How to write a sex scene
…or how I write a sex scene.
Anytime I start a new project, I almost always start with the sex scene first. It helps to cement how the main characters relate to one another, and that way I know how to craft their pre-sex relationship. Also, the sex is the fun part! In my stories, the fun part accounts for 25-50% of the entire length. If I write the sex scene first, I will complete 25-50% of the story in a couple hours 🙂
Moving on…the best way to describe the way I write a sex scene is that I treat it like actual sex. Here’s a breakdown:
1. Setting the mood: Sometimes you don’t feel sexy all the time. Maybe you just got off work, and you’re exhausted. Maybe you smell like baby puke. Maybe you’re having a fat day, and the last thing you want to do is sit down and write about a slim, creamy-skinned, red-headed waitress parting her perfect, cellulite-free thighs invitingly toward the barely legal, lacrosse playing busboy. You’re just not feeling it today, but part of being a writer is to actually WRITE. So set the mood! Turn down the lights (I actually leave mine on, because it hurts my eyes to stare at a laptop screen in a dark room), have a glass of wine, and close the door. Slip into something comfortable. Take off your socks. Or your clothes. It certainly wouldn’t hurt. You’re about to get intimate with your writing apparatus, with your characters, with the setting.
2. Foreplay: Foreplay is just as important as penetration, amirite? It’s like stretching before the big game…OR IS IT? It’s so much more! Imagine the kissing, touching, and caressing that happens between two lovers. They’re exploring each other’s bodies, getting familiar with the dips and curves, each tiny freckle, and awakening the synapses inside of the brain that will undoubtedly fire uncontrollably when the deed is done. So open your sex scene with a little foreplay. Get your little fingers warmed up for the typing marathon that is about to come. Get your little characters excited to take their clothes off. Get your readers in the mood without introducing a random sex scene in Act II. Don’t forget the foreplay, and your story about a lonely housewife and the sexy, youthful werewolf will –ahem- slide easily into the sex romp it is destined to be.
3. Mind the length: A survey by Cosmopolitan magazine found that the majority of women prefer sex to last for around 10 minutes, aka long but not too long. Give readers a bite-sized affair without leaving them hanging. At the same time, don’t deliver a chafing, agonizing, redundant sex scene that is a chore to read. How long is too long, and how long is too short? Use your best judgement here. The sex scene, first and foremost, is a SCENE. It has a beginning and an end (and a very sexy middle). What do the characters want at the beginning of the scene? Do they get it by the end? If so, the story pretty much ends there. If not, readers will want another sex scene, epilogue, chapter, or sequel to tie up loose ends…and will be out to kill if you don’t deliver.
4. Ask yourself, “Does this turn me on?”: An important question to keep in mind, because if it doesn’t turn YOU on, how will your readers be turned on?
As a writer of erotica, sex scenes are pretty much my bread and butter, and I really do approach it like I approach sex! It’s fun and natural, but actually writing sex requires a bit of discipline. However, like real-life sex, it’s almost easier to just go with the flow rather than overthinking it, and most of all:
Practice makes perfect 😉