Two things I learned the hard way when writing historical erotic romance (no pun intended) was that lube back then was gross … can anyone say goose fat if you couldn’t buy oil? *shudder* The other thing was our words today for describing the deed were probably not used way back when.
For the most part if you set your historical romance about 1850 and up you’re safe. Anything early, oh man were your word choices limited.
The “F” word for example is one of those words which have been difficult to trace for etymologists. Most agree the earliest form of the word was 1503, but it wasn’t used in the way we use it today.
In fact the more common word was swive , which to me personally sounds like something a toothless, dirty one-eyed wizened guy would be saying in a seedy pub.
The “F” word had so much controversy around it that good old Johnson (of the dictionary variety) didn’t include it in a single dictionary from 1795 to 1965.
Clit as we know it for the short form of clitoris didn’t show up until the 1960’s. So what words did our forefathers use to describe that little bundle of nerves?
Well, clitoris was coined in 1610, but anatomist Mateo Renaldo Colombo (1516-1559) claimed he discovered it. He called it amor Veneris, vel dulcedo or “the love or sweetness of Venus.
Cock used as the slang of penis was first used in 1610. Before that (since the 1300’s) men were using pillicock.
You see how it can be very difficult to write anything remotely ancient historical without getting into words like quim (vagina) and other sorted words which I don’t find remotely sexy, but hey I live now and not back then and what I find sexy may not have been sexy to people back then.
A huge thanks to Etymology Online for helping a writer who gets STUCK when writing historicals and for fun I leave you with:
Which has also been a big help and fun to a word nut like me.