Sex scenes are probably some of the more difficult areas to write for many people. You must ask yourself: How much sex? Do I want sweet sex, steamy, or erotic sex? Do I want to delve heavily into descriptions of the sexual act or barely touch on it? Do I want to stay exclusively in my heroine's head, the hero's, or both mutually? Do I wish to go more into the emotions of the characters than the actual physical side?
Inside the hero's head and heart: If you're a woman and plan to write from the male perspective, do your homework. Ask your husband, lover, or even a close male friend, how they'd feel in certain situations. You can also ask them to give you physical descriptions of how it feels to be inside a woman; after all, we aren't privy personally to that information.
We can only go by what our imagination tells us or other writers have written. If you're uncomfortable asking a male, write up your description, whether it is a physical encounter or an emotional one, and let your male source read it and tell you whether it sounds "real". This is what I did when my hero acted like a jealous dunce and I needed him to apologize very sincerely, but at the same time remain a "man". My husband agreed that the hero remained dignified, but his apology was very well done - by his actions and spoken words.
If you are not comfortable asking a man's perspective, or writing it up, then getting a male to read it…then perhaps writing hot sex is just not your cup of tea. It's one thing to enjoy reading hot steamy sex, but another to write it.
Following up that statement, the last point to ask yourself is, how comfortable/uncomfortable will I be writing these sex scenes? This one, you may not be able to answer until you sit down and actually write a love scene. Within the comfort zone, you must be aware or think about - how much sex are you willing to have published and not feel awkward/embarrassed about - around family and friends.
In other words, will you be comfortable knowing your mother, grandmother, etc., will read your sex scenes? If this thought makes you extremely uncomfortable, perhaps you need to rethink just how in-depth you wish to write your scenes.
Personally, I chose "steamy sex" - that which I prefer to read. My only qualm was sending my mom a copy; she's elderly and sex was never mentioned in our household. I actually went through the book and used a black marker to block out all the sex scenes. Was I glad! My dad read the book after my mom and that would have been even more embarrassing. Afterward, my mom's comment was, "the book was fantastic, you didn't even need the sex." Of course mother missed the point, that it was a futuristic romance; but I was really glad I blocked out the sex.
It didn't bother me a bit for my friends to read my sex scenes, but family was an entirely different matter. My daughter has read part of my novel to date, but informs me she feels uncomfortable thinking about reading the sex scenes. I told her to mark them out!! I think this goes back to the problem of teens and young people in general, being embarrassed with the sexuality of their parents.
Experience vs no experience…that old adage "write what you know". I can see this working both ways. I must say I think a young writer who hasn't experienced physical love yet, is going to have a hard time describing the hot, lustful side of sex, as well as the feelings and emotions that come into play before, during, and after sex. Yes, she can "borrow" descriptions from other writers, but they won't be her own until she can write from her own experience.
On the other hand, those of us with experience can choose to write what we know, but is that what the writer really wants, or what the reader would be interested in? Is the writer's "real" sex life exciting and fulfilling? Or is it dull? Does she have a clue what electric charged feelings shooting from your breasts to your groin feels like? Has she ever experienced an orgasm? If not, she may have a hard time describing the "build up" to the climax.
Maybe your sex life is great, but you also have fantasies you'd like to install into your scenes. Go ahead, indulge! Even the best lover doesn't always "hit the mark". Maybe he's too tired to go the full stretch of time you like/need; perhaps he just wants a furious in and out session with a minimal foreplay time; or he ate garlic flavored food, so the sensuous kissing you so enjoy is out.
There are lots of reasons why the best-partnered lovers can have off days, but in fantasy there's no excuse! (unless you want realism inserted) You can have your imaginary lover lick every erogenous zone on your body (but he's doing it to the heroine); he takes all the time you/the heroine need; and he gracefully moves you through many positions, not just the tried & true "missionary". The fantasy lovers may have a fantasy all their own…the hero may tie up his heroine, or they may play "sheik & harem girl". There are no limits, only as far as your imagination will take you.
And lastly, as a counselor, I would say it'd be easier to write sex scenes if you're comfortable with your own body and sexuality. Can you, or do you, make love with the lights on? Do you enjoy caressing your own body? Can you tell your lover where you want him to touch, lick and kiss you? Do you share and experiment in fantasies with your lover? And so on. Open up your own senses and enjoy sex with your partner; it's truly a wondrous journey. And being married many years is no excuse for Dullsville - you may have to rediscover each other if that's happened and re-ignite the spark that fueled your relationship in the beginning.
Post note: Be ready. If you write sex scenes that are "stimulating", fans may consider you an expert. One of my friends wanted to make Valentine's special with her lover; she made wonderful, elaborate plans. She told me that at each step, she said to herself "what would Myra do?", then she'd come up with another creative idea. I was impressed, and thought my own dinner and lovemaking plans, fell far short of what she'd come up with.
© 2000 by Myra Nour