Not Tonight, Dear. I’m Writing A Sex Scene


Kissing the neck

By Elizabeth Shore

I’ve been spending the last few weeks working on the second-round revisions for my upcoming contemporary, Hot Bayou NightsMy editor is great and has made really helpful suggestions. Because the book is an erotic romance, one of those suggestions is that it be “spiced up” even more than it already is. So the other day I sat down at the computer, coffee cup in hand, bowl of grapes by my side, and started scrolling through her comments. I reached one of the sex scenes and saw this: take a few sentences to show her orgasm building before she comes. Egad, I haven’t even had my coffee yet! But just like that, I’m in the middle of a sex scene.

I know that movies are shot out of sequence. One day an actor might be filming a dramatic scene where he’s mourning the loss of someone, and weeks later does the scene where he first meets that very person. But how about for writers? I personally tend to write in a more or less linear fashion. I start at page one, I finish at “the end.” But I have to admit, sometimes I’m just not in the mood to write a really hot scene so I’ll just type in a placeholder (WRITE SEX SCENE HERE) and continue on. But there’s the rub. How exactly do we romance writers get in the proper mood to write those scenes?

We’ve all seen suggestions for how to set the mood you want to create within your creative space. So if you’re writing a sex scene, for example, turn down the lights, get candles, infuse the air with scent. Change your wallpaper to pictures of George Clooney. Hell, whatever works. For me, I don’t need to set the mood in my writing room because I’m more internal anyway. I can be on a sun-soaked beach just by imagining said sun-soaked beach. Besides, candles and low lighting to me are romantic, but not necessarily sexy. Ya know? So if I’m describing the mood of my heroine as she’s about to reach “le petit mort,” I need more stimulation (heh) than a flickering candle.

The other thing about writing a sex scene is the words. Oh, the agony! The torture of trying to come up with descriptions for body parts and lovemaking positions that are sensual and not silly, so the readers get turned on instead of driving on by. The sequence of events in a sex scene certainly have a more-or-less well-worn path: kissing, touching, clothes off, sexy stuff, done. So how do we writers make it fresh, exciting, and arousing? One thing’s certain, it’s a tough gig for me to get in the mood while sipping coffee and popping grapes in my mouth. I mean, geez, I need some sort of build-up. Something to “light my fire” so I can try to light my readers’.

Music works for some writers. Author Hope Ramsay has a “music to write sex scenes playlist” on her iPod to spur imagination. Maybe it would work for others to have a collection of naughty photos that can be pulled up at a moment’s notice. Or perhaps a collection of stories you like to set the proper tone. Call it your “Horny Handbook: Stories To Get Your (creative) Juices Flowing.” Nice.

Ultimately, for me I need to seize the moment if I’m in the mood or else put down those grapes, take a deep breath, and plunge right in.

How about you? Anyone have tips for getting in the mood to write the hot scenes? One thing’s for sure, our titillating posts here at Lady Smut can do a lot to put you in the mood, so be sure to follow us.

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9 Comments

  • Madeline Iva
    November 13, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Funnily enough, I’m at the exact same point, only I’m editing my sex scenes to be tamer, more vanilla.

    What do I do to get in the mood? I dunno. But for some reason there’s this sweet spot between 10pm and midnight where my best ideas come to me. When I’m really feeling it, I just need to get it all down quick, quick, because the next morning the mood can be long gone and all I’ve got are words to try to capture that elusive feeling.

    Sometimes I’ll go and read snippets from Lora Leigh’s books. There is no one better at building sexual tension.

    • Elizabeth Shore
      November 13, 2013 at 9:42 am

      I’ve got a few books by my side, too, for inspiration. Sometimes that’s the ticket for me. Other times, who knows? I’m definitely the opposite from you, though. My best ideas are in the morning.

  • Kelly Janicello
    November 13, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I don’t know either. I banged (pun maybe intended) out my first love scene a month ago and I was sitting at my desk at work when I did it so I totally agree with the “seize the moment” and can get behind a playlist. I can think of a ton of songs that would be on mine.

    • Elizabeth Shore
      November 13, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Yeah, music is a big one for me, too. Thank heavens for iTunes!

  • LizEverly
    November 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I’ve found that when I’m stuck on anything–even the sexy writing–getting up to take a walk or run or anything away from the story often helps.

  • Celeste Jones
    November 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Interesting post. My current WIP has three places where I’ve written [they have sex]. Does that mean I’ve gotten to the point where I’m more interested in writing the story than the sex scene? Maybe. It seems that writing a sex scene after dark and when I am alone works best, so some night soon, I’m going to have to get these two naked and doing it. 🙂

    • Elizabeth Shore
      November 14, 2013 at 9:10 am

      The other thing, too, is that some readers tell me they skip right over the sex scenes. Hmmm. Interesting approach if one is reading an erotic romance! Yeah, it’s a tough one, Celeste. After dark and alone may definitely be a good approach to getting them outta their clothes and into the bed (or atop the desk, or in the closet, or wherever) . . . 🙂

  • Author Charmaine Gordon
    November 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    It begins as I write without the intention of plunging into a sex scene. Eyes meet, touch of hands, caress on face, whisper in the ear and I find myself rocking in my desk chair as the characters dance, or perhaps smooth vanilla lotion over each other and I’m lost. Their heat becomes my heat. I want to stop and find pleasure but I keep writing as the earth moves for them to come again. And soon for it’s their first time together.
    Before I started writing the new demographic mature romance, my books were about mid years people. Now I’m writing from experience about sexy seniors. And they are just as hot in different positions since age presents some obstacles. Am I having fun? You bet.

    Thanks for another interesting and thought provoking post, Elizabeth. I appreciate your support and comments on my blog.

    • Elizabeth Shore
      November 14, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Just for you it just evolves out the writing, Charmaine. That has definitely happened to me, too. I’m going along, writing what my characters tell me to, and suddenly they’re off to the races. 🙂

      Thank YOU for YOUR support, Charmaine. You’re the best. 🙂

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