Putting the “Rope” in “Trope”, The Smut Cookbook: A Guide To Spicy Romance #1
Nothing says ‘spice’ like a good ol’ heap of deliciously written smut that hits all the spots! It’s kind of the main selling point in erotica, so if you’re spicing up your romance novel, it’s non-negotiable.
But writing smut isn’t always as easy as slipping a rod in a hole (we wish it was that simple). It’s about emotion and movement and keeping your readers wide-eyed and constantly checking over their shoulder to make sure no one else can see what they’re reading.
That’s where we come in. Think of us as your Fairy Hot Parents. You know, waving our *ahem, magic wands and spreading legs and orgasms aplenty!
That’s what this little cookbook is all about: helping you figure out what fits and when size queens need to shut up. First up, we tackle tropes: the clenching, the lip-biting, the ‘uh, no thanks’ and how to use them in your spicy romance scenes.
Disclaimer: consent is SEXY.
Let’s start off tame (for now): dirty talk.
Now, it’s not for everyone. Like everything in this trope list, there are things that people love and things they despise. Dirty talking is definitely up there in terms of debate. If it’s done right, dirty talk can leave your reader a flustered mess, which is exactly how we like ‘em. A little “good girl” sprinkled here and there along with some praise never hurt anyone, right?
On the flip side, you’ll want to avoid the tired “you like that?” because no, Chad, we don’t like that. Thanks for asking. Can we go home now?
Let’s talk about fake dating.
Yeah, that trope. Tried, tested, and proven. And sometimes, that’s all you really need.
Fake dating can be used as a plot device that opens a lot of doors for your characters. Why are they faking it? What are the consequences if they’re caught? Do they like each other at all? Depending on these answers, you have some steamy scenes on your hands. Just think of the sexual tension that constantly simmers between them. Acting like a lovey dovey couple can take a toll, and sometimes there’s only one way to work out all that pent up frustration.
A personal favorite: Enemies to lovers
*insert evil cackle*
Let’s rewind: when we say ‘enemies to lovers’, we don’t mean “they don’t really like one another but once they get to know one another, they’re in love”.
No, we want pure angst-filled sexual tension through sneered nastiness that can really only lead to two inevitabilities: murder or fucking.
And when they finally wade through the waist-deep hatred and sexual tension, that first time is *chef’s kiss* GLORIOUS. Because, much like fake dating, there’s so much room to explore why your characters hate one another, and it makes for some of the greatest literary orgasms ever.
A conditional favorite: the love triangle
Before you haul out the pitchforks and light the torches, hear us out.
The love triangle is one of those sorely tired tropes that so often only serve to create some kind of hollow conflict that does nothing in terms of character or plot development. Boo! *chucks tomatoes* It’s about as overdone and the Mary Sue and the heroine has to choose between two spectacularly sexy love interests.
We do, however, love those triangles with a twist.
Twists that have the characters involved ending up in a poly relationship. More of this, please and thank you!
Oh no, there’s only one bed muahahaha!
Also known as “forced proximity”, this little trope right here is the proverbial bread and butter for most romance and erotica writers.
We’re aching to see what happens when our two leads are forced to face one another and those burgeoning tingles that very quickly turn into something so much darker. So much to unpack. Hidden feelings, epiphanies, that beautiful “oh, oh” moment (you know the one), we just can’t get enough. A secret roll in the sheets after a heated argument or hesitant touches that lead to frantic undressing?
Opposites attract a.k.a. sunshine x grumpy
Character A is bright smiles and iced tea while Character B is thunderstorms and Americanos. A delicious start to some spicy moments. Especially whe you take your reader’s expectations and turn them on their heads.
You know, like the little sunshine is actually a closet sex fiend who make the black cat of the relationship blush down to their toes. Those deranged requests whispered on a velvety tongue and delivered with an innocent smile? The black cat being shy while sunshine absolutely wrecks them? Excuse us, we need to sit down a moment…
No time! I need you now a.k.a. non-bed smut
We’re talking desperation that hits your characters so hard that they lose all patience. Just got home from grocery shopping? The kitchen will do. Can’t make it past the shower door? Looks like they’re getting it over the basin. That “wherever, whenever” that Mama Shakira would be proud of.
This type of sex is usually accompanied by urgency, high energy, and fumbling fingers. Although, we won’t say no to a little “you just looked so good, I couldn’t help it” lovin’ either. Add in those car, dressing room, club bathroom sex fantasies and beyond (we’ll cover public play a little further down).
Putting your money where your mouth is: Oral
Too often! Too often are we deprived of the pleasure and joy that is oral! We’ve seen our fair share of sex scenes that go from makeout to penetration and we’d just like to say: “Ow?!”
Oral is a simple way to rev up the heat, get your readers’ pulse pumping before the big finale, and, as fellow writers, we know your characters deserve it. It’s also such an effortless way to flesh out your sex scenes, make them more involved and thought out, to get your readers right there with your characters as they experience every lick.
Can we get some love for a relatively unused FWB trope? We’re talking about mutual masturbation
This one can fit into most broad tropes, but it works best for friends with benefits and friends to lovers (it’s one hell of a confession). You know, Character A thinks they’re home alone and wants some spicy alone time, and Character B walks in with a “Need a hand?” *screeching* We LOVE it! More of this please!
For FWB couples, its just an agreement. Just a friend helping a friend. That’s it. Right? Because there are no romantic feelings there, even though the way they say their name is just heavenly. That’s all it is.
Let’s get a little deeper: overstimulation
It’s something the ladies very seldom experience unless they take matters into their own hands. But that’s where book boyfriends and girlfriends come in! They possess the miracle touch that give and gives and gives.
Just a warning, though: try to keep the number of O’s realistic. From personal experience, if a character has more than three or four in a row, we’re calling bullshit. Maybe we’re just jealous, but who wouldn’t be? But, when written right, that leg-shaking, breath-taking multiple orgasm is sweeter than pie.
Figuratively speaking, at least. We love pie.
Make it mean, in a fun way: orgasm control
We’re talking delay, denial, ruin, all the absolutely awful ways you can think of to dangle that glorious bliss in front of your character like a carrot on a stick.
It’s a brilliant way to toe the line between vanilla spice and the darker, more forbidden side of romance.
Here, you don’t have to delve into power dynamics. No doms or subs required. Just two people and wet sobs of “pleasepleaseplease” and, is it getting hot in here?
Bring on the power dynamics: Power bottom/service top
Now we’re going to get a little kinkier and talk about power dynamics. But not just any power dynamic. We’re stepping away from the typical dom/sub stereotype and we’re breaking out the big guns.
Power bottoms and service tops are most commonly used in same gender pairings, and they don’t necessarily need to be present at the same time. A service top can exist without a power bottom and vice versa. You can also use the dynamic of it for your male and female leads too.
What’s that? How?
Powerful women? Shy men? Do we need to say more?
Three is not a crowd: double penetration, orgies, and more
For the truly bold who took our tip about love triangles to heart, this one’s for you.
Because the more the merrier. And if you want to keep it classy, you can. And why choose one when you can have ‘em all? It makes those reverse harem romances so much spicier, and as long as you can keep track of who’s doing what and where, you’ll have your hands full with readers who just can’t get enough.
For the adventurous: public and outdoor play
A direct offshoot of the ‘anywhere, anytime’ trope, public and outdoor play differs only because it’s a kink rather than a means to an *ahem* end.
The idea of being seen, of being caught, of having someone see how dirty they are? It gets your character going, and your readers will thank you for it. It doesn’t even need to go as far as a kink. Let’s say Character A’s previous relationship was disappointing or borderline abusive, and they’re not used to being worshiped. Now imagine Character B doing just that, asking them how badly they want to have people see how they should be treated?
We thought so too.
Entry level BDSM
For the uninitiated, BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism. In laymen’s terms, it’s as kinky as you can get. Legally.
Exploring these kinds of dynamics within your romance novel takes your spice level from mild to Holy Hell, Is This Satan’s Personal Diary? And we love it!
To be clear, we are NOT talking about the Books That Shall Not Be Named (you know the ones), because they were a very poor, inaccurate depiction of the BDSM lifestyle. And there are so many things that live under the BDSM umbrella that it requires its own edition in The Smut Cookbook.
Which it’s going to get!
For the dauntless at heart: monsters, aliens, tentacles, oh my!
We know there’s a monster-fucker reading this right now. Yeah, you. We see you. And we love you.
Because sometimes humans are a little boring, and sometimes your character is stuck in space, thoroughly repressed and in need of some shmexual healing. And, what’s this? A devilishly handsome alien *ahem* boarding their ship?
This one is for the high fantasy novels that plunge your readers into worlds that are jam-packed with sexy fae lords and roguish hybrids, and maybe a siren here and there. Exploring their physiology is an experience unlike any other, and your readers are certainly always in for surprise (or two, winkwink) during those sex scenes.
The highly debated and trigger warning: CNC or consensual non-consent
We left this one for last because of how highly debated it is, even within the romance and erotica genre.
A lot of authors and readers are happy to steer clear of it, and use other tropes in their novels. And you may feel the same, and that’s perfectly fine. However, the key word in this trope is *consensual*.
If you use this trope at all, our number one tip is that you tag your novel accordingly, place trigger warnings BEFORE your prologue, and ensure both of your characters talk it out first. Consent is sexy.
So, there you have it. These were but a handful of tropes to spice up your romance novels and add a little more heat to your sex scenes. With a little bit of research, you’re well on your way to dropping the spiciest romp in the industry.