Tamsin Flowers Talks Sense of Smell

June 7  |  eBooks  |   Kay Jaybee


First off, I’d like to say thanks to Kay for having me on her blog.  Kay is an erotica writer that I’ve admired since long before I started to write erotica myself, so it’s truly a thrill come and post on her blog – and I hope she’ll do me the honour of a return visit soon!

I thought today I’d blog about an aspect of writing erotica that I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to recently – writing about the sense of smell.  Of course, anyone who’s studied creative writing will be familiar with the old adage about making reference to all five senses in your work, and I have to say this is particularly true when writing about sex.  However, some of the senses come more easily than others, if you’ll pardon the pun.  We’re all highly visual – it’s the dominant human sense – and it’s easy enough to write what you see.  And when it comes to sex, the sense of touch is obviously integral to writing about any sensuous experience.  Hearing, likewise presents no problems… he said, she said, she screamed, he moaned and the bedsprings groaned!

But when it comes to smell, (and I would almost include taste in the same breath, though actually it’s probably the least written about sense,) things become a little more complex.  For me, smell is one of the most important parts of sex.  Your lover’s smell can be simply intoxicating when you’re falling in love and the smell on your bodies when you’ve just had sex is part of the aphrodisiac.  But walk into a room where someone else has just had sex – ugh, it’s rank!  The same goes for scents and perfumes – one woman’s most sensual scent is another man’s poison.

However, writing it down – that’s tough.  Any of my twitter followers may have noticed that I quite often tweet about what scent I’m wearing.  For me it’s as important a decision at the start of the day as my choice of clothes; certain outfits and scents are for work, others are for pleasure.  But when I’m writing fiction, I never give my characters particular perfumes to wear.  It simply wouldn’t work.  What would it tell you about the character that they wore, say, Nina Ricci’s L’Air du Temps if you don’t know what it smells like?  And if you do know, whether you like that perfume or hate it will obviously colour your view of the character.

So instead, things are a little vague, a little generic perhaps – but I try to give an impression that can then be filled in by the readers’ imaginations.  This is how I described a character in a recent work-in-progress:

“One spray too many of a cologne he should have spent more money on.”

I think that gives the picture without naming names or ingredients…  Or this:

“Rock music blasted out and on a tiny dance floor sweaty bodies heaved to the beat.  I had to elbow my way to the bar and I couldn’t call it whether I trod on more toes than trod on mine.  But I liked it; the air smelt sexy with the collective fug of hot girls having fun.”

It’s an interesting challenge and part of the fun of writing erotica – and I’d love to hear how other people handle it.



You can find out more about my books and read some longer excerpts at www.tamsinflowers.com or why not take a sniff of my writing by downloading my two new stories at Ether Books?

Your Desire: The Mistress  http://ethr.me/p2493

Your Desire: The Submissive http://bit.ly/bpvC84

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One Response to Tamsin Flowers Talks Sense of Smell

  1. Tamsin this is really wonderful. You are exactly right, smell is such an important part of attraction, desire, arousal . . . and our reaction to others (and not just sexually!). And yet it’s something I’d never really thought about just how difficult it is to convey that sense, among all others, in the written word. Though I’m not a writer in the sense that you, or KJB are, it is something that I know I will now pay much more attention to . . . and think about as I turn those pages.
    And yes, I will be sniffing you out on my phone at Ether books.
    Xxx – Katie (aka Modesty)