"Come for me, baby": orgasm on command

sex_lions

Why is this phrase (and its variations) so ubiquitous in romance? You don’t believe me? Well, here’s a list complied ONLY from my bookshelf of maybe 30 titles. I bet you can think of many more.

1. Futuristic Romance: “Again” he demanded, dragging her head by her hair  and plundering her mouth. “again, goddamn it.” Naked In Death, J. D. Robb

2. Scottish Historical Paranormal: “You’re there, sweet leaf. Come. … Come for me.” Immortal Warrior, Lisa Hendrix

3. Romantic Suspense: “Yes, Maggie. Come for me, honey.” Giving Chase, Lauren Dane

4. Erotic novel: “Come for me”, he whispered.  Dirty, Megan Hart

5. Paranormal romance/Urban fantasy: “Come for me, Jane.”  Lover Unbound, J.R. Ward

6. Erotic Romance: “Come for me, then, Miranda, baby. Right now.” Market For Love, Jamaica Layne

7. Historical Romance: “Let go.” he panted, grazing his teeth across her throat. “Give in.”  To Have and to Hold, Patricia Gaffney

My main problem with it is overuse, but there are others I can mention. Like its use in a couple whose relationship doesn’t call for it. Its tendency to take me out of the story by thinking “Oh no! What if she can’t?” And the feminist objection that is too obvious to state.

Some romance mysteries are easy to solve. For example, we know the Dairy Council of America conspired with RWA to insert the word “milking” in every orgasm scene, with extra cash payments for the use of  “creamy” (which has made erotica authors rich, naturally).

But I can’t figure out how “come for me” became de rigueur. Did a memo go out from the Ministry of Heroine Hazards, warning of dire results if heroines are allowed to come without being told to? Or was it the Office of Alpha Hero Protection that issued the dictum (heh) that in order to enhance Alphaness, heroes must control even this aspect of lovemaking?

Use of this phrase doesn’t make me dislike a book: all of the above are in my house right now for a reason, after all. But I really feel it’s time to get creative!

40 responses

  1. I’m queasy over the milk thing. Do you know what happens to dairy when it gets warm? I’m just imagining sour, curdled…. ok, nevermind.

    But yeah, “come for me” is getting stale. I freaking *wish* I could come on command. It kind of pisses me off that every romance heroine can do it.

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  2. You academics can’t read anything without analyzing the power structures inherent thereof. :)

    Truthfully, I hadn’t noticed an overabundance of this phrase, but strangely, it was in the book I just finished. Secret Desires of a Gentleman by L. Guhrke p 240 “Yes, yes, you’re coming, sweetheart. You’re coming for me now.” And you know, it was a bit jarring when I read it.

    Generally I take these comments as evidence that his Alphaness is so in tune with her body that he recognizes the hopefully obvious. But as usual you’ve opened my eyes to the more annoying aspects of this conceit.

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  3. ouch. I get so embarrassed when I read it like that, out of the context – *blushes* It makes me roll my eyes when I read it in a book.

    Hey, what do you think of Immortal Warrior so far?

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  4. JenB — Yeah, I know, and Roark’s demand was particularly egregious, since it was for an immediate encore. Seriously, this is one of the aspects of romance I have questions about: is all of this perfect sex juts a setup for self-criticism, the way the beauty culture is? If so, no wonder few men read it.

    Mojo –Et tu?

    Heloise — Yes, I agree that it’s often loving, not coercive. For example, in the Gaffney. The heroine has “troubles”, and needs encouragement.

    As for analyzing everything in terms of power, I am guilty as charged, and I agree many academics tend to analyze, but most folks in my discipline actually ignore power structures as if they did not exist and we crazy feminists are inventing them for fun.

    Cheryl — Yes, when I started thinking about “come for me baby” and looked at those scenes, I saw there were several other potential targets.

    Ana — I am only half way through Immortal Warrior. There are some things I absolutely love about it. But at the moment I feel the relationship is stalled and I’m finding it hard to pick up the book at night. It could turn out to be anywhere from fantastic to solid, not sure yet.

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  5. I generally read those lines in one of two ways, in Romance novels, that is. The first is it’s a symbol, that the couple is meant to be so in tune that the mere words are enough–it’s like an extra dramatization of their unusually deep intimacy through letting the male character have some part in the female orgasm.

    The second is that it’s mildly coercive, and exciting to the participants for that reason–there’s a lot of power going back and forth, in that the hero is demanding, but the heroine has the power to refuse his demands (even though I don’t think I ever see an occasion where she does). Her power comes from yielding to him, which is a trope “as old as time” in Romance.

    Alternatively, when the hero says that, he is applying a small vibrator, but the author forgot to mention it.

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  6. Yes! Great post! I have long pondered this, due largely to the Black Dagger Bros. And I agree with your point in the comments above that it’s a setup for self criticism. And I get taken out of the story like you.

    I did a post on this very issue

    http://thethrillionthpage.blogspot.com/2008/01/come-for-me.html

    As well as a corresponding poll, being the scientific person I am. 60% of my respondants agreed that nobody says it. However, 13% noted that it was said to them with favorable results, and 6% said it to their partner with favorable results. (It’s still up at the bottom of my sidebar if you want to see that 13% actually means just one person.)

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  7. Damn! I lost my comment! And it had facts and figures! Because you know I am so scientific.
    Okay, recreation:
    I have long pondered this due to Black Dagger Bros. I mean, they always say it, and I agree, it sets up unreasonable expectations, it takes me out of the story for the same reasons it does you. It would have the opposite effect on me during regular sex, though I agree with Victoria above, too.

    Anyway, I did a whole post on this last Jan as well as a POLL!

    Results:
    60% of respondents didn’t believe people say this in real life.
    13% had it said to them with favorable results
    6% said it with favorable results.

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  8. Mojo –Et tu?

    In my defense, it’s said by a man who’s clumsy and learning, and is just hoping to get her there. He’s asking, pleading, not commanding.

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  9. I think this is my most favorite post by you so far. *g*

    You get double points for the use of “dictum”. And the (heh) behind it.

    But that picture, those naughty lions made me lose my Cheez-Its. And almost made me snort Sierra Mist.

    And honorable mention points for the “Dairy Council of America conspired with RWA to insert the word “milking” in every orgasm scene, with extra cash payments for the use of “creamy”” bits. Priceless.

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  10. Thanks KMont. I am addicted to Cheez Its, btw. If you like your current weight stay away from the DUOS. And don’t ever change your icon, pls.

    TUTGB is a classic. I had forgotten about the roaring, so thanks for the smile, Laura.

    Carolyn Jean, I did a Google search for other posts on this and I somehow never found yours. Maybe because “orgasm on command” brought me to so many sex shops, I gave up by the 3rd page. Thank you for the link — the comments from Teddypig, especially, are great. (but it’s posts like this that make me never mention any details on this blog that would help folks accidentally find this blog through Googling me for other reasons.)

    Victoria and Mojo — I agree that not every “come for me” is the same, and pleading would certainly be different than these examples, although when it’s used so often, I get annoyed and don’t want to make distinctions.

    But Victoria, I like your connection to coercion — there is so much BDSM-lite everywhere in romance right now, that it’s almost like the point is to slip in a little dominance in an otherwise tame sex scene.

    Then again, as to your last suggestion, wouldn’t it be funny if the heroine’s response was, “Sure, but can you put it on the faster speed?”

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  11. The phrase that always makes me laugh is when Roarke is telling Eve to “Go Over”
    And don’t get me started on the massive number of first time orgasms for women who’ve never had sex before. Every time I see this I think to myself “oh for goodness sake – like it’s going to happen for 95% of the virgins that they experience the Big O the first time out of the gate.

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  12. And LOL – I’m slow on the draw here – but I just noticed your picture. I’m laughing at how you came up with it and what you must have done to find it.

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  13. Kristie,

    You don’t want to know what shite I had to wade through to find that picture. Suffice it to say I am willing to suffer for my blog.

    And I agree about what I not so fondly call vir-gasms. Kind of belies the whole “it takes time to fall in love and relationships take work” thing.

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  14. Oh, I agree on the vir-gasm. I’m reading Duke of Shadows right now, which is otherwise excellent, but there’s on major vir-gasm in there. I mean, the whole first sexual experience in that book is not at all convincing. But, oh well!

    Oops, I have a double comment up there. Feel free to remove one. But you don’t have to.

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  15. Jessica: That simply HAS to become one of the lexicon words we in the romance genre adopt.
    Vir-gasm: The ability of previously non-experienced female protagonist to combust in delight upon having personal knowledge of penetration of male protagonist human propagation instrument.

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  16. Good call on the Cheez-Its. Teh waistline no likes them *g* Actually, wait…where did my waistline go?! Awww, hell.

    Anyways. Yes, that icon is quite popular. It’s definitely staying!

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  17. And don’t get me started on the massive number of first time orgasms for women who’ve never had sex before.

    And again I diverge from the popular opinion (surprise! :D ).

    I think this device is just one of those “old friend” devices I like.

    However, I think it bears pointing out (again) that this may depend upon the length of time one has been reading romance. I notice a lot of posters on the romanceland blogs say they’ve been reading since they were teens or pre-teens (that would be me). I sense a commonality with what’s accepted/liked in romance versus how long someone has been reading romance and at what stage of life they started reading romance.

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  18. Hm.

    To fully explain myself in this comment I’d have to go way into TMI territory so I will leave it at this:

    I had no idea that 1) expressions of this type aren’t commonly used (perhaps I’m just statistically improbable in my boyfriend selection?), 2) some would find such utterances unrealistic, and 3) lions have O faces.

    AS they say, you learn something new every day.

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  19. Mojo,

    You may well be right that differences in how readers feel about these phrases depends on one’s own romance reading history.

    Marsha,

    How did you know that I googled “o face” to find the lions?! thank you for sharing, not your personal experience of course, but what you have accidentally discovered about other nameless faceless people. ;)

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  20. I’m just sayin, that if my husband could make me come on command, I would gladly loan him out to all my friends. Kind of like a show and tell.

    And the lion pic, that just made me spew my coffee. I LOVE it! But y’all are right. What’s up with all the men roaring their releases?

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  21. *Nods*

    I’ve also touched on this in previous posts. I must admit it’s the control thing about it that bothers me. Hate hate hate it.

    In TUTGB, every time the chapter-author had Nico roaring his pleasure, they got a point.

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  22. Sorry, that was my martyr-complex showing. But what was the point? I was never going to get a point! Not even if I managed to find a way to work in a mention of the global hummus industry.

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  23. Tumperkin,

    I know — I think it’s control in many cases, a little bit of dominance for the vanilla sex crowd. Although I think Victoria and others have made a good argument that there may be other motivations in some cases.

    Laura,

    I hate mixing hummus and sex (although I am sure Jenny Crusie, the mistress of sex-with-food, will find a way to do it), so be glad you didn’t find a way to work it in, or you would have lost the point you earned for being the first to mention TUTGB!

    ScuFiGuy — Thank you for the visit and comment, only the second male to do so (although one never knows).

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  24. Bwahahaha! I’m so totally guilty. In fact, I’m sure you can find it in more than just that book and I do agree it should see less action as one of those overused phrases.

    I will say though, I think it’s a term that is used for more than just bossy alpha types – for instance in the book of mine you use above, the hero is a gamma male, not an alpha at all.

    But I do love the uber alpha dude too and when I use it in those circumstances it’s far more of a domination thing than it is when I use it in other circumstances.

    At root though – when I read it on the page in a scene I enjoy and when I write it, I see a man who wants to bring the heroine pleasure. A hero who gets off on getting her off. There are so many different ways to mean that simple phrase I may have to talk about this on my blog or danehart soon (crediting you of course)

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  25. Lauren,

    Yes, you are so right that while the words are the same, the context sets the meaning. In your own book, as you mention, the words are used encouragingly for a heroine who needs encouragement.

    So, it’s very funny, but also misleading, to list the mere phrases in my post the way I did.

    I hope you do blog about it. I would love to read what you have to say.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting!

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  26. LOL! Yeah, I see it a lot, and you’re right, it does have to do with power. I suppose women want their men to take more initiative and bend all that will to achieving their pleasure (there’s a stud). What woman wouldn’t? LOL. Another reader posted a poll mentioned on Oprah where something like 60% of women wanted to be dominated in bed (link). The sex therapist on that show mentioned the prevailing theory that women want this who have a lot of control over their lives. Maybe writers simply know their audience, LOL. ;) And despite all that, I still haven’t tired of it, LOL.

    I love your post though, and all these comments. I have to say I’m partial to the roaring but the virgasm must go. I like books where it’s treated more realistically. Thanks for another great post! (Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to add to my reading list. LOL!)

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  27. Am I the only person here who loves that particular use? I use it in my books sometimes because it really does it for me. Maybe that’s why a lot of authors use it, because it does it for them, too. it’s possession and care and – yum.

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  28. Lynne Connolly wrote:

    Am I the only person here who loves that particular use? I use it in my books sometimes because it really does it for me. Maybe that’s why a lot of authors use it, because it does it for them, too. it’s possession and care and – yum.

    Lynne,

    I do enjoy it, and these examples are mostly from books I loved. I was just having a bit of fun with this post. I agree that same words — “come for me baby” — can mean so many different things. I just noticed the phrase cropping up so regularly, I felt like posting about it!

    thanks for your visit.

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  29. I’m commenting on this very late and I don’t know if anyone will see it, but this reminded me of a rather cute little convo that took place on my blog last summer. I spent the summer doing a long series of posts on writing sex scenes, and in one of the segments I mentioned the “Come for me” and asked if anyone reading had ever actually had that work, or had heard of it actually working.

    One of my male readers commented that it worked for him all the time. He said it was very simple; he’d pay close attention, and just when she’s on the verge of orgasm *anyway* he’d say “Come for me.” :)

    I thought it was kind of cute, anyway.

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  30. @ Stacia Kane:
    Thank you for visiting, and for giving me a real chuckle this morning after my pup got me out of bed at the crack of dawn and I was in no mood to smile!

    And that guy gets mucho points for even knowing the signs, IMHO.

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  31. I come on command. A powerful man telling me to come for him does the trick every time. I’ve had lovers who could say it to me in the grocery store and very nearly succeed (some touching would help).

    Everything is possible in this world. Having an orgasm with a lover who is controlling a sizzling encounter is not out of the bounds of reality. Hardly even stretching it.

    Like

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