If you write romance, chances are you’ll find yourself pondering how best to describe genitalia and different sexual positions. After all, who wants to read about boring sex?
Having read romance for twenty years, I’ve seen the way sexual descriptions have changed. I still remember one novel where the hero and heroine made love on a parachute spread out on the ground (she was a firefighter who jumped from helicopters into burning forests; he was a rancher who owned a forest). It wasn’t the novelty of sex on a parachute that seared itself on my 14-year-old mind – it was the description of the hero peeling back the heroine’s petals.
Thank God sex scenes are less flowery and more earthy these days.
How can you find ways of making your sex scenes different, without traumatizing your readers?
1. Use interesting language.
I know I’m always banging on about this, but boring language = boring books. If we read the same words over and over, they start to lose their sparkle.
I recently bought The Bald-Headed Hermit and the Artichoke: An Erotic Thesaurus. Not only has it provided me and my husband with countless minutes of amusement, but it also helped me spice up some critical dialogue in a scene (weirdly, not a bedroom scene, but one set at a tee-ball game).
The thesaurus lists thousands of words – from the funny to the vulgar to the head-scratchers – and is a great tool for finding new ways of describing the dirty deed.
However, unless you want to leave your readers with a bad taste in their mouths, I suggest you avoid phrases like “She blew his skin whistle.”
Another word of advice – if your heroine refers to her partner’s bits as ‘Big Jim and the twins’, make sure her father isn’t actually called Jim. Apparently, mentioning a man’s father-in-law during an intimate moment is a real mood-killer. Let your heroine learn from my mistakes.
2. Look in sex books.
I bought Anne Hooper’s Kama Sutra, thinking it would help me come up with ideas for different positions – not weird ones, where you have to draw a diagram to figure out who’s on top, but unusual ones that could still be sexy.
Unfortunately, I’m too distracted by the looks of utter boredom on the faces of the two naked models as they press their privates against each other. And their hair – the feathering! the layers! the shellac!
Do you have any good book suggestions?
3. Watch videos.
Can’t say I’ve ever done this, myself. And since I don’t write erotic romance, I’m not sure I need so much graphic detail. But maybe this works for you.
4. Go with what you know.
I read on one forum about a woman who practices with her husband before writing a scene. Not all the way, she hastened to assure us. Just to figure out where the hero’s hand would be if the heroine were positioned like this, or how her leg could bend that way while she’s doing this to him.
Hey, if you’ve got a willing partner, go for it!
How do you find ways of keeping it spicy in the (fictional) bedroom?