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This is something I wrote (adult content—and very bad description of sex):

Strangely, it didn't feel much like sex. I felt we were just exchanging feelings that we couldn't be put into words. Thoughts we could only share by joining our bodies as though they were one. It was a strange sensation—like I was being sucked into a dark void, blending with it, losing myself in it. Yet feeling completely at peace, understanding everything it had to tell me.

Nana continued moving for a few more seconds until—not being to contain it anymore—I came. I came over and over again, with a violence that I had never experienced before. As if someone had punched a big hole in a dam. Exhausted, I spread my arms on the bed, trying to catch my breath. Nana got herself off, and cuddled next to me. We remained like that for a while, holding each other naked in the dark like two newborn infants.

So, right now, I'm just starting my metaphors/similes with like and as if

In which other ways I can present them?

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Personally, (1) I'm wondering how the narrator can be "at peace" but come "violently" like "someone had punched a big hole in a dam" and (2) infants don't have the dexterity to hold anything, much less one another. You could say children hold one another, but children don't cuddle sexually; you'd want that image if they were comforting one another after a trauma. Which, lordy, I hope sex is not. –  Lauren Ipsum Aug 3 '13 at 14:39
    
@Lauren Ipsum Thanks for the feedback. (1) Well, he was at peace before reaching orgasm (that's why I added "Nana continued moving for a few more seconds"). (2) Yeah, you're right I forgot to add naked. I wanted to say: naked like two newborn infants. Ha, who knows. Maybe sex could be a traumatic experience for some. –  Alexandro Chen Aug 3 '13 at 14:45
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(1) No, your movement of emotions/sensations is still wrong. Peace comes after the orgasm. The orgasm is a release of tension. (2) Naked isn't the point of your image. An infant is very specific: helpless, blind, dependent, innocent. Your characters are naked, tired, and may or may not be at peace, plus they are sexual adults. Adding the infant image sends completely the wrong message. –  Lauren Ipsum Aug 3 '13 at 15:31
    
@Lauren Ipsum OK, I'll rethink the passage. –  Alexandro Chen Aug 3 '13 at 16:34

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can use other indicators other than "as if" and "like" e.g. "akin to". Since it's first person, you can also say, "reminding me of".

Another technique is to omit those words, and write it as if it were literal; the reader will pick up the metaphor. For example, "It was a strange sensation, drifting, falling, sucked into a dark void, blending with it, losing myself in it." Or, "We remained like that for a while, holding each other naked in the dark, two newborn infants gazing at the world with fresh eyes."

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By definition, similes always make the fact that you're making the comparison explicit.

He was as slippery as an eel, or else a very slippery thing. She was somewhat slippier than a bee.

Metaphors on the other hand don't make the comparison explicit and leave the audience to figure this out on their own.

Mike was a lion in the Giants' backfield, roaming through the Astroturf like it was the Serengeti and not merely tackling but physically destroying his prey.

Okay, there was a simile wrapped up inside there, but the overall point was that Mike is not literally a big cat, but a stealthy, hard-hitting linebacker.

It's my experience that we tend to use metaphor a lot more than we realize but otherwise, it's really personal preference and what sounds better to you in a given situation. There is no real hard and fast rule as to when to use the one versus the other. Sometimes you want to be subtle, sometimes you don't.

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I would like to add to Craig Sefton's note that you can use other markers and note that sometimes, you can remove markers entirely.

You can cut your passage down to,

Thoughts we could only share by joining our bodies as though they were one. It was a strange sensation; I was being sucked into a dark void, blending with it, losing myself in it, yet feeling completely at peace and understanding everything it had to tell me.

And would still make sense.

On a side note: "Like a hole being punched in a dam.", made me explode with laughter, because of the imagery of what this mind me to the poor person on the receiving end of this orgasm. Do not take this as a personal attack. This is laughter I've heard from others quite when reading my stories, I just think you might want to consider something else a little less fluid related for describing an unprecedented orgasm.

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