Apologies for being a day late with my post. I thought I’d already scheduled this one ahead of time, but clearly I was thinking of last month’s post instead. Oops. Anyway, without further ado….
It’s summer here in Australia, and with the weather hotting up, it seemed a good time to talk about writing sex scenes. Plus, it conveniently ties in with one of our recent discussions. Below I’ll outline the four points to keep in mind to ensure your climax goes off with a bang.
1) Keep it Real
Number one rule = it has to be believable. Maybe if aliens are involved you could have hands in three places at once; but otherwise remember that it has to make sense. If you start with the characters in a certain position, you cannot have them in a completely different position in the next paragraph without showing them moving. Whatever your characters do must be physically possible. If you fail in this, your readers will spend the whole scene trying to visualise what the hell is going on and you’ll lose any emotion and/or steamy moments.
2) Random Body Parts
This is something that can cause controversy amongst authors and editors, but I am of the school of thought that believes body parts cannot perform independent actions. Let’s illustrate this with an example….
Version One: Her hand caressed Linda’s breasts and her fingers ran through her hair, gripping the strands tightly as the kiss deepened. (Random body parts perform each action, as if independent of their owner.)
Version Two: She caressed Linda’s breast and ran her fingers through her hair, gripping the strands tightly as their kiss deepened. (Here the character completes the action.)
3) Purple Prose & Euphemisms
Sadly, some sex scenes suffer from purple prose and colourful euphemisms. It is best to try to avoid overly flowery descriptions in these moments and keep your language real and earthy. Nothing makes me cringe more (whether as a reader or an editor) than references to ‘love sticks’, ‘weeping rods’ ‘aching cores’ etc. I’m not suggesting you should only ever use clinical terms, but try to be sparing with more poetic descriptions, otherwise it all becomes too much.
4) Pronouns, Names, and Epithets
In scenes involving two characters of the same gender, constant ‘he’s or ‘she’s can become confusing. However, it is a balancing act. Good, clear writing should ensure there is no confusion, but a decent rule of thumb is to mix it up between the characters’ names and pronouns. If possible, avoid using awful epithets like ‘the younger man’, ‘the biker’ etc. Reading the work aloud can help as it will highlight any confusing sentences or repetition.