Sexy Scenes - Between the Sheets




Toying with the idea of tossing a sex scene, or two, or three in your novel, but you’re afraid to go from first base to all the way? I understand completely. You’ve come to the right place. Pull up your big girl drawers. Just joking, that’s not sexy at all. Slip on your lace panties. Now we’re working it. Wine glasses up, we’re cruising into adult territory.



The first time I wrote a sex scene, I asked myself a bonanza of questions. “Did I just write that?” “Can I write that?” “What if my family reads this?” “Am I including the, ahem, essentials?” “Is this seductive enough?” “Is the foreplay believable?” Is there enough foreplay?” “Too much?” “Is my sex scene, cliché?” “How do I name the body parts?” Should I name them?” “Am I writing a cozy, PG-rated sex scene, under the covers and insinuating sexual activity?” (Hey, don’t dismiss it, many a sex scene has been written innuendo-style.) “Am I planning on leaving the door wide open and going full-tilt erotica?”


Decisions, decisions. I contemplated someplace in between. I decided to leave debauchery off the page, but still turn up the heat with sophisticated language and sensual and sensory details.


Sometimes words can prove tricky when writing about nooky. (Yeah, maybe don't use that word.) I mean you need to decide, but think about whether you want to use anatomically correct words when portraying a beautiful and hot lovemaking scene? It's just my opinion but I think words like penis and vagina detract from the sensuality.


Sensory details are important: the weight of his warm body pressing against hers, his fresh scent driving her wild, the sound of his feverish breathing, the sweet smell of her perfume as he nuzzles near her neck, her soft panting keeping time with each thrust, the taste of his tongue as it mingles with hers, the sensual feel of his wandering fingers . . . oops, okay dialing it back, this is just a blog post LOL


They're on fire though, so don't forget the emotion, people. Describe her facial expressions, the longing in her eyes, her parted luscious lips forming into a perfect "O" at just the right moment, eyes rolling into the back of her head, the pleasure, the release, and yes, the subtle moan, or two, or three. Describe his serious, determined, single-focused expressions, his eyes combing every inch of her as his hands and heart-shaped lips roam freely, those lips parting with a sweet smile as he moves in for a carnal kiss, and his obvious wanton desire as he grunts then sighs with satisfaction.



I’m smoldering over here, ready for a smokeshow! Just kidding, but I do have heat at the ready. When I ventured into forbidden territory to draft my first ever sex scene, I closed my eyes and pictured the characters experiencing intimacy for the first time. I thought about what they may be feeling, saying, and thinking. Were they somewhat awkward and uncomfortable or so in sync they couldn’t wait to rip each other’s clothes off?


Hmm. I felt I needed to build sexual tension and lead up to climax.


Seduction comes in many forms: the brushing of his hand against her cheek, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, slowly unbuttoning her blouse, sweeping a gentle hand over her covered breast, skimming her skirt from hip to bottom and back again, scattering soft kisses down her neck, tugging him close by the lapels of his suit jacket, ripping his top off, unzipping his pants in a gradual, coquettish manner, and finally tumbling onto the bed together, or an office desk, or the kitchen floor. In other words, a slow burn! For me there had to be romance and passion leading to sexy foreplay, sultry action, steamy climax, and the cool down with cuddles. Yeah, I said cuddles! These are my characters and story. You do you, and I’ll do me.



What about dialogue? It doesn’t belong! Says who? Not me. Insert some intimate and loving dialogue or have your male lead crack a joke at exactly the right moment to cover awkward intimacy or make his partner giggle. Not your style? Throw in dirty talk. Not in your comfort zone? Pull-out of the dirty-banter lane and whisper a few suggestive comments. Not your jam? Pop the character’s inner thoughts into a sentence or two.



Switch things up. Surprise your protagonist with a love interest who’s normally sweet, and change him into a bad-boy who takes her to the edge in bed. Use the sexy librarian literary trope. Your female protagonist is all tight bun and pencil skirt until she strips down to her sexy lingerie and jumps all over her love interest. You get the idea!



One last thingy about your between-the-sheets scenes, make them believable. Don't exaggerate his junk to such unrealistic proportions that his partner swoons with an orgasm before they even get rocking and rolling. Remember that sex can be a messy business so, don't make every stimulating scene picture-perfect. Lastly, arousal is key, but watch your adjectives. Try to stay within subtle word bounds that still spice things up instead of silly flowery words that die in a sea of moans and groans.











Hi. I'm Liz Ambrico, freelance proofreader and aspiring author. I too am querying agents, editors, and publishers in hopes of becoming a published author.

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I co-founded and managed a successful author and writer group on Long Island for five years. During events with publishers and authors I learned what matters, what agents are looking for, and the benefits and pitfalls of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.

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