How to Write an Erotic Novel

It’s important that you get into your main character’s mind because sex is as much emotional as it is physical. This means showing their desires, expectations and insecurities.

Also, it’s essential that you understand your audience. Readers type specific fetishes into Amazon when searching for erotica and authors who write to that audience are the most successful.


The characters in erotic fiction must be both believable and attractive. They should be able to draw the reader in and make them want to keep reading, especially when they are on a sexy scene. The sex scenes in an erotic story should be evocative and sensual, but they shouldn’t be tasteless or misogynistic. Using disgusting or laughable euphemisms to describe the sex and private parts of your characters will only give readers a reason to put down the book.

It’s important to have a wide variety of character types and backgrounds in your stories, especially if you write erotic romance. You don’t want your characters to be all the same, as this can be boring. It’s also important to have at least one or more contrasting characters, as this adds to the tension in your erotic story.

While sex is at the heart of erotic novels, it’s not enough to make a story compelling. Sexual tension needs to be resolved and the characters must have conflict. This doesn’t have to be a huge fight or drama, but it should have some level of tension that will have the reader aching to find out how things will resolve (usually via the couple getting their clothes off). A good erotic novel is an adventure the readers can lose themselves in.

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An erotic story must have a plot. Sex scenes are the set pieces of the erotic genre just as fight scenes are for a thriller, love scenes are for romance and humor is for a comedy. If you don’t have a strong narrative and character development your sex scenes will bore the reader.

Using interesting characters and creative scene writing will give your sex scenes depth. It’s not enough to just report that your protagonists have sex – it has to be part of the story, show how they are changed, and add excitement.

Use the descriptive language of the period and place where your novel is set. Use a variety of senses: smell, touch, taste, sound and sight to draw the reader into your world. Avoid cliched or overused metaphors – a “fast as a gazelle” doesn’t work for a 19th century sexy scene.

It’s important to hit all the beats, just like with any other genre. That doesn’t mean you have to have a predictable or formulaic ending, but every segment of the story should have purpose. Study the endings of the bestsellers in your subgenre to find out what works, and look for patterns. If your pacing feels off, or you’ve missed a beat, then readers will know and may not keep reading. It’s worth trying different approaches until you find the one that suits your style and your readers.

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It’s tempting to think that erotic novels are purely about sex, but sex is just one element of the story. There are many different themes that can be explored in this genre, including change in a couple’s relationship, overcoming obstacles together, or satire and social criticism. The themes you choose to explore should be reflected in the way the characters interact, and how they achieve their goals.

If you want to write erotica, be sure that your description is evocative and even graphic (but not tasteless or misogynistic). Avoid sex scenes with trite or banal phraseology that makes readers cringe and close the book. Instead, use descriptive language that sweeps the reader away to an imagined place – a castle in Roissy, a train station in Tilburg, a bar in Paris.

Make a list today of all the titles that appeal to you and then read them in order to better acquaint yourself with this subgenre. The more you understand it the easier it will be to master reader expectations and write sexy prose. It’s important that you find a subgenre that you enjoy reading and that you feel comfortable writing in, but it’s also okay to experiment with other sub genres if you’re not getting the results you’re after from your first attempts. Be sure to get feedback from other erotic writers and readers – good and bad – and learn from it.

The End

The erotic novel is a genre that has been around for as long as people have. Whether it’s written to explore changes in a couple’s relationship, arouse readers, create satire, or be social criticism, this form of literature continues to have a wide readership.

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The key to writing erotic fiction is knowing your audience and how to stimulate their imaginations without losing their interest. The best erotic writers avoid using excessively graphic detail or tasteless euphemisms, but also understand that they are creating fantasy worlds for their readers and that this is all about arousal, not debasement.

Finally, the climax of the story needs to have the right amount of tension and resolution. This means ensuring there is enough build up, lots of tease and pull and push suspenses to keep the reader engaged. It also means having the characters that readers care about and a theme or storyline that is compelling.

Writing erotica can be a daunting and difficult task but it can also be the most rewarding. The success of the Fifty Shades trilogy has demonstrated that if you write in the right way, then you can be successful and earn a decent living from your writing. But remember that you are shaping how readers will perceive romance and sex and you owe it to your readership to promote responsible relationships and sex and not encourage erotica that could lead to real-life abuse or harmful habits.

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