Exercises, University, Writing

A quick guide to the basics of writing erotica

Picture by Rob Spierre

“We are dealing with sex. We’re going to be embarrassed and everything will have a double meaning. We’re not even going to try and rise above it.” — Sara Bailey

Sex is both blushing difficult to write and wonderfully simple. There is a larger market for erotica fiction than you might think, too, so it might be something to consider when food on the table is lacking! I’m joking. Kind of.

I’m going to share with you what my professor, Sara Bailey, has shared with us in our beginning lessons about how to approach writing erotica.

First off, why is it called ‘erotica’ and not ‘porn’? What’s the difference? To put it simply:
Erotica teases, it is not immediately sexy.
Pornography is in your face, masturbation material.

Simple enough, right? Erotica is glimpses of skin, lingerie, thoughts of what might happen: tension, tension, tension before any boobs appear or penetration happens.

Sex should be simple but it rarely is, it’s linked with our emotions whether you’re male or female, and different people think of sex differently again regardless of being male or female. The thing to cling to as you write erotica is: is it turning you on? If not then you’re writing it wrong. Yes, you need to be able to make yourself excited and blush like a beetroot as you write down the character’s secret thoughts and motivations. Funnily enough, it’s like writing a story but an extra inimate one with a stimulating purpose.

Things to remember when writing sex or foreplay:

— It is NOT a medical guide.
Use emotive, descriptive, sensational language that heats up your skin and senses. Don’t describe each movement or body part. This isn’t a guide to sex, it’s about being sexy.

— It IS about intimacy; senses, surroundings.

— You DO need a good story; good characters.
Two bodies walking into a room isn’t erotica, that’s porn. We’re writing a story that the reader can invest in. They must crave for the characters to touch each other.

— Keep it simple.
Insert tab A into slot B (or C, depending on your preference). As soon as Fiona starts putting her leg over John’s shoulder and her other leg around his waist, then thrusting her sideways it becomes confusing and, quite often, improbable. If you want to write positions other than missionary be sure that it’s feasible.

— Research
Sex is simple but if you’ve never slept with someone and you’re unsure how anatomy works, what can be used as lube, what a vagina looks like, how gay people have sex: look it up. The internet and even the library will tell you a lot. Don’t assume you know how sex works from reading amateur erotica (like fanfiction) or watching films – this includes watching porn. Porn is not real and most porn stars have had days to prepare for the more adventurous ‘acts’ they perform.

— Don’t be afraid to write what you know.
Or find out what you don’t.

— Humour IS allowed.
Because sex is funny and it’s never as smooth as Hollywood would have us believe.

— Remember sometimes the sexiest scenes are when nothing apparently sexual happens.

— Your characters don’t just want sex.
Sex is great an’ all, but there are other things in life.

— Relationships ARE important.

— Your fear is your best friend.
Trust your instincts. Approaching erotica is hard and I still blush when I write it. I agonise for at least five-ten minutes before I can bring myself to write the word ‘cock’ (and cock is a great word). Don’t be afraid to write kinky words. Urgency and being afraid of sexual urgency is partly what makes sex exciting.

— Finally, if it turns you on you’re doing something right.
Yeah, you can turn yourself on. Don’t be ashamed. Heat is the aim of the game.

First, write down all the words used in sexual fiction that you have problems with. This can be words you hate or words you feel uncomfortable using, e.g. pussy, dick, pound. Now put those words aside.

Next, think of words that please you and write those down. Why do they please you? What is your reaction? Physical? Emotional? Spiritual? Good words might be heat, touch, urgency, wet, flush, throb.

Now write a scene using the words you hate and love. Make especially sure to use the words you hate and be descriptive when the ‘moment of truth’ happens.

When you’re satisfied with this scene (keep it to a page if you can) your next challenge is to write an ‘almost scene’ between two people. Build up the tension but don’t give into desire.

Now, because I’m brave, I’ll share with you what I wrote for class. Enjoy and happy writing!

Give Into Me
Li-Ling closed the gap Friedrich had created and tilted her head to the side. “When do you have to leave?” she asked. The cotton sheets beneath her hand were begging her to lie down on top of them.

He kept his face plain; his Adam’s apple moving as he swallowed. “When everything is sorted,” he whispered.

“What if that takes a long time?” she whispered back, leaning closer to him as if conspiring. His eyes darted to her lips and warmth travelled over Li-Ling’s shoulders and through her breasts.

“I don’t know.” His voice was disappearing. There was nothing else Li-Ling could think the say. There was nothing else she wanted to say. The intimate touch of another person was what she craved and had done for a long time now. Unable to stand the indecisive space between them, Li-Ling made her choice and tipped her chin up. Her lips brushed against his.

Friedrich seemed uneasy, his eyes peering down at her as if this were painful. She moulded her lips around his bottom one, applying a soft and calming pressure. He responded with the same gentleness and a wonderful sensation poured through her limbs, releasing the tension in the back of her mind.

His hand slid around her waist and heat throbbed between her legs. Li-Ling’s concentration hazed as she imagined each throb as a thrust of Friedrich’s cock. His hand swept up her neck and through her hair, and Li-Ling longed for his hand to sweep down over her breasts. She could tell Friedrich was still unsure despite his heaving chest. Li-Ling supposed it would be sweet if she didn’t desire to see him urgent. She wanted him to take her, hard, and leave nothing untouched.

She pressed her hand to his leg and slid it up until her palm found his hardening dick. A gruff hum filled his throat and her cheeks burned as Friedrich took her knee and pulled Li-Ling onto his lap. If only she hadn’t changed out of her dress. Through her clothes Li-Ling felt his straining cock. A smile came over her as his lust betrayed him.

They rocked together, the friction pulsing through both of them. Her knickers grew wet and nothing else mattered. Li-Ling could hardly believe she would be satisfied at last and with someone forbidden. After knowing his touch she knew she would crave Friedrich again.

“Can I have you?” he said against her neck.

A moan accompanied her eager reply. Pleasure tingled through her thighs as Friedrich undid her trousers and Li-Ling tried to muster the courage to do the same to him without trembling too much. The unexplored body of a man with experience both intimidated and excited her. She had hoped to continue in his lap, to thrust him on the edge of the bed, but Li-Ling found herself made breathless to let Friedrich take control.

He tried to prolong the undressing, kissing down her thighs, but Li-Ling couldn’t stand waiting. Before he could inch off her top she made them tumble onto the bed, half-dressed and Friedrich didn’t complain. With a devious smile he brushed the tip of his cock over Li-Ling’s clit and she shuddered, sighing. When he finally entered her, swelling with pleasure, Li-Ling closed her eyes and knew she had found not only satisfaction but a man who warmed her heart.


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