The official blog of Jane Domagala

ADULT CONTENT - Writing a Sex Scene Part 2

In my last blog I wrote about the importance of deciding who of your characters are going to have sex and with whom. Once you've decided, you need to think about the state of mind of your characters are in and the mood surrounding their sexual encounter.

Set The Mood
Ideally, you want to show the emotional state of your characters and the connections they're sharing with their sexual partner. I ask myself questions like: has there been so much pent up sexual tension that the lovers rip each other's clothes off and they do it in front of the neighbours? Is the romance forbidden, so that they must hide away? Is the interlude brief, undone buttons, lifted skirts? Do they have to be quiet? Do they scare the pigeons from the rafters with their expression of love? Is there seduction? Is there force?

The characters' nature will have a direct impact on the mood. Are they a gentle soul? Cheeky? Do they hold a grudge against someone/something? The better you know your characters, the more realistic the sex scene. Remember to keep your characters true to their nature. Don't force them to be tender if they struggle with intimacy. If they're naturally shy, don't have them be a Casanova in bed and so on. You can, however, allow hidden characteristics to shine through. The tough warrior who just wants to be loved, might show his gentle side. The princess who uses sex to get what she wants can be vulnerable in the arms of the man she loves. Use your characters' personality to help set the mood.

I'm going to tack location onto the end of this post because it is in part a player when it comes to mood. Locations can be great to play around with. Not all of your sex scenes have to take place in the bedroom. Think about it, you're in the barn ripping off your lover's clothes... do you really care if you make it back to the bedroom? Well maybe you do and maybe you don't. 

Do pigeons flutter from the rafters? Is it so dark you can't see your lover's face? Are you working up a sweaty froth in the humid weather? Is the snow hardening parts of your body you'd rather not talk about?

When writing period/medieval based fantasy, you have to remember that there probably wasn't a lot of privacy back in the ye old days. So be aware that storerooms, bathrooms, kitchen tables, tree branches, etc... all make wonderful places for a sexual interlude. Use your imagination. Make it as awkward, or uncomfortable, or unusual as possible. And don't forget to have fun.

Part 3: How far can you go descriptively?
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