If you’re looking to add an erotic element to another genre, the above principles also apply. If you’re writing sci-fi for example then the sexier scenes will be very different in flavour than those in a gritty crime thriller. Certain genres lend themselves well to certain styles; many chick-lit titles make good use of tongue-in-cheek, often quite humorous sex scenes, whereas in a horror story, a sex scene may be both gory and quite dark. However a sex scene is not necessarily an erotic one; remember, the definition of ‘erotic’ is to incite arousal, not to terrify or induce a laughing fit! Of course with time and experience a talented writer might be able to do both, but if you’re new to writing erotic scenes, it’s best to start with the basics. So you need to honestly consider whether your story would benefit from erotic encounters that are likely to arouse the reader, or whether this would be at odds with the overall theme of the story.
Your work will benefit from more of an erotic element if;
The central characters have or develop an intimate relationship during the course of the story, and you want to show the physical attraction and emotional development between them.
If you’re writing a thriller or suspense story, a highly charged erotic encounter could be the characters natural response to events or feelings, and will add a sense of urgency and passion. Nora Roberts does this well, and crime author Karin Slaughter uses erotic scenes very sparingly, but to tremendous effect.
If you’re writing a tale involving loss for example then an erotic and touching encounter can add a sense of poignancy and intimacy.
Showing a certain characters sexual behaviour will add to the picture you wish to create of them and their character development throughout the story. This is often a device employed in literary fiction (see below).
You’re writing a glitzy Hollywood story of wealth and scandal and erotic scenes would add to the story and the sense of decadence. Think the ‘bonkbusters’ of Jackie Collins or more recently, Victoria Fox.
Your story has fantasy, paranormal or sci-fi elements and some added spice would also serve to highlight aspects of the alternative world or unhuman nature of your characters – for example vampire fiction can be highly erotic in places. Read Anne Rice’s ‘Blood and Gold’ for an excellent example, or Laurell K Hamiltons’ ‘Incubus Dreams’.
If historicals are your thing then a well-crafted erotic scene that shows the social mores of the day can give an insight into the characters’ motivations and lend authenticity to your story.