#AuthorToolBoxBlogHop – Let’s Talk About Sex

let's talk about sex_blog post

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Welcome to spooky season, aka October. Can you believe it, the end of the year is upon us. But a new month means another new #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop. These are harder for me some months more than others. This month was one of them.

I’ve said it before that I don’t particularly think I’m one to give out advice and such but since these posts are about trying to help, I keep at it. Doing them are a benefit for me as writing them up makes me stop and think, but I tend to follow the sage advice of “write what you know.”

Now, hopefully you weren’t scared off from the title. I am a romance writer and a steamy/erotic one at that, which means all the sexy times are typically on page. No close door for this gal. My writing friends are wonderful at inflating my ego in regards to the sexy times I’ve written and have commented I should give lessons on writing those scenes. My imposter syndrome keeps me firmly in the belief my love scenes aren’t anything super special, but regardless this post is for them.

In May I wrote a post giving tips on how to include a romance into your story, if you wanted one. This is a continuation of sorts if you want to take it step farther and showcase some on screen loving. Just like a not every story needs a romance, even if there is one, not every romance needs to have sex on page.

If you’re going that route, ask yourself why

  • Is the sex only there to be gratuitous? Are you wanting to add some “edge” to your story with a little on page boning but it doesn’t otherwise factor into the story or the characters? If that is the case, don’t do it. I mean everyone is free to write what they want, but we’ve all seen those movies where things are going along and they’ve not only forced a romance for some reason, but they’ve added a sex scene normally so they can show some boobs or something.

I’m not saying all sex scenes need to be deep and meaningful, but it should at the very least fit the tone of the story. It should not be shoehorned in.

It’s not as easy as you’d think

Romance gets looked down on a lot. The genre takes a lot of heat for being “predictable” due to the HEA/HFN endings. And it’s often referred to as “mommy porn” which is total BS since not all romances feature sex. Humans are messy complicated individuals and writing about that isn’t simple or straight forward. In that same vain, writing sex—good sex—isn’t simple either.

  • There is more to sex than a boob squeeze here, an ass slap there, and putting body part A into body part B. Sex is more than penetration, hell sometimes there isn’t any. There is a lot you have to think about and orchestrate when crafting a love scene. What was the lead up to it for the characters? How are they feeling? What is going on in their head before, during, and after the act?

Even with a quickie hook-up that is hot and heavy, these things need to be considered. Sex is an emotional act, even if that emotion is just the happiness and satisfaction of doing it. That sort of life needs to be brought into the scene so that it adds to the story and to the characters involved.

  • When you’re crafting a sex scene it can’t all be about the mechanics. Don’t make it read like a how to manual. No one wants that. Talk about how they feel, NOT just how the sex feels though that is also very important, but how the characters feel. Are they nervous in the lead up to the act? What are they thinking about their partner or partners?

Remember to add in the sights, sounds, and smells. And yes, I know the smells can be a bit clichéd LOL. We have all heard the jokes of the man (if there is one in the scene) smelling of sandlewood, or musk, or simply like a man but still it adds depth. How does their skin taste? Sounds weird, but it also adds a level. How does it feel? Soft, do they have calloused hands?

A sex scene is a well-choreographed mix of tantalizing, emotion, maybe some humor, and well-versed visual aids to help pull the reader into the moment. It should be given as much thought and care as any other scene you craft for your story.

Make it realistic

Look, I get it, romance is fiction so if the scene includes a cis male he’s probably gonna be working with porn star level inches and will have Energizer Bunny level of stamia. And that is all well and good, but don’t go too overboard.

I’m not scientific by any means, but some things are common knowledge and biology and physics only allow for so much. There is a blogger that I follow on Twitter that has read some pretty epic and gravity defying sex scenes and they are good for a giggle while asking what was the author thinking.

  • Think about what you’re writing. Stop and visualize where all the body parts are, and how likely it is that a regular human could do this. Think about the location you have your characters. Certain things aren’t as possible in the backseat of say a compact car as it would be on a bed. These are the little things you need to keep in mind so your readers aren’t scratching their head and wondering what the heck is happening.

There is more, but I try to keep these posts from getting too long, so this is a good starter. For those of you that don’t write romance and/or sex scenes at all or on a regular basis these pointers will hopefully give you some basics to set you on the right path.

Stay true to what you want for the world you’re creating and don’t try and force something that doesn’t fit. And remember consent is key!

That’s it for this month. And well for 2019 actually as this hop takes November and December off. Guess I’ll see you next year if it continues.

Until next time
~Meka

25 thoughts on “#AuthorToolBoxBlogHop – Let’s Talk About Sex

  1. raimeygallant says:

    I was a teenager when “Let’s Talk About Sex” was hitting radio charts, and we all used to sing aloud to it just to annoy our parents. 🙂 I still know all the words. By the by, how hilarious would it be if a sex scene in a romance book was written like, “There is more to sex than a boob squeeze here, an ass slap there, and putting body part A into body part B”??? What a great starter. I can’t wait to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      LOL funny but I so listened to that song yesterday as I was writing this up. I thought about including it in the post. hahaha glad you like that part about the boob grab and such. Yes, I could see that being a funny conversation in a book. I don’t follow the men write women twitter account, but some of the content has made it onto my feed. It’s something for sure LOL

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

  2. KJ.Chapman says:

    I totally agree that you need to understand your genre, world, and narrative when deciding to add sex scenes. I have read books where it has felt forced into the narrative, and I do think the author thought it was expected, but it wasn’t necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      Exactly! Not every story needs a romance and/or sex. When it doesn’t fit, it stands out more and not in a good way. Know what you’re writing and why. Keep it clear and follow a path that makes sense for the overall story and the characters.

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

  3. D.E. Haggerty says:

    Writing sex is tough. I wrote my first sex scene for my previous book as readers complained they were missing sex in my previous books (despite being romcoms). It was difficult! With my current novel, I’m doing two sex scenes. What have I gotten myself into?

    Thanks for the tips!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      It is! Like there is so much to keep in mind when putting a scene together and it’s not easy. I say it’s a testament to how you presented your sex scenes if your readers were looking for them in other books. Sounds like you did something right. When you’re writing your current scenes, make sure it makes sense for the moment. That is the biggest thing. Don’t force it if you don’t really want it there.

      thanks for stopping by

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Brigitte Kirady says:

    Fantastic post! I took a “How to Write Sex” webinar once that I thought was pretty fun. The only thing is that the basic take-away from it was “less is more” and “don’t make it longer than a paragraph”. I don’t agree. I mean sure, for certain stories, a lengthy, descriptive play-by-play sex scene won’t work. But honestly, I get pretty disappointed when a story has a ton of sexual build-up, only to skimp out on the much-anticipated sex details when it does finally happen. Your post is great because it also helps to avoid the other potential disappointment: a badly written sex scene. *shudder*
    I might also add that repetitiveness is something to avoid as well. I can’t tell you how bleeping irritated I was by the end of Fifty Shades when she had written for the gazillionth time that Anastasia “found her release”. If there are going to be multiple sex scenes, please for the love of good sex, don’t be repetitive!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      Thank you! And oh boy…the less is more does not work for my stories. The whole thing over in a paragraph? Yeah, not sure I could manage that, but at the same time it could be the perfect length for certain stories. It’s all about balance. And I agree, if there has been so much build up, I want fireworks when the time comes.
      Thank you for the added point. I try not to make these too long, but hard agree on being repetitive. It’s not easy to make each scene something new and fresh, but when you are going to have multiple ones in the story, you have to otherwise people skim. And it’s plain boring to read the same basic thing over and over. You gotta get creative sometimes, there are only so many word options if you don’t want to get too flowery in your prose, but it’s possible. I had one story with 13 sexy time scenes. Yes thirteen! Keeping them all ‘new’ was no easy feat I tell ya. LOL

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

    • Meka James says:

      Thank you. It’s all about knowing your strengths. Not everyone is comfortable writing sex and not every story needs it. Gotta do what works best for you. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by

      Like

  5. S.E. White says:

    Yes! To all of this. Great post. I follow author Katee Roberts on Instagram and she shared a post not too long ago to show us how she uses barbie dolls to remember where all the arms/legs/assorted other bits are for her scenes. I laughed, but I was also thinking, “GENIUS!”

    Liked by 1 person

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