Mercy Talks Sex: Writing Realistic Love Scenes

Couple In Bed, Men Sleeping And Woman Lying Disappointed by photostock 10034198
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

Sometimes it is nice to read a story where the characters are larger than life. Ok..Ok so it always is, but there is a threshold between realistically enhanced and well…just too much.

We’ve read countless stories where the male hero was hugely endowed, and possessed superhuman endurance. Add to that the trend of female characters that are hypersensitive and more responsive than a hundred boomerangs at an Australian picnic.  Enough is enough. We like our love scenes sensual and sexy, but they are even better if they remain within the realm of attainable. Romance is about the fantasy of perfect love, the beauty of unadulterated union, and endless passion. We sell this dream to the readers. But let’s not do them the disservice of selling them something they can never experience. Read on for four key guidelines of realistic love scenes.

1. Write checks your  heroes can cash.

Its good to build the tension between two characters. Its not so good to build the tension so high that when the deed is actually done it seems a bit anticlimactic. When authors spend an extraordinary amount of time building to sex, and talking about it, it kills a little bit of the wonder of discovery. The characters have talked about how much they want it, and about how good its going to be so much that there is nothing within the realm of the laws of physics that will back up all that talk. So if you write a big check, be prepared for it to be cashed. That is to say, you must deliver. Take your characters beyond physical to metaphysical. Introduce high stimulation play, or some other sort of sense heightening technique, to justify the transcendent experience you’re about to describe. Take your readers beyond the scope of their experience. You can sell larger than life love if you shake the foundation of the reader’s knowledge base.

2. Milk the anticipation.

Try not to make sex the primary story arc. This is romance, so yes it is important, but not more than the honest depiction of human interaction. The journey towards love should feel natural to the reader. We’ve all read those series where after the fourth or fifth sequel its all about the bored sighs and quick page turns to get back to the story line. Some authors fall into the trap of making sex the primary story. This works sometimes, but too much is snooze inducing. Fifty pages of a single sex scene and even the reader feels sore and tired, so it isn’t believable that the characters don’t. Keep the story spicy by building up anticipation in the characters, and then milking it. If two characters aren’t able to connect for some reason,or are interrupted just at the moment of …well you know…then milk that sense of needy thwarted desire. Keep your story sexy without putting too much sex in it. Just the right amount of love combined with a good build up will go a lot farther than the full meat and potatoes.

Top View Of Resting Young Woman by imagerymajestic
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

3. Don’t overbeat the batter.

One good love scene is better than five average ones. We’ve all read stories that have gratuitous hanky panky. Even erotic romance stories can go too far in this area. Its important to balance the advance of the storyline with the need for chemical interaction. Desire is a great thing, but it can be quenched with overabundance. So write your stories with the concepts of lean writing foremost in your mind. What is lean writing? There is only one rule. If it doesn’t advance the story or characters in some way, then don’t write it, or take it out.

4. Fight against the cliché.

We’ve all heard the negative spews of those that sip from romance novel hater-ade. They use the ‘c’ word as a reason why romance isn’t real writing. Well don’t feed the fire. Give your stories an original touch. This could mean adding a small twist in the story, or shocking the readers with instant intense passion and then pages of restraint. Any way you tell it it should keep the reader hooked and wanting more. It should do this without having them smirk at the use of old school romance plot mechanisms. An example of this is the “innocent” virgin female lead. She’s untried, inexperienced and immature. She’s also rash, unreasonable, and childish. The great thing about new romance is the emergence of the strong and competent female lead. Let your heroin meet the hero right in the middle. She has her own desires and needs, and she knows what she wants. This should spill over into the love scenes as well. Both partners should be active participants. Both should have an agenda, and the reader should be aware of it. And that’s it.

Happy Writing!!


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