How to Write Erotic Letters

In an age where most love is communicated via text messages, a well written passionate letter can bring back the heat. Genius writers have poured their passions onto paper for centuries.

James Joyce, the writer of Ulysses, exchanged some pretty steamy letters with his muse and life long lover Nora Barnacle. They were so dirty that no reputable publisher would print them.

1. Set the Tone

When writing erotic letters, it’s important to set the tone. Tone is the emotions that underscore what’s happening and nudge readers in the direction you want them to go. It’s like the music score in a scene – it underscores the tension or the joy and gives your reader an emotional response.

Often times, the way that you set the tone is through your choice of words – This resource comes from the service’s editorial team Words are like food coloring, and a few well-chosen words can change the whole hue of your scene. For example, the first paragraph of Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea uses a simile to create a forlorn image of the protagonist’s flour sack patching job. This simple description is enough to evoke the character’s sad, lonely tone and sets the mood for the rest of the book.

Erotic writing can sometimes blur the lines between romantic and pornographic. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can be a turn off for some readers. For this reason, erotic writing should focus on the feelings of lust and desire rather than the specific details of physical actions.

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For example, you can entice your reader by describing the scent of their skin or the feel of their hair as they kiss you. This is more effective than describing every detail of a particular sexual act because it allows the reader’s imagination to fill in any gaps that you may have left blank.

2. Get Intimate

Writing erotic letters is a consensual way for couples to express intimate feelings. It can be a wonderful way to set the mood for romantic intimacy. However, it’s important to be clear and respectful of boundaries. Always communicate openly with your partner to ensure that you are both comfortable with the intimacy involved.

In the days before electronic communication, erotic love letters were used to convey a variety of messages. For example, James Joyce wrote a series of steamy letters to his lover and muse Nora Barnacle in 1909. These letters are now known as the dirty letters because of their explicit descriptions of sexual activity.

Using real-world descriptions of sight, sound, touch, and smell can help to make your erotic letter more arousing. However, it is important to avoid going too far over the edge of sexual depravity. Using pornographic or explicit language can be off-putting, and using purple prose (a term for excessively flowery writing) can also detract from the erotic tone of your letter.

Adding details that trigger your lover’s sense of smell and taste can also be arousing. You could include a scented candle, a small bottle of perfume, or a sample of a favorite food. Including a photograph that makes your lover think of you is another great option. But be careful about sending pictures that might identify you, such as one showing your face or body. Instead, consider including abstract artsy photos.

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3. Get Creative

The best erotic writers know how to take the simplest story ideas and make them rich and compelling. They understand that sexual tension can be multiplied tenfold on the page through the power of conflict and resolution. Typically, this involves some sort of push-pull dynamic that ultimately results in sex or sexual release (although it doesn’t have to be explicit).

The most effective erotica writing often employs visual or tactile descriptions to transport the reader into the character’s skin. For example, a writer might use descriptive language like “smooth as silk” or “faster than a gazelle.” The most creative erotica writers also take into account the cultural context of their story and craft metaphors that resonate with that time and place. Historical erotica, for instance, presents unique challenges because the descriptive language must be historically accurate and yet still evoke an emotional response in readers.

Erotica writers must also know how to hit the beats. In a standard novel, that means having an introductory scene, a middle section where conflict builds and tension mounts, and a climax that leads to a satisfying conclusion. But in erotica, these beats must be even more subtle and reserved to keep the story from becoming trite or boring.

Writing any genre takes courage, but erotica demands an extra level of gumption. Despite the challenges, some writers report making six figures without a publishing deal. So, if you’re willing to take the risk, go for it!

4. Get Physical

In the age of email and text messaging, the handwritten letter still sends a sensual message that can be difficult to replicate on the page. Invest in some quality stationery and a pen that feels smooth in your hand. Then, imagine the words you write as being gentle strokes on your lover’s soul. This creates a feeling of intimacy, and also sets the tone for your erotic love letter.

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Avoid pornographic descriptions of sex acts as this can be off-putting, and also be wary of falling into purple prose. Purple prose is a term used to describe writing that is overly ornate and flowery, and can detract from the erotic nature of your letter. Using real-world descriptive language that involves the senses, like sight, sound and touch can be more effective in arousing your reader than simply using metaphors, for example ‘fast as a gazelle’ or’smooth as silk’.

The physical attraction of your characters needs to be apparent, but it should not be overt. Often the sexual tension and release in erotic literature is heightened by the character’s journey through the story, or how they have helped one another heal old wounds or achieve something.

Creating a love letter that is both romantic and erotic can be a fun and exciting way to communicate with your partner, especially if you’re separated by distance. Just remember that communication and consent are key for any form of intimate writing, and make sure your partner knows what you want from the relationship.

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