Threesomes in erotic romance; More please or No Way?

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Is three always a crowd?

Should your sex scenes only ever contain two people? Well it rather depends on what you’re writing. If it’s a romance – or the characters are having a romance within the context of the story – then yes. Mostly. In ‘Wicked Games’ the two main protagonists have a brief erotic scene with another important character. Although this interlude is written to be arousing, it also serves as a pivotal turning point in the couple’s relationship. So there is room for manoeuvre here, but don’t overcomplicate things and lose focus on the central characters and plot.

Certain genres and stories do lend themselves to erotic encounters involving more than one person, for example stories set in other worlds where sexual conventions may be very different, or paranormal stories where the otherworldly creatures have very different views about sexuality. Laurell K Hamilton’s paranormal books do this very well, with scenes involving group sex between fairies, elves, werewolves and vampires that somehow manage to be powerfully evocative yet not at all sleazy. Erotica as a genre naturally lends itself to themes of sexual exploration, and having your main character take part in a threesome or moresome could be a powerful way of furthering your character’s development. An initial encounter may lead your character to become involved in the world of swinging, or question their sexuality and start to explore same sex relationships.

Other scenarios which lend themselves to erotic encounters between more than two people are your main character/s exploring the world of Tantra, or attending sex therapy, or becoming involved in the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle. Certain historical periods are famed for their debauchery and decadence so even an historical romp may feature the occasional threesome or even orgy.

If it fits and furthers your plot, go for it. If you’re new to writing erotic scenes however, it’s probably a good idea to start with the basics! Also bear your target audience in mind; you want to arouse, not shock.

(extract from ‘Passionate Plots; a Guide to Writing Erotic Scenes, out now, published by Compass Books)

Passionate Plots

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