Genitalia. Coitus. Osculation.

You’d be hard-pressed to open a romance novel without finding these three things – but odds are, you won’t find these words. (By the way, osculation is the scientific word for kissing. I didn’t know either.) Writers and readers of romance know there are endless euphemisms for the private bits, the sexy times, and everything leading up to them.

If you’re writing, you might find yourself struggling with talking about his or her… err… you-know-what. But fear not – I’ve got you covered. Some of these are cringe-inducing, and some blush-provoking, but I have not discriminated in collecting an assortment here. Even if you’re not writing, I’m sure you’ll find some of these amusing. (And if you’re looking for more words, try Part 2 and Part 3!)

For research, I turned to my bookshelf, grabbing a 2010 Kieran Kramer Regency romance, a 2004 Julia Quinn Regency, a 2004 Mercedes Lackey Fantasy (which happens to be my all-time favorite book and is literally falling apart), and a 1989 Laurie Grant that I haven’t actually read. Oh, and I also took a look at my own contemporary erotic romance novella.

(FAIR WARNING: We’re talking R-rated vocab here. Flee now if that scares you.)

Update: I’ve ordered them in terms of naughtiness now. Maybe that will help ease you in a little.

Words Generally Associated With Vaginas & Adjacent Sex Organs
(I’ve used she/her pronouns here but that doesn’t mean you have to) 

  • the heart of her femininity
  • her center
  • her core
  • between her legs
  • junction of her thighs
  • groin
  • flower
  • her essence
  • her entrance
  • her sex
  • womb
  • mound
  • box
  • mons
  • quim
  • sheath
  • crease
  • slit
  • crevice
  • pool of moisture
  • honeypot
  • folds
  • inner lips
  • nub
  • bud
  • orifice
  • mouth of her arousal
  • canal
  • pink pearl
  • vulva
  • labia
  • clitoris
  • vagina
  • clit
  • pussy
  • c*nt

[Laurel, One of Your Thesaurus Words is Horrible and I Think No One Should Use It Ever]

 Words Generally Associated with Penises and Adjacent Sex Organs
(I’ve used he/him pronouns here, but you don’t have to)

  • groin
  • manhood
  • his sex
  • arousal
  • package
  • bulge
  • his length
  • erection
  • staff
  • member
  • rod
  • shaft
  • appendage
  • stalk
  • organ
  • lingam
  • balls
  • phallus
  • sack
  • testicles
  • penis
  • scrotum
  • dick
  • cock

Well, apparently we writers are a creative bunch. Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments if you have a particular favorite that I didn’t catch! And if you want to share your opinion on every word here, head over to my crowd-sourced survey!

Looking for actions or descriptions, not body parts? Check out Sexy Thesaurus Part 2: Actions and Sexy Thesaurus Part 3: Descriptions, including the commonly requested synonyms for “wet” and “hard”!

Bonus: While researching this post, I read the grossest paragraph I have ever discovered on Wikipedia: “The similarity in the methods between kiss-feeding and deep human kisses (e.g. French kiss) are quite pronounced; in the former, the tongue is used to push food from the mouth of the mother to the child with the child receiving both the mother’s food and tongue in sucking movements, and the latter is the same but forgoes the premasticated food. In fact, through observations across various species and cultures, it can be confirmed that the act of kissing and premastication has most likely evolved from the similar relationship-based feeding behaviours.” Ew.

71 thoughts on “The Sexy Thesaurus: A List of Words to Use in Your Romance Novel

  1. I’ve been working on a story called Blue Cottage for almost two years now. (You can see the first draft can be seen on my website Abitsa on which is on WordPress). I’ve been trying to write an important sex scene but have been stymied by my lack of writing experience. Thank you for providing the words I’ve been lacking. Blue Cottage is now in its fourth draft, bears little resemblance to its first incarnation and I know there is going to be a fifth draft.

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