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Writing the steamy bits

Home / Forums / List of Forums / Romance / Writing the steamy bits

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    Okay, ladies (and gents? if they are brave?). Let’s talk sexytimes.

    While I’ve been reading romance since I was about 13 (thanks for looking the other way, mom), I’ve only been working on writing it for a year. And I must say…the only two scenes of love/lust/woohoo I’ve written that I find remotely readable were created when I drank half a bottle of Reisling in an effort to get over myself and write naughty things.

    SO! Do you guys have tips/resources for writing intimacy in romance that reads naturally? (Other than wine and years of experience writing it, which both help immensely, I believe.)

    Discuss, discuss!

    (Since this site is open to younger folk, let’s not discuss in TOO much detail, but you know. Ladylike steamy-ness and what not.)



    I really think that writing sex/intimacy scenes needs to start in a progression. Trying to go from nothing to full disclosure is very difficult to do. Start with sweet stories – hand holding, not much more than kissing – and build up your confidence and experience.

    To be honest, I would recommend checking out the book “How to Write a Dirty Story” by Suzie Bright and other books about writing erotica. They have lots of information about how to write sex scenes.

    I write of a lot of erotic scenes for the online role playing games I’m involved in. At first it was difficult to do, but I find the more I read scenes in other fiction, the easier it got. Plus, I run the scenes through my head a lot, picturing it as if it was a movie. I find that helps a lot.


    Allison Merritt

    Ugh, I have this problem too. I giggle when I write them because it all sounds so goofy. I’ve taken to carefully reading steamy scenes and highlighting and filing details away so that I’ll know when and how to use them. I hate it when someone reads a sex scene I’ve written and says, “ell, that was brief.” At which point I like to announce that Kimberly Killion wrote very short love scenes in Her One Desire.


    @lisahartjes ooooo Lisa, thank you for the book recommendation! perhaps I’ll give that a read and then try a short story that involves delicious lusty tension. hee!

    @allisonmerritt Kimberly Killion! Yes!! Also, let’s be gigglebuddies.



    I think a lot of us shy away from love scenes at first because we don’t want them to sound/read badly, like “Wow, do she even know what she’s doing?” And if we write a really steamy one, how does that reflect on us? But I think you just need to try it.

    Since I started out writing fan fiction, I progressed really slow, a little kissing and petting and then when i got brave I tried a very tame sex scene first. And then as i became more comfortable with it, i had them having sex against the wall, on the kitchen table, breaking stuff, oral and such – the ‘c’ word flying all over the place. Sometimes, i have to admit, i still cringe at that word. But its seems to be the word of choice in more contemporary novels. Sometimes it fits especially from the male point of view.

    What i found was that i really like to write sex scenes from the male POV, don’t know why, but i think it feels more intimate, like his soul is bare. I agree with @lisahartjes – if you sort of choreograph it, like a movie scene it does help because you get the visual logistics and then you can add the emotional content, if needed. How does it feel when he does that? What do her eyes look like when he does this? etc…


    Kenra Daniels

    Another writer gave me an exercise that helped tremendously.

    You start with one man and one woman (it’s easiest to learn the basics first, change it up later). It’s up to you whether they have a previous relationship or know each other or not. Starting from the first time one looks at the other, and progressing to the beginning of their first hot kiss, write four pages (double space, 12pt TNR, 1inch margins), from one POV. Include all five senses, plus mental and emotional input, too. Next, four more pages from the first hot kiss and including only above the waist touching. Same as before, all 5 senses, plus emotional and mental. Next, another four pages, everything up to penetration. Then four more pages with actual intercourse, orgasm, and end at afterglow phase. Smooth it all into one cohesive piece. Next, repeat all the above from the other character’s POV. Repeat as many times as it takes to be comfortable writing sex, varying circumstances, positions, etc.

    It takes some getting used to, using so much detail, but when you add in all the senses and thoughts and feelings, those four pages are really short. Of course not every sex scene should be that long or detailed, but once you’re good at writing it all, you can work on paring it down to the essentials.

    Also, I don’t have the link on this computer, but Google Stacia Kane’s “Be A Sex Writing Strumpet” blog series. She also compiled it into an Ebook. This series is amazing, tells you how to write an explicit scene, as well as one that’s incredibly hot without being explicit.

    AbsoluteWrite.com has a forum for Erotica, including a password protected Share Your Work area, where you can post your work and get great feedback from a group of fantastic writers, many of them published and selling very well.



    For some reason I’ve never had a problem writing steamy scenes. I guess I’m just dirty 😉 But to me, there are two kinds of steamy scenes. There’s romantic sex scenes, where its’ all kissing, and sensual etc. And then there’s just good clean smut. Not much foreplay, just straight, full-on sex. I hope people like reading it as much as I like to write it. A good scene takes a lot out of me though 😉



    I write from a Christian perspective, so I often skip over that part. It ends with falling into bed and picks up the next morning.

    I would love to write something a bit more ballsy, but Christian publishers don’t like that. I wish they would realize that their parents had to have sex in order to have them…it’s only natural.

    Maybe my next book will not be Christian in genre. I would love to attempt a fantasy romance.



    I read somewhere when writing the first draft of a love scene you should go a lot more, um explicit than you know it will end up when it’s done. That way you have something to edit. No one has to read the first take but you.



    @ orangealli : You should SOOO try it. Just once, just to say that you at least gave it a shot. I mean, do you really have to use a Christian publisher if you decide that’s the kind of thing you’d like to write?



    I can do sex scenes in my head and boy are they hot – it gets to paper and it’s gone. I don’t know if thats because my fingers are not fast enough or because I loose what I’ve had in my head when I try to write it but it isn’t good when it hits the paper. My biggest problem I think is that for the nocturnal sex scenes it’s there but the romance scenes it’s not. I will be attempting the idea above four pages seems like so much and my poor fingers may well bleed in the end but I need to learn :o)


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