Playing with Tits

Not that I’m actually trying to write post titles that just make people click on them, um.   It just kind of happened.

So this one is actually about writing, and what words I use.

I’m finding I have this recurring problem.  I don’t know what words to use to describe playing with breasts.

There’s this: he played with her tits.

Okay.  That’s cool.  I can do that once.

Later he sucks on them.  That’s cool too.

But what if he touches again, with his hand, like something else happens, and he gropes her a bit more.  What if I want something different in another story.

It’s the middle there, the second time, that’s the problem.  So played, cool.  Or touched.  Or stroked.  Or caressed, or silken caresses across her skin.

But people don’t really stroke your tits, do they?  No once everyone’s a bit het up.  What they actually do is grab and squeeze and hold on and yank them around.  I mean, basically.

And while that might be lovely while it’s happening, the words just look a bit rough.  Like pinch and pull and tug out of your bra.  Like, all the words for tit fondling are just a bit wincey.

There’s a few more that are just nasty.  Cup.  That’s a bra.  Knead.  That’s bread.  Fondle itself.  That’s all right here, for fun, but fondle is kind of a strange word and a bit distracting in smut.

I could say massage, like once, ever.  If she’s on her back and topless and there’s sun tan lotion involved, sure.  But not really otherwise.  You can’t really massage tits inside someone’s clothes.  Not what I think a massage is, anyway.

Maybe I’m thinking too much like therapeutic.

Grope could work, maybe, but I tend to use that like I do making out.  As a skip ahead, kind of.  They groped each other, than went to bed.

And then there’s nipples.  Pretty much anything that gets done to nipples isn’t going to look good in words, except suck.  Because they’re all a bit ouchy.  So bite, nip, pinch, even tease and rub.  Fun while it’s happening and everything, but the words are just a bit sharp on paper.  Someone out there is going to see a word differently to me, and wince, and put her kindle down because she’s busy hugging her own chest, and then I’ve just lost a reader forever.

Words about nipples are basically like paper cuts.

So yeah.  If you’re wondering.  That’s why that stage gets a bit vague sometimes.  I really have no way to say it all properly.

There you go.  My world.  I hope that peek behind the curtain didn’t ruin anything for anyone.

11 thoughts on “Playing with Tits

  1. I can’t tell you how much this made smile — first because it was from you and I love reading your stories, and second because I spent an hour yesterday struggling with just this very problem.

    I found myself piling my hair out, adding and scratching out adjectives, adverbs, alternate verbs .. The only thing I could come up with was trying to be as concrete and specific as I could — what was touching what part of what and how? “Running his thumb up the inside of my breast.”

    But mostly? Playing with breasts. :-)

  2. Thank you! And thank you on the stories! That’s really kind and sweet and just fucking thank you.

    And not that I wish it on you or anything, but it’s almost good to know someone else has the same writer frustration!

    Um. That seems bad. You said you got past it, though, so it’s not like I’m laughing at your pain or anything.

    I find half the problem is you basically have to mention kissing and tits every fucking time, and you already did in the last story, and the one before, and you run out of ways to say it, but at the same time it feels kind of like cheating not to, or to re-use. Like you tip all your genius for the foreplay-kind-of bits into the first story, and then you’re just sitting there going um by number five. That’s what I found, anyway. By the time pants are off, they can do different stuff and there’s new ways to say it.

    But I like the running his thumb. That’s good. I don’t seem to be able to do first-person, so doesn’t help me, but it’s an elegant way to deal with it.

    My other big struggle is the point-of-view character getting head. This gives me the same headaches, because it’s just, like, it feels good. Sometimes really good. That’s about it. You don’t really put the same kind of thought into getting as you do into giving, if you see what I mean. So the character probably shouldn’t either. Because if she’s all “he did this, and that, and then this thing up the side that was all twirly and had the tip of the side of his ring finger about 3/8 of an inch from…” then probably she isn’t actually, you know, enjoying it. That was what I thought, anyway. Like there’s this awful balance of too much and too little detail that makes it hard.

    Um. Difficult.

    Now I’m thinking about that problem I might write a thing about that too, instead of writing an actual story. Yay procrastination.

    • “And not that I wish it on you or anything, but it’s almost good to know someone else has the same writer frustration!”

      LOL! Believe me, I understand the feeling.

      And yeah — the kissing, and the tits… It does get hard not to feel like you’re falling into a rut in writing sex, just as in, you know, having it.

      I think one of the things that I like so much about your stories is that they’re sexy stories that aren’t about the sex, if that makes any sense. A friend of mine once said that the difference between porn and erotica is that porn is about sex, while erotica is about people — who are having sex. It’s a real difference. And in your case, it’s the characters that drive the story. “Suburbia” is a perfect example: classic setup for a threesome sex fantasy, but you took us in a much more interesting if less sex-y direction. Bless you.

      I hadn’t written anything erotic in the first person until I started the current cycle of stories that I’m trying to wrestle into something like a novel — and then it was first-person narrative alternating between a male narrator and a female. There’s a mind-bender! But what I’ve found interesting is that the deeper the scene gets into the sex, the further the narrator’s mind goes from the “he did this and then I did that and then…” I mean, what does one think about when one is having great sex? (Or even pretty good sex.) For me, I guess, part of the pleasure is that my mind turns off for a while — but that’s not very interesting to write or read, is it? So I end up writing these semi-stream-of-consciousness passages….

      Which is actually all to say that another part of what I enjoy about your stories is that — third-person though they may be — you’re able to get me to see and feel from the point-of-view character’s perspective so clearly.

      So you may have a hard time with the p.o.v. character getting head, but you get into their heads (male and female) wonderfully..

  3. “they’re sexy stories that aren’t about the sex”

    Thank you! I think that’s what I’m going for, so I’m glad it worked. I mean, it took a while to realize this and work it out exactly, but yeah, I think that sums it up, so thank you!

    I think I always found “real people” or “people I know” having sex was sexier than strangers fucking.

    Um. Where I’ll quickly say by “people I know” I mean fictional characters I’m invested in, not rummaging around looking for friend’s home-made porno. As in, two people you care about in a film or TV show hooking up is actually kind of hot, whereas porn is just close-ups of stranger’s body parts. If that makes sense.

    Like the whole smutty fanfic scene, if you’ve come across it. I completely get what drives this, in that people want to read Harry and Hermione hooking up and will fucking well write it themselves if they want to. Or fifty shades.

    I think that’s a lot of what I write, is wanting to be in character’s heads, and know them, and then see them do something sexy. Rather than just wading into the dirty.

    If that makes sense.

    Given it’s a bit weird to say me watching when I wrote it and everything, but yeah.

    Suburbia was because I wanted to do some kind of bored housewife goes gay thing, basically, but that’s sort of been overdone. I mean, a lot. There’s not much more you can do beyond she does or she doesn’t, and whether her partner cares or, you know, wants to watch. So it went off in that direction.

    But it really turned into something other than erotica, in that there’s very little sex and none from halfway through, and I really don’t know if that’s what people want or not.

    So I’m really fucking glad you liked it. That’s good to know.

    There’s also some bigger “writing for me” versus “writing for an audience” thing here, about whether I keep doing smut because I want people to read it, or go off in weird directions because that’s what I want to do myself.

    I’m not sure which is best.

    This is in my mind right now because the endlessly-unfinished novel is making me think about it. Because novels have more space, so what to put in gets trickier.

    So I assume you too? As in, once you have more words, you need more characterisation than the paragraph summary you can do in a short story, but then that all starts taking over a bit. But otherwise, if you don’t do any, its just endless, increasingly implausible sex – since you need to keep coming up with kinkier and kinkier things for them to do.

    So I think I’m starting to aspire to the second, now. Which is good to get clear in my mind.

    So thank you fucking heaps for noticing, and approving of it!

  4. “Um. Where I’ll quickly say by “people I know” I mean fictional characters I’m invested in, not rummaging around looking for friend’s home-made porno.”

    Heh. Now I’m imagining you sneaking around, peaking in your neighbor’s windows. (Not really. Though that might make an interesting story.)

    You’re very welcome. You caused the fucking heaps of noticing. So the approval is your due. So there.

    “This is in my mind right now because the endlessly-unfinished novel is making me think about it. Because novels have more space, so what to put in gets trickier.

    So I assume you too?”

    Oh, yeah. Me too.

    And like you — I think — I’ve come to the strong feeling that the sex can’t, you know, be about the sex. Because then, like you said, it’s just this endless progression of increasingly random sex that I’m finding gets rather boring.

    I started looking through some of what I’ve written and realized that — a lot of the time — when I’m writing a character who’s at the receiving end of real pleasure, I often end up having them float off into memory, or revery, stream-of-consciousness musing, or anything but sex… only to have them zoom back into their bodies just in time for the grand finale.

    I just saw your next post; I’m going to think about this a bit more — and try to post something more thoughtful over there.

  5. > “peaking in your neighbor’s windows … that might make an interesting story”

    Um, I actually thought about it. The story, I mean, not the peeking. But then I realized that would mostly be like visual descriptions of people having sex, which would be weirdly like watching porn second hand. Kind of. Sort of like an internet/phone sex story – I’m sure it could work, but I don’t know I’m good enough to pull it off without it just turning into a bunch of weird descriptions of what someone’s watching, or weird emoticon-laden sexting chat.

    > “sex can’t be about the sex”

    Yes. Now you say it. Yes, that’s it exactly. Also yes on the series of encounters getting increasingly kinky and boring at the same time, and yes that there needs to be something more going on than just sex.

    Because otherwise, honestly, you may as well just make a porno movie.

    Almost seriously, now I think about it. Like there’s some key idea of the written word’s place in art and culture in the future here.

    I mean, we’re all reading this stuff on tablets anyway, and tablets can play movies as easily as open ebooks.

    So the place of erotic writing is really saying the things that you can’t say in a film. Either because they’re non-verbal and need description or internal monologues beyond a voice-over or whatever, or because they’re the things that no-one would ever say out loud, not really, and you can show this with words without it becoming sort of painfully voyeuristic as would be laid bare in a film.

    Bare emotionally and vulnerably, not bare like naked skin, I mean.

    Does that make sense?

    Like, just having people fuck, with nothing in their heads, that’s better done with actors than words. If you’re just trying to get people horny with uninvolved sex.

    So to be relevant going forward, word-based literature has to say something beyond what a porn actor could say in dialogue. Basically.

    And other than obvious practicalities like the whole gender split between men preferring visual porn over erotic words, and women vice versa, and that words on a page are less obviously smut than a movie is, if you happen to be sitting on a train, but yeah. I think this is quite important, now you point it out, and I only just realized.

    Although.

    The problem of what to actually have people do, if the endless sex has become boring to the reader, is still kind of there.

    I don’t know how to fix this, though. I mean, for me, while maintaining the idea I want to do this writing thing for real and sell books and shit, which means doing what people want to read rather than what I want to do. But at the same time, I don’t know more of the same is interesting to read, and it feels like you ought to try and do something sparkly and original and snowflakey. But I don’t know what.

    > “receiving end of real pleasure, I often end up having them float off”

    So this is interesting, because now you point this out, I think I don’t tend to write the character experiencing real pleasure, to be honest. Not like you’re talking about. She experiences ordinary pleasure, sometimes pretty fucking good pleasure, but not existential life-changing pleasure.

    Like sex is fun, but the story is more about how she has some sense of fulfillment or whatever at trying a long-held fantasy, or doing someone especially kinky, or being liberated and shit, but in a weird way the degree of pleasure is really only normal sex, but intellectually or emotionally intense and rewarding because of head-space stuff.

    If that makes sense?

    I might be wrong, but now I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever said that anyone’s had the best orgasm of her life in a story. Not the best, just a fairly good one.

    I’m not sure if that means anything profound or not!

    • > I’m not sure if that means anything profound or not!

      It is, actually. It got me thinking quite a lot about what you said in the other post about smut-as-myth.

      I looked through my own stories — that’s part of what sent me down the rabbit hole this past week. I wasn’t able to find any times when an orgasm was “the best s/he’d ever had” or anyone with “perfect breasts/ass/cock/legs/earlobes.” (I hate the word perfect in fiction. It means nothing.) But I think the stories I’m writing do tend toward the transformative.

  6. And continuing from the other post’s comments…

    > rabbit-hole

    I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean to do that, if you actually mean something akin to what I imagine you might have meant. Don’t let me cause rabbit-burrow visits, that’s not good.

    But since you came back – yay – I shall press on.

    “Perfect” I keep getting tempted to use, like once, as a half-deprecating something about someone’s best feature.

    But then you said this…

    > “perfect earlobes.”

    And that’s such an utterly brilliantly cynical slap to that idea, I can’t now. Unfortunately. Although I am delighted by it!

    Instead, now I want to write a story now about someone with perfect ear-lobes and the complications of her life. How men only like her for her ear-lobes, and she’s hit on by jewellery salespeople far more often than by anyone else. And how she goes to job interviews, and it all goes badly, and then she pulls her hair back and they all stare in awe. But then they don’t take her seriously until she wears a big wooly hat.

    It could be like a modern-day fairy-tale. It’s her magic power, like spinning straw into gold.

    There’s something about the notion of perfect ear-lobes that just makes a wonderful mockery of all the other perfects people actually say, and I assume that was your intention!

    So well done!

    > your stories tend toward the transformative

    Fiction is meant to be, isn’t it? Just to point that out. Like, it’s so meant to be, that everyone just takes it for granted most of the time.

    And yeah, mine aren’t.

    And I actually think that’s a terrible weakness of my writing.

    Most of the time, anyway, a weakness. I try and disguise it on purpose sometimes.

    It’s mostly because of some sense that real life doesn’t change and progress and shit, so I don’t try and write it as if it does, but also, even if I wanted to write that way, it just doesn’t happen. Because I have a weird brain that won’t co-operate in the writing process.

    As close as I can get is people wanting to do something, and then doing it, and then not obsessing about doing it any more. Kind of.

    But I think that you doing transformative is a very good thing. I mean, and since we’re kind of talking about elevating erotica to literature, I’d have thought the transformative is kind of the minimum requirement for that.

    So I’ll just stay down here being all smutty and whatnot, and you can go on up to literary land :)

    • I am more pleased than I can say that you enjoyed my perfect earlobes. I want to read that story! :-)

      I don’t think that it’s a weakness in your writing that your characters aren’t necessarily transformed directly by sex. They DO go through transformations — sometimes huge ones. (I’m thinking again of Suburbia, but of a few of the others as well.) It’s just that the transformations are subtle and sometimes indirect. Like real life. Chekhovian, if you can stand my literary name-dropping again.

      In the Salt and Batteries post, you said, “I can write salt and batteries over and over, and it’s still not going to say what it feels like to sixty-nine someone you’ve been crushing on for a year, and finally get them, and have it happen completely unexpectedly, when you’ve just met by coincidence, with no idea you would, and you’re going down but also slightly stunned that somehow they’re finally in your mouth.”

      I think the wonderful thing about writing fiction — any fiction, but erotic fiction for sure — is that it can get indirectly at these experiences that, ultimately, can’t be described, except through metaphoric language. Salt and batteries. I guess that’s what I mean when I say mythic: that the words are pointing past themselves at something for which there are no words, or at least no words that don’t reduce the experience.

      • > Name dropping

        I don’t mind at all. It’s flattering!

        Although…

        Um, it’s just I usually need to go and look up what you’re talking about.

        I’m embarrassingly ignorant of English Lit outside the pop culture stuff everyone knows, so I know Chekhov had a gun, and probably wrote about suicidal peasants, but that’s about it.

        And I’m already looking at the Hero with a Thousand Faces, thanks to you. By the by.

        As an aside, I was going to say it seems like there’s a nice fit to do adultery-type erotica with the Campbell structure, if you treat the affair as the secret world and coming to terms with sexuality or passion or whatever as the journey.

        Like even the bit where the hero is meant to be reluctant and changes her mind – the Luke Skywalker goes back to the farm but oh dear it’s burned down and everyone’s dead thing. So someone considers an affair, but changes her mind, goes home full of love, but oh no, her partner is a tool about something, so she goes off and beds someone else. Or cars them. Or walls them.

        I’m only a little way into, but I really like the structure of it. I mean, while noticing all the snarking from other people about how he jammed myths into his framework and all, there’s still some very strong ideas in all this.

        I can see why it gets George Lucas and such all tingly!

        So thank you for that. Really!

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