E.C. Jarvis: Things to Avoid When Writing Erotica/love Scenes – Our Write Side

April 4, 2016March 14, 2016

Note from the CEO: We support all writing here on Our Write Side. From time to time, we will cover topics on romance and erotica. E.C. Jarvis is our resident Erotica and Steampunk author.

Warning: Please be aware there are some naughty words to follow, due to the nature of this blog. If you are easily offended then please don’t read on.

You know what’s interesting? If you write something and have a moderate level of success in that arena, you are almost instantly considered a sort of expert on that topic. There is no validation for your expertise beyond that. It is therefore amusing to me that people view me as a font of knowledge when it comes to all things erotica. Would you like to know a secret? I’m no expert. I’m no real-life sex crazed mad woman who has been with hundreds of men (and women) in every conceivable position and/or setting. I’m just not that way inclined. I am, however, a fantasist. I have vivid dreams usually involving fictional characters (generally I dream in third person – as a fly on the wall, not with myself involved in the action) and yes, some of these dreams are a tad naughty. This is what makes me able to write.

Being an erotica author is really no different to being an author of any other genre (and yes I have written in other genres, so I can speak as a voice of experience in that regard). There aren’t really any extra rules to follow that you can’t apply to writing any other sort of scenes.

That said, there is a definite art to writing erotica/love scenes.

Let’s start with the real basics

  • Avoid all anatomical descriptions – if I have to tell you this, then I worry for you. No, readers do not want to read about the squelching noise that is made when a man inserts his penis into a lady’s vagina… there are ways to gently insert (pardon the pun) that detail if you must, but not in that manner. If you are writing a love scene from a factual standpoint then you are doing it wrong.
  • Limit your use of adjectives when referring to body parts. Don’t repeatedly describe your male character’s penis as being ‘big’ or ‘gargantuan’… in fact please don’t ever use that last one unless you’re writing an erotic comedy.
  • Chose just one or two descriptive words for the sexy body parts and stick to them. Don’t think you need to refer to a penis as something different each time you mention it, and please for the love of all that exists, don’t ever describe a woman losing her virginity as having lost ‘her flower’. You are writing erotica, not porn for imbeciles.
  • You can be descriptive without being vulgar. Vulgarity is not necessary and will take your work to a level that you might not intend.

Like I said, there is an art to writing love scenes. There is a fine line between a twee sickly sweet, sugar-coating of what is actually going on, and the opposite of complete vulgarity.

Really all it takes is the same amount of care and attention that you should put into the writing of any other scene. The writing needs to have a place within the whole story, to advance the plot or add dimension to your characters in some way. If you’re writing sex just for the sake of putting it in (ahem, really no pun intended) then it doesn’t belong there.

My final piece of advice is to read some erotica. There is a huge market out there, some of it is great – some of it is truly awful. Read it all because it’s the only real way to learn what works and what doesn’t, and if you don’t know where to start then I know a certain book by a certain blog post writer that might be just the thing you need…