Writing Sexy Love Scenes

Today’s Guest Blogger is New York times best selling author, Caridad Pineiro.  Caridad will be giving away a ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of THE LOST to one lucky commenter.  Welcome, Caridad! 

You’ve all heard those warnings in the assorted ED commercials:

In case of an erection lasting more than four hours, contact your physician.  

Well here’s a word of advice for those wanting to write sexy love scenes:

In case of an erection lasting more than ten pages, contact your editor.

Okay, so I’m teasing you a bit.  There is no magic rule about how long or short a love scene should be.  Nor is there any rule about how many love scenes you should have in your work.  But there are some very important things that you should keep in mind in order to write a good love scene.

The first thing to consider is your hero and heroine.  There is nothing that will take you out of the story more quickly than being in the middle of a love scene and thinking, “There is no way he/she would do that!”

If your heroine is kick-ass, it’s unlikely she’s going to become shy and retiring while making love, unless of course there is a very good reason for it. For example, past abuse or rape or even being a virgin.  But knowing this about the heroine is something  that should come out well before that first pivotal scene of intimacy, otherwise it may pull the reader out of the story.  In addition, knowing that the heroine has a traumatic past makes the first step toward involvement all the more important, so it will require a delicate balance to write a believable scene.  Set it up first and be cautious in how much goes on during that first encounter.

If your heroine is just your regular kind of girl, it’s still important to keep some things in mind when writing the love scene, namely, the five senses.  Put yourself in the shoes of the hero and heroine and ask yourself:

How does the other person’s skin feel?

What smells are in the air?  Does your lover have a smell?

Is your lover silent or do they like talking or showing their satisfaction with a soft/loud cry?

Salty skin?  Sweetness elsewhere?

What does your lover look like?  Are they much bigger than you are?

You want the reader to experience each and every sensual experience.  Involve them in what’s happening, but don’t make it clinical.  It’s about more than Tab A goes into Part B.

Speaking of Tab A/Part B, can you use words like f**k, c**k or p***sy?  That really depends where you intend to sell the work.  For erotica such words are acceptable, but they may not be for a romance line.  Ditto on bondage, domination, etc.  Such edgy activities may be all right for more erotic stories, but not for a traditional romance.

As I mentioned before, there is no right length to the love scene.  Your characters and the story will let you know when the length is right.  So will the genre in which you are writing.  In a sweet or inspirational romance, you will probably close the door and not show the love scene at all.

How many love scenes?  Again, that depends on the nature of the story you are writing.  In erotica the love scene(s) may constitute most of the work.  Not so in a romance where the story arc should be more about the development of the relationship.  It is only after the sexual tension has grown between the hero and heroine that it would be appropriate to offer up a love scene.  Your first scenes may be just teases as the hero and heroine feel each other out, but then develop into a longer scene when the hero and heroine become emotionally closer.

Last but not least, even though we want the scene to be romantic and for everyone to be fulfilled, keep in mind the physical realities of making love.  While we’d love a hero who can go on and on and on like the Energizer bunny, besides being dangerous, that four-hour erection is unrealistic.  If a reader thinks the scene is unrealistic, you will pull them out of the story again and that’s not a good thing.

Creating a realistic relationship and intimacy between the hero and heroine is a sure-fire way to keep the reader involved in your story!

Thank you, Caridad.  Remember, one lucky commenter will receive an ARC of Caridad’s novel, THE LOST, available July 26th.  This book is the first in a  paranormal series about a race of energy gatherers with all kinds of unusual properties, like shape-shifting and being able to heal or kill just with a touch.  I can’t wait to read it.  🙂

~K.M. Fawcett

37 responses to “Writing Sexy Love Scenes

  1. Thanks so much for having me with you today! If anyone has any questions about writing a love scene, feel free to post them here and I’ll be back to chat with you.

  2. Pingback: Busy Monday Morning! | Paranormal Romance and Romantic Suspense Author Caridad Pineiro

  3. Great post, Caridad!

    How do you handle the morning after breath and the realities of the next day? Or do you just skip that *lovely* part? 🙂


    • Since we deal in fantasy, it’s easier to focus on things other than morning breath. Things like, are they tired but ready for more. A little achy, etc. Things which sustain the emotional and sexy aspects rather than the mundane.

  4. Karin Tillotson

    I always wondered if the authors took classes or practiced the various love scenes before they wrote them???

  5. Well, that was a very insightful post to read first thing in the morning. 😉 Definitely woke me up. I dabble at writing sometimes and it does have romance in it so I appreciate the tips.

  6. Patricia Pickett

    How do you know when enough is enough?? In other words, should a love scene be one paragraph or two pages??

    • It really depends on the genre and the characters. Sometimes a slow build up and tender moments without overt lovemaking are much sexier. I like reading sexier stories, so a paragraph would likely not do it for me. On the other hand, I know many readers who say they skip the sexier scenes because they prefer the emotional connection more than the physical one. But if you are going to do more than a paragraph, it’s important to engage the reader in what’s happening both physically AND emotionally. I can’t stress the latter enough.

  7. Andrea Thompson

    Nice post for a Monday morning. Thanks!

  8. Raonaid Luckwell

    What a great post for a dull Monday. LOL! But thank you for posting those questinos. In writing I always skirt around love making scene because I don’t feel that comfortable in the actual writing of it.

    • It is a tough thing to do. I always worry about what people will think. What if a family member reads it, etc. I think you need to dissociate yourself from that because it can be a censor. Plus I tell myself that I want to convey the connection between the couple and how beautiful it is that they are sharing their love in this fashion. For me it’s about the love in the scene and not just the sex. Sex without love is somehow flat and so I strive to convey more.

  9. Wow what a great post!!! and I sooo want LOST!!! and you are so right. It’s really amazing just how many times I’ve skipped a love scene because it was either too much or just not needed or just too over the top to be believable.

  10. Great post Caridad! As a reader I have to say that a hero who is physically unrealistic does drag me out of a story, the average guy just can’t go at it for hours and hours or days…lol…. I’ve always wondered how some of these scenes make it to the final book and aren’t trimmed up. Love the cover to Lost!

  11. Hi Caridad,
    i was wondering if you wanted to write an erotica novel and you were not familiar with this genre how do you go about researching it?

    • The best way to write any genre is to read lots of books/stories in that genre. This way you get an idea of what’s being published and what kinds of things are happening in the stories. Whenever I want to try something new, I’ll pick up a bunch of books in that genre.

  12. I enjoyed reading this. I have been thinking about trying to write after attending some of the workshops at RT this year. Your blog is icing on the cake for me. Thanks Caridad, I also love your books.

  13. angelwolf_storm@hotmail.com

    Awesome post! I don’t know how you do it but I applaud you!

  14. Wow, that is awesome advice!! As an aspiring writer, that’s definitely one of the many questions you ponder … Thanks for the tips!!

    • You’re welcome. I think the most important thing I can offer up is trust your gut. You’ll know when it’s going on too long or when you’re frustrated not to see more. You’re a reader, too, after all. Listen to that voice.

  15. What terrific post, Caridad! Even better to read after the end of a long day! 😀 It is always interesting what an author’s take is on creating a love scene..I agree a great love scene has to feel realistic to the characters in the story and draw the reader right into it..sometimes the “closed door”..”leave it up to our imagination” approach can be a very sensual experience!!
    your scenes in Sins of the Flesh and Stronger than Sin were terrific! Can’t wait for more!
    Thank you! kj 🙂

    • Thank you, Kathy. You’re totally right that sometimes the closed door or pulling away is “more”. It ramps up the tension and conflict sometimes and makes the deed much more enjoyable when it happens.

  16. Interesting blog! How do you know when enough is enough? And what is enough? I enjoy love scenes and when I’m reading a romance bokk, I expect love scenes and not watered down scenes either.

    • I think trust your voice as a writer. You’ll know when it’s long enough for that moment in the book. As for watered down, if I was reading a sexy paranormal I would most certainly expect more than in a different kind of book.

  17. Some great ideas here, Caridad. You included some things to think about that I’m not sure I’ve considered before. Thanks!

  18. Great advice! Everything is spot on! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Using Random.org, I just picked the winner for the ARC of THE LOST. angelwolf_storm@hotmail.com – please e-mail me your postal address so I can send out your copy!

  20. Pingback: Let’s Talk Favorite Love Scenes | Attacking the Page

  21. The love in the scene and not just the sex .. i appreciate the tips.

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