Writing Porn…How to write good sex

I have recently been commissioned to ghost write for an online dating site that specialises in helping people meet up for ‘intimate encounters’.   They wanted someone to start a blog for them to help them establish a bit more interaction with their user base.   

Sex Writing

I discovered that loads of people use these sites to hook up and have some fun.  No, I have never used them before you ask.  And no I am not revealing the name of the site as that would breach a professional contract.   However I have discovered (surprise surprise) that pretty much everybody in the world is constantly horny.  It got me thinking.  Not about sex…though anyone who says they don’t think about it at all is a liar.  No, it got me thinking more about how on earth do you write good s

Passion on the Page

One thing many writers struggle with is in portraying a convincing sex scene within a story.  Mills and Boon seem to have nailed it with the romance crowd years ago and the Fifty Shades series is still being read with squeals of delight by millions of women across the globe, but reading those sex stories is a bit like reading ‘What Katy Did to Herself When She Grew Up’.  Hey I’m not judging.  All I’m saying is that when I read some of those stories I found it difficult not to snigger and in one case burst out laughing on the tube.

So what is it that makes those books…irresistible? 

Badly Written Sex...But It Sold Millions!

Badly Written Sex…But It Sold Millions!

Character Portrayal

It always comes back to how deeply invested your audience are in your characters.  I found that reading Fifty Shades, Christian Grey is a total knob.  

Yet it’s because he is a total knob that you kind of understand why his character has drawn so much attention.  You hate him, and it’s because you hate him you feel compelled to read on.  Heathcliff was the same in Wuthering Heights.  Neither are on my favourite book lists, but I do understand why they are so popular.  

Sometimes you love to hate a character.   Both Christian and Heathcliff are easy to hate.  Yet their presence makes the sex in the books more interesting…even if it’s badly written.  You’re willing to forgive a badly portrayed sex scene if you’re totally invested in one or more of the characters.

Will I write sex?

At the moment; probably not.  None of my stories really call for much BDSM or ‘Brief Encounter’ moments, but I cannot rule it out.  The question is will I worry or not when I come to writing a convincing sex scene?  My honest answer is ‘no’ because I’ll be more worried about making sure the characters I created are invested in both by myself and my readers.  After that it doesn’t matter if the sex is bad.

Don’t believe my theory?  Just take a look at last year’s sales figures for Fifty Shades.  

Addendum

I’d like to apologise for all the euphemisms that seem to have cropped up throughout this post.  Believe it or not they were completely unintentional and have only just been noticed when reading the text back.

About the Author

John is an award winning science fiction, horror and fantasy writer. He is also a public speaker and consultant and has worked with Time to Change - a campaign to end mental health stigma - and for Wellment - an organisation that delivers mental health at work training. He loves science fiction, fantasy and horror stories and novels. His work has appeared in Vector Magazine, Ink Pantry, Sci-Fi Bloggers, The Huffington Post and more. His short fantasy "Thanks for Applying" won an Honourable Mention Award in the Writers of the Future competition in 2017. HIs short horror "By the Boiler's Hand" was longlisted for the 2018 James White Award and won an Honourable Mention in the Writers of the Future competiton the same year. John has spoken at several events including the Nine Worlds Geekfest in London, Bristol Con 2018, and the Moorfields NHS Trust. He has delivered masterclasses on ending mental health stigma in the workplace for Time to Change. He lives with his wife and a pile of books in the UK.

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