How to Write Erotica
A beginners guide to writing erotic fiction.
Erotica is essentially the art of seduction by describing sex with words. It’s not a textbook. Take your time. Tease your audience and titillate them through the screen. Prime them for that perfect climax because then, when it cums, it'll be so much better.
You don't need to say, “He penetrated her vagina with his penis” nor do you need to say, “She stretched her ass with her rubber-gloved fingers, inserting them until the ring was precisely five centimetres in diameter.”
Description is important, trust me, but over-description will kill your book.
Never be scared of using words like dick, penis, cock, vagina or pussy - if you sound embarrassed by what you're writing then the reader will cringe away. But don’t go too far down the metaphor rabbit-hole. Don’t go into levels of ‘her glistening axe-wound’ or ‘his rock-hard fireman's pole’. I would steer away from words like length, too - when describing a penis. Some people don’t mind it, but, for myself and a lot of people I know, it feels unnecessarily Victorian. We know you’re talking about a cock; if you can’t use the word in the privacy of your own head, then why are you writing a story about sex?
In short: Don’t be shy.
Don’t write anything that’s beyond imagining or needs the people involved to be full-on contortionists to pull off, and don’t be shy about experimenting. Keep writing, and read erotica before, after and during your writing. The more you get used to how others use the language around sex, the more you'll find what you do and do not like.
See the end of this piece for a list of words to use and avoid.
Don’t be afraid to include dirty talk within your writing. People do say things during sex, after all. The difference between good dirty talk and bad dirty talk is whether or not it's appropriate for the setting.
For example, if a character gets off by being talked at in a derisive way, then don’t step back from it. What your characters say and what you think are two very different things.
If you've set your character up as a hot-headed, domineering play-boy, then you can't have him stumbling his way through sex as if it's his first time.
I have a character who really gets turned on by talking 'down' to his partners when he’s fucking them. That's his thing. He was brought up in a homophobic setting and so has learned all sorts of 'bad' words through the years. They pour out of him when he’s fucking and when he found his totally-not-boyfriend - a power bottom with a huge chip on his shoulder - he let it all come out.
He says things like, “Oh, you fucking love my hard cock in your ass, don’t you, you fucking man-whore. You filthy fucking faggot. I know you want me to pound you until you can’t move. You know what? I think I’ll destroy your ass and leave you lying here on the street for anyone to use after I'm done with you.”
The character he’s talking to loves it, but they both know it’s just talk. It's the idea of being used and abused that the character loves, but they both understand that it's just talk. They care deeply for each other and for them, it’s all part of the ‘scene’.
Personally, I’d never talk like that to anyone in my life, but David would. The key to keeping the scene together and helping your readers to remain emersed is telegraphing how each character feels about what's going on. Use thoughts, moans and even come-backs to let the reader know how everyone's feeling and what sort of reaction the words are getting.
Most of all...
Don’t be afraid that people will think your characters are you.
This also leads to my next point.
Write what you know.
And by that, I don’t mean that you have to go out and fuck the world. I mean read...a lot.
If you don’t know how gay men or women fuck and you have a scene of that nature coming up, then...research it. Watch some porn and read some good erotica. You can find a lot for free and you’ll soon be able to tell the people who have done the work and those who haven’t.
Bodies aren't something to be ashamed of, but not everyone knows everything about them. One of the classical differences that you'll come across between men and women in the bedroom, is that people understand that women can have a lot more orgasms than the average man. But, did you know that men can have multiple orgasms too? Most people don't, but it's true. If you don’t believe me, google prostate massage.
RESEARCH is your friend...and hey, you get to watch people fuck, read about people fucking and think about people fucking...for your work! How awesome is that?
It’s not the be-all and end-all of sex, but if your characters are kinky, then you’re gonna have to learn about that world as well. So be prepared to delve into some interesting corners of the internet...and wonder at what you can find on Pinterest with the right keywords.
You can not half-ass kink. If your characters are just learning about it, you could have them consider researching as well. However, if they're experienced, then you can’t have them making newbie mistakes. Consider what's appropriate for them, and then research until you fully understand everything that your characters should.
This is very important to give your story setting and to convey what your protagonist is like in their head.
If your book is more romance based and set in modern times between two average Jo’s, then please, make sure that both parties say yes. You don’t have to make a big deal about it. It can be done so simply.
“So,” Laura whispered. “How about we both take this to the next level?”
John swallowed. He’d never expected anyone like her to be interested in him and as he opened his mouth to reply, he felt the words get lost somewhere along the way. “Yeah,” he choked. “Yeah, let’s do this.”
“You want to fuck me, don’t you? You want to stick that big,” she let the words roll from her crimson lips. “Hard, cock into my pussy?”
“Yes,” John whimpered. “So much.”
Laura smirked and spun on her spiked heal as she headed for the back room. “Then follow me,” she said. John couldn’t get out of his chair fast enough. Tonight was the night all his dreams came true.
This happens a lot too and, yes, it can be done well, but this is where you have to remember that there is a huge difference between Fantasy and Reality.
IT IS OK TO WRITE ABOUT CHARACTERS WHO ARE IN DUBIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES.
I repeat, it is. But make sure that people know what they’re getting into. Dubious consent is a huge area of erotica as well as non-consent.
Rape fantasies are real (from both perspectives) and it is fine to write about them, but again, please do them justice and let your readers know that the world you are describing is one of fantasy.
There are areas like Hypnotic Sex that can fall into all three categories, depending upon how you write it. Your character could ask to be hypnotised and specifically say it’s for sexual purposes. They could be the hypnotist that abuses their clients and then wipes their memory, or they could be the client that gets taken advantage of but loves it and comes back for more.
There are so many possibilities, but the thing that I would stress here is nuance. Remember, you're painting in words for your audience, and you want to do that with integrity. Describe the world in your head and don’t apologise for it. But do, where possible, telegraph what's going to happen. Your readers are adults and treating them as such will go a long way to immersing them in your story.
In the end, have fun. Because sex is fun. It really is. Your characters will smile, moan, scream and laugh. It’s all about connection, make sure that there is one and you’ll be good to go.