How to Write Erotic Scenes

Just because a scene is erotic doesn’t mean it should have to advance the plot. In fact, including a sex scene just to include one is unlikely to satisfy most readers.

Foreplay is key – describe how they take off their clothes, the first sensation of skin on skin. Be careful not to overdo it with physical description – remember physiology.

Set the scene.

It’s important to remember that sex, and the depiction of it in fiction, is entirely a matter of taste. What one reader finds erotic, another might find vulgar or confusing. This is why it’s so important to ask for a trusted beta reader with an understanding of the genre and the sex scene you are writing.

Sex scenes are more than just physical descriptions, but an exploration of emotional realities as well. For a scene to be truly erotic, it needs to reach past the orgasm and show a real connection between two characters. That means describing things like how they feel, what their thoughts are and what they are striving for.

Sexual acts can cover a huge range of emotions, from deep love and submission to mindless lust and barely repressed aggression. It’s important to choose a mix of these emotions in your scene, so that the reader can connect with what is happening – This quote is provided by the portal’s editor

Humour can also be a great addition to a sex scene, especially if it is true to the character and their personality. It can add a little spice to the scene and help keep it from becoming dull and boring. However, don’t cockblock a scene with humour if it doesn’t feel natural or integral to your story. It’s also a good idea to read a lot of erotic fiction in the genre you are writing, so that you can pick up on the pacing, imagery and language used.

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Focus on the characters.

While it’s important to have a lot of teasing, push and pull suspense in your erotic scenes, it’s equally important for the characters to have interesting interactions. What they do, what they think, how their feelings change as the scene progresses—it’s all part of what makes a sexy scene sizzle.

It’s easy to fall into hokey cliches in intimate sex scenes, but that’s no good for you or your readers. Using phrases like “her lips curled into a smirk” and “he clenched his teeth” just won’t make people swoon. In fact, you may even make them laugh, which is not good if your goal was to make them swoon.

Describe the details of how each character’s body moves and how that movement affects their mood. This is why a great writer is able to engage the senses, and it’s why sex scenes can be so much more than kissing or laying down.

Just as in real life, sex isn’t perfect, and your characters shouldn’t be either. Awkwardness, embarrassment, hesitancy, and misunderstanding are all part of the journey and can add to the tension. Don’t be afraid to let your characters struggle, get hurt or even fail at the beginning of a scene—it can only help build their passion for one another. After all, sex is about emotion as much as it is physical.

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Give the reader a reason to be in the scene.

If the scene isn’t essential to the plot, or it doesn’t advance the characters in any way, you should skip the sex. Having a sex scene that isn’t necessary can make the reader feel alienated from your story. It can also lead to confusion if the reader isn’t sure whether you are trying to be explicit or not. It’s best to be restrained in your descriptions of the physical details, and to avoid using excessive adjectives and adverbs.

In many cases, a sex scene can be saved by simply adding more emotion. For example, if the character’s hands are numb and their feet are cold, you could add more tension by describing how that makes them feel. This will create a more evocative scene that is more likely to elicit a reaction from the reader.

Another way to add more erotic tension to your scene is to up the stakes. For instance, if your character is walking across hot coals, they might wear flip-flops instead of high heels to make it more difficult for them to walk through the fire. This will create more suspense and allow the reader to be more engrossed in the scene.

Don’t overdo it.

Adding too many details can make a scene seem technical and less realistic. The physical realities of sex are important, but it’s better to convey the emotions of the characters than give readers a play by play of whose arm is where or who’s biting who’s earlobe.

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A good way to keep from overdoing it is to read erotic fiction and try to write a scene that would appeal to you as a reader. Having a good beta reader who can tell you when you’ve gone too far is also a big help.

Unless you’re writing straight-up erotica, the sex in your scenes should be secondary to your main character’s quest. It should be there to enrich the experience of your readers and add another layer to your story. The sex should build tension and climax, but should also reveal something about the character, move your plot forward or further develop your relationship between your characters.

Even in genres where readers expect a bit of kink, you should only include a sex scene if it is necessary for your story or your characters. Otherwise, it could just feel like a filler or an attempt to attract attention with titillation. A well-placed sex scene can be the perfect finishing touch to a steamy romance or erotic thriller. Just don’t overdo it or you risk turning your readers off.

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