How To Write Gripping Sex Scenes

Sex scenes are something a lot of writers struggle with, especially novice writers. A lot of this can be traced back to personal hang ups about sex in general.  For older writers who grew up thinking that sex was regarded as “dirty” there was good reason for stumbling over writing such scenes.

The days of the romance novel not venturing past the bedroom door has well and truly gone.

Current generations don’t have the same hang ups over sex. And modern readers expect satisfying sizzle alongside their romance. And a writer needs to become more than just competent they need to ensure their sex scenes dazzle. 

So how does a writer put the sizzle in their sex scenes.  
At our recent RWNZ conference Bob Mayer gave us pearl of wisdom.  He said go to the experts….study how they’ve done it …. you don’t copy you study, read and learn.  Stephanie Laurens is a current writer who does love scenes extraordinarily well. Any one of her books is a sizzling read….she is an excellent author to study how she pulls it off.  And if you read one of her scenes and clinically don’t let yourself be drawn in…you’ll see it’s all in her choice of words and how she engages the senses.
Natalie Anderson who writes for M&B Sexy, is another modern writer whose sex scenes sizzle on the page.

A writer needs to get out of a character’s head and into his or her character’s body. 
Writing love scenes is all about utilising and engaging the five senses. Touch. Taste. Smell. Sound. Sight.  Every paragraph should utilize at least two and preferably three of these five senses.

What is you character seeing… their partner’s excitement..the rise and fall of a chest…sculptured muscles…a soft breast….a tattoo alive and flexing on a bulging muscle…all of these are arousing sights.
What is your character feeling… skin texture calloused hand, rock hard muscles rippling beneath a hand.
What do they smell… woodsy cologne honest sweat 
Same with hearing…ragged breath…groan…a shout of completion… 
And finally taste….what is it they taste…the salt of sweat on skin…the flavour of a kiss…
You are only limited by your imagination. 
One other essential is your choice of words… forget the euphemisms …you can be direct and straightforward and yet keep within terminology that you feel comfortable with and won’t make a reader cringe…. My personal hates are manhood and maidenhead….terms guaranteed to turn me OFF reading any more.   

The other essential component is utilising the action – reaction… sequence. Every action creates a reaction…this is incredibly important in intimate scenes.  And most important of all….keep your scene in the present tense and don’t let your characters…waffle off in their heads at the pivotal exciting point of the scene.

A good lover keeps his partner male or female totally engaged in the moment….and a writer must keep the reader totally engaged.  

I have posted an excerpt showing how to engage the senses.  

Published on Friday, September 16th, 2011, under Latest News

4 Responses to “How To Write Gripping Sex Scenes”

  1. Lee says:

    Very helpful and interesting blog Shirley. Lee Christine

  2. Shirley Wine says:

    Thanks Lee

    It's not my favourite type of writing but it is an essential part of the craft.

  3. Helen Lacey says:

    Interesting post Shirley and some great advice. It's important to use all the senses and draw the reader into the scene. And I couldn't agree more about the euphemisms (shudder).

  4. Shirley Wine says:

    I quite agree about the euphemisms. I've read some that have made me cringe over the years

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