Keeping Track of the Elbows: Writing Sex Scenes

Debut erotica author Kathleen Dienne shares her secrets on writing steamy sex scenes.

No one ever asks crime writers if they murder people, but a lot of people think that authors who write sex scenes are transcribing their real life adventures. 

We're not. At least, I'm not. And the ménage scene in my novella Her Heart’s Divide is definitely not coming from any real life experience. The few times where I’ve had the chance to be in a real life group sex scene, I’ve said no – to my thinking, that many elbows in one bed is just asking for someone to get poked in the eye. 

It’s still hot to think about, though, right? But it takes planning. When more than two people are in the same sex scene, a little choreography is required. 

The way I manage the process is one of the many reasons I’m glad I work from home instead of from a coffee shop. 

Step One: Dream a Little Dream. It sure doesn’t look like I’m working. I’m running the whole scene over in my head with a little smile on my face. My hands might be doing laundry, but it’s my brain that needs a cold water rinse.

Step Two: Details, Details. When I need specific help that my brain can’t visualize, the Internet is a wonderful thing. I don’t mean porn, either. There is one website (feel free to email me for the link) where there are hundreds of little animated clips illustrating what goes where in what order for just about every position you can imagine. And a whole bunch more that you can’t imagine, either. My goodness.

Step Three: Vogue. I’m dating myself a bit here, but those of you who remember the vogue dance craze just started laughing. You put your hands and arms into different positions and hold each pose for just a second. Well, that’s pretty much what I do. Keeping track of hands can be tricky, but nothing can ruin a scene faster than realizing that the hero must have four hands to be doing what the author claims he is doing. And women are flexible, but no one can see their own shoulder blades. Some of us can’t hardly see our own behinds, which is sort of a blessing, really. At any rate, when things are going hot and heavy, I’ll put one of my own hands into the positions assumed by the active character, and type with the other hand until I’ve got the scene roughed out. No one handed typing jokes, please.

Step Four: The Live Model. Despite what I said earlier, sometimes you just need to take your information from real life. That doesn’t mean I rush out to find a threesome date on Craigslist. It means I walk up to my unsuspecting husband, rearrange his limbs to reflect the situation I’m struggling with, and generally treat him like a pliable (clothed) mannequin while I keep track of where the elbows are going. 

The result, at least in my novella, is one very happy and satisfied heroine.

For more about Kathleen Dienne and her work, visit her website.