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  • Writer's pictureBrantwijn Serrah

Sex and Candy

Erotic photograph with bold red lips and nails

I love long sex scenes.

I love to write them, too. The sex scene between Reagan and Princess Talaith in Goblin Fires originally stretched something like twenty double-spaced pages (though there was some conversation breaking up the naughty bits, I'll admit). Personally, I just like longer scenes.

One of the reasons I write erotica and erotic romance, rather than softer, "sweet" romance, is the sex. I like sex scenes. I enjoy one-handed reads and that's what I like to give my readers as well. To that end, I enjoy writing very in-depth, very decadent sex scenes.

I also like to try my hand at new themes like polyamorous and group sex scenes, BDSM and kink play, sex toys, public sex, and so on. I may be writing smut but I hope I'm writing good smut, and smut that people can enjoy on several levels in several ways. I like to bring something fresh to my naughty stories, not the same sex over and over. I remember when I first started reading books with sex scenes in them—VC Andrews books, specifically—and found a scene in Dawn that almost word-for-word mirrored one in Flowers in the Attic. So disappointing.

But why do I make mine so long and detailed? When I'm writing them, I like to be immersed in what my characters are experiencing. I hope to write a scene my one-handed readers can really sink into and engage with. I don't just want to describe the basics. Readers know how sex works, anatomically. I like to give them a roadmap of slowly dawning, slowly building sensuality; characters savoring the emotional and physical swell of sexual awareness; extravagant and overpowering decadence of desire.

Sensual image of a beautiful woman in a red blouse

To this end I try to include as many of the five senses as possible, and often strive to avoid the commoner ones of sight and touch in favor of ones like scent, taste, and sound. I find the scent of sweat and taste of skin extremely sexy. Other scents—exotic flowers, sharp woodsy scents, clean linen, fresh soap, wet stone, sea salt air, sweet cocoa and vanilla—can be incredibly evocative, as well as communicate an emotion. In a softer lovemaking scene, I'm likely to describe mellower and more familiar, comforting scents: this is where someone may have just emerged from doing laundry and have the lingering aroma of fabric softener about them, or a particularly sweet, tender character may bring with them the warm fragrance of coffee and cream. Scent ties in well with taste, which is another sense I love to invoke. The taste of skin especially, and of a person's sexual regions.

Sensual photo of a woman in black panties with a glass of red wine

Close readers may notice I don't normally describe

these tastes as "sweet". That's simply my own experience...I don't find them sweet, really. I do think they taste good, though. That's why often I'll use the term "bittersweet", but I like to get even more descriptive and evoke things like salty and savory, or sometimes—if I think it fits the character—milder terms, mellower descriptions, but still indulgent, the way a buttery pastry might be mild in taste but rich in palatable pleasure. I often refer to wine- or coffee-tasting terms when I go into the descriptions of taste and scent. I also look up the descriptions of colognes and perfumes to see what sort of words are used for certain elements.

When it comes to the sounds of sex, I can think of very little more enticing than the voiceless, heavy panting of breath. Of course my sex scenes include moans and groans—and I love characters who swear up a storm when they're fucking—but the sexiest sound to me is hot breathing in a lover's ear. It conjures up a feeling of exertion, heat, sweat, and movement. Also good are soft grunts and sighs. Combining sound and physical sensation, often my characters will both hear and feel the gasps, pants, long exhales, and vibrating moans.

This brings me to one of my favorite literary devices: synesthesia. This is a term referring to the blending of two different sensory elements. Think, for example, of a big, fluffy cloud of cotton candy. One might say, "This tastes pink!"

Erotic image of a woman sucking on a lollipop

Even though "pink" isn't a flavor, your brain can probably come up with a few connotations from combining the idea of a visual color and a sensation of taste. Other examples could include a "loud smell" or a "heavy sound" or a "musical sight". We don't all have to agree on how we would interpret these synesthetic description, but the pairing of two seemingly-unlike sensory experiences can create a powerful image.

And powerful images, really, are what my sex scenes are about. Like actual sex (solo or with a friend), I want to engage my reader in some long, pleasurable foreplay. I want to activate their sensory perceptions, stimulate their ears and tongues and fingertips and noses, as well as their eyes. I want them to be able to get lost in a sex scene, the way I feel we get lost in pleasurable erotic experiences of our own. I think of it as submerging, and experiencing that submersion over every part of the body, and when it's over I want my readers to resurface gasping for air.

This is why my sex scenes tend to run long. These are the kinds of one-handed reads I want to deliver: the kind of sex I like to experience. Lasting, immersive, and intense.

Sensual image of a woman with a red rose


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