish Tank. They are burned into my brain-loins.
But I know some readers aren’t fans of dialogue during sex scenes, which I can empathize with. I could see simply not having sex-talk in one’s personal turn-on coding. I could also see sex-talk done badly as a major mood-killer. One of my favorite quotes I ever pulled from a review came from Sarah at Smart Bitches, who said, “I dislike when characters start porntalking, when there is endless discussion of who is what for whom (I’m hard for you, you’re wet for me, she’s humid for the mailman).” Co-sign. Better to not do it at all than to do it horribly. I mean, I love clam chowder, but when it’s bad, it’s so, so bad.
On Twitter, the consensus seemed to be that most of us love dirty-talk-done-well. Obviously, it’s a skewed sample, as most of the folks I fraternize with are militantly pro-dirty. But anyhow, here are some thoughts that came my way:
“Oh I love good dialogue in sex scenes. Those are the very best books.”
“I like spontaneous dirty talk but I like when it’s also super awkward like in Charlotte Stein’s books.” Amen, sister.
“Context context context. Dirty talk for the sake of—no sexy.”
“For me, it’s more intense the closer I feel/understand the characters and their motivations. The words are a huge part of that. […] It only gets p0rny when sex scenes don’t lift their weight, story-wise—they must advance plot, character or conflict.”
“I love dirty, real, gritty talk coming from the characters during sex. That includes humor. Sex is funny. Dirty-funny.”
“Ever read any Tessa Bailey? That woman does dirty-talking heroes like none other.”
“I like the dirty talk in books. Never experienced successful dirty talk in real life though.”
“Strong talk combined with strong feelings. Language should illustrate the overcome-with-desire state.”
And of course, “DIRTY PLZ 4EVA.”
[Aside: I’ve always felt that there should be a thriving industry that produces audio-porn mp3s of sexy-voiced dudes saying horny shit. I’d pay like, hundreds and hundreds of dollars to listen to Richard Armitage whispering nasty things for an hour. I would wear that album out.]
Okay, the following bits are for the 18+ crowd only. Minors, kindly close this tab.
Both my books that came out on Tuesday feature dirty-talking heroes. Here’s a little slice from Hard Time, the convicted felon romance [context: she’s going down on him].
His hands were neither pushy nor gentle. Warm fingertips in my hair, following the motions, urging but not forcing. His breath had grown harsh, and every little grunt and gasp lit me from the inside. I eased him out, meeting his eyes.
“Let me hear you.”
His face was flushed, lips parted, eyes at once burning and glassy. “Yeah?”
“Yeah. Moan for me. Or talk to me.” Just that voice, transformed by what I made him feel.
“I don’t want to say the wrong thing.”
“You couldn’t. I want to hear whatever you’re thinking. Whether it’s romantic or nasty or mean or any other thing. Whatever comes out.”
I took him back inside, rewarded immediately with a long, deep groan. It vibrated through the length of his big body, and the room felt darker, the taste and scent of his excitement sharper.
“Yeah,” he murmured, fingertips guiding once more. “I haven’t felt this in so long. Nothing this soft, or sweet. Nothing that made me feel this close to anybody.”
And from Her Best Laid Plans [context: he’s touching her]. For best effect, brain-read the hero’s parts with an Irish accent.
She let the logistics go, melting back into the present and the contact. And into his words, when he next gifted them.
“Are you close?”
“Not yet, but I will be.” Especially if you keep talking.
“I can’t wait to be inside you.”
And just like that, she was at the edge.
“Connor.” Her hand was wrapped around his wrist, lost in the feel of bone and skin and muscle—the sensations of him serving her—and the heat knotting tight and urgent in her sex.
“Like that?” he asked.
“Good…” Then, “Say it again.”
“Say it when you come.”
And it was that—that order, that taste of his cocky, selfish side, that tipped her.
“Good. Good.” His circling fingertips raced, concentrating the friction, and the room was gone; the air, everything, gone. There was nothing but his touch and his breathing and his teeth rasping her skin as her world unraveled.
So clearly, I’m pro. So are most members of the Wonkoverse, I’d imagine, but I could be wrong—any folks who skim dirty talk? Find it corny, or unrealistic, or straight-up unsexy? Prefer the fraught, strained, subtler sounds of sex? Or if you’re pro, do you have any favorite filth-talking authors or books or characters or whispered lines?