Writing believable erotica illustration

How To Write Believable Erotica


It might be erotic but is your reader going to believe it?

Writing believable erotica should be easy but as writers of erotica, we find ourselves placing characters in evermore kinky or outlandish situations, adding more partners and taking our readers into a fantasy world. But to create that illusion the story needs to be believable.

Star Trek defies many of the laws of science but a lot of fans follow it. It is set in the future where new things might be possible but characters generally react to situations in a believable way (well, to the legions of fans anyway).

A lot of erotic writers want to get to the sex as quickly as possible. Not unreasonable as a lot of readers want the same. They can always skip straight to the action but this leaves writers with a problem. Do we reiterate some of the introduction and risk boring some of the patient readers or do we adopt the ‘sod you, if you cannot be bothered to read the first bit you might not know what is going on approach’? Make the introduction interesting and both types will read it.

What happens if either type of reader reads the bit where the action is hotting up and thinks ‘no, I wouldn’t have done that’, or even worse, ‘I don’t think anyone would have done that in that situation.’
If you place a character in a situation where ninety percent of your readers would be reaching for the nearest heavy or sharp object you need to furnish the reader with a very good reason as to why they are feeling horny instead.

The best writers use the conflict between the two reactions to create an engaging story and have added little clues in the introduction as to why the character makes the final decision. Whatever you write, your ideal reader needs to find it believable or they will stop reading your stories.

The Character

Characters need some serious motivation to act in that way and it is up to the writer to provide plausible reasons for their characters’ actions.

A lot of cuckold/hotwife erotica seems to work to the formula of man/woman discovers partner/husband/wife fucking another man/woman and decides to join in. I even read one where the husband said, “I’m fucking her because she’s younger and you’re crap,” and she still joined in rather than reaching for the aforementioned heavy object.

At this point I decided not to read any story that had the words cum, fuck or hotwife in the title but then I’m probably not these stories’ ideal reader.

The Setting

What the characters will react to as credible. and how they will react is defined by their surroundings which includes the time they live in.

A lot of my supernatural stories are set in an undefined time, although they hint at happening sometime in the past. This allows the reader to place the stories in their own imagined settings which (I hope) makes them more believable.

Bringing these stories into the present changes the character’s perception of an event. A character in a modern setting may be less scared of a demon as they may think of it merely as a ‘movie special effect’, whereas a one in a medieval setting might be terrified as the supernatural is part of their folklore.
The great thing about being a writer is that we can change history.

It is called editing. A scene is not really believable – go back, change the setting, subject the character to an event in their past that would change their motivation or the way they react. It does not have to be a major rewrite, sometimes just a subtle hint, a change of tone or a suspicion works.

How To Write Believable Erotica – Violation Before the Vows.

The best short stories start in the middle of the action. Starting in the middle of the bride performing oral sex on a man she is not going to marry definitely fits that criterion. But, within those first hundred or so words we get our first clue as to her motivation. The opening also sucks in both types of reader (pun intended), the straight to the action one and the long-haul one.

The author also never tells us who she is fucking but this becomes obvious as the story jumps from the action to the wedding ceremony and back to more action. There are also a lot more clues as to why she is behaving the way she is.

Just as the reader is on the edge of thinking, would she really do that? there is a final twist that takes us deep into all the characters’ thinking and leaves the reader with a sense that, not only have we just read about some very hot sex but that the story is plausible.

Read Violation Before the Vows by Jordan Riley on Medium

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Writing about the smells and sounds of sex illustration

Writing About the Smells and Sounds of Sex

Resources, Writers

Why do writers often ignore these senses?

In her article, The Basics of Writing Toe Curling, Clit Tingling, and Dick Throbbing Erotica on Medium Sonja Rae advised writers to concentrate on smell, sight, touch, taste and hearing when writing about sex. That’s good advice when writing about almost anything.

I read a lot, but so many writers, especially when writing about sex, seem to ignore smell, taste is limited to salty (I’ll let you work out the context of that one) and all characters hear is dialogue and the odd moan.

Smell is the most potent trigger of memories and emotions. The smell of blancmange tinged with disinfectant still takes me back to my first day at school and that was nearly sixty years ago. We hear all sorts of small sounds that inform us about the world around us.

Sonja’s advice set me thinking about writing about the smells and sounds of sex so here’s a scenario.
Imagine you are tied to a bed and blindfolded. What are you going to hear? Your lover walking around the room? Are they barefoot in which case there might be the slight slap of feet on a wooden floor or the click of high heels? Maybe there is a rug near the bed, so the sound of their footfalls disappears or becomes the faintest brush of their feet on the material as they approach.

In The Iron Tongue of Midnight one of the heroine’s lovers is from another dimension and only partially slips into her world so he glides silently across the room (a large part of him does materialise in her dimension so she does feel him slip into her). Silence can be as evocative as sounds but the reader needs to be told about it.

Background sounds

Back to you tied to the bed. What else can you hear whilst you are tied and blindfolded? The sounds of traffic rushing past on the North Circular Road, the distant roar of an airliner overhead drifting through an open window. It seems we are in modern London.

An owl hooting in the distance, the rustle of leaves stirred by a breeze in the trees, perhaps we are in the country. A cacophony of insects chirping and buzzing, it seems we are not in Britain. The increasing thumping rhythm of the couple shagging in the next room, maybe we are in a cheap motel. Background sounds can be used to tell the reader something about the location.

What can you smell?

Your eyes might be covered but your nose is not. What can you smell? The traffic fumes, the fresh air of the country, the cotton sheets on the bed, your lover’s scent.

In one of my short stories The First Time a woman is caned in a study, she can smell the musty scent of the old books on the shelves.

The action hots up as your lover approaches, you can smell their scent and I do not mean Chanel Number 5. It could be a faint musk resembling freshly baked bread, soap or even garlic. One of the major attractions between humans is their smell. The wrong scent can put you off an otherwise physically attractive person. Science Says You’re Attracted to Body Odour.

Do you hear the sheets rustle as they climb on the bed, can you hear their breathing or are that couple in the next room still banging away and drowning out everything? Your lover kneels astride you, their sex inches from your nose. Remember you are tied up so you cannot touch. Maybe it’s an indefinable musk, a hint of soap, sweet honey, or something tangy?

The English language has a lot of words to describe sounds but smells are more difficult and we have to resort to smelt “like” or “of”. Smells often serve as mental triggers, reminding us of past events or places, but the reader needs some point of reference; your first day at school probably smelt completely different to mine, hence the reference to blancmange and disinfectant. Make notes on sounds and smells as well as visual elements, but I suggest you let your lover finish before you ask them to untie you and grab your notebook.

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Writing about sex. Title photo

Sex, Strawberries and Cream


Writing about just sex is like eating the cream without the strawberries

Writing about sex, I recently ran a poll on Twitter asking this question: In my stories and books I try to weave graphic sex into a plot. Some erotica writers go straight for the sex in paragraph one. Which do you prefer?

The results and the comments were interesting:

Erotic stock photos for authors

Erotic Stock Photos

Erotica, Writers

Some of you may have noticed that a lot of the erotic stock photos I use to illustrate this site and my Medium stories are fairly exclusive. This is because they are supplied by a photographer who used to shoot covers for the erotic and fetish paperback market and has a library of unused photos. He is now making these available online other authors. He does charge for the images but the fee for online use is modest.

I’ll let him explain.

What do you want from erotica?

What Do You Want From Erotic Writing?

Erotica, Writers

What do you want from your erotica? This is not solely about whether you want graphic descriptions of all the squelchy details or a little light romance with a hint of gentle fondling, although that is always useful to know. It is about whether you want to be engaged as a reader.

I do, I want writers to bring their characters to life so I feel some empathy with them as they send erotic shivers through me.

A lot of writers write about sex so there is a lot of competition for readers. A story that tells me A goes out, meets B, they fuck, the end, is not going to grab my attention even if the sex is kinky, in an odd place and with a football team watching.

To me, this is a description, not a story. OK, so maybe that is what some readers want, but then they can pull up a video on their phone which is quicker, easier and probably more graphic than reading about it.

To persuade readers to choose the written word over the visual we writers need to grab you, the reader. We have to offer you something a video or still picture cannot.

It’s called a USP (Unique Selling Point (or proposition)). Writers have several of these at their disposal.

Characters and their motivation

Creating a character in a few words and describing something of their motivation is not easy for writers. This is especially difficult in short fiction, it is a lot to get into 150 to 500 words and tell the story as well. But we humans are clever, we can read a lot from people’s actions, the way they speak as well as what they say.

Writers – Make your characters say and do things that are part of the story, but suggest their feelings and motivation.

I recently read a story where the female narrator had just gone down on a woman when a man appears in the room. It really was sexy writing and the curious motivations of the male and female secondary characters were beautifully alluded to and woven into the story by their actions and dialogue. Then it lost me as the narrator’s reasoning for allowing the, as yet unseen, man to have sex with her could be summed up as, ‘might as well’.

There was a wonderful opportunity here to engage me as the reader in the excitement of experiencing the unknown, taking a risk in the pursuit of pleasure, or doing something new, which leads me to the next point.

A story is about change

In a story, something needs to change. This was hammered home to me by several of my tutors during my creative writing degree course. This can be circumstances, the world is saved, the protagonists become rich, go to jail or the characters experience a change in outlook, feelings or the way they think.

In my stories, The Voyeur in the Room and The Voyeur Takes Control (available on Medium.com) the female narrator changes from (spoiler alert) a meek divorcee into a bisexual dom. (I am not quoting these as examples of great literature but because it’s only me who suffers the comments if you disagree). None of these changes are told, hopefully, you, the reader perceive this from her dialogue and sexual antics.

The story arc

Remember Kipling’s mantra, “I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How And Where and Who. (Poetry.com) This is usually applied to journalism but is valid fiction as well.

Fortunately, sex has its own simple story arc. There is the exposition, where, when and who, followed by a trigger, why, which leads to rising action, what, a climax, decreasing action and a wrap up (The Narrative Arc).

Here’s my recipe. Mix together where, when and who plus a dollop of why and heat, when simmering add the rest of the why and bring to a frantic boil using what. Allow to cool, decorate and serve.

The question here is how much detail do you like as a reader? Do you want to know what his cock felt like the smell of her pussy, the taste of his cum? Or do you want to know what it felt like, the characters’ emotions? Or all of the above?

I usually write about the first but give more prominence to the second. My books, The Iron Tongue of Midnight and The Bookshop contain quite graphic sex within, what I hope, is a good story that builds engaging characters. The Donnington Chronicles is more of a BDSM sex romp.

In my latest short story, Riding Natasha I decided to get more graphic.

Let me know

As writers, we can go anywhere and do anything on a pitifully small budget that probably would not fund ten seconds of a porno movie. We can take you, the reader, inside our characters’ heads to experience their thoughts, feelings and emotions without the need for actors.

I want my stories to engage you as a reader, to make you care about (or even hate), my characters. I want to give you some understanding of their motivations and tell you a story, but will not forget to add the kinky sex.

Footnote: This article is based on my own opinions but draws on comments by my tutors during a creative writing degree course and ideas from one of my favourite books on writing, How to Write a Short Story (And Think About It) by Robert Graham.

Read more of my ideas on writing

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The Iron Tongue of Midnight

An Adult Erotic Fairy Tale

Rebecca Mason is queen of her empire; she uses men and then discards the husks. No one is going to turn her into a whining sub. Then she meets two men she desires; the problem is one is cool and distant, and the other is not human.

Warning: This novel features graphic sex scenes, some of which include fetishes. These scenes are all consensual and integral to the story.

Sexy demons incubi and succubi Photo illustration of an incubus preying on a naked woman

Sexy Demons Incubi and Succubae

Dark Erotica, Erotica, Writers

Welcome to my supernatural erotica, the darker side of my erotic fiction. 

Ghost, demons and succubae play with humans. Their sexual powers know no limits and their appetites are ravenous.

Erotic stories have been created about the incubus, the succubus, spirits and demons since language began. They help us explain a world that we still do not fully understand.

But what if these myths and stories are not just products of the human imagination but founded on truth? What if these beings still exist, now hidden deeper in our world, lurking, ready to prey on the unsuspecting modern humans?

And what they want is sex.

Fetish kinks spanking photo

Kinks – Spanking

Erotica, Writers

Why do my heroines submit to spankings, canings and whippings?

Most of my heroines are strong, confident women. In many of my books and stories they start out less so, but throughout the story, their character develops. So why do these women submit to having pain inflicted upon them?