A friend once told me some of my poetry had a sensuous feel. In my mind, I was thinking “sensual,” and that lead me to think it had an erotic quality I was unaware of within the words. She meant it invoked the sense as part of the imagery, which is a good thing, but was I wrong in my impression of the word.
I mixed up the terms for the words sensuous and sensual, and fortunately not to a faux pas of a big nature. Knowing the difference between the two words has really helped me put a little more focus on what I want and what I do in my writing.
Let’s get this out of the way, “sensual” is the term one uses to describe words of an erotic nature. It’s all about descriptions that are designed to arouse. Not hating on that in the least. It has a perfect time and place.
“Sensuous,” the word I really wanted to use a few times, pertains to the senses in general. The descriptions are to illicit sensations, that isn’t necessarily leading to sex, but could in some instances.
Sometimes, when I want to describe scenes or events I tried evoking the senses, which I do think help shape how we feel in a scene. I just put the wrong word to the actions. Sometimes I hear the sound of something in my imagination and simply want to depict ways that the reader can feel it.
So being lyrical and having fun with words is a good things. I’m glad I looked up the terms. I’m such a nerd for words.
Happy creative endeavors.