I just finished the final round of edits on my most recent novel. The editor has a sharp eye, especially for confusing conversation and impossible sex positions. However, she and I locked horns again and again on issues of vocabulary.
She was quite insistent that readers would find my descriptions of vaginal lubrication "unerotic". Whenever I referred to the heroine's being really wet from excitement, I was asked to modify the reference. When I described the heroine's juices coating the cheeks of the man who'd just been giving her oral sex, the editor asked me to excise that detail. Meanwhile, when I talked about the scent of female arousal as "tidal" or "oceany", I met with serious objections.
I guess she believed this sort of language was inappropriate for the imprint, which admittedly is supposed to be light and humorous rather than raw. And I know that my erotic romance tends to stray into territory more commonly associated with erotica. Still, I find this level of coyness a bit irritating.
My readers are mostly women. They're obviously aware of the physical effects of sexual excitement, from personal experience. A pussy that's sufficiently well-soaked to leave olfactory traces is a sign that its owner is really turned on. Isn't that supposed to be the point in erotic romance?
Furthermore, I know that the scent of a woman's sex can be highly arousing for many men. So why pretend that we're in some deodorant commercial, dry as a bone and smelling like flowers?
Mostly I gave in, because I dislike conflict and I didn't consider the issue to be a matter of principle. Still, it left me feeling uncomfortable. Are readers really so squeamish? Or is this a case where the publisher is going overboard not to offend?
What do you think? Are juicy pussies a turn-off? Or the opposite?