When it comes to erotica, you’re usually writing to arouse the reader. The characters and consumers alike are looking for a happy ending to sensual encounters. So why should a bad sex scene show up in your story?
I have a couple of reasons. First of all, bad sex can reveal a lot about your characters and their relationships. Tension, anger and disappointment show up when sex goes awry. A man who can’t perform or a woman who finds orgasm to be elusive must deal with feelings of shame and inadequacy. How they cope with it can go a long way to demonstrating how they deal with the other pitfalls of life. Do they laugh it off? Blame the other person? Shut down entirely? Sex, especially bad sex, gives the reader insight into how characters face life’s pitfalls in general.
In erotica, disappointing sex can also set up a character’s low expectations before he or she meets THE ONE (or two or three, depending on if you’re writing ménage romance). Work-in-progress Clans of Kalquor 5: Alien Slave opens with sex slave Dani servicing a customer. He’s okay as alien johns go, but there’s certainly no thrills happening during their session:
Reggie’s hypnotic trill lulled Dani as he slipped his penis into her. The swing that held her suspended in the air creaked as it moved back and forth in the middle of one of the brothel’s playrooms.
Dani barely felt the thin appendage as she floated in a calm sea of contentment. Sex with the Isetacian, one of her regulars since coming to Dantovon five months ago, was always pleasant. Reggie wasn’t much to look at, but that sweet warbling song that indicated his arousal made up for his lack of physical attractiveness. For all she knew, he was the handsomest man on Isetac. She’d found rating manly charm a futile exercise given the strange bodies and faces of the aliens who visited Dantovon.
Her large brown eyes half-lidded in trance, Dani traced the hard ridge of bone along Reggie’s back. It broke through his gray skin, a purplish-black lumpy crest. The first time she’d seen an Isetacian, she’d thought the creature had been horrifically injured, its skin flayed to expose the skeleton along the spine and joints. When she’d discovered that was the norm for the six-legged race (or six-armed … with Isetacians, it was impossible to tell), she’d been both fascinated and repulsed.
Becoming a sex slave to get off the ruined hulk of Earth had been rife with surprises, good and bad alike.
For now, Dani was content to let Reggie sing to her while he plunged in and out, her long, lanky body suspended in the black straps of the swing. She’d gotten almost halfway through tonight’s shift at the brothel, and this was as good an intermission as she could hope for. Isetacians didn’t require much from the sex slaves. Stroke their spines and the crowns of their bulbous heads, let them do their thing, and they were happy.
She let herself drift, Reggie’s trill taking her deeper still until her eyes closed, shutting out his face with its toothless mouth. She felt better not looking into the deep pits from which his tiny eyes peered. They circled his head in sets of two…
…Reggie, whose real name was impossible for her to pronounce, deepened his voice, signaling he was close to climax. His scent intensified. He smelled like musty old books, the antique type with paper pages one turned. Dani sighed again. Her break was almost over, and she’d have to get back to real work soon. Like the Earther men she’d bedded, Reggie got done way too fast. She barely had time to enjoy herself.
Reggie’s hands tightened on her various body parts, and his tone deepened to a bass note, held for a good ten seconds as he spurted cold seed that ran down her thighs and dripped to the floor. The moment he was done, he scrambled down. Sitting back on four of his six limbs, he solicitously helped her from the swing to stand swaying on her feet. After a moment, the hypnotic trance he’d put her in faded. Dani shivered in the cool air. Putting on her smile with professionalism, she asked, “Did you have fun, Reggie?”
Not exactly a thrill ride, is it? Now juxtapose that against Dani’s first sexual encounter with a Kalquorian clan:
Gelan smiled, and Dani’s heart thumped painfully at the sight. Alien or not, enemy of her race or not, he was stunning to look at. The sight of that handsome face and the feel of his hands on her body brought her to full arousal once more.
He growled something in his guttural language, and the field around her lessened a little, became not so solid while still keeping her suspended in the air. Gelan was able to move her legs and he did so, wrapping them around his waist and tilting her pelvis up. Now she was in position for his first thrust. He kept one arm wrapped around her while the other adjusted his sexes to home in on their intended orifices.
Dani tensed to feel him so big and eager, ready to plunge in. Gelan shook his head at her.
“Easy, little fighter. We will go gently this time.”
Dani closed her eyes against his intense stare and forced herself to relax. It was just sex. This was her job, no matter how unpleasant it might be. She could get through this.
Gelan pressed into her. The tips of his cocks slipped in easily, eased by her wetness and his. He took her slowly, letting her feel how he grew thicker and thicker, filling her swollen, sensitive tissues. The ache of her passion, ignited by the play they’d subjected her to only minutes before, returned with a vengeance. Feeling the massive Kalquorian’s penetration, the sensation of being taken front and back, the heady pleasure of his bigger cock in her womanhood and the unaccustomed but incredible delight of pressure in her anus took Dani back to that trembling edge of orgasm.
She tipped over.
A thunderclap of ecstasy seized her body, detonated her in a lightning flash of elation. Dani was suddenly caught in an epic storm of climax, her insides heaving mightily, threatening to burst out of the confines of her body. Any pleasure of intimate contact she’d ever known before was dwarfed, made miniscule by this gargantuan rapture. She shrieked in the maelstrom’s frenzy, tossed to and fro in its grip. And it went on and on, fed by the man opening her wide, working himself in and out. The friction fed the cataclysm, repeating it time and again until Dani dissolved into the tempest, torn apart by the gale.
At some point she heard an animal’s roar break through the raging storm, and another pulse joined with her convulsing insides. At last the tumult receded, and Dani discovered herself in Gelan’s arms once more. The alien gasped, as if he’d fought his way through the fury to rescue her from its beautiful clutches. She shuddered, lessening spasms licking through her as she returned to stable ground.
“What did you do to me?” Dani whispered, her voice ragged from screaming.
Gelan choked out breathless laughter. “I could ask you the same thing. I can die a happy man now.”
Wynhod’s voice came from behind him, sounding awed. “Perhaps you’ll untangle yourself from her before you expire? I don’t know about Krijero, but I’m in a great deal of need.”
Gelan snorted, but he managed to pull Dani’s legs apart, freeing himself from her desperate grip. He drew his deeply imbedded sexes from her body. Dani groaned as the friction of his leaving sent a flare of desire through her belly. Good heavens, there was no way she was going to climax again, not after that insane ride.
Gelan staggered back and sat heavily on the floor, and Wynhod stepped forward. His dark gaze and the sight of his readiness for her made Dani’s heart skip a beat and her insides flex with renewed eagerness.
No way. She could not possibly be ready for another round.
Ready or not, Wynhod was coming for her, and under that heated stare, Dani’s sex responded with a rush of wetness. She gasped in mingled arousal and surprise.
Starting with lukewarm sex between Dani and Reggie allows me to heighten Dani’s (and the reader’s) satisfaction of the wild cataclysmic encounter with the Kalquorians.
Perhaps one of the most interesting uses of unsatisfying sex in literature is when the physical part works, but the lovers are left empty and unfulfilled afterward. Perhaps they even feel guilty for some reason. In any case, a sex scene that leaves the characters bereft of the emotional fix they need can be very pivotal. After early encounters with the Kalquorians, Dani has to deal with such fallout:
They did take good care of her. They had looked to her needs, doting on her like a queen. But all Dani could think about were her parents, dead and forever out of reach because of the aliens. Earth reduced to a lifeless rock that despite cleanup efforts wouldn’t be habitable again for decades, perhaps even centuries. Gone was her carefree life in which she slept with whoever she darn well pleased and wore pretty clothes. Like the hologram of the green and blue dress they now passed in the storefront that looked as light as a dream and would have flattered her coloring much better than the gray bra and skirts she’d been stuck with.
Life was so unfair.
Gelan said, “You’re very quiet, little girl.”
Dani tore her eyes from the dress, the one she’d have bought without minding the price tag in another life. “Sorry. Thinking about stuff,” she answered, her tone short.
She saw the men exchange glances. So they’d caught her change in attitude. She didn’t care. Their kind had ruined everything, leaving her to whore her body out in order to survive. Despite the fun she’d had with them and the mind-blowing sex, Dani was ready for the Kalquorians to leave.
Unfortunately, they’d paid for her whole shift tonight, and she was still theirs for several hours yet. Dani repressed a sigh and plastered a smile on for her customers. She reminded herself that if she dwelled too much on the evils of the Kalquorians, she would have a long night ahead of her…
…Back in the brothel’s playroom, Dani steeled herself for the now unwanted romp, concentrating on sending her mind away from her body as she did with most customers. She pulled the straps of her bra down.
“Dani.” Krijero’s warm hand cupped a shoulder. He turned her slowly to face the clan.
“Yes, Imdiko Krijero?” Polite tone. Please the clients, get the job done. Afterwards, she would spend too long trying to wash the night away in the cold water of the brothel’s shower. Just another shift. It would end eventually, though not soon enough.
“Where are you right now?” He leaned down, propping his hands on his thighs as he brought his pretty purple eyes level with hers. Dani couldn’t figure out if she wanted to escape the intense stare or drown in it.
“Here with you.” She frowned. His question didn’t make sense to her.
“Maybe physically, but you’ve gone somewhere else in your head.”
His tone sounded so concerned. As if her distance mattered.
“What do you care?” The words fell out of Dani’s mouth before she could stop them.
“I care because I’m worried you’re upset about something. What’s wrong, sweetling?” He continued to look at her with that patient interest, as if he had all night for her answer.
Dani swallowed. She knew her mental state didn’t worry him in the least, except what it might do to the rest of his night. “Nothing of importance, Imdiko. It won’t affect my performance. I promise you will be satisfied and get your money’s worth.”
“Perhaps if we were the kind of men you’re used to, but we’re not, Dani. Kalquorians are very protective of women. Not only are we committed to females’ physical wellbeing and sexual fulfillment, but emotional welfare must be addressed as well.” He stroked an errant lock of hair off her face.
Unexpected tears prickled Dani’s eyes. She blinked hard, holding them back. “You have no reason to worry about me. I’m just a whore.”
“Is that how you see yourself, sweetling?”
“What else would I be?”
Krijero smiled, the expression as warm as the hand he stroked her face with. Dani basked in it despite herself. “What about smart and fun? How about resourceful, brave, and loyal? Aren’t you those things?”
She clenched her fists at her sides. She would not let him in. Not an alien whom she’d only met the night before. “No one cares about that. All anyone cares about is what they can get from me, whether it’s sex, money, or staying quietly in the background and not causing a fuss.”
Damn it. Her stupid mouth had run off again, telling more than she wanted anyone to know.
“I’m sorry that’s what you’re used to. You’re worth a lot more than that.”
Dani jerked away, out of his reach. Screw this. She should have stuck to the terms of her contract. “Go away. Just leave. The brothel won’t refund your money, but I will.”
She stared hard at the floor, waiting for them to go. Holding back the tears that flooded her eyes, doubling her vision.
“Your parents were good at that, weren’t they? Pushing you away, leaving you on your own, and using money to make up for it?”
Dani didn’t remember launching herself at him. The next thing she knew, her fists were pounding Krijero’s chest as hard as she could hit while she cried, “Shut up!” over and over in harsh sobs.
And there you have it. Next time you need a scene that exposes the raw insecurities of your characters, let ‘em have sex. And make it the worst sex possible.