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Writing means different things to me. I'm a storyteller, a book editor, and a songwriter. For me, it's like breathing.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Writing meaningful sex scenes

Sex scenes are the most difficult scenes for me to write. Or, I should say, it’s difficult to write meaningful sex scenes. I dread when it comes times in a story to add a sex scene. Sure, it’s easy to say that he put his ‘you know what’ in her ‘you know where.’ But why even have a sex scene if that’s all you are going to write?

A better approach is to get inside the heads of your characters and make the sex scene about emotions rather than too many repetitive actions. Also, a little goes a long way in these intimate scenes. Some description is necessary to show and not tell, but too much description and you risk losing the reader. I’ve read some sex scenes where every little detail of the man’s do-hickie was described. Ick. I really didn’t need to read that. I would rather leave the details for the reader to imagine how they want to imagine them. What may turn on one reader turns another one way off.

So, it’s best to go easy on the details and focus more on the characters’ feelings and show their feelings through their actions in the bed. If the heroine is a virgin, is she scared or nervous? If the hero is used to dominating in the bedroom, how will he react if his partner takes charge? Are they tentative lovers or passionate? This is where really knowing your characters pays off.

Sample sex scene from Winter’s Requiem:

Domelch pulled out her long knife, drawing the cold metal against her naked skin. Her nipples rose, hardening in response to the coldness of the blade. Being so close to death made her toy with the idea of sliding the knife’s sharp edge against her skin and drawing some blood. Her body tingled with pleasure at the thought. She spread her legs wide, beckoning him with an enticing smile. Her hand stroked her own inner thigh, the sight of his naked, strapping body exciting her.

In the lamplight his wolf-like eyes flickered with mounting desire for her, his erection rising and thickening with the might to conquer her. “God’s teeth, lass,” he whispered, his voice raspy with longing.

Aedan pounced on the bed and the makeshift bed crashed under their forceful weight. He claimed her with his warrior’s strength, his muscular arms enfolding her in a passionate embrace. Caressing her with hungry kisses, he filled her with life again, the terrible memories of the battlefield fading away. Domelch’s body tingled with the urgency to have him overpower her, to chase her demons away.

She recalled instead a thrilling memory of how Aedan commanded his men with confidence and courage, wielding his sword, the Widowmaker, and sending the enemy to the Underworld like a mighty war god. Now he commanded her, his forceful spear plunging into her, drawing from her body and soul the wild throes of love. She forgot all about death, embracing the power of life and all the sensations of two people enjoined in coupling. After all these years, the power he wielded over her was great, her body quivering beneath him. His musky male scent quickened her heartbeat, their slick bodies entwined like greedy vines searching for warmth and sunlight. Fisting his long hair in a desperate attempt to cling to the edge, pleasure overpowered her, pulsating and lifting her in its blissful grasp.



Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author






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