Sunday, November 17, 2013

5 Easy Tips to Write A Great Sex Scene


Break your sex scene down like a Kamasutra box
How often do your characters have sex? If you answered more than once every other chapter then that is one steamy story you are writing there. So hot that you won’t need an oven to bake that turkey this Thanksgiving. Just lay that savory nakedness on those velvety pages and watch that muscle toned meat sizzle. Excuse me… Wait, so that’s why I am not invited to Thanksgiving dinner anymore.

Anyway, if you are like me then you don’t write erotica and probably can’t recall writing many sex scenes if not any at all. In short fiction you have to worry more about censorship anyway, so if you do choose to write a steamy scene it has to be quick and to the point. After all, everything in short fiction has to be relevant to move the plot forward.

Books are a different matter. You have more freedom to be more descriptive and with that you have more options to take the story in “related” directions, i.e. subplots. So if you want to write about an affair one of your protagonists is having with the antagonist then you are more free to do so. And you don’t have to skip out on any of the details.

The issue for most writers is where do you start when you want to write a sex scene. ‘In the bedroom,’ you say. Well, if you are old fashioned. I have 5 easy tips for you that will help you write an awesome sex scene.

1. Learn as much as you can about our fun parts

We all think we are experts when it comes to sex, but few really are. Think of it this way, unless you work in the medical field and study human anatomy then I would suggest you hit those search engines and do as much research as you can. There is always something new you can learn about the human body. When you do, that knowledge mixed with creativity can intrigue your readers.

Here is an example of a website I have found that talks about the 10 interesting facts about the vagina.

My favorite fact is that you are what you eat. I can really create some fun scenes with that new knowledge. How about you?

2. Learn about the different positions

Wait, you know all of those too right? I am not a Kamasutra master so I like to read articles about it with lots and lots of illustrations. Huge smile, okay I'm done. The purpose of this is the same as doing your research on what the human body can do during sex. 

Some of you may even be thinking, well Andre, I can always just grab my significant other and a lab coat and do my own hands on research. You can, but think of it this way. As a writer you constantly look up new words to widen your vocabulary. Why so? Because there are so many different ways to describe a scene. There are so many different ways to write a sex scene if you are keen to all the different ways people have sex. 

3. Read erotica

I am not a fan of erotica, but I look at this genre as an Oreo cookie. I just like the cream filing. No pun intended. You don't have to read the whole book, just the juicy parts to see how others are writing about sex. You are trying to learn how other writers try to engage their readers. 

If you are limited on what you know about sex and also on how to write it, you are going to have some very soft scenes. Pun intended. 

4. Be a director in your head

Did I just tell you to be a porn director? If that helps you with this tip, then sure. When you write your scene think about the the angles of presentation and their order when you have the scene unfold. 

An easy way to follow this tip is to outline what happens in order and focus on what is shown in that order; if you can draw then create a story board. Breaking the scene into many different moving parts will help you connect them into a long fluid motion. Think of it as describing a tongue kiss from start to finish. Where you start doesn't have to be with the kiss, you can begin with 'the sweet smell of cognac that escapes by a lover's heavy breath.' The middle pieces are broken into different scenes to help with descriptions and connected in order to show fluidity. The purpose if that you are engaging the reader by building up to the climax. Just like foreplay leading to sex. 

Think of a lover slowly undressing before you. Think about the order of actions, each description and how each connect, building up to the climax, which would be the lover fully nude. Hold on, let me get a drink of water. 

5. If it doesn't turn you on then edit it out

So you shot the scene and now it is time to take it to the editor. Once again, this is you. Now you have to reassess what doesn't work by what leaves you... unchanged after reading the sex scene. 

Once again you have to think of the overall scene in parts, look at what just doesn't do it for you and what doesn't connect with the other parts. Do you feel a rise in anticipation for the climax when each part from the beginning?

If something just doesn't feel right, then kill it before it kills the mood. 

Let me know what you think.

8 comments:

  1. Great article, Andre! I write NA fantasy romance, releasing my first book in March, and as I work through my final edits the sex scenes are the ones I worry most about. They have to deliver and deliver big time. Thankfully, I have a large beta reading team, and they all (men and women) swear I can send them running for a cold shower.

    Your advice is spot on to the process I use and the recommendations by professional erotica author friends of mine. ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Melissa.

      It sounds like you have a talent for writing sex scenes!

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  2. I answered this over on linkedin but thought enough of the thread to repeat it here.

    I'm writing a series about a group of misfits who form a rock band, their adventures, and of course their romances. I didn't want to just "cut away to fireworks" after building up a deep relationship -- especially since critical plot points sometimes happen in intimate moments.

    One of the first things I did was to take a look at what was out there. It was largely disappointing - unromantic, clinical, poor vocabulary in many cases. The currently popular fad Big Book they're making a movie about ... well, just no.

    The best written material I came across? Lesbian romance fiction. Romantic, sweet, gentle, hilarious, fun, etc. That gave me the inspiration to keep doing it that way with my characters, no matter what their partnership.

    To me, it isn't erotic unless I care about the characters beforehand, it has to build up to it. Something to make it worth the effort and justify the scene as intrinsic. Nice blog article>

    The question I'm dealing with lately is the utter fog in determining whether something is "mature themes" "adult" "erotica" or "porn". There's simply no consistency in the answers I find. This comes up when looking for reviewers. Some will say "no erotica" or "no adult material" without any sense of what that means. One of the big e-book dealers has one of the most eye-rolling restrictions I've ever seen -- this is almost a quote: "the kind of stuff you'd expect to get this label". Derp.

    I have three volumes of the series so far, one of which is in print, second one almost ready. There's only some heavy make out in the first book, a three scenes in the second book (one of which is offscreen but heard by other characters), but the third volume has quite a few - simply because several relationships build up to the point where it makes no sense if they don't consummate passions. So it goes ;)

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  3. Great article. Love your sense of humor. I usually have a couple of sex scenes in every book, and I've found that my characters all seem to be kissing in the same way. Thanks for the tips.

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. I am happy to make my readers smile while giving them great info on creative writing.

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  4. Great advice, Andre. I am a historical romance novelist and one of the main things my readers comment on are the "steamy" scenes. "Yes, the book is well-written, nice dialogue, great action and character development, but how are those naughty scenes?" LOL.

    Romance fans read a lot of romance so it can be a challenge to give them something new. There is a fine line between kinky and crude, but authors need all the inspiration we can get! :)

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  5. This is a good article. But, for me, using the 5 senses is a very important aspect to a great sex scene. What does his hands feel like when they toboggan along down her arms? What does she smell like when he faces the apex of her sex? These are important questions that can really make a person blush during a sex scene. There are so many elements that come into play in a scene. The more you zoom into the tiny details, the better. In my eBook series, The Worst Dilemma, I emphasize on that no matter if it's straight or homosexual sex scenes. I like this article and will keep it in mind when I draft up the second part of my eBook series.

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  6. Wish I could have found some better words for expressing: convulsed, thrashed, trembled, bucked, jolted, kissed, caressed, arched,
    pawed, whimpered, sighed, moaned, groaned, gasped. Since I have 42 sex scenes in my novel (I think, give or take a dozen).
    Nevertheless, depending on indoors, outdoors, time, seasons, events... even using much of the same expressions/descriptions can and do have to work, over and over and over. And if can be a challenge, since it all includes m/m, m/f, f/f... and I am celibate as a monk. The 42 may be an exagerration -- but my characters do get involved seems like every twenty pages. For example, I have two guys going at it about 10 to 12 times in the first 75 pages. And the book is 180,000. So we have a steamy ride ahead.... And most of it is between genuine lovers, not sex-by-the-numbers just for titillation... but with meaning, depth, and value. Sure, a few evil characters come along -- and get their just due in time. But on the whole, rather romantic and moral -- if you can handle that!

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