So as I sit here, finished with my last steamy scene for my second book–in desperate need of a cigarette, even though I don’t smoke–I was thinking about the importance of writing hot, sexy, completely captivating sex scenes.
The romance genre requires a good sex scene, just on principle. Let’s face it, when you read romance, and are like me, you are just biding your time until the two characters do the huffy-puffy.
In my experience, writing sex scenes requires an insight to what you’re trying to accomplish during the scene. What are you writing for? What emotions are garnered in this scene? What pinnacle point in the main characters’ relationship is this scene taking place?
Since my main novels aren’t erotica, they don’t require me to do much more than add depth to the relationship my two characters have. But sometimes I forget this while I’m writing. Sometimes I just want to get dirty and write it that way. Sometimes I forget that, like everything in the novel, the sex scene serves a purpose–an overall element to your book that can’t be accomplished in any other way but through the physical interaction of your main characters.
So in my experience, I’ve identified three things that are important: timing, 360-cover, and realism.
Personally, these may not be high on other authors’ priorities, but when I’m reading and writing, these are what I find the most important elements.
Timing, mostly because having sex either at the beginning or very end of the book can change the overall feel of what you might be going for. Generally, I let my characters and their relationship guide me. But as a rule, I never have early-on sex scenes.
360-cover, as pertaining to getting a grasp on what is going on all around and not focusing on one main element. This is especially hard to accomplish in first-person writing, but I find that panning in on the other character’s movements, emotions, and body language can aide in this.
Realism, the most important I feel of the three. Completely over-romanticized sex scenes lack this–and for me are a total dud. Elements of realistic sex between the characters can make it feel more “real” to the reader. Of course, this is my opinion and may vary between readers, like with everything in this world.
So, as I continue venturing into this world of romance writing, I find that the sex scenes are the most fun and most thought-provoking, frustrating, and entirely consuming scenes to write for the mere fact that a good sex scene can make a book, and a bad one can break it.