Do I Have To Write Smut

No.

That’s it. 

See you next week.

I’m kidding (partially). There’s obviously more to this blog than that. But the answer is completely serious. No, you do not have to write anything you’re not comfortable writing. Your story does not require smut. 

If you want it there? Sure. Get on with your bad self. If you don’t? There’s nothing wrong with a tastefully done fade to black scene. Or even a mild, glossing over of what parts went where. 

The problem is

that somehow, romance has been conflated with erotica. There seems to be a complete lack of separation – at least, in how the public views the romance genre. 

Erotica heavily features ‘smut’, often going into intimate detail about what is happening in the boudoir. 

Romance focuses on the story of two (or more) people falling in love. Which, if we were going with a ‘meat and potatoes’ analogy, would mean that the smut was the herb dusting on the mash. Not the meat, not the potatoes. An accessory. 

Does It Hurt Sales?

The age-old question of what sells and what doesn’t. I’ll let you know when I figure it out myself. But really, there’s virtually no way to please everyone. There are going to be people who find smut tasteless and don’t enjoy it. There are going to be people who love it, and riot in the streets if there’s anything less than good, carnal f*cking. 

Here’s the way I see it: there’s something out there for everyone. What is for you is for you and what isn’t, is not. By that I mean there’s content out there I don’t enjoy, but just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean that no one else will. Get it? 

“I’m Too Embarrassed To Write Smut.”

Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with. There is no rule that says you have to write it out. Or even in gratuitous detail. Your book is your baby. Your story is yours to tell. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into adding something that you otherwise wouldn’t have put there on your own. 

Can I Write Love Scenes Without Going Into Graphic Detail?

You sure can, sugar plum! I did that for the entirety of my Dark Paths Series (for a combination of reasons, one of which included my family being aware of that series – and eventually planning on sharing meals with them in the future). You can allude to your characters making love without going into it explicitly.

I opted for the fade to black approach, which was to provide everything heading up to the deed, but then allowing it to trail off so the reader could use their imagination. 

In some later scenes, I did ‘mild smut’, which was explaining some of the more intimate acts without getting raunchy with it.

The rest of my books… Well, they got steamy. Some might even say outright lewd.

To be fair, I wasn’t overly comfortable writing smut at first. Before I navigated my way to Bookstagram, the bulk of the romance novels I read went with the ‘fade to black’ approach. Let me tell you, it was a whole new world finding the spicier side of romance. It wasn’t until I started reading more that I even began to get comfortable with the notion. I can’t tell you how many rough drafts of s*x scenes I shared with my partner. “TELL ME IT’S  GOOD.” 

Ultimately, it comes down to comfort and personal preference.

Let me reframe it this way. If you’re someone who enjoys writing historical thrillers, would you allow your readers/your genre/your self-doubts to tell you to write a sci-fi teen fiction? No? 

Apply that same logic to smut. 

Write what you want, and an audience will follow. I promise.


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