Creative Writing Advice #18: How To Write a Love Scene


Writingsecrets_cby Maya Rodale

Writing a love scene really isn’t much different than any other kind—there is setting, action, characters, dialogue, etc. Yet writing them can make an author nervous. Whether writing erotica or sweetly sensual moments, here are few tips to make your love scenes a pleasurable experience to write and to read.

Dim the lights and turn on some music. Pour yourself a drink, if that’ll help. Basically, set the mood in your writing space. Some people might be able to write erotica under fluorescen
t lights on the subway, but some of us need a slightly more romantic setting to let go. Likewise, take a moment to describe the 
setting of your love scene.

Forget about your mom reading it. Nothing kills the mood like imagining your mom or grandmother or boss reading over your shoulder as you type. Don't consider that while you’re writing! Think of an audience of strangers who paid good money for this. Or pretend no one will read it at all. Whatever you need to do to take the focus away from your insecurities and onto the page.

Research! Read other love scenes, watch porn (if you’re into it), and, you know, practice by yourself or with a partner. This is probably the most fun you’ll ever have with research. Take advantage of it.

Remember all the senses. Making love is a sensual experience, so represent as many senses as you can—touch, taste, sight, smell, sound. For example: how soft is her hair when he runs his fingers through it? What does the sound of his breath tell her about how aroused he is? Is it dark, candlelit, or early morning? Sometimes it helps to go back with different colored pencils and highlight each sense (every instance of sight underlined in green, etc). You’ll see what’s missing. Similarly, you’ve probably given your characters feelings, thoughts, a sense of humor, etc. Those things don’t stop at the bedroom door. Think of all those things as other senses to appeal to, and describe them in your sex scene.

Find sexy synonyms. “Insert Tab A into Slot B” kind of sums up the act of sex, but it’s lacking in romance, sensuality, and fun. The anatomical terms are correct, but can be reminiscent of the doctor’s office (generally not too hot, although…). Seek alternative words that are more seductive. Sex scenes in romance novels are a great place to start—they’re loaded with beautiful, sexy, and explicit language. There’s always the thesaurus, and ones that specialize in erotic words. I personally am partial to The Synonym Finder.

Last but not least, have fun with it! Your readers are more likely to enjoy reading it if you enjoyed writing it.

Maya Rodale is the author of two Regency-set historical romance novels, The Heir And The Spare and The Rogue And The Rival (yes, sex scenes are included!). Visit her on the web at

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  1. There’s always the thesaurus, and ones that specialize in erotic words.


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