Tag Archives: Sex

How to Write a Sizzling Sex Scene

From my new book, now available for the Kindle, the Nook, and other electronic readers.

I decided to write this small book right after I got yet another call from a writer’s conference director asking me if I would come give my sex talk at her conference.

My sex talk.

For years, I’ve been teaching weekend workshops on writing erotica for women (and one memorable one for men—more on that later) and giving short conference-sized workshops on how to write well-crafted sex scenes. Sex scenes are crucial to good fiction; they’re excellent opportunities to reveal character, and there’s a simple structure to it. These classes are wildly popular, and they have made me an “in demand” instructor at writer’s conferences and conventions all over the world.

sex scene book cover

In fact, occasionally I will walk down the hall at a writer’s conference and hear furtive whispers: “There goes the sex writer.”

Sex writer! As if I were a pornographer. I could be insulted, but I’m not; I’m amused.

The classroom is packed with expectant faces. What is she going to do? (What do they think? Unbutton my blouse?) What is she going to say? (What do they think? Run down a list of dirty words?)

I talk about writing. I talk about the sexual nature of their fictional characters. I talk about the three-act structure of a scene, and the three-act structure of a sex scene. I talk about practicing writing. I talk about vocabulary and what to call body parts. I talk about the difference between pornography and erotica. I talk about revealing character to the reader, and revealing character at a most vulnerable moment.

Those in the audience, they hear me—they’re taking notes—but I know they’re not thinking of their fictional characters. They’re thinking of themselves. This is what makes these classes so popular. I don’t use any dirty words. I don’t name any body parts. I talk about writing, but they’re all thinking of themselves. They think of themselves as fictional characters and they look at their sexuality. My class gives them permission to do that. And it’s fun, because they can ask thinly veiled questions: “My character has this problem…” And we pretend she’s talking about her character. I make light of it, and I can do that without insulting her, because we’re not talking about her, we’re talking about a character in her novel. She can laugh and learn and everybody else laughs and learns.

Sex is, after all, pretty funny.

Occasionally, it gets a little heavy, a little dicey, and I am always the first to hold up my hand and claim that I am not a therapist; I am a writer. This class (or seminar) is not about pain or healing your sexual issues. We’re talking about fiction here. And even that gets a laugh.

Then I give them an assignment and ten minutes to practice what they’ve learned in the past hour. After ten minutes, I open the microphone and they line up to read the portion of a sex scene they’ve written.

It’s hilarious. It’s moving. It’s astonishing. They have no problem saying those words, naming those body parts.

And we all go home thinking of ourselves and our sexual nature in a little different way. Certainly none of us ever looks at our fictional characters in the same way again; most of us look at our spousal units in a very good way later that evening.

I think that’s the real reason these classes are so popular. Even though I don’t talk dirty, I don’t tell smutty jokes, I don’t demonstrate anything vulgar on stage, everybody in the audience employs their largest sexual organ—their brain—for the hour and a half (or weekend) we’re together, and they learn a little bit about human nature. Their nature. Which is what writing is all about: Fearless, relentless introspection.

Of course the writer in me is always worried that I’ll drop dead some day soon and be remembered for giving the sex talk instead of the short stories, essays and novels that I so agonize over.

But in the meantime, I’ll go to another writer’s conference and give my “sex talk” and laugh and have fun, learn a little, teach a little, and best of all, spend time with other writers.

And now there’s a book.

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Baggage Check

My new novel, Baggage Check, is now out from IFD Publishing and available for the Kindle, the Nook, and all other electronic formats.

This book is about many things, but most specifically sex, drugs, treachery, and–most dangerous of all–love.

Baggage Check Cover Art

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Letter to a Young Man in Jail – Part 2

Dear Micah: 

I talk with your mom regularly, and she’s doing pretty well. She’s worried about you as we all are. But if you choose, this whole thing will just be a small blip in the large continuum of your life. When you consider that you’ll probably live a good, happy, healthy eighty years, a month or two devoted to reflecting on your past and designing your future is probably good use of your time while you’re in there.

But, Micah, I want to talk to you about women. You’ve been attractive to girls since you were very young, and though we’ve talked about this a little bit, I have some information to pass along to you that you likely don’t know.

Women are wired up differently from men. Generally speaking, men are designed to have sex and move along. Monogamous marriage is a decision that people make that is foreign to many a man’s nature. Being faithful is a spiritual decision – one of those things that separates us from animals.

Women, on the other hand, are designed to bear and raise children. While a guy might be interested just in getting laid, the moment a woman engages in sex with a man, she is emotionally involved. She is interested in keeping that man around because she might get pregnant any moment (there are no 100% effective birth control methods), and then she’ll need someone to support the family. And a young woman who is emotionally involved just might forget to take her birth control pill (consciously or unconsciously), because in her emotionally-charged mind, a baby would surely keep her man around. You know how well that works out.

Unplanned pregnancies assure that the species will go on. Planned pregnancies assure that our future society is well fed, well educated, wanted, loved, and emotionally healthy.

So what I’m saying to you is that the minute you have sex with a woman, she’s going to have an emotional attachment that is stronger than you will ever understand. If you start sleeping with a woman out of convenience, and she gets pregnant, you’ll be a father, and will be for the rest of your life. Committed to paying child support for the next eighteen years—when you don’t even have a job to support yourself—is not the best course of action for your life. It would likely mean poverty for your children and a life of drudgery for their mother. Don’t you want more for your woman and your children than that?

It’s much better for everybody to wait until you have your education, job and bank account, then find the right woman, get married and have kids. There’s a reason that the progression goes in that order. When you try to hurry it along, or take those events out of order because of impatience, things have a high likelihood of going poorly indeed.

Dating is a good thing because you get to experience lots of different women and figure out not only what you like, but what you don’t like. And trust me on this: when you hook up with a woman and get married or have children, you will have a relationship with that woman and her entire family for the rest of your life, regardless of how the relationship works out.

Men who think they can have “casual” sex with women are doing damage to those women. The women get emotionally involved, whether they want to or not. It’s in our biology. Then when you break up, or don’t call her again, she gets hurt. Not having sex is a spiritual choice. Not only do you minimize damage to the girl you’re dating, but there is no chance of an unwanted pregnancy.

If you do have sex, make certain that the strongest possible birth control methods are employed. This means you. Don’t leave it up to her, because when women are emotionally involved, things happen, and suddenly someone else is making all your life decisions for you.

I hope you’ll be making all your own decisions from here on out, Micah. I hope you’re making a plan of what you will do the minute you get out of there, and then work at that plan, every day, 8 hours a day, until it happens. If you want to get into the service, call that recruiter the second you get out, go see him, tell him what happened, and find out what he needs you to do in order to get you in, and then get busy achieving that: Get a job, enroll in school…  Regardless, do something.

Make a plan. And then carry it through. Don’t just hang out. That’s what you were doing when you got arrested.

I didn’t mean for this letter to turn into a lecture. I just want the best life has to offer for you. I hope you want the same.

Take care of yourself in there, and don’t forget how much we all love you.

No matter what.

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Love, Sex, Men, Women, Vampires

I got this interesting email from my pal Cap’n Crusty yesterday:

Just what is it that (some) women find so alluring about vampires?  Come on, these are blood-sucking corpses who, if they don’t kill their victims right off, will either enslave a them or, if they’re “lucky”, turn them into a similar creature, doomed to wander the night forever, cower in a coffin from the daylight, and even worse, condemn one to an eternity without garlic!!!!!!

Good question.

My answer? It’s all about forbidden love. 

We are complex creatures and nothing speaks to that so much as our predilections and varying appetites when it comes to sex. I learned a lot during my years of teaching erotic writing workshops for women (and only one for men). The study of how men differ from women–in all ways–is mandatory for any fiction writer, especially when it comes to bedroom scenes.

In part, what I learned from leading those weekend workshops was this: Women want to have deeply significant sex with the man they love in dangerous, public places, and men want to have a joyful romp with no strings attached in their own beds.

Power is an aphrodisiac to women. So is the forbidden. Vampirism is both. Sometimes women just succumb to the passion, eschewing the consequences, and therein lies the attraction.

We go to bed at night, open a book and leap into the skin of the characters we’re reading about, living vicariously through their mistakes and missteps, wishing we could be them, glad we’re not. What young girl wouldn’t want the singular attentions of a thousand-year-old, worldly man, no matter how dangerous? Don’t we all remember wanting to date the cool guy at school, especially if he was a few years older?  Well, take that to the extreme. Very cool (cold, actually), much older. Very flattering.

It’s love. It’s sex. It’s turn-ons. There is no logic here. You don’t have to agree with it to make it work in a book.

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