Let me start by saying that anyone who thinks writing a love scene is fun is greatly mistaken. It’s work and for the most part, technical. A writer has to make sure that the positions we put our characters in are possible and doesn’t end up making them out to be contortionists.
Badly written, you risk tossing the reader out of the story. Well written, your reader is right there, in the story, wishing they could participate.
The degree of explicitness depends upon several factors: the genre, the story, and character development, among others. Some genres are more story driven and sex, while it might advance the story somewhat, isn’t the purpose of the story.
Authors should read their favored genres—a lot—and ascertain the amount of sex expected by readers. Sex scenes can range from fade to black to all out skin fest. Of course, each author makes their own assessment of the importance of sex in their story.
Then assess the appropriateness of a scene, the placement of the scene, and decide if the scene advances the story. Is it gratuitous or necessary to reveal another layer of the story characters involved?
An important aspect of a sex scene is whether the characters are in character during sex.
A first timer won’t languorously fall into seduction, but they will show signs of nerves, inexperience. A gangster won’t become sentimental and mushy in the bedroom. He will remain steadfast in his personality, and his sexual performance will reflect the unvarnished life he lives. A meek, mild man won’t become masterful in the bedroom, unless he isn’t truly meek and mild. An “in control” woman will likely maintain a degree of control between the sheets. A chatty man or woman will probably be so during sex. Same with an unemotional person. Sex likely won’t touch them in any significant way. A selfish man will be selfish in bed, just as a giving woman will give her all to please.
Another thing we have to assess is physicality—hands placed here while legs go there. Choreography of sorts. We don’t want readers questioning the possibility of a particular position, instead of enjoying the sensuality of the writing.
Actor Richard Chamberlain once said that there was nothing sexy about a sex scene, with microphones taped in his armpit, and the director placing his arms and legs where they should be. As an author, I tend to agree with the lack of sexiness in writing the scene.
We examine the movements to make sure each is necessary and possible given the circumstances. Whether the scene is graphic or not, one must pay attention to language, names for body parts, and the ever-present need to have a physical reaction from each of the players. Without that, a sex scene falls dead.
People aren’t necessarily chatty during sex, but there is a degree of conversation, so we must find a balance.
One pet peeve of mine is long paragraphs of exposition during a hot and heavy love scene. You’ve seen it too – yes, she thought, he is the same as the last time they were together, three years ago. His hair is still the same brown color, but he has a couple more wrinkles around his eyes. She wondered where he’d been all this time and how he’d found her, but there he was, lifting her skirt, his hot breath on her neck. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
No real person does that unless they don’t want to be there, and it makes for dull reading. If one or the other of the participants’ mind is wandering, someone is doing something wrong and we have bigger problems than whether an arms is properly placed.
For me as a reader, chat is minimal, while the action keeps me in the scene. I don’t want explanations and descriptions of what’s going on. Strong action and reaction will carry a scene nicely. Each character’s non-verbal response to the other is worth a thousand words.
Certainly words can enhance a scene, but too many, for me anyway, get in the way. What about you?
Do you enjoy historical erotica? If so, book one and two of my Sapphire Club series are available for your enjoyment.
A USA Today Recommended Read
Serenity Damrill has returned to her husband, Lucien, after a ten-year absence. She carries with her a secret that could destroy her life and possibly all that Lucien has built. She needs Lucien’s protection, and she is determined to repair her marriage.
Quite happy running the Sapphire Club, where his clients live out their wildest fantasies, Lucien has no need for the frigid wife who deserted him the day after they were married. Though he still desires her, he doubts she’ll consent to the type of intimate relationship he craves.
But in the Sapphire Club, where rules don’t exist, anything is possible…
Contains elements of bondage, anal play, voyeurism, spanking, and lots of romance.
Available at Musa Publishing
Lost in grief, Prentice Hyde, the much sought after Marquess of Wycroft, salves his broken heart at the Sapphire Club. He wants love, but finding it presents problems of disloyalty to his dead wife.
Widow Desiree Huntington appears at the Sapphire Club, sees Prentice in action, and presents him with a request so seductive, he finds it difficult to refuse.
As their arrangement progresses, Prentice takes Desiree to the heights of sexual endurance and enjoyment, mires her in passion, and sees a way out of the loneliness that is his life.
But Desiree wants all Prentice has to offer—but his heart.
Available at Musa Publishing
About Brita Addams: Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.
Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.
Musa Publishing has contracted a great many of Brita’s historical romances, including the rewritten and expanded, best-selling Sapphire Club series.
Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.
A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.
Readers can find more information about Brita Addams at any of the following places: