Frequently Used Words in Romance: Top Ten Tuesday Post


Yay for finding new gems in the blogging world! Thanks to signing up for new mailing lists I found out about the Top Ten Tuesday blog posts. They looked like so much fun, I couldn’t resist. A place to let my inner booknerd shine? A way to geek out over obscure bookish things? AND an excuse to make listicles about books? Yes, please.

If you’re interested in joining in, the link and explanation of how it works is here on That Artsy Reader

On to the listicle! The most frequently used words in Romance. For this list I’m focusing more on spicy kinds of romance books because a) sex is just fun and b) the choice of frequently used words was much more interesting. I’m also explaining/defending some of these overused words, as a romance author.


If I’m going to pick one, I go with using damp over moist. A lot of people have an issue with the way moist sounds. I’m one of them. It’s just such a silly word. And please, other romance authors, never use it in tandem with something else like “passion-moistened”. Please?

eeew gif


I use both of these with a clear conscience and no regrets. Slick, wet sex is always better than dry rubbing. I’m just saying.


Look, it’s hard to figure out a more interesting way to say “he put his penis in her happy warm vagina” okay? Sheath at least has a more poetic ring to it.


The TV show Shameless (US) says it all when one of the characters asks, “ever tried to play pool with a rope?” Sorry, overused-word-list-makers, but that’s accurate.


As in “plunged into the kiss” or “plunged into her wet center”. It’s a good word with nice overtones to make readers think of reckless jumping and falling off the cliff and into love. I agree not to overuse it though. I’ll limit myself to one plunging metaphor per book.



Our main characters spend A LOT of time looking at each other. Because narrative tension. We’re trying to make it clear that they’re attracted, and that means nonverbal cues. Which happens to include a lot of locked eyes or longing gazes.


Although I’ve seen plenty of other metaphorical descriptions for arousal, like lightening, electricity, sizzles, and flashes. I can promise to try and vary it up, and find some other metaphors than fire.


*Raises hand* Guilty. Breathless, took her breath away, sucked in a breath, breathing hard, gasping. Romance spends a lot of time describing the things love can do to your lungs. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

32 thoughts on “Frequently Used Words in Romance: Top Ten Tuesday Post

  1. Thank you, for this wonderful list….this reminds me of every werebear/alpha love story, I have ever read #lovethem Makes me feel like I just read an entire book in less than a minute!

    1. Haha I haven’t gotten around to any werebear stories yet. Sounds like I really need to! I just saw the most amazing cover for a were-hedgehog one, on Instagram. I needs it!

    1. LOL it would definitely ick people out. Maybe as a satirical take on romance, you could write a book where everything is constantly moist.

  2. Oh goodness – this list is wonderful and hilarious. I haven’t read enough romance novels to make a list like this, but I can totally understand where a lot of these words came from. But…moist? Really? Not sexy.

    1. And if it’s not sexy it won’t sell. LOL. I have definitely learned to avoid moist at all costs in my books!

  3. But how many people let out a breath they hadn’t realized they’ve been holding? 😀 (Though I think that’s not confined to romance alone…crime novels also love this)

    1. OMG yes, I’ve had that caught by an editor before. Got to watch where the breaths are going! Haha

  4. Moist is definitely a disturbing word. I feel like everyone feels that way ? And it can be argued that ‘Breath’ and ‘gaze/glance’ are used in EVERY book and I’m honestly very okay with it

    1. I don’t have much of an issue with those either. If they’re in every sentence, probably, but so far the authors I read are smart about it.

  5. I’m pretty sure this list proves why I don’t (and shouldn’t?) read fantasy that often, because just the overused words make me giggle like the five-year-old I really am. I’m totally one who hates the word moist. I don’t even know why. I mean, I don’t give it a second thought in a non-romance book. I’m romancist. =/ I like your take on this list!

    1. Haha, to each their own. In a romance book moist definitely=nope. In a Terry Pratchett novel, moist=hilarious running gag related to main character’s name! I think I didn’t mind that use because I was supposed to cringe along with everyone else at the name.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: