Oh, My!

lips3I’ve had some interesting feedback from some of the men who’ve been reading my novels. They tell me they’ve really enjoyed reading my sex scenes. Apparently I have a talent that I didn’t know I had.

Oh, my! (To quote George Takei.)

Well, I confess. I did some research on how to write “love” scenes, and I’m happy explain the techniques I use.

I start by taking my time to build the sexual tension between my characters, and the build up happens slowly. Arousal starts innocently, with hands accidentally brushing, or touching a forearm. The man may find the lady’s dress sexy. Sometimes horseplay turns into foreplay.

I don’t mention certain body parts by name. I’m writing romance, not a medical textbook. My goal is to describe what the characters are feeling. This isn’t erotica. I prefer to refer to it with words like, “she felt a sweet sensation,” or “she arched her back and enjoyed the warm, tingly feeling.”

We all know what happens during “the act.” My editor came up with a wonderful way to refer to it–“reaching his (or her) release,” and I’ll often use the words, “climax,” “ecstasy” or, “the two briefly became one,” when describing the euphoria the characters are experiencing.

I don’t use much dialogue during my love scenes. Two people who love each other, and who are making love for the first time, probably won’t be in the mood for chatting, and too much dialogue would interrupt the flow of the story. I save the dialog for the pillow talk scene in the next chapter.

One thing I will do, however, try to instill a sense of responsibility in my characters. Oftentimes the lady will be asked if she’s using birth control, or the man will stop to apply a condom.

I only use sex scenes to enhance the plot, and I use them sparingly. There are usually no more than two or three such scenes throughout my novel. My stories are about people and their relationships, and there’s a whole lot more to a relationship than just having sex.

MM

Stuck in a Literary Sexual Rut

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Oh the problems one encounters when writing sensual romance novels.  As explained in my earlier blog post, Sweet, Sensual or Erotic Romance? Why I Write Sensual, there is a distinct difference between sensual romance and erotica. In sensual romance the sex scenes are written to help enhance the plot as the characters consummate their relationship. The emphasis is on what the people are feeling, while in erotica the emphasis is the sex act itself. The characters’ feelings and emotions are of lesser importance. Most of the storyline in erotic literature focuses around having sex, where a sensual romance may only include a few sex scenes.

That said, as I’m working on my third novel, The Journey, I found myself in a bit of a rut when writing my sex scenes. Let’s face it. There are only two kinds of equipment out there, and that equipment only works certain ways. I was starting to worry that my sex scenes might be becoming redundant.

I decided to do a little research, so the other day I downloaded a copy of an anthology by Anais Nin called, Little Birds. Ms. Nin is perhaps the “literary madam,” of erotic literature. I thought I might learn something new about writing erotic scenes from her. What I found, at least in my opinion, were stories that were a little cold. The characters were one-dimensional and lacked passion. Afterwards I looked at my own writing, and I think there’s something to be said for writing about what the characters are feeling, emotionally as well as physically. As for the redundancy–I suppose it is what it is. Even Ms. Nin’s stories were a bit redundant, yet decades later readers still enjoy them. I guess there are some things in life that people probably aren’t going to get tired of. Like having sex. And eating chocolate cake..

MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet, Sensual or Erotic Romance

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In the world of romance writing there are three distinct types.

  • Sweet Romance
  • Sensual Romance
  • Erotic Romance or Erotica

Sweet Romance is squeaky clean. There is no sex between the characters. All passion is expressed with kissing, hand holding and perhaps brushing a hand along a face.  Suitable for young teens,  readers with strong religious or moral principles, and some elderly readers.

Sensual Romance does include some sex scenes, but the language typically isn’t harsh and the scenes typically aren’t described in an overtly graphic way.  The emphasis is instead on the emotions and feelings of the characters, and the scenes are included so they can consummate their relationship. In other words, the characters aren’t having sex just because they can.  The scene is included because it is a part of the storyline, but the plot does not revolve around the sex scenes. Oftentimes there are only a few sex scenes within the entire story.

Erotic Romance is all about the sex.  The descriptions are quite graphic and the story may include variations such as threesomes, orgies or bondage.  Two characters falling in love and eventually consummating their relationship isn’t necessarily what the story is about.  It’s all about the characters having sex and a lot of it.

When I decided to switch genres and write romance novels I made the decision to write sensual romance.  To me, it is the most logical approach.  It reflects our current society and it’s what today’s readers expect.  Sweet romance would have been fine if it was still the 1950s but, for better or worse, we now live in a different time. My leading characters do make love, but not until after they’ve fallen in love and are emotionally invested in the relationship.  Once their relationship is consummated I usually don’t write another sex scene between the two as it would then become redundant.  I will however, have other scenes with foreplay followed by pillow talk.  This rule, however, only applies for my two leading characters.

From time to time I may have a leading man or lady get involved with Mr. or Ms. Wrong.  On those occasions I’ll approach the sex scenes a little differently. For example, in my upcoming novel The Deception, Carrie, the female lead, has just ended a long-term relationship. She then meets Scott, a married man who’s tricked her into thinking he’s single. Scott knows Carrie is emotionally vulnerable so he takes advantage of her.  Because Scott is a Mr. Wrong the sex scenes between him and Carrie are a little racier. Both characters know their relationship will not be a permanent one, but even then my sex scenes aren’t overly graphic.  I’m more interested in what the characters are feeling during the scene.  Incidentally, Alex, The Deception’s leading man, does not appear until after Carrie’s fling with Scott has ended.  One thing I will not do is have my characters bed hopping.

If you’re looking for sweet, squeaky-clean romance I’m afraid you won’t find it in my books.  However if you’re looking for something believable that will leave you, the reader, satisfied,  I’ll think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

MM