January 11, 2016

Talking Shop: Writing Erotic Content

Erotic content must be exactly that: erotic. But good erotica is more than just a graphic sex scene; oh, my, it is so much more.

Where do you feel erotica?
Take a moment to consider the way your body feels in different states of arousal. Imagine the sensations going through your physical form. Everywhere in your physical form. For me, I can feel arousal in the back of my neck and shoulders, welling up in my chest, and shooting down my legs. It isn't just about your sex organs. Keep this in mind, because it's going to be important later.
Think of how you feel, inside and out. Let's get a little deeper here, and think about how your genitals feel, strictly in a state of arousal (not in the midst of sex).  I see a lot of lines like "his cock twitched" or "she was so wet". Nothing wrong with these, but there's more behind those sensations than just hardness or wetness. There's an internal sensation as well, isn't there? I personally like to explore how the arousal which causes erections or wetness feels: I think of it as a sort of blooming, welling sensation that spreads out from the sex organs being fondled or played with.
Consider this: sometimes I can sit back, close my eyes, and merely imagine a sexual encounter, and I experience the sensation of arousal. I'm assuming I'm not the only one in that boat, right?
Long story short: don't ignore the internal and global sensations of arousal that spread through the body. Eroticism is immersive: sexual heat suffuses more than sex organs. Don't neglect the all-over experience.

Where is our head when we experience erotic sensation?
Next, let's talk about mindset. I'm not using the term "emotions" here because while it does include emotions, it's not limited to that. I think my mind is in a completely different place when I'm engaged in arousing behavior versus when I'm not. When I'm experiencing sexual feelings, or when I'm not. Maybe this goes without saying? Then consider this: go deeper, again. Your mind is in a different place when you are in the midst of tender lovemaking versus when you are getting just plain down and dirty, and you wouldn't describe the experience the same way.  Here are some more contrasts.
·       Gentle, first-time sensuality vs. the heat of being fucked from behind.
·       A fun romp with your lover vs. a desperate craving for anal sex.
·       The idea of voyeurism vs. exhibitionism.
·       Riding cowboy vs. double penetration.
·       Anonymous sex vs. the first time you are naked with your soul mate
Your mind will be in a different place for each of these. Each will incite different emotions.
Psychology has a lot to do with the level or eroticism in an encounter. Think of lines like, "he fucked me with his eyes" or "just the thought of it aroused me". How a character seduces his lover includes as much the mindset that lover is in (or the mindset he puts that lover in). Again, think of erotica as being immersive and surround it with the right mental tone and mood.
Consider that being in a different mindset will also bring about different descriptions.
Imagine making love by candlelight. How do you describe the lighting? I would go with mellow, soft, warm, glowing, serene, peaceful, enticing.
Now consider the same candlelit scene, but in a BDSM boudoir with leather, collars, and pegging. Is the light still serene and soft, or is it now alluring, mysterious, wild as it reflects off the gleaming leather, primal as it gives off a naked, clandestine heat?
How do satin sheets feel when you are taking your time with your lover? How do they feel when you are hot and heavy and raring to be fucked?

Erotica Without Sex
So now we've considered: physical sensation, emotion and mindset, perception and description. Let us not forget foreplay, however.
The sexy mindset begins long before the clothes are off, sometimes long before we even make it to the bedroom. Not all erotic content revolves around a sex act, either; the cock doesn't have to make an appearance every time you want your reader getting hot.
Remember when I said those feelings of arousal were going to be very important? Here's where they come in very heavily. Because you can have erotica without sex. This means the majority of the eroticism is going to be conveyed through those sensations and that frisky mindset.
One of the most erotic non-sex-acts I can think of is sharing a sweet dessert. Imagine this scene: a lesbian couple are sitting at a Denny's and they order a sundae to share. Simple enough, cute scene in the diner
Now imagine one of the ladies is feeling intensely erotic and is looking to get her partner revved up, too. Without a single word, can she convey to her girlfriend this deep-down erotic feeling?
Absolutely. With no words, she picks up the long-handled sundae spoon and dips it rather slowly into layers of whipped cream, hot chocolate sauce, cold vanilla ice cream (temperature and texture can be intensely erotic). Then, instead of taking the bite herself, she holds out the laden spoon and touches it to her partner's lips. When her partner opens her mouth, she rewards her with half-lidded eyes and parts her lips just slightly, maybe licks them a little. It's a signal; it means "Mmm, isn't that good?" She takes her time letting her partner savor the delicious dessert, indicating her partner should take her time by not removing the spoon immediately.  Once the first bite is finished, she puts down her spoon and very tenderly licks her lips, leaning a little closer, wordlessly asking her partner to feed her a bite in return.
No words spoken; no sex organs touched. Exceptionally erotic all the same.
I once read a story where two women enjoyed an extremely erotic connection merely by brushing each other's hair. The story grew more fascinating as the author explores how using a tiny comb to stimulate even the soft hair of the pubis can excite a lover in extraordinary ways. And yet, nowhere in the story is there any actual sexual intercourse or penetration, or traditional foreplay.
So here's our word of the day again: immersive. Take all those sensations you considered in Step One and think of applying them in a non-sexual act. Make it sexual that way. Find ways to arouse using all the senses: taste a savory, juicy hunk of steak; smell the sharp, clean scent of a man's aftershave; hear the low, sensual music of jazz playing lightly from an open window somewhere nearby; watch a woman slowly dressing in the morning, sliding on stockings and then her skirt, buttoning her shirt; feel the plush caress of a downy blanket against naked skin.

The Big Finish
Finally, don’t rush a sex scene (even a fast-paced hard fuck). Don't overdo it, but be sure to let your reader connect with the arousal you're offering them. I am always disappointed with sex scenes that describe the action but don't allow me the chance to tune in emotionally and physically to what is happening.
Why do we write erotica? Presumably to arouse. You have to seduce your reader as much as your characters are seducing each other, and if they aren't taking the appropriate amount of time, you're going to wind up with a reader who's not in the right mindset himself, to be imagining the kind of sex he would enjoy.
Be ready to seduce your reader and fuck his mind with your words.
And as always, read, write and be merry!

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