Er… Sex Scenes?

Thus far, this is what a sex scene looks like in my story:

Blah, blah, blah blah
*nakedness ensues*
Blah, blah, blah blah

I have not yet mastered the fine art of writing the sex scene. I’m not a prude by any means, but for some reason writing about the act disturbs me.  Is it because my mom and dad might someday read it?  Ugh.  Actually, I haven’t even really tried to sort it out on paper. I’ve been close, but stopped just short of any details, such as this moment in a story I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year:

“Glass of wine?” Rémy asked as he pulled the crimson bottle out of a brown paper sack. He didn’t wait for her response. He decanted the wine in a fluid movement and launched his perfunctory swirl and sniff. “It smells divine,” he said. He closed his eyes and let the wine rush into his mouth. Sarah watched this ritual unfold, as she had for the past seventeen years.

On one of their first dates, she asked him why he closed his eyes as he first tasted the wine. He seemed so mysterious to her, this striking French man, and she wanted to unravel every secret he dangled. He told her that to him, the same wine tastes different if you allow your other senses to come into play. If a woman with the looks and personality of a muskrat cornered him, the wine, no matter how exquisite it might truly be, would taste flabby. Void of character or slightly bitter. On the other hand, should he meet an extraordinary woman, a woman of beauty and wit, a woman he wanted to seduce, the wine would exhibit an exaggerated heat and spiciness. A simple wine could remind him of the taste of a woman, at which point he would be powerless. No, he preferred to close his eyes and allow the taste of the wine to enchant him before a woman, a woman such as herself, could captivate him. However, it was too late for that, wasn’t it? He was already under her spell. 

She found herself naked in his arms a few hours later.

See? No details. Just nakedness.

Although in writing, like in music, details aren’t always necessary for people to grasp your intended destination. Take for instance the lyrics in this song by Lucinda Williams:

She talks about how she can’t stop thinking about this person (her lover/ex-lover/a lover she longs for), and then…

I take off my watch and my earrings
My bracelets and everything
Lie on my back and moan at the ceiling
Oh my baby

Think about you and that long ride
I bite my nails, I get weak inside
Reach over and turn off the light
Oh my baby

No dirty details. Very simple, very hot.

However, if you’re the reader and you’ve invested your time to get to know this character, and suddenly you are the character, you want to fall into those details. You want to be right in the middle of all the messy action. So, how do I write that?  How deep into the action do I really want to go?  How can I even loosen up enough to type the words I need to create the moment?

I’ve discovered three four easy steps to get me all hot and bothered so that I can write away.

1) Pour myself a generous amount of wine.
2) Play some come-hither music. Drink some of the wine and refill the glass.
3) Play some come-hither music.
4) Let go of my inhibitions.

Quite honestly, when the following song plays, I don’t even need the wine. All I have to do is close my eyes and I melt into a daydream. This song itself is hot breath tracing my neck, fingers weaving through hair, a firm hand pressing against the small of my back, pushing me closer, closing any gap between myself and…

Of course, what’s hot for some is not so hot for others.

Do you have problems “getting in the mood” to write sex scenes or do the words flow effortlessly?  How do you prep yourself, so to speak?


10 thoughts on “Er… Sex Scenes?

  1. Yep – I definitely have problems – and one of the biggest ones is the fact that my parents will be reading my work at some point! I haven’t even tried getting past ‘setting the scene’ largely for that reason and that even makes me uncomfortable to give it to them!


  2. I’m a bookseller in my day-job. After Harry Potter, our world was dominated with magician’s apprentices. After the Da Vinci code it was ancient conspiracies. Twilight- vampires. Now that 50 Shades of Grey has set us up for two years of uninterupted erotica, I can’t help but think that sticking to suggestion would help you stand out from the crowd.


    1. Thank you! Yes, I was thinking about all the writers diving into erotica because it seems to be the “hot” genre right now. Forgive me, but I attempted to read Fifty Shades of Grey (attempted, but couldn’t finish it) and thought it the worst writing ever. I know women everywhere love it; I am not one of those women. Not because of the erotica, oddly enough, but because of the writing itself.
      I’m glad I’m receiving this input from other writers. I think I’ll keep the sex scenes simple. Subtle, yet sexy. It’s more my style. Plus, I’ll save my liver from alcohol damage.


      1. It’s a bit odd- My wife is a bookseller type, too, and neither her nor any of the other booksellers we know have shown any interest at all. Those who have tried it can’t get further than the second chapter. They all say the writing is atrocious. One of my sisters read it and couldn’t put it down, though. I’m not going to ask her what she liked about it!


  3. I have never written anything which could possibly be perceived as ‘sexy writing’…let alone attempted to set the scene!

    A very funny post Ms Stodden…

    As a male reader I have always found graphic erotica to be a turn off. I personally enjoy ‘suggestive’ references like the lyrics you presented and the simplicity of your story. I get the point and I don’t need to know more. The imagination does the ‘dirty’ work for you.

    I guess it also depends on the kind of story you’re writing…it has to go hand-in-hand with the style you’re approaching…..starting to mumble here I’m noticing!

    All in all, I think you’ve yet again illustrated you know what’s best for you and your readers 🙂 If that makes any sense…


    1. Thank you. I agree with your comment on style. My story is more about love and the moments we let slip away, which are then stolen by a squirrel. It’s about being lost and trying to find your way “home” (although home isn’t always where we think it is). And it’s about stumbling into a “flip side” of our universe, where nothing is what it seems (yet nothing on our side is what it seems– we just don’t always realize it). So, I don’t think the sex details will be necessary.

      Makes me very happy 🙂


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