Random thoughts on our impending doom and everyday life, courtesy of a Romance Writer who occasionally feels the need to talk like a Sailor.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

How to not write sex in ten simple steps.

1.    If you’re not comfortable with the idea of writing sex, then don’t. 

Skip to post-coital cuddling if you like. Show a big tongue wrangling smooch and then move on. You know how they say you should challenge yourself? Paddle out to deeper waters to expand your horizons or some such? Yeah, well, no. Fact is, if you get squeamish as opposed to hot and squirmy at the idea of putting penis into vagina onto the page then don’t go there. If you are not comfortable it will show.

2.    Great Aunt Mavis may read what you’re writing. 

Can you live with that? Or will you spend more time censoring yourself for the sake of Aunty Mavis then giving your characters the good time they deserve? Think about it.

3.    If you’re trying to write sex because that 50 Shades chick made money then you’re an idiot.

Self explanatory.

So, I haven’t put you off yet? All right, let’s get this show on the road.

4.    His heat seeking missile honed in on her hot, wet, garden of delights.

Ah, the old plunge and thrust. When you get right down to it, the range of words to describe what goes on between the sheets can at times feel a bit limited. Still, it’s no excuse to go purple prose. No helmeted warriors or velvet gloves, please. Penis and vagina aren’t sexy either. What would your character refer to that act or body bit as, hmm? 

5.    C*nt.

On the other hand, if a certain word seems to you to reflect your genre and the feel of your book, go there. Maybe it will take you a few goes to get it right. Maybe you’ll need to stand in front of the mirror reciting said word until you can rattle it off without blushing brighter than a baboon’s arse. If you feel it’s applicable, give it a go. But don’t overdo it. Contradictory much?

6.    It’s an action scene dummy.

No, seriously. It is. She did this. He did that. Action and response. Watch your pacing. Brief sentences keep it moving. 

7.    The five senses. 

They matter. Include them. Again, let your own comfort level dictate just how gritty things get. If delving into all the minute details of sticky, salty male ejaculate doesn’t work for you, then don’t do it. But sex has sights, sounds, scents, tastes and textures unique to the situation. When in doubt as to how much detail to put in, I always go with ‘less is more’. People are surprisingly filthy minded and will fill in the blanks just fine on their own.

8.    It’s in your pants.

If your scene doesn’t turn you on it probably won’t work for anyone else either. Have a glass of wine and put on some Barry White. Get yourself in the mood if you think it will help. Go on.

9.    Does the sex further the plot?

Well? Does it? Like any other scene, a sex scene needs to develop the story. It needs to reveal something about your characters beside the fact that Trevor is uncut and Maureen waxes.

10. Exactly what sort of sex is this?

There’s all sorts of sex. Happy sex. Sad sex. Angry sex. Kinky sex. Shouty sex. Silent sex. Every time your characters hit the sheets it needs to be different. Make it so.


  1. Mmmm, Barry White. Reminds me of Chef's sweet, salty chocolate balls on South Park ;)