It’s my current greatest claim to fame that I was once told by a very senior top-five publisher that I write great sex. I was SO CHUFFED because writing great sex is hard.
As much as I know you’re snorting with me right now. It’s true. Writing great sex is hard.
Some of us do it with the lights off, a candle burning, a glass of wine. Others do it in daylight, drinking coffee in a café or in a car, while waiting for the kids to get out of school. Some of us fight for every racy word while, for others, the words flow like your heroine’s love juice.
Writing great sexy time is essential for those of us (like me!) who write at the steamier end of the romance spectrum. Writing great sexy time is also crucial in those sweeter stories, even when you’re about to slam the door in your readers’ face. Your reader still has to be swept up in the arms of your hero and BELIEVE that your heroine is about to get it good (or vice versa, I’m equal opportunity sweeping).
So, the million-dollar question is – HOW, DAMN IT? HOW?
- Use your senses
Sex isn’t just about insert tab A into slot B.
And even if it were – there are multiple tab A’s and slot B’s to be had, and multiple positions in which tab A can be inserted into slot B. Google ‘Kama Sutra’ if you don’t believe me.
But, you don’t want to just focus on the mechanics. What does your main character hear, what does she see, what does he feel? What do they taste and touch? Diana Gabaldon (in her book ‘I Give You My Body’) talks about the Rule of Three. Focus on three of the five senses and you’re on your way to writing great sex.
2. Get comfy with intimacy
Recently I came across the 12 Stages of Intimacy (which come from a study conducted by Desmond Morris, a behavioural scientist, on why marriages last or break). I’m certainly not the first romance writer to identify this framework as really useful for building sexual tension (Google it, there are plenty of articles out there like this one from Jenny Hansen) but if you’re not yet on board, I suggest you give them a look.
Like teenagers in the back seat of a parent’s car, sometimes you’ll jump a stage, or combine a few. But, if you broadly follow this progression (whether fairly immediately, or stretched out over a story), you’ll do pretty well in the writing good sex stakes.
3. Don’t be shy.
Birds do it. Bees do it. It’s even likely your parents did it at least once.
Most of us were not a product of immaculate conception, I promise.
You need to loosen up to write great sex. And the words on the page don’t have to precisely reflect your experience.
Writing a great anal sex scene on the page – when it’s right for your characters – doesn’t scream to everyone that you’re engaging in anal sex every night.
Well, it might to some, but they’re idiots.
Writing fabulous BSDM doesn’t mean you’re a masochist (although, if you’re reading this you’re probably an author so… same same but different?!). Writing a terrific deepthroating doesn’t mean you’re Linda Lovelace.
The qualifier to that is you HAVE to do your research. Anal sex requires lube. BDSM should have a safe word. Cervixes should not be pounded (those who listen to the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast will agree with me. That hurts). And all good contemporary sex requires the participants be safe (except in surprise baby stories, of course. There’s always an exception to every rule).
So, maybe that glass of wine tip isn’t such a bad one. Having lubrication when engaging in coitus is never a bad thing…
The last thing I want to mention here is, to write great sex, don’t be afraid to explore. Not everyone likes the same things and every one of your characters will be different.
So, they’re going to like different things. Some will like it sweet, and others will like it spicy. Some will like it in bed, and others will want to swing from the rafters. Some will slam the door in your face, while others will invite you to watch.
Don’t be afraid of any of it because, believe me, if you’re uncomfortable writing it, we’re probably going to be uncomfortable reading it…
And Google is your friend. It’s an unending Pandora’s Box of tips, tricks and things you may never have really needed to see! But, seriously, there are plenty of legitimate sites out there that can help you with the detail of those less mainstream sexual practices, and with alternatives positioning (I mean, you could do it missionary all the time, but who wants to do that…).
So, they’re my tips for writing great sex. What are your best tips? What’s the best sex you ever read?
Winner of the Inaugural Romance Writers of Australia Spicy Bites sexy short story competition, and member of the Love Sabrists, Kristine loves telling sexy tales, exploring relationships between complex women and the strong men who love them, then working out just how much pain to inflict, or not inflict, before giving her characters their HEA (or, at least, their HFN). She’s also a non-practicing lawyer who now works in human resources, and writes and reads, to escape into other worlds where coffee (and red wine) is abundant, designer shoes and handbags are cheap, chocolate has no calories and men always put the toilet seat down.
Find her on
Facebook Kristine Charles or
and drop by www.wordsbykristinecharles.com to check out some more of her words.
February 2019 sees the one-year anniversary of the Love Sabre Anthology!
Buy it at www.lovesabre.com