I think it’s absurd that many authors think writing erotica is easy and, therefore, a lower class of writing. The truth is if writing erotica were easy, there would be no bad works of erotic fiction on the market. I can tell you from experience that writing good erotica is no simple task. And for those of you willing to take on the challenge of either writing erotica or an erotic version of your genre -- be it romance, suspense, or other genre -- here are seven secrets to make your sex scenes spicy.
Warning: Spicy Content - The following article contains language that may be unsuitable for those under the age of 18.
I confess that before I wrote my first erotic novella Alice’s Sexual Discovery in a Wonderful Land, I was one of those authors who thought writing erotica would be a breeze. I mean, what’s the big deal? Just be a little more explicit in the bedroom and presto! Instant erotica!
Boy, was I in for a shock.
I realized that you could put a dirty story’s sex scene in four different categories.
1. Porn - The sex scene arouses the reader.
2. Erotica for Men - The sex scene arouses the reader and moves the story forward.
3. Erotica for Women - The sex scene arouses the reader, moves the story forward, and advances the characters.
4. Romantic Erotica - The sex scene arouses the reader, moves the story forward, advances the characters, and advances the relationship.
When I wrote Alice’s Sexual Discovery, an erotic version of Alice in Wonderland, I realized I couldn’t reach what I considered to be the highest level of erotica. Romantic erotica would not suit my story because Alice never stays with one person. Throughout the story she meets different characters, so Alice could never build a relationship. With that realization, I made the story be about her own sexual growth and her relationship with herself.
But rather than jump straight to the highest level of erotica, let’s focus on the basics. How do you make a sex scene sizzle?
1. No talking during sex - We listen to each other mostly by nonverbal communication. There is nothing arousing about “Yeah, take off that shirt. Yeah, grab me there. That’s where I want you to touch me. Will you still respect me in the morning?” This is a case of telling instead of showing. Instead, narrate the actions that are taking place and have your protagonist reflect on how she feels about what’s happening, about him, about herself, and about their relationship. This is not to say that you can’t have the man mutter “beautiful” every so often as he undresses her, but conversations are a no-no.
2. Cut out the true dialogues - What do couples truly say during sex? “Oh yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Omigod! Omigod! Omigod! Yes! Yes! Yes!” Is this text arousing? The correct answer is no.
3. No euphemisms - Euphemisms are great if you want to make the reader laugh. But nothing throws ice onto the frying pan more than saying things like “his tube-o-plenty,”“her tunnel of love,”“his slippery doo dah,” or “her hoochy coochy coo.”
4. This is not a doctor’s office - Just as much as you need to avoid euphemisms, the other side of the spectrum is true also. Don’t use clinical terms like penis, testicles, vagina, and vulva. I grew up hearing them in the doctor’s office and in sex education classes, so during sex I don’t want to be reminded of my biology teacher nor of my gynecologist, thank you very much.
5. Less is More - We don’t need to know what thing goes into what thing. By writing “his c*ck grew hard in his jeans,” or “he put his c*ck into her pu**y,” the author has removed the people from the sex. Instead, keep the characters included with what they’re doing by writing something like “he put himself inside her,” or “he wriggled uncomfortably as creases in his jeans formed in interesting places.”
6. More is more - The spicy parts don’t start at the bedroom, they start at the first moment the two notice each other. From his world-weary, blue eyes to his deep, throaty laugh to his strong arm that catches her when she trips, the sparks start flying. She feels her heart race and she’s breathless. Pile on the sensuality. The more foreplay we as readers feel, the bigger the payoff will be when we get to the bedroom. So when people ask me how to start a sex scene, I tell them to start it the moment the characters meet.
7. Use adverbs and adjectives - This is the most counterintuitive tip for seasoned writers because we were always told to avoid adjectives and kill all adverbs. Not true with sex scenes. It’s okay to say he circled her nipple gently or relentlessly licked her or stroked her tenderly between her legs. With those adverbs, we know his state of mind and how it must feel for her. Adjectives are even better. Just saying the words buff, sculpted, hard, musky, strong, hot, slick, and thick, makes me scandalously wet!
Keep in mind that every reader has her own idea of what’s sexy and what isn’t. Making a sex scene sizzle can be challenging, but I found that by following these seven secrets, my sex scenes have gone from sleepy to steamy.
What tips do you have to spice up a sex scene? Share your ideas with me below! I’d love to hear them!
Liz Adams, author of the erotic fairy tale Alice’s Sexual Discovery in a Wonderful Land,lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, CA. Liz studied music and creative writing at UCLA and worked as a freelance model before making her writing her career. In her spare time she cuddles with her husband on the coach to watch her favorite shows.Alice’s Sexual Discovery in a Wonderful Land is available at Amazonfree from April 20th to April 23rd!
Book Blurb and Reviews:
An erotic version of Alice in Wonderland, Alice’s Sexual Discovery in a Wonderful Land is Liz Adams’s debut novella.
“I loved this book. I read it almost all in one go. The story pulls you in and won’t let you leave, very much like Alice’s experience between the pages.” - Lexie Bay, author of Inside Looking Out
“The descriptions involve all of your senses, letting you feel each teasing touch, taste every musky man, and smell the steam of sex. Just when you think Alice is done teasing you, a new scenario pops up that will leave you craving more.” – Rebecca Hoffman, author of Drop in the Ocean
“Overall? This is deliciously wicked. Have a man or a vibrator with you when you read it.” - Simone Sinna, erotic-romance suspense author of Embedded and Exposé
Having returned from university for the holidays, Alice can’t shake the truth: she’s still in love with her childhood crush Jack, the buff, handsome gardener. But as inexperienced as she is with sex, and having never been able to achieve the big O, will she ever be good enough to satisfy Jack? A fall deep down a well takes her to an erotic Wonderland where she can learn how to please a man and how to achieve orgasm. She shares her sexual discoveries with a young man named “Rabbit” who likes to explore, a group of strong villagers, a “Caterpillar” who has more hands than Alice can handle, a Mad Hatter who finds Alice’s exquisite weakness, and a whole host of talented characters. All lead to the Queen and her majesty’s dark secret. Will Alice’s sexual discovery be just the thing to snag her desired man Jack? And will her erotic journey help her unlock her own pleasure?