1: Keeping them talking.
My very first editor once levelled this criticism at me – “You have all this witty dialogue, then it stops as soon as they hit the sack.” Needless to say, she had me rectify that mistake. It’s one of the pieces of editorial advice I’ve never forgotten, because it’s such an ace piece of advice. Sex is rarely silent. Even if one of your characters has a gag in their mouth the chances are someone is going to say something. Also, dialogue keeps the story in the present, and is great for progressing the plot.
2: What are their kinks?
We all have them, so your characters should have them too. That’s not to say that every character should be into BDSM, or spanking, or toe-sucking. What’s important is to identify what it is, whatever it is, that turns them on. I try to give each of my characters at least one little sexual quirk/thing they real like that does it just for them, whether that’s being bitten, enjoying watching their partner masturbate, or having their feet rubbed. Even predominantly vanilla individuals should have their own tastes and preferences? It could be something they openly admit to, or something that they’ve never revealed to anyone. Imagine revealing that desire for the first time. What a way to build trust and intimacy.
3: Minds not Mechanics.
Really great sex scenes concentrate less on the physical mechanics of limbs and sexy bits connecting, and more about what’s going on inside the character’s minds. If you spend too much time concentrating on how Tab A fits into Slot B the reader will be bored, and rather than getting them off, they’re going to be snoring. The fastest way to drag me out of a sex scene is to make it all about the choreography. Let’s face it, the actual physical component of sex can only happen in set number of ways, whereas the emotional aspects are individual and therefore infinitely varied. So, put their inner thoughts on the page.
4: Don’t put the plot on hold.
This one goes hand in hand with the note about dialogue. The world of your novel still exists while they’re getting down and dirty. That means the plot should still be advancing. So cast out the stasis dungeon, and make sure the scene is important for a reason other than getting off. If there’s no character development, no plot development, no forward motion the scene has no business being in your book.
5: Employ the Senses
Sensory details make all the difference. Make sure you’re utilising them all. How do your characters smell, sound, and taste? And less of this, please.
He rammed his big cock into her and it felt wonderful. Then they rolled over and he sucked her tits, which made her feel great from head to toe.
6: You’ll never please everyone.
Your jam is not my jam, is not someone else’s jam. You’re never going to satisfy every reader, so make sure you’re satisfying yourself.
Write for yourself first and foremost. If you’re turned on by what’s on the page, there’s a fair chance that someone else will be too.
Also, don’t feel you have to tone fetishes down to cater to the masses. Write so your character’s emotions leap off the page. Explore their sexual quirks to the limits, you might be surprised how many people who think they’re not into something will be carried along for the ride, because their emotionally engaged.
To give you an example, if you offered me a book about werewolves or femdom, I’d probably turn you down. BUT, I’ve read and enjoyed both those things because the author took me on a journey with her characters.
7: Read. Read. Read.
Read inside your genre and out of it. I know it’s difficult to find the time, especially if you’ve a family and a full time job on top of being a writer, but not only is it a great way to keep abreast of the market, it’s also great way to find out what works for you in terms of the mix of dialogue, emotions, actions etc. Bookmark your favourite scenes and go back to them when you’re feeling stuck. Rereading them might just clue you in on what’s missing from your own scene.