The Sensation of the Senses: Sound

One of the most important elements of writing is to invoke the five senses: sound, taste, sight, smell, and touch. Erotica writing is no different. The senses help to orient the reader in the moment and help them fully engage in your story. Think of it this way:

Option #1: “I want you,” he said.

Option #2: She felt him before she saw him, his breath warm on the nape of her neck. He pressed his firm body to hers and kissed her shoulder, his lips no firmer than the beat of butterfly wings against her skin.
“I want you,” he whispered.

Option #2 is much more appealing because it describes physical sensations that invoke certain feelings in a reader by bringing them into the moment that the characters are experiencing. Which brings me to our first sense in this series: the importance of sound.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Despite the fact that your work is being read on the page (or screen, as the case may be), you need to know how to invoke sound in your story. To put it somewhat indelicately, your characters aren’t fucking in a vacuum (unless they’re having sex in space where no one can hear you or anyone else scream), so there’s going to be some noise happening one way or the other.

“Say It Again.”

Sometimes, adding sound can be as simple as including dialogue:

“I want you.”
“Fuck me harder.”

However, you can’t be entirely reliant on dialogue for sound in a sex scene. Otherwise, it might come across as your character(s) monologuing during sex and no matter how lovely their voice(s) is/are, at some point they’re going to have to shut up. But even when there’s no talking going on, there is a lot of noise happening.

The Location

Think about where your characters are getting busy and use that as inspiration for sound. For example: if they’re on a bed, think about the sound of a squeaky mattress. Has it been done before? Sure, but it’s popular for a reason. Think about a headboard thumping against a wall, the sound of a hand clawing against the sheets, someone knocking into a nightstand and sending a bedside lamp crashing into the floor. If they’re on a table, maybe the table legs scrape against the floor with each thrust. If they’re outside, what do they hear in the distance? Traffic? Crashing waves? Birds? Laughter? Applause? The options are endless and each sound creates a different mood.

Bodily Noises

Let’s be real for a minute: the human body can make a lot of noise during sex and not all of them are flattering. Because you’re creating a fantasy, you don’t need to focus on the less sexy noises (unless that’s your thing). However, there are still a lot of options when it comes to physical noises, specifically when it comes to orgasms. People can cry out, grunt, shout, scream, whimper, whisper, moan, or groan. Their voices can fill a room, shout so loud the neighbors can hear them clearly, or they can be barely audible like the faintest breeze through leaves. Are your characters trying to be very quiet because someone is in the next room (or in the room with them)? Whispers and heavy breathing and stifled orgasms can be just as sexy–if not sexier–than their more audible counterparts.

I hope these tips are useful for your next scene. More than anything, just have fun with it. Sex is fun and your writing should reflect that, so go get busy!

Are there any other sound elements you think I should’ve included? Let me know in the comments!




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