Guest blogger: Elyse Huntington
How I write sex scenes
(aka: What Elyse really thinks about when she’s writing sexy times)
I have been wondering for a little while what topic I should write about for this blog post. Fortunately, a few days ago, I came across a post by an American author who had been asked by a reader of hers how she writes her sex scenes. Trust me when I tell you that this author’s sex scenes are supernova hot, but what I found fascinating in her answer was that the sex scenes she writes depends on who her characters are, and what their relationship is like.
There is such a spectrum when we describe the type of sex that is involved. This is an oversimplification, but on one end, there is the forceful and intense sex (i.e. going at it like the world is going to end because it is Independence Day—again); and on the other, lovemaking that is gentle and sweet (because the hero is, say, Mr Bingley, and he could not do intense to save his life, the poor dear).
I have to admit that I never consciously plan how the sex scene should be written. For me it is instinctual. The sex scenes I write necessarily change depending on the characters, but there are other considerations. I have to think about where the scene is occurring in the story; and connected to this, what stage of their unique relationship the hero and heroine are at. Have they just met, or have they known each other all their lives?
Then there’s the setting, the mood of the couple and what each character wants to get out of this encounter. There’s also the overarching question of what I, as the author, want to achieve from this scene. Is it to show the increase in intimacy between them? Or is it to introduce a new conflict, or escalate an existing conflict?
Another factor that influences how I write my sex scenes is my preference for alpha heroes. You know, the tall, dark and so-handsome-your-ovaries-just-spontaneously-exploded type. Supremely confident men who are at the peak of their game. This means that when it comes to bedroom scenes, it is usually my hero who is in control. Of course, I do take a particular pleasure in making him lose control, or when the heroine takes control for the first time. Writing those scenes are really fun!
Because my stories contain explicit sex scenes, I am often asked whether I have difficulty writing these scenes. I don’t know what it says about me, but I don’t find writing the scenes hard (no pun intended!). I’m certainly not saying that writing them is a breeze. It’s not. What I find most challenging is layering emotion into the scene. The scene—like all other scenes in the novel—needs to somehow connect and resonate with the reader. To me, a sex scene without emotion is just a description of a sequence of actions that feature movable body parts—porn in print, if you will. It is the emotional connection, both between the reader and the characters, and between the characters themselves, that draws a reader into a story, that makes them want to read on because they feel as if they have a stake in the outcome.
These are just some of the things that meander through my mind as I think about how I should write a sex scene. I haven’t travelled very far yet on my writing journey, so what I have covered is by no means prescriptive. Indeed, some of the things I think about may be particular only to me. So if you are curious on how other authors write, do have a look on the web for articles—there are loads out there.
I do have one tip for aspiring writers who want to write amazing sex scenes. Read, read, read. Read good erotica, read bad erotica. That’s what the Kindle is for. At least, that’s what my Kindle iPad app is for. Seriously, you should see my Kindle library screen. It looks like a DVD shelf in an adult store.
Curiously, I’ve written what I think is a very sensual scene in my Georgian romance, My Dark Duke, which does not contain any actual sex—just a glove. Do check it out (it’s available on all the popular platforms) and let me know if you liked it.
My Dark Duke
Since his notorious wife died in mysterious circumstances, rumours about James, the handsome Duke of Trent, have scandalized society. Now, he must marry again – but finding an eligible woman willing to overlook his past won’t be easy.
Defiantly single, Lady Alethea Sinclair has already turned down six offers of marriage. She prefers living on her own terms and refuses to answer to any man. Yet when Alethea meets the seductive and enigmatic Duke she finds herself strangely drawn to him.
Intrigued by Alethea’s defiance of society’s expectations, James is instantly taken with the willful beauty and soon they are enjoying a playful flirtation. And when circumstances force them into a comprising situation, he does the honourable thing and marries her.
But adjusting to the constraints of marriage doesn’t come easily to the rebellious Alethea and, despite their growing feelings for each other, the Duke’s troubled past keeps getting in the way. Can they learn to trust each other and give love a chance before it’s too late?
A steamy Georgian romance about desire, the importance of staying true to yourself and the power of the past to cast a shadow on the present.
There is a bonus epilogue for My Dark Duke on my website so please do visit. And if you sign up for my mailing list, you will have exclusive access to a free short story when it becomes available.
Elyse spent her childhood years in Borneo. She moved to Australia when she was a teenager and was an avid reader of romances. It was her love of historical romance that led her to write My Dark Duke, which finaled in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Award contest in 2014.
A lawyer by profession, Elyse is a self-confessed compulsive buyer of any books featuring dukes. She also loves reading stories featuring alpha billionaires—undoubtedly because they are the embodiment of modern-day dukes. Elyse spends her free time (and perhaps a little too much of her not-so-free time) fantasising about wickedly handsome heroes and the strong heroines who ultimately tame them.
Elyse loves to hear from her readers.