Guest Author: Jeffe Kennedy & How You Write a Good Sex Scene

I am excited to welcome author Jeffe Kennedy, who has joined a fabulous collection of authors in the upcoming anthology The Devil’s Doorbell, releasing April 26th.

Antho-Devils DoorbellExact Warm Unholy by Jeffe Kennedy
Tonight my name is Mary…

Or is it? Sometimes she’s Tiffany or Syd or Bobbi. But whatever face she wears, she returns to the same bar, to find a new man and seduce him, safe in the knowledge that no one will recognize her. Until one man does.

The Devil’s Doorbell
A woman’s pleasure is a dangerous thing. A primal appetite that, once awakened, can never be sated. A secret that gives power to those who know it. A magic that, once unleashed, can never be contained.

Some say the clitoris is the devil’s doorbell, set to summon him forth at the merest touch…

It’s time to ring the bell.

Here are seven tales of sexual empowerment and erotic defiance, featuring the hottest storytellers of erotic fiction: Anne Calhoun, Christine d’Abo, Delphine Dryden, Megan Hart, Jeffe Kennedy, Megan Mulry, and M. O’Keefe.


How You Write a Good Sex Scene

Today at Literary Escapism, our lovely hostess asked me to answer a series of possible questions. I’m including them because the answer to all five is the same. The questions are:

  • What makes a sex scene suck?
  • Which tropes lead to epic eye-rolling?
  • How can it be overcome?
  • What makes a sex scene good?
  • Is there a certain trope that will never go out of style?

I’m gonna tell you folks up front: it ain’t the tropes’ fault.

For the uninitiated, a “trope” is simply a type of plot, like marriage of convenience or star-crossed lovers. We like to think there are totally original stories, but almost all fall into one or more identifiable tropes. Ecclesiastes said there was nothing new under the sun over two-thousand years ago and nothing has gotten newer since.

This is why I’ll never criticize a trope – or roll my eyes at one or say one should die. By their very nature they don’t go out of style! No, everything lies in the hands of the storyteller who employs the trope.

So, what makes a sex scene good instead of sucking?


If a sex scene is about the interaction of well-drawn characters we’re invested in as readers, the tropes, the choreography, word usage, etc., will take second place. Sex is ultimately about intimacy, about having the social masks peeled away and the vulnerable inner person exposed to another (or more). The sex should be about more than bumping uglies – a good sex scene takes the character(s) on a journey of transformation.

That’s one reason I’m just thrilled by the collection of erotic stories in The Devil’s Doorbell. I asked the contributors to write tales of female sexual empowerment, particularly in terms of breaking away from personal or social constraints. The results just wowed me!

Anne Calhoun wrote a story about revenge sex. So, did Megan Hart, though in a totally different way. Delphine Dryden’s heroine takes a thrilling risk and Christine d’Abo’s heroine uses an app to make a man give a fantasy-come-true. Megan Mulry takes us on a sexual adventure in London and Molly O’Keeffe (writing as M. O’Keeffe) gives us a gut- and heart-wrenching story that took my breath away. Light and dark, these erotic stories shine light into the festering emotional wounds that inform the characters we love.

That’s how you write a good sex scene.

Excerpt from Exact Warm Unholy by Jeffe Kennedy

Tonight, my name is Mary.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary. That calls for fiery red, steampunk crimson carved into long, perfect ringlets. Not a corset, though. Not for Circle2, a bar that tends toward the conservative, at least so far as cosplay is concerned, unless it’s Halloween or something. Instead I choose the black sheath dress with the deep vee neckline to show off the inner curves of my breasts, and advertise that I’m not wearing a bra. Or anything else beneath.

Have to set the bait properly, after all. And Mary can do what I never could.

For makeup, I go with a retro vibe. I have to layer it on thick anyway, to make myself into Mary, so the heavy stuff works best. Theater pancake in the fairest tone to complement the hair. False lashes and black eyeliner, with a cat’s eye flair. Bright green contact lenses. Lipstick in screaming scarlet, just shades darker than the wig. Amazing, really, how redrawing the lines of lips and eyes change a face entirely.

No one ever recognizes me, not even me. Maybe G_d does, but we’ve had a falling out and I don’t care.

At the last moment I go for boots instead of stilettos. High heels, black leather, over-the-knee. Maybe I’ll let him fuck me in just the boots. Whoever he’ll be tonight.

The night air slaps chill on my bare arms, so I hurry the few blocks to Circle2. I don’t like to wear a coat. They’re too expensive to wear a different one every time and I’d rather spend the money on wigs. Too bad there’s not a wig wear-and-return system, as I never wear the same one twice.

I don’t mind the coolness either. It helps combat the heat. I’m alive with the anticipation, already wet, primed for the release to come.

Tonight I pick out a stool at the bar. Mary is the sort who’d do that. I cross my legs so my hem rides up to show a strip of skin above my boot, turning sideways to display my cleavage.

Come and get it, gentlemen.

“What’ll you have?” the bartender asks. He’s a genial sort, always ready with a friendly smile. Never hits on me, no matter who I am that night, which makes me think he doesn’t take advantage of the women who come to the bar. That’s part of the reason I go to Circle2. It sets a tone to the hookups, I think, as the men who frequent the place are generally clean and polite.

He’s always working, six nights a week. The bar is closed on Mondays. I suspect he owns it, but we don’t have conversations. At least, not connected ones. I’m always a stranger to him. He smiles, asks what I’ll have, then leaves me alone.

Tonight it’s Prosecco and he gives it to me in a tall flute. He’s wearing a shirt that says “The book was better.”

“I’ll get that for the lady.” A tall man, dark skin, pretty brown eyes, makes the offer hopefully. He’s wearing a good suit, has nice hands, long fingers. I’ve never seen him in here before. Yes. Yes, he’ll do nicely.

Meet Jeffe Kennedy!

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook. 

Her fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and has been nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose, has been nominated for best fantasy romance of the year. Her fifth series, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, released starting with Going Under in July. 

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe KennedyContact Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | GoodReads | Amazon

Want to purchase Jeffe’s novels?
The Mark of the Tala (Twelve Kingdoms #1)
Going Under (Falling Under #1)
Rogue’s Pawn (Covenant of Thorns #1)
The Pages of the Mind (Uncharted Realms #1) (May 31, 2016)
Hopeful Monsters
Bird Woman
Petals and Thorns
Passionate Overture (Master of the Opera, Act 1)
Sapphire (Facets of Passion #1)
Feeding the Vampire
Five Golden Rings
Season of Seduction
Hunting the Siren

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.

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