It’s time for another Pillow Talk Secrets, everyone!
Today I’m quite excited as Malin James, Tamsin Flowers and I—your host for the day, Jade A. Waters—have a spicy new topic for you. We’ve been wanting to get back to the dirty, seeing as we are Erotica Writers Talking Dirty, so today I’m delighted to be leading our discussion on the best erotic scenes and acts to write. That’s right—you’ll be hearing all our favorite pairings, naughty deeds, and explicit (literary) moments, and we hope you’ll enjoy the ride. (Eh-hm. Pun intended.)
So without further ado, welcome back to…
Pillow Talk Secrets
Jade: Hello, ladies! How are you both today?
Malin: I’m doing really well, thanks! How are you, Jade? Tamsin?
Tamsin: Very well, thank you.
J: I’m so glad to hear you’re both well. I’m very excited for our session today, and I suspect there’s some real dirtiness ahead. ;) Shall we get to it?
M: Sounds good!
T: Fire away, Jade.
J: All right then. Today, we’re talking about favorite pairings and acts to write in erotica. Hot! Let’s kick off with pairings: one-on-one, threesomes, different gender combos, etc…any particular preferences?
M: Well, I’ve always loved writing m/m/f threesomes—my WIP is about how one develops longer term, (among other things). That said, I just wrote my first m/m last fall and kind of loved that too.
T: Yeah, I enjoy the old m/m/f—my novel Her Boss & His Client was about one—and that was so much fun to write. Double penetration and the rest! ;)
J: Right! You know, I haven’t written a ton of threesomes myself, but I did love penning the few I tried. So far I’ve only run with m/m/f. Have either of you given f/f/m a whirl, and if so, what do you feel are the differences in actually writing them (besides the obvious, of course)?
M: I wrote an f/f/m very early on—the story is awful, though the pairing was fun. I think the biggest difference, (for me), is that with m/m/f I feel free to just go to town, whereas with f/f/m, I’m very conscious of the fact that the f/f portion can accidentally come off as a bit performative, (as in “bi for his benefit”). While there’s nothing wrong with that in print or in life, there are other aspects of that dynamic I want to explore more.
J: That’s a really good point, Malin. That performative piece is so ingrained as a societal fantasy, it’s something to be mindful of.
M: It’s true…that said, I’ve read a lot of stories that dig into powerful, sexy stuff with f/f/m’s. There are a lot of different power dynamics to play with—same with m/m/f.
T: One thing about writing anything with three people involved is the need to be a little more specific about whose body part is whose—you can’t just say “his cock” if it could be Tom’s cock or Dick’s cock. And you need to be really clear for the reader on the logistics—it can certainly get confusing when there are six hands, six arms and legs, and multiple genitalia!
J: And that’s the same for more than three, too—I wrote a fourway orgy (in space, no less). It was three men and a woman. Mind your pronouns was the name of the game!
M: Absolutely—pronouns and body parts get really interesting when there are more than two people to manage. Same with action—it’s easy to accidentally focus on two of the characters and leave the third (or fourth) in some sort of sexy holding pattern. It’s like juggling balls (ha). You’ve got to keep all of them in the air.
T: Smart analogy!
J: Yes. Body part circus! :) It’s something we have to pay attention to no matter what, but it’s certainly heightened in the three-four-five-(whoa wouldn’t that be fun?)-ways. So, while all the pairings are lovely, it’s clear we tend to gravitate to one-on-one for the majority of our writing. Let’s focus on specific acts in couple erotica then, no matter what the gender pairing. Shall we start at the beginning? They meet, they make eyes, and then…there’s the kiss! What are your thoughts on writing the kiss?
T: I love how a kiss can give away so much about a character—people can kiss romantically or passionately but they can also kiss in anger or kiss dismissively. It can say so much without words.
M: Yes! In fact, kisses are one of my favorite things to write, precisely because so much can be communicated through them. Also, the build up to the kiss can speak volumes as well.
T: Actually, now Malin, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head—to be honest it’s the build up—to the kiss or to any other sex act—that is actually the most interesting thing to write. Once you get down to the nuts and bolts, well that’s just like the payoff to all the build up!
J: This parallels real life—we spend all that time wondering what the first kiss will be like, and all the steps that come before it are critical to that wonderful heightening of anticipation. Perhaps that’s why we enjoy writing the kiss. So much hinges on it—they do say a kiss reveals a lot about the lover, right?
M: That’s it—the kiss reveals something. Chemistry, attraction, lack of attraction (though hopefully not), in both fiction and real life. I read some erotica where they skip over the kiss and get right to the sex and I’m always left a bit cold by that. I want that kiss to set the stage, even if what follows is really filthy. Actually, filthy, hot kisses are fabulous.
J: Yes they are! Sometimes those filthy, hot kisses reveal even more than the “traditional” first kiss—there’s so much lust and fire there.
M: Totally—it’s the romance in the unexpected that I like. Kisses with a little edge always get me.
J: No matter what, I think kisses are key. You hit on it a moment ago, Malin—erotica without the kiss feels like it’s missing something.
T: This is interesting to me because my main protagonist in Alchemy xii, Harry, is obsessed with kissing—everyone, all the time. It’s how he reads people and his own kisses give away so much to Olivia about what he’s thinking and how he’s feeling. It makes their connection much deeper than if it was just about fucking. (Though god forbid he ever gets a cold—the whole of Alchemy would go down with it!)
J: *Giggles* Okay, so I think we can all agree the kiss is an imperative precursor to the tale we’re trying to tell. But as we write erotica, things tend to go much, much further—and dirtier. Let’s move to another act: what about oral sex?
T: Oh, that’s definitely one of my favorites and I write a lot of it! In both directions.
J: Me too. And I can never decide which way I prefer to write better. Let’s talk about each one individually. How about the blow job?
T: I write a lot of blow jobs. One of the biggest challenges about that, however, is keeping them fresh and different—a challenge with writing a lot of erotica, but particularly I think with blow jobs. How do you two find it?
M: I think it’s a lot like in porn—there are generic blow jobs, and there are blow jobs that, like kisses, communicate something of the relationship between the characters. As long as you’re focusing on the individuals, I think there are a lot of ways to keep it fresh.
J: I would agree with that. There’s the way the characters make eyes over the blow job, the words that are used, the different sensations described. For instance, is it a blow job with a power dynamic between the pair, in which case where does the power lie? Or is it meant in more of a romantic, slow way—a sensual build to show their feelings?
M: Ooh! Yes! Power dynamics with blow jobs are fabulous! Receiving one can definitely establish dominance, but it can also establish the power of the person giving it, because let’s face it. When you give a really good blow job, you’re in control of the pleasure, and that’s powerful stuff. Also, whether or not you let the receiver finish, or leave him hanging a bit, shall we say…
T: That brings in trust issues as well—I guess you probably have to have some level of trust in someone before you’re going to be happy to let them blow you. Or certainly for some people, maybe not others…
J: That’s true for some characters too, I think. Would you say that’s more or less true for going the other way—to her?
M: That’s an interesting question. I think that the same principle of trust and potential power play does work the other way. A lot of women feel very vulnerable being gone down on so that can be a big deal. And as far as power goes, there are lots of ways to play with a man eating a woman out in a D/s dynamic—face-sitting for example. That said, just like with blow-jobs, going down on a woman can be anything from challenging to massively sweet.
J: I have to say—I love writing both ways, but there’s something I particularly love about the going down scenes where there’s some description of the cunt. Call it female pride, I’m not sure…I love when someone can creatively (or prettily) describe all that’s going on. It might be because it’s more hidden than the cock. Do either of you feel that way?
T: Yes, actually, I find it much more interesting as a writing proposition than the blow job—it takes a little more imagination and it can be so delicious when you get it right.
J: I agree. And Tamsin, I have told you before I love your descriptions of cunts in your writing. :)
T: Aw, thanks—no-one’s ever paid me such a sweet compliment before! *blushes*
M: Cunts really are kind of lovely, and as a writer they’re a wonderful way to indicate sexual response. You can ramp up the heat in a scene by a little physical description—is she wet? What’s her clit feel / look like? How is she responding?
T: There’s the potential to use some wonderfully descriptive language when talking about female arousal, that’s for sure.
J: Yep. All five senses! I would be curious what our readers think on this—in particular because most readers of erotica are women. Perhaps we might encourage some to comment. *Wink wink* *Nudge nudge* But, moving on…we should discuss the main act in erotica: le sex. :)
M: Ahhh, le sex! Yes. Where shall we start? There are a lot of options there ;)
J: Yes indeed, there are. So, let’s focus on vaginal today.
T: Absolutely—there’s so much scope there. So many different positions for a start—does anyone know how many there are in the Kama Sutra? Hundreds probably!
M: Ha! That might be one of humanity’s most enduring pursuits—how many different ways can two people fuck? Do either of you have a go-to position in your writing?
J: Well, I think that while there are a lot of ways to do it in real life, some of those positions are tricky on the page (especially since some of those positions are not known to the vast majority of people). But, I think for me, I gravitate between a few of the main ones—missionary, her on top, reverse cowgirl, from behind with her flat (does that have a name?), doggie… There are more of course, but these are the more commonly appearing ones. What about you, Tamsin?
T: Obviously, missionary gets a good look in, but I always like to write about my heroines being bent over something and taken from behind, possibly when they’re not quite expecting it! And in a variety of random places—like car bonnets or kitchen counters!
M: Ha! I love that, Tamsin! And I have to admit that I love writing missionary too—it’s my clean little secret. That said, my favorite is having the couple leaned up against a wall in some sort of standing position. I like how desperate and hot the sex gets when they’re like that.
J: Oh I *love* the standing-against-wall sex scenes. Those are fun!
T: Me too!
J: But the really great part about writing the actual penetrative sex is how it all goes down, and the sensations as we write them.
M: Yes, yes! And part of that is whether or not they’re wearing condoms, or how established their relationship is. Are the sensations familiar or is it new and revelatory? And how does that play emotionally too?
T: Then of course, just like with oral, there can be a whole power dynamic at play as well. Who’s in control? Who’s driving the whole act?
J: Right. I’d like to hit on the emotional aspect again, too—because, power play or not, sex and how it’s shared between two people is an incredibly powerful thing. That on the page can be beautiful and romantic, or painful, transformative, and hard…
T: Of course, it’s that aspect that makes erotica distinct from porn.
M: That’s a key point. Much more than the physical acts portrayed, it’s the emotional tenor that defines erotica. Porn is great, but it doesn’t tend to dig into the emotional or psychological contexts, whereas erotica uses sex to do just that.
J: I know that’s why I write it—and I suspect that’s why you both do, too. It’s the drive behind it all, isn’t it? The connection.
M: You nailed it.
J: Well, I feel like we could cover about a hundred more sexual acts right now (yes, a hundred!) but perhaps this is a good place to stop—we could go on forever!
T: I think we’d better finish—but at least we know we haven’t exhausted the subject! (Nor could we!)
M: Agreed. It would actually be fun to revisit it at some point, but for now, I’d say we made a good start.
J: For sure. And readers, we’d love to hear your thoughts on what you like to read in erotica—what acts are your favorite? What levels of description do you like in the acts you do read? Please share in the comments section below. And in the meantime, thanks for joining us today!
M: Thanks everyone!
T: Yes, thanks—and see you next time!
Jade, Malin and Tamsin