The Top 10 Signs You’re Reading Bad Erotica


Years ago, we broke our sex-writing cherries at Nerve.com, the online magazine about sex that featured impressive original fiction by the likes of Jay McInerney and Rick Moody. As young, naïve, and underpaid Internet employees, one of our duties included trudging through the slush pile—that four-foot-high stack of unsolicited submissions by amateur writers who thought they grasped what Nerve’s “literary smut” was all about.  Alas, they did not. Story after story gave us second-hand embarrassment rather than warm, tingly feelings. So we soon developed a battery of criteria to quickly identify the bad erotica. Never again would we struggle for long through prose so cheesy it came with crackers (except if we were having a bad day and needed a good chuckle). Now, neither will you:

  1. The text is sprinkled with “creative” euphemisms for the penis, in particular those that call up manly pursuits such as cars, the great outdoors, or weaponry: lust log, love muscle, rod of steel, love gun, etc. Bonus negative points if the adjectives “engorged,” “pulsing,” “throbbing,” or “glistening” appear before such synonyms.
  2. Meanwhile, the word “pussy” is used exclusively and without restraint.
  3. She’s running her fingers through his waist-length locks.
  4. He has a 13-inch penis (and it’s not Sci-fi erotica).
  5. It’s Sci-fi erotica.
  6. “Come” is spelled with a “u” and no “e.”
  7. You note excessive use of fire imagery, as in: “The candles flickered and the fireplace roared as he stoked the flames of her burning desire with his fireman’s pole until she was so hot and bothered, the fire alarm rang and the sprinklers busted a nut all over their smoldering lust.”
  8. It reminds you to make an appointment with your urologist.
  9. It contains at least one metaphor or simile that tries a little too hard, such as: “His hands roamed like blind rattlesnakes searching for shelter in a dark, moist cave,” or “Her love juice was the finest wine he had ever tasted, the ambrosia of the gods, the center of a Cadbury’s Creme Egg.”
  10. She has an orgasm just from giving a blowjob.


  1. Oh for to be so fortunate ! Dragon_fire you are not living bad erotica, you are heaven on earth ! I’d do anything at all if I knew I could have a woman love me like that!

  2. I do orgasm from giving blowjobs. Looks like I must live bad erotica, not just read it.

  3. Found your site via http://apricot-tea.com and I *think* based upon your criteria I am doing ok. But would love any feedback!!

    1- I can’t remember using creative euphemisms for the humble penis but yes have referred to an erection as steely. Oh and I have also used the word glistening- given in context- “In his excitement he thrusts a little too energetically and his glistening c*$k slips out.  I whimper in longing.” Is that bad?

    2- I hate the word pussy by itself but “pussy walls” is another thing.

    3- pass

    4- I’ve been close but no cigar.

    5- Not yet but am sure there is one in the post- for a laugh anyway 😉

    6- I hate the word cum so unpleasant.

    7- pass

    8- pass

    9- Hhhmmm could be borderline here but think it is more natural and in good taste versus “try hard”.

    10- Nope sorry can’t say that has occurred *sigh* however I have been magnificently turned on by such practices.

    Do drop by http://www.coax-london.com and visit the fantasy posts (note they can be explicit +18 or +21 years in some countries) and let me know your thoughts. It would be great to get your feelings on my writing and whether you think I have hit the nail on the head so to speak 😉

  4. I’m having an awful day. Horrible. My wonderful friend sent me a link to your site – thank you. This is the first time I’ve smiled/let out a chuckle all day. “Love juices” stimulates my gag reflex big time.

  5. HAHA! the book i just finished has 4 out of 10. Oh man.. thats what i get for trying new authors i guess.

  6. Andrea, I certainly have, but only after a “Big One” from regular ways.

    When you hit about 35 or so and start getting Multi Os, just about anything will trigger an other one, after the first Big One. Really!

    It’s something to look forward to. 🙂

  7. Number 10 is epic. I have never orgasmed from giving head! 🙂 Awesome post!

  8. Thanks, you guys. If ever someone ingests poison and I have to induce vomiting, I’ll just have them read no. 7.

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