Personally, I struggle with writing sex scenes. They don’t come natural to me and they are most certainly an integral part to any romance story. Sure, I can manage the buildup to the scene, sometimes. But writing the actual scene is really hard work.
I hear similar struggles from other authors.
In fact, one of the questions I get most often is “how do you write a kissing scene?” This should be a fundamental skill for a romance writer, don’t you think? And yet, it’s often easier to just say, “they kissed.” But that’s super boring for the reader and your characters deserve more.
One of the challenges, in my humble opinion, is that you want to avoid the purple prose – the heaving bosoms, and the throbbing members. You also want to avoid a choreographed scene; she put her hand there, he touched her here…and so on. They might as well be playing Twister. Again, boring.
When I hit these scenes in my stories, I go for some steadfast friends on my bookshelf. But first, I pull out my copy of Linda Howard’s 12 Stages of Physical Intimacy (If you don’t know who Linda Howard is, check out my all time favorite of hers, Mr. Perfect.)
Anyway, her 12 states include:
1) eye to body
2) eye to eye
3) voice to voice
4) hand to hand
5) arm to shoulder
6) arm to waist
7) mouth to mouth
8) hand to head
9) hand to body
10) mouth to breast
11) hand to genitals
12) genitals to genitals or mouth to genitals.
Makes sense, right?
Then, I head to my bookshelf and grab a few helpful guides including:
This collection of essays by multi-published erotic romance authors details the art of writing sizzling hot sex scenes. Whether you’re writing sensual, steamy, or full-on explicit sex scenes, writers can learn from the authors who write and sell sexy books for a living.
Steamy, hot, sweltering, mind-numbing sex. It’s all-consuming and by far, one of the best things in life. But, as an author, how can you capture so much emotional, physical and mental exhilaration in a romance novel? Using nothing more than words?
Dahlia Evans has compiled a romance writing thesaurus unlike anything ever published. This reference book is filled to the brim with words and phrases gathered from hundreds of bestselling romance novels. Using this book you will be able to describe intimate encounters of every kind without breaking a sweat.
If you have your own “go to” resource for writing steamy sex scenes, let me know. I’d love to share it with others.