Whether you like 'em every other chapter or as a grand finale at the end of a love story, sex scenes can make or break a romance. Writing a good sex scene isn't easy, and today paranormal romance author Boone Brux reveals that it isn't always glamorous, either! The author of Shield of Fire and more recently, Kiss of the Betrayer, Brux shares her essential tips for writing a smoldering sex scene.
Heaving, throbbing, pulsing—sex in romance novels is more popular than ever. But what trials and tribulations does a writer face when crafting some of the most anticipated passages in a book? You might think that your favorite author merely opens her current work-in-progress, lays fingers to the keyboard, and dances out a ballet of sexual perfection in about an hour. Don’t I wish?
As an author who has written many a steamy scene, I can tell you that the end result doesn’t necessarily mirror the process. In my case, I craft these scenes in the morning when I’m still in my wongie-waistbands and sweatshirt, sucking down a bucket of coffee, and about as far from aroused as one woman can get.
The first thing I decide is what heat level I’ll make the scene. Am I using a feather approach or going for the whole chicken? It really depends on who I’m writing for. There are specific guidelines if the book is for a publisher.
Normally I already have an idea about what kind of sex scene I’ll be crafting—oral or full intercourse. Each encounter has its pitfalls. Call it wishful thinking, but unless there’s a specific reason, like furthering the plot, my heroine always gets to have her orgasm—always. And it’s spectacular, life-shattering, she may even hear angels singing. Getting her to this point is sometimes arduous.
The hero must have good technique and awareness of his partner’s needs. It’s delicate down there and he can’t come off like he’s in a pie eating contest or gnawing on a hindquarter of a caribou. Likewise, when my hero is getting pleasured, he can’t become so aroused he chokes the heroine. He can’t be selfish, unless it’s part of his growth arch. If my alpha readers want to beat him about the head with a rolled up magazine, I know the scene needs tweaking.
Intercourse, whether sweet or rough, should read like a well-choreographed dance. We all have enough reality in our lives. Sex scenes in romance novels are about fantasy, the perfect situation between the characters we’ve become invested in. They always smell good, despite the fact they’ve been riding a horse all day. Even if the heroine was just painfully deflowered, she’s usually willing to stick it out for the big payoff, which of course the hero can deliver.
Sometimes it’s the little things that trip me up. How many times did I use nipple? What’s another word for nipple? What’s a different description for what her nipple is doing? Being more creative isn’t necessarily better. For example, penis wins out over turgid pleasure rod, Captain Winkie, meat whistle, or Harry Wang. Most of the time simple is better. I don’t want the reader’s to stumble on a description and be pulled out of the story.
Once the book is written, it heads off to my editor. The comments I receive back on a sex scene are usually the most fun to read. Let me share a few from my personal collection and some from my author friend’s.
“I think you can rise above calling her girlie bits by a cute name. Call it what it is.”
“Can she do that in the position she’s in?”
“I’m not following this. Where’s her leg?”
“Here her desire is coursing through her. In a previous chapter anxiety coursed through her. You’ve got a lot of things coursing through this girl.”
“What does he taste like?” Author response: “I don’t know. He tastes like skin.”
“Whew, I think my panties caught fire.”
Editors, they’re so fun.
When all the nuts and bolts have been tightened, hopefully the reader is presented with an intimate scene so powerful there isn’t a hose cold enough to break those lovers apart. Writing sex can be tedious and time consuming, but somebody has to do it.
- Boone Brux
You can pick up both of Boone Brux's Bringer and the Bane books, available online now! For more sexy love stories check our Everything Erotica Page.