In honor of this month of love, we have a special treat. Sex! Specifically, how to write a sex scene so hot it ignites a fire in your reader. Follow these easy steps and you’ll be on the right track.
Warning: this post features NSFW content!
Penis. I told it was NSFW
1) Step one – Be Comfortable
The key to a great sex scene depends on the writer being comfortable. If you’re not comfortable describing two people fucking, then your writing is going to be awkward and jarring for the reader. If that’s the case (which is totally fine!), have your characters “fall into bed” and then jump forward to the next morning.
If you’re comfortable using explicit terms, then move on to step two.
Most readers don’t read stories purely for the sex. Yes, reading about characters banging is usually a good time but just like in real life, there’s more to sex than naked bodies bumping. Foreplay builds the excitement! Have the characters kiss. Does character A dominate the kiss or is it a give and take? Is there tongue? I had a boyfriend that loved having his neck kissed. Think about a person’s erogenous zones – like the inside of an elbow or just behind the ear – and have a character exploit those areas. Check out Men’s Fitness list of erogenous zones for inspiration.
Another thing to consider is where are the hands? Do strong, nimble fingers pull the tension out of a person with an exceptionally great backrub? Or do they burn a path of pleasure as large palms cup the swell of breast? No one has ever had sex with someone else without caressing and groping the other person, so don’t cut off your characters’ arms!
Blowjobs and cunnilingus are a thing. While oral sex isn’t required for a great sex scene, it doesn’t hurt to include some sucking. If you’re going to write oral sex, it’s all about tongue action and how hands react. Start with licking, or swiping, or tasting and then include hands grasping at sheets in desperation. Or fingers burying themselves in thick lush hair.
Describing oral sex doesn’t have to be all about dicks and vags. It’s explaining what shade of color the kissed-bruised lips have blossomed into and what flavor dances on the character’s tongue as they lick skin? Is it salty from the sweat or as sweet like peaches?
4) Do It
Most readers will mentally picture the scene, so your job is to paint the path for them. When it’s time for penetration, tell them what position, who’s on top and how it’s going. Writing sex scenes are just like writing every other scene – show, don’t tell and clarity is important. The best advice I can give for this is to commit. When writing sex scenes, there can be no hesitation on the writer’s behalf.
It’s okay to get introspective too. The best sex scenes I’ve ever read always take time to include the main character’s feelings and thoughts during the action. Speaking from personal experience, I have never felt sexier than when I have a guy on his back and I was riding him into oblivion. Meaning, if I was going to write a sex memoir (great band name BTW), then I’d make sure to mention how powerful and attractive I felt when I was in that position.
Don’t forget that your character has a personality of their own. If she’s a spy and sex is the best way to take out a mark, have her think this is taking so long, I can’t wait to stab him with the dagger hidden in the pillow cases. Or if they’re shy, have them blush from the attention or revel in doing something so vulnerable.
Sex has to end. So if you get squeamish thinking about fluids, wrap it up (no pun intended) with a creative line or two. Make sure you avoid cliches like he exploded. Instead, write pleasure spread from the core of his body, nerves sparkling in ecstasy. Slumping down, he pulled her close and whispered, “I love you.”
If you’re not afraid of describing bodily fluids, remember the five senses. What’s the taste, the smell? Where did it land and how much? Who cleaned up and how?
Every single sentence you write needs to be edited. Sometimes that means just reading it again. Other times that means adding a detail or two. If your sex scene lacks detail, add in something about her skin flushing a rosy blush. Maybe his legs shake before the money shot. If you approach writing a sex scene the same way you consider writing a job interview moment, it becomes 1,000 times easier to spot inconsistencies and lack of personal flair. Sex scenes aren’t scary! I promise, the more you write the easier it is to overcome any reluctance.
The best advice I ever got regarding sex scenes is to think of your own arousal. If you finish writing and didn’t pop a boner, neither will your reader. Not only is it okay to be turned on by your writing, it’s encouraged!
Follow these steps next time you write sexy times and you could become the next E. L. James!
(Lead Image by Vivian Shih)