You’ve heard the jokes. Get married, stop having sex. Blog posts, advice columnists, and women’s magazines around the world try to tell you how to “keep the magic alive.” Roll play, sex toys, different locations, positions, and even things like whipped cream and dirty talk are all on the table.
The same rules apply to an author’s sex scenes.
A few months ago, I read a boxed set of an author’s six books. The books were good. Strong, sexy alpha males, smart females who could hold their own, steamy sex scenes. At least for book one. But then I read book two. The sex scenes were almost identical. Swap out the names and the location, and you had the same sex scene. Book three continued the pattern. As did book four. You can probably guess how this ends.
The problem isn’t necessarily with the author’s writing. Taken separately, the books were each great. It was only when read one after another that the repetition really came through. We’re all guilty of it. We have favorite phrases, favorite positions, and favorite sensations. But if you’re a romance author, you’ve got to keep it fresh and new with each book.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years.
Make a list of each character’s favorite quirks, positions, and body parts. Is your hero an ass man? Then make sure that he does a little booty fondling. Maybe his favorite position is taking his lover from behind. Is your heroine particularly fond of her man’s sexy stubble? Write in some deep kissing and mention the textures as he goes down on her or the sound that her fingertips make as she caresses his cheek.
Use location. It’s not all about the bodies. Sex (and sexy scenes) aren’t only about the two people. After all, it really boils down to the primary body parts. To keep things fresh, bring in the scent of a spring rain outside the lovers’ window. Are candles burning? Is there steam from a recent shower? Is the moon visible? Stars? What does the bed feel like under them? Or the couch? Is there anyone else around? A sleeping child in the next room? A roommate? Small mentions of these things sprinkled in will add some variation and make sure that your first book’s sex scenes aren’t the same as the second book’s scenes.
Pick one or two aspects of the lovemaking to focus on each time. And vary them. Perhaps the first sex scene is all about the kissing. Sure, they can do it, but they’re getting to know one another. Talk about the saltiness of sweat, the scent of aftershave or perfume, the texture of the skin (leathery or supple), the curves of the ear lobe being nibbled. In the next scene, move on to another focus. Maybe this time you bring in more sounds. Moans, gasps, cries. Perhaps your hero has decided that he loves the sound the heroine makes when he bites her nipple. Emphasize that. Next time, perhaps she tastes him. If he’s gone down on her every other scene, perhaps the third scene starts with her returning the favor. But here’s the key. You need to switch these things up differently in every book. For example, in my latest book, the heroine had never performed fellatio. Because of that, and because she hadn’t had great sexual experiences in the past, I kept the scenes sweeter with fewer details. It wouldn’t have been appropriate to have these two characters having sex on a bar, for example.
Using some of these tips will help keep your sex scenes from turning formulaic. The sex scenes in that boxed set all followed the same recipe. Kissing, pheromones (it was a paranormal book), bodies melding together, nipple play, oral, penetration, hair pulling, orgasm, cuddling. Not all characters should pull hair. Not all characters should play with nipples. Not all should perform oral sex. Pick and choose positions, sights, sounds, and actions to keep your sex scenes as fresh as you possibly can. Your readers will thank you.
About Patricia D. Eddy
I write sexy, alpha males and the smart and strong women who love them. You won’t find any damsels in distress in my books. No, ma’am. My heroines rescue the heroes every bit as much as the heroes rescue them. Perhaps even more. I believe that it takes a strong woman to love an alpha man.
I love single malt Scotch, robust red wine, bacon, and cheese. I’ve been known to curse like a sailor and I really don’t like pink. I live in Seattle with my husband and three spoiled cats. Check out my website and books here.