Writing Sex is Harder Than Having Sex
by Mysti Holiday
Just over a year ago, my writing partner, Kealie Shay, challenged me to a duel: we were both going to start and finish a complete erotic romance story of at least 7500 words in 24 hours. If you keep in mind the only erotica I’d written were a few 1000 words stories for Whipped Cream Reviews, and that aside from those, I’d never written a fully consummated love scene in my life, I was clearly feeling both ambitious and a bit delusional.
Shockingly, we both met that goal and my story became “Shut Up & Kiss Me” published by The Wild Rose Press.
When I submitted my story, it was slightly under 8,000 words. Today, it’s almost 13,000 words and the additional 4,000 words are nearly all sex. To be honest, after receiving my first round of edits from my wonderfully patient and supportive editor, Lori, I asked her why she’d contracted my story. Because – OH MY WORD – the edits were intensive, and they were 90% about the sex scenes. Considering this was erotic romance, and that the sex scenes are a big focus, I was and still am amazed.
Here are the facts. I’m a pretty good author. I’m multi-published outside the erotic romance genre, so I know how to string together words. I also used to be an editor, so grammar and I are pretty close friends (we form a tight trio with the Chicago Manual of Style). I suppose this must have reflected through, so Lori felt secure enough in my writing ability. Still, she had to hold my hand for months while we pounded out the sex (hmm... pun intended!).
I never thought I’d get sick of sex. I was wrong. After a few rounds of edits, I never wanted to write about or even think about sex again (my husband did his level best to talk me out of that last bit *wink*).
The simple fact is this: in erotic romance, the reader wants to know every single thing that happens. Every touch, every shiver, every gasp. It’s not enough to have the hero kiss the heroine. As the author, I had to document the way his lips moved, felt, tasted moment by moment.
While I’m certainly no expert and have lots more to learn, I’m miles better than I used to be at this gig. Take a look at some examples between my initial submission and the final, published story.
He braced one hand on either side of her face and imprisoned her against the door. She writhed against him, clearly frustrated that he was taking things so slowly. But after years of waiting, he wasn’t going to rush through.
He kissed the corner of her mouth, traced the outline of her lips with the tip of his tongue. She turned her face in an attempt to capture his mouth in a kiss but he moved away. He made love to her cheek and her throat; he caught her lobe in his teeth and gave it a tug before swirling his tongue in her ear, and then blowing on it. He delighted in the shivers he felt against his body, and repeated everything on the other side of her face.
He braced one hand on either side of her face and imprisoned her against the door. She writhed against him, clearly frustrated he was taking things so slowly.
But after years of waiting, he wasn’t going to rush even one part of this. He’d fantasized how she’d taste, look, feel. How she’d moan when he sucked on her breasts or feasted on her body. How she’d scream his name when she came. Every single moment counted tonight, every one a dream come true. She wasn’t some bar hook-up or a one-night stand.
She was Kasey. And that was so much more.
He tried to ignore the twist of his gut as he realized what was happening, tried to lose himself in the physical sensations, and pretend the feelings inside didn’t exist.
He kissed the corner of her soft mouth, traced the outline of her eager lips with the tip of his tongue. She turned her face in an attempt to capture his mouth in a deeper kiss but he moved away. He made love to her cheek and throat, tasting soap and salt and something uniquely Kasey. He caught her lobe in his teeth and gave it a tug then swirled his tongue in her ear and blew on it.
Her shivers against his body made his cock throb, and despite being desperate to touch her skin-on-skin, to feel her moist center, to roll her nipples between his fingers and have her touching him, he repeated everything on the other side of her face. He caught each sigh, each moan, each shudder and echoed them with his own.
Did you notice that the second version is more than twice as long as the first? I was told that the line “He delighted in the shivers he felt against his body” simply didn’t tell us enough of how he felt and I needed to show how he was affected.
What about this? I thought it was a pretty good scene, until my editor once again poked and prodded and pointed out the things that needed expanding upon to make it better.
His control snapped and he pulled her to the floor, burying his head between her legs. She moaned, writhing against his most intimate kiss. He pushed her legs farther apart and settled between them, sucking on her clit, lapping her cream—had anything ever tasted so good? He pressed a finger into her pussy and then another, pistoning them in and out while he took her over the edge with his mouth. She clutched at his head, pressing it harder against her groin and then convulsed around his fingers with a cry.
With one final lick across her clit, a move that made her jerk, he moved back up her sated body and captured her mouth. She wasn’t going to come down, only move up again and again until she had no energy for more.
He felt her lips curve in a smile against his. Then she pulled away from the kiss, sucked on his ear lobe and said, “My turn.”
His control snapped. He dropped to the floor, pulling her down with him and tore at the tiny straps holding her panties on.
“Mine...” he growled beneath his breath and buried his head between her legs. She moaned, writhing against his most intimate kiss and her legs dropped farther open, allowing him to settle between them, to suck on her clit, lap her juices—had anything ever tasted so good? He thrust a finger into her soaking wet pussy and then another, pistoning them in and out.
Straddling one of her legs and rubbing his jean-encased cock against her knee in the same rhythm as his tongue licked her clit made him shudder as his own climax built.
“Cole, oh, God, Cole...”
Her hands opened and closed against his shoulders as she tipped her pelvis to give him even more access to her core. He sucked her into his mouth again, flicking his tongue across the tip of her clit, then added a third finger inside her cunt. She clutched at his head, shoving it harder against her groin and finally convulsed around his fingers with a cry. After the last spasms from her orgasm squeezed his fingers, he slipped them out. Her body jerked when he gave one final lick across her clit and then slithered up her sated body and captured her mouth. Her stiffened nipples grazed his chest and sent little pulses of awareness through his body.
Her lips curved in a smile against his. Then she broke off the kiss, sucked on his ear lobe, and said, “My turn.”
Again… more than 100 words added to this. In this case, some of it was dialogue because Editor Lori mentioned that my characters were awfully quiet during sex and this wasn’t acceptable either!
And lastly this little tidbit…
She unzipped his pants, and pulled his cock free, loving it with her hands, nibbling carefully up its length. “Mine.”
She took him into her mouth and sucked hard and fast, pumping him to the point she felt his balls tighten in preparation to come. She released him with a pop, and pulled his pants completely off.
She slipped her hands from his loose grasp and unzipped his pants. Her hands danced along the ridge inside his cotton briefs before she pulled his erection free, loving it with her hands, grazing her teeth carefully up its length. “All mine.”
She enveloped him with her mouth and sucked hard and fast, tongue flicking across his length, hand squeezing the base. Caressing his balls, she brushed one fingertip across his rectum. His cock jerked in her mouth. Her lips curved in a tight smile around his shaft at the sure knowledge he was hers for the taking. She pumped him with her mouth and hand to the point that his balls tightened in preparation to come. Her own pants were soaked with the juices of her arousal, and she throbbed with the need to have him inside her.
Kasey released him with a pop, and ignored his words of protest. “Not yet, not yet,” she chanted.
The last scene, above, was originally 193 words from the point she unzipped his pants until they shuddered in completion. The final version? 761 words from unzipping to incredibly satisfying mutual orgasms.
Writing sex isn’t as easy as doing it. You have to pay attention to two bodies and every single thing each body is doing, feeling and how it responds, how it moves, where the hands are, how they’re positioned -- not to mention what’s going on inside at least one person’s mind. Every shiver of awareness, every bead of sweat, every touch, every last shudder. It’s not just about what is going on, though that is important, it’s about HOW IT FEELS.
Right now I’m working on a story that has one ménage scene, because four hands, two bodies and one penis wasn’t enough… I needed six hands, three bodies and two yummy penises to keep track of. Double the work… but double the fun!
About the author: Mysti Holiday is the pseudonym of a very busy SAHM who dreams of warm climes and hot bodies. Most people know she writes, but not what she writes about: sexy men and the wanton women who love them.
She's married to a wonderful man who happily sacrifices himself for research, and she spends most of her days dreaming of interesting and unusual situations in which to place her characters. But most of all, she's a sucker for a happy ending.
Visit Mysti at her website: http://www.menagerieauthors.com and join Mysti and her friends for a hot Hump Day picture on Wednesday, and mouth-watering hotties every Saturday on their blog: http://www.menagerieauthors.blogspot.com !