11 Sex Quotes From Poems That Are Way Hotter Than You Thought Poetry Could Ever Be

Poetry can tell us about every aspect of the human condition, and sex quotes from poems are often the most telling. The interplay of rhythm, sound, and meaning can convey the intricacies of heartbreak, anger, love, and joy; the complex, inconsistent feelings we have during everyday incidents; the shattering potential of major and minor events. It follows, then, that poetry can tell us a lot about sex. Sex is an odd thing, in that it at once lends itself to easy description and resists being pinned down in words. One can always describe sex on a technical level: Tab A goes into Slot B, and then this happened, and then this, and then bodily fluids were released, The End. (Sexy, right?) But describing what sex and desire feel like, on a physical level and an emotional one, is much harder to do. What’s even more difficult is to describe sex in a way that both rings true to others and manages to be sexy (After all, there are many ways to describe sex that are definitively not sexy. In fact, there’s a whole competition to award bad sex scenes in literature.) When a poet does manage to capture that feeling – avoiding the pitfalls of being too cheesy or too technical or too vague – the results are undeniably hot.

So grab yourself a glass of wine, turn the lights down low, and settle in for 11 bits of poetry sure to steam up your glasses.

John Donne, “To His Mistress Going to Bed

Licence my roving hands, and let them go, Before, behind, between, above, below.…Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee,As souls unbodied, bodies uncloth’d must be,To taste whole joys.

e.e. cummings, “Lady, I Will Touch You

Lady, i will touch you with my mind. Touch you and touch and touch until you give me suddenly a smile, shyly obscene

(lady i will touch you with my mind.) Touch you, that is all,

lightly and you utterly will become with infinite care

the poem which i do not write

Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself

I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning, How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn'd over upon me, And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart, And reach'd till you felt my beard, and reach'd till you held my feet.

Amy Lowell, “The Artist

How pale you would be, and startling— How quiet;But your curves would spring upward Like a clear jet of flung water,You would quiver like a shot-up spray of water, You would waver, and relapse, and tremble. And I too should tremble,Watching.

Adrienne Rich, “The Floating Poem, Unnumbered

Whatever happens with us, your bodywill haunt mine—… Your traveled, generous thighs between which my whole face has come and come— the innocence and wisdom of the place my tongue has found there— the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth— your touch on me, firm, protective, searching me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers reaching where I had been waiting for years for you in my rose-wet cave—whatever happens, this is.

Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress

Now let us sport us while we may, And now, like amorous birds of prey, Rather at once our time devour Than languish in his slow-chapt power. Let us roll all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball, And tear our pleasures with rough strife Through the iron gates of life.

Louise Glück, “The Encounter

You came to the side of the bed and sat staring at me. Then you kissed me — I felt hot wax on my forehead. I wanted it to leave a mark: that’s how I knew I loved you. ... You lay beside me; your hand moved over my face as though you had felt it also — you must have known, then, how I wanted you. We will always know that, you and I. The proof will be my body.

William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis

I'll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer; Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale: Graze on my lips, and if those hills be dry, Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.

Charles Algernon Swinburne, “Love and Sleep

And all her face was honey to my mouth,And all her body pasture to mine eyes;The long lithe arms and hotter hands than fire,

The quivering flanks, hair smelling of the south,The bright light feet, the splendid supple thighsAnd glittering eyelids of my soul’s desire.

Lucille Clifton, “To A Dark Moses

You are the one I am lit for.

Come with your rod that twists and is a serpent.

I am the bush. I am burning I am not consumed.

Emily Dickinson, "Wild Nights - Wild Nights!"

Wild nights - Wild nights!

Were I with thee

Wild nights should be

Our luxury!

Futile - the winds -

To a Heart in port -

Done with the Compass -

Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden -

Ah - the Sea!

Might I but moor - tonight -

In thee!

Images: Miramax Films; Giphy (7)