Writhe vs. Wither


verb \ˈth\

: to twist your body from side to side


verb \ˈwi-thər\

of a plant : to become dry and weak

I read a lot of porn. Straight up, yes, lots of sex happens in the text that I read. Lots of happy happy fanfiction of characters who would never get in bed with each other, doing just that. And yet. Yet. There are times I wished they really hadn’t. Because ‘wither’.

I don’t understand why these two words are mixed up. I mean, true, they have the same letters, the ‘r’ is just in a different place. But seriously. English has words like ‘blind’ and ‘bulb’ and ‘feeling’–all these words spelt exactly the same, but everyone can figure out which meaning the author means. But ‘wither’ instead of ‘writhe’?

In one case, the person is contorting in either pain or pleasure or sheer awkwardness. The other, if applied to a person, would–I imagine–resemble a prune. Or the process of becoming a prune: lifeless, dehydrated, weak, and as far from vital as you can get.

Now, is that an image anyone wants to show of their sexual partner? Granted, if this were a serious (or campy) vampire story, it could possibly work. But not friggin’ likely.

I’ve even looked further into the entry for ‘wither’. Mostly, it’s still used for plants. PLANTS. However, it could be used to describe a person. If you wanted them dying. Or maybe an alternative to cringing in embarrassed horror. You know that wish of disappearing through the floor. Possibly, you could use ‘wither’ then.

NOT IN BED THOUGH. Or in any other sexual or sensual encounter. Not a healthy one, in any case.

So please. If you are someone who uses ‘wither(-ed, -ing) in pleasure’ in your writing, please, for the love of the language, quietly stop. Just stop. Because there are some wonderful stories out there, but once I get to that line, there’s a 50/50 chance I’ll close down the tab and never come back.

It makes me sad, but it also saves me from getting oh so mad.

Why? Because I read a lot of gay porn. Tack on ‘wither’ to that. Not enticing.

In less cringe inducing topics–I’m also a fan of the difference between ‘crumble’ and ‘crumple’!


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