Today I have a treat for you. The lovely and talented Tiffany Reisz has offered to give us the low down on writing rough sex...well not like you're thinking, but...oh, you'll see.
Thank you, Hot Roni, for letting me infiltrate your shiny new blog to talk about a favorite topic of mine—ROUGH SEX.
No, not that kind of rough sex. There are two kinds of rough sex in the erotica world.
Type #1 is sex that’s rough to have—passionate, straining, intense, powerful…teeth digging into shoulders and thighs, fingers leaving bruises, thrusts that feel they’ll kill you and save you at the same time.
Type #2 is sex that’s rough to write. And that is today’s topic.
In erotica and erotica romance, explicit and frequent sex scenes are a must. And the everyday heterosexual vanilla missionary position stuff just won’t cut it with hardcore readers who want to be shocked, awed, and deliciously violated by your writing. Common types of sex scenes in erotica include Same Sex Scenes, Ménage Scenes, and BDSM Scenes. Unfortunately, these sexy as hell scenes to read are an unholy bitch to write.
Sex scenes are the “action” scenes in erotica and erotic romance. These are our version of car chases. They get the reader’s blood pumping, the heart racing, the juices flowing. But think about what a film director has to do to set up a car chase—block off streets, find stunt drivers, storyboard every shot, and set up cameras to catch all the angles…Sex scenes can be nearly as stressful. A writer stresses over every single moment of the scene, playing Twister with her characters, contorting them into the right position as she attempts to take a beautiful, intense erotic visual image and express it in words alone.
But same sex, ménage, and BDSM scenes pose unique challenges beyond even those of regular sex scenes.
In same sex and ménage scenes, pronouns become a nightmare. For example…
He touched his cock.
Okay, who touched whose cock? Did Steve touch Steve’s cock? Or did Steve touch Adam’s cock?
In a threesome scene writers run into the same problem.
She kissed his lips and moaned while he caressed her breasts.
Did Jane kiss Steve’s lips and moan while Steve caressed her breasts? Or was Jane kissing Steve while Adam caressed her breasts? I’m not sure but I’m a little envious of Jane.
Of course, using names instead of pronouns helps matters. But after a few sentences of Adam rubbed Steve’s cock while Steve panted in Adam’s ear. Adam felt Adam’s heart beating hard against Steve’s chest…you sort of want to kill yourself.
BDSM scenes can be just as tricky to write. Go to www.stockroom.com and browse for a few minutes. Imagine trying to explain to non-kinky readers what each of those toys are for, how they work, how they’re used, how they feel when used, and all without slowing the story or killing the momentum. Some writers aim for hyper-realism and go into great detail about each toy and how it’s used. Other writers keep it vague and let the reader do the work. Want to use a Wartenberg Wheel in a scene? Do you take four sentences to describe it for readers who have never heard of it? Or do you just assume they either know what it is or are smart enough to Google it and find out? The game of mental Twister writers play with characters gets a lot more complicated when you throw ropes, chains, and spreader bars into the mix. Plus us kinksters who have done it know how erotic and exhilarating a beating can be, but readers who have never experienced the pleasures of pain will likely be put off if the writer dwells too much on the S&M in a BDSM scene.
So what’s a writer of rough sex to do?
I don’t have all the answers. But here are a few tips gleaned from writing a shit-ton of sex scenes of nearly every conceivable variety.
- Although it goes against this third person only writer’s grain to even utter these words, consider writing your same sex story in 1st person. Then instead of dealing with he/he you have he/me/I. (Employ 1st person with caution. Erotica in 1st person often reads like a Penthouse Letter. For a fantastic example of 1st person same-sex erotic romance, read BY THE BOOK by Scarlett Parrish.)
- Stay vague. Seriously, a long drawn out eight-page sex scene can be more exhausting than enjoyable to read. A good sex scene is like a vagina—it’s at its best when hot and tight. Don’t stress over every single hand placement, every single kiss or touch. When you remember the great sex you had last week or last month or twenty years ago, most likely you are remembering the emotions it stirred in you. Focus more on the feelings of the characters and a little less on the *coughs* blow-by-blow. Even if the act you’re writing isn’t something the reader fantasizes about (getting flogged, for example), it can still move the reader if you focus on how much the character enjoys it.
- In a ménage scene, stay entirely in the head of the character doing the least stuff. Let that character be an observer detailing for the reader what’s going on. I’ve only had one threesome and during it I did much more watching than participating, as I was the newbie with an established couple. Use that sort of dynamic to create an in for your reader.
- Also in ménage scenes, don’t make everything happen all at once. Let Jane take turns with Adam and Steve, having sex with them one at a time during the more detailed part of the scene. When all three of them are in it together, let the edges of the scenes go a little fuzzy, focus on what she’s feeling more than what’s actually happening.
- In BDSM, avoid the temptation to clutter your scene with every toy and pain implement in existence. Pick one or two and focus on those.
- Also in BDSM, choose your toys wisely. Don’t just pick a flogger because that’s what you like personally. Think about what’s going on with the characters, where they are in their relationship. For a kink beginner, handcuffs or a blindfold might be as intense as he or she can realistically handle. For kink veterans, show them casually engaging in intense BDSM as well-trained Dominants and submissives would. In THE SIREN, when my female main character Nora (a Dominatrix and an erotica writer) is with a trained submissive, she employs a great deal of pain and dominance. With her mostly vanilla editor she’s attempting to seduce, she holds back and slowly woos him into her world a little at a time.
- In all three types of scenes, let your characters do some of the play-by-play. Dominants I’ve played with often talked to me throughout the scene and explained what they were going to do to me. Don’t feel like your entire sex scene has to be narration. Instead of having Steve think about touching Adam’s cock, let him say, “I love feeling your cock in my hands.” A little dialogue goes a long way when writing a rough sex scene.
If you want to see some of my tricks of the trade in action, click HERE for excerpts from my own rough sex writing.
Thanks, Roni! Thanks, Readers!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m meeting Adam, Steve, and Jane for lunch. Yeah…um, lunch.
Tiffany Reisz lives in Lexington, Kentucky with two roommates, two cats, one dog, and one ex-boyfriend. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is making both her parents and her professors proud by writing erotica under her real name. She has five piercings, one tattoo, and has been arrested twice.
When not under arrest, Tiffany enjoys Latin Dance, Latin Men, and Latin Verbs. She dropped out of a conservative southern seminary in order to pursue her dream of becoming a smut peddler. Johnny Depp’s aunt was her fourth grade teacher.
Her Spice Brief novella SEVEN DAY LOAN was given five fingers out of five by Romantic Times book reviewer Andrew Shaffer, ie Evil Wylie. Her debut full-length novel THE SIREN was released by Harlequin Spice in September 2011. The sequel THE ANGEL comes out in 2012. She has two Spice Briefs, The NEW YORK MERMAID and THE DRAGON, out in 2012 as well.
If she couldn’t write, she would die.
Thanks, Tiffany! And y'all feel free to ask any questions, I have a feeling Tiffany won't be afraid to answer much of anything. :) And if hearing Tiffany talk about all these things has you wanting to read more, you can buy her Harlequin Spice novella SEVEN DAY LOAN. It's less than three bucks people and it's fabulous. Go treat yourself. :)
Have you ever struggled writing a love scene? What do you find most challenging?