Guest Post – IT STARTED WITH A KISS: A Starter Guide to Writing A Sex Scene
By L.J. West
A Starter Guide to Writing A Sex Scene: Hey, guys, today I have a very interesting topic. A lot of us want to write romance and sometimes things get spicy there. How to handle the sex scenes? How to write a scene that will catch your reader’s attention and it will feel real? Well, thanks to my amazing friend, now you can know that!
IT STARTED WITH A KISS: A Starter Guide to Writing A Sex Scene
There is a lot of different ways to approach writing any type of scene. There are a lot of different ways to approach writing anything, and I would never claim to know the only right way. I do have a few pointers that I think can help move your scene’s in the right direction, though. So I’ll walk you through how to get your bearings, break the scene down, avoid some common pitfalls, and hopefully answer a few of the most common questions I see on the subject.
TAKE THE SEX OUT OF IT
The first thing I do when writing a sex scene is to take the sex out of it. Not in a literal sense, but in how you think about it. If you look at sex scenes dispassionately they really just boils down to any other action scene. The differences boil down to types of action taking place.
And like any good action scene, maybe even more, your sex scene needs a purpose. Whether you are writing erotica, romance, or any other genre, if your characters are about to have sex, you as the author need to have a solid reason for showing it to the reader. This reason will definitely vary from story to story or from genre to genre. Erotica will show a lot more sex than say a crime thriller, and if you have more in than is necessary you run the risk of losing the readers interest or coming across as vulgar.
So how do you write an action scene?
5 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN WRITING ACTION-
Below are my 5 key ingredients to writing a good sex scene. I say again that this is not the only way to approach this. It may not be the best way for you or your style, but they are things I think everyone should keep in mind. Even if you ignore them.
(All of these come after knowing whose point of view you are writing in, and the purpose of the scene)
- Action (this is the nuts and bolts of it. What are your characters doing? This is the kissing, touching, thrusting)
- Engage the senses (give us input from as many of the 5 senses as you can. Can you smell perfume/cologne, what can you taste, or hear, and feel. Remember it’s not just what your characters are doing, but what they are experiencing)
- Emotion (no matter who your characters are they are feeling something in these moments. Is it excitement, fear, hunger, lust, joy, sorrow. How they feel in these primal moments will tell your reader a great deal about the character)
- Physical reaction (This is how their bodies respond. Hearts thundering, breathe quickening, sweat rising. This gives your reader a visceral connection to the material and helps them relate to it in a different way)
- Reaction (This is the character response to everything above. They were kissed. They could taste the mint on the breath of the person who kissed them, smelled their shampoo, could feel the stubble on their cheek. It filled them with joy and unexpected lust and need. Their lips tingle, gooseflesh rises. THEN they lean in and kiss back.)
You don’t want to engage all of these with every action, in the same way, you don’t need to describe every action. Which brings me to my next point.
DON’T GET REPETITIVE-
Just like you don’t need to describe every sword cut, or slash, or punch in an action scene, you don’t need to write ever kiss, or touch, or thrust in a sex scene. The best way to avoid this is to only touch upon the important actions, the actions that drive the scene forward or change its direction.
THE MOTION OF THE OCEAN-
It’s also important to make sure that the scene has a rhythm. This is an addendum to the previous point but worth noting separately. This comes down to how you structure the scene. It may be good to describe a lot at the beginning of the scene, but as the scene intensifies space it out. Break it up. Change it up. And then slow it down again, letting the reader breathe. Keep doing this for as long as they continue, but offer a cool down at the end, and make sure to check in with your character before calling a close to the scene.
THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE-
The most common question I hear about writing sex scenes is knowing what words to use? I definitely struggled with this when I started. Cock and pussy seemed too crude, and penis and vulva or vagina seemed too clinical. How much do you describe and what words do you use to do it? It’s a tough question.
A part of the answer is knowing your audience. This is where knowing what sort of story you’re writing is. Erotica and romance can get away with more description, and description that is more explicit; but that is not always the case. Which brings me to the second and more important part. Know your character. Once you know your character, imagine what they would say if they were discussing the scene with you. Are they boisterous and explicit, or shy and demure? What words do they use? Once you have the answers to these questions, you have the answer to the main question. Because let your characters personality and language determine what words you use as an author. I’ll leave an example below:
‘She felt the need in her grow. A heat rose between her thighs and spread across her body. The sight of his member standing tall before her frightened her, but in a way that was more pleasure than anything else. She wanted to touch it but couldn’t bring herself to lift her hand and reach. Then he was inside her. The sudden presence took the breath from her lungs and she found herself gripping his shoulders to keep from drifting away to the ceiling.’
‘She was hungry. The heat between her thighs was a furnace, and the lips of her pussy were slick and wet. She thought she would burn away from the heat. The sight of his cock was just gasoline on the blaze. It took every ounce of self-control to keep herself from grabbing it. Before she could though, he was inside her. Goring her. Each thrust was a blade of ecstasy cutting the tethers linking her mind to her body.’
I hope that you have found this helpful. My final thought for you is just to try it. There is definitely a level of fear that comes before crossing the threshold into this type of writing, but like any other writing, it gets easier the more you do it. So keep at it, pay attention, and learn for each new attempt. If you’d like more of this or have questions please leave a comment below.
A Starter Guide to Writing A Sex Scene: Honestly, this post is pure gold (yes, I know this is not very modest since it’s on my blog). I’ll use it myself to write these scenes that readers love so much and that makes us blush so much.
Tell me the truth, you love it too!
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This is a very helpful run down of what this sort of writing needs! I think it covers the most commonly asked questions and it was certainly a good refresher for me as I begin writing more.
I’m happy that it helped!
Hello Isadora. They are interesting considerations on a timely topic for us writers too!
I’m glad that you liked it!