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Writing a Love Scene, Not as Much Fun as You Might Think!

By On May 7 2008, 8:00 pm

I’ve been leading up to this for at least the last fifty pages. I’ve established mutual attraction, sexual tension, increased heart rates, heat, legs that turn to jelly. You get the idea. So the reader expects it, my characters demand it and I now have to write THE LOVE SCENE. You would think this would be the fun part.

BUT IT ISN’T. At least not always. It’s a struggle, should it be fumbling and endearing, total fantasy, very graphic, and from who’s point of view? Should the point of view change as the scene unfolds? And what about the setting? A bed, basic but maybe a little boring. Outside but where and did anybody remember to bring a blanket? In a car like horny teenagers? Or maybe up against a wall, awkward, but demonstrates that the couple is really hot for each other.

The length of the scene is important too. I know that this is somewhat of a stereotype, but love scenes written by male authors tend to be short and to the point. (No pun intended) Women authors, especially those in the romance genre, go on for pages and pages, sometimes dividing the love scene into chapters. (Talk about fantasy). They also spend more time on the afterglow, cuddling part. Male authors usually have the hero jumping up to go into battle, argue a case in front of the Supreme Court, or some other world saving task.

Then there is the question of how graphic to get. There is a fine line between describing lovemaking and porn. Should body parts be called by their proper names? I don’t have a problem using the words breast or butt. But should I call a penis a penis? Or maybe it’s better to use a slang word like dick? (Men love that word have no idea why) Or maybe its better to use a more indirect word that is descriptive, like erection or arousal. Then there is the question of what to call female parts. I won’t use the “c” word. Vagina and vulva sounds like you’re visiting the gynecologist instead of making love. That leaves words like mound, nether region, feminine core, velvet sheath, secret heart, and my favorite “feminine triangle”. Good grief!!!

There is also a danger of getting repetitive, how many ways can it be described really? This is especially dangerous when there are multiple love scenes planned. Also remembering where everybody’s hands and other parts are can be very challenging, especially when you’re switching points of view. .

How to finish the scene, does everybody climax? At the same time? Is the woman having multiples? (Remember its fiction) Is there an encore? Do you even call it a climax? Or orgasm? Or a more poetic word or phrase? Like shattering, becoming one, riding the wave, reaching the stars, tumbling into a white-hot abyss? Yowsa!

So after all this I still haven’t written the love scene. I still don’t know where it’s going to be or how graphic I’m going to get. But at the end I want it to be the kind of scene that the reader will go back and read again, maybe to their partner for inspiration. I want it earthy and fun, a natural expression of the character’s feelings for each other.

Tall order, but somebody’s got to do it.


11 Responses to “Writing a Love Scene, Not as Much Fun as You Might Think!”

  1. Alan Morgan says:

    As a male romance writer, I object to that stereotype. Nor has it been true for any male romance writer I’ve seen to date. Maybe in erotica— but I don’t think so, since sex is the focus of erotica.

    My current chapter in which the hero and heroine finally have sex, is the longest chapter of the book so far. And I’m not done yet.

  2. Nonny says:

    Huh. I guess we must read different authors, because most of the sex scenes by male authors I can think of are long and detailed.

    (I also think you worry too much about what goes into a scene. I try to let it flow naturally from the characters’ emotions, actions, and mood at the time.)

  3. Emily says:

    Addendum: I also prefer to read short love scenes – provided they communicate all the necessary information about emotions and actions. Linger too long not saying anything new, and I’m off to the next chapter to read something…new.

  4. Emily says:

    Oh, shoot. My first post didn’t go through so my addendum looks silly. :)

    Was saying that I prefer (as a writer) to write short love scenes, and I’m wild about the word “dick” in a male character’s POV. If my publisher would let me get away with it, dick would be everywhere. ;)

  5. Mel-O-Drama says:

    I prefer the word “cock” myself. My hubby tends to like that word too, better than dick, even.

    I guess I don’t put that much thought into my love scenes. I write what happens, go back, fix the odd or awkward moments, and move on. But frankly, I prefer a short, hot scene to a long love scene any day.

    Good luck. I know a lot of other authors who struggle with the sex scenes. I guess for me, by the time I get to that point, I’m ready for my characters to get it on already, so I write the scenes quick, fast, and in a hurry. But always hot. LOL

  6. Seeley deBorn says:

    Not all men like the word ‘dick,’ and lots of women have multiples on regular basis. Sex in a bed isn’t always boring and grown ups like doing it in cars too.

    Yeah, this whole post is full of stereotypes.

  7. Not deriding your opinion, as I can’t speak for the male contigency. I’m not, but this:

    Is the woman having multiples? (Remember its fiction) Is there an encore?

    Kind of made me giggle.

    That’s not fiction, it’s a regular occurrance, and there’s usually an encore or two, if time and not being exhausted allows for it.

    I think any name that you are comfortable with will flow better with your writing. You have to be comfortable with the heat first or the characters will sound off.

    Personally, I don’t use the “c” words either, whether it’s sensual or stronger. It’s my preference. I do think using descriptive in sex scenes can be the most useful in its purpose and better color the picture for the reader, because ultimately, I want them to feel what the characters are feeling. “Shattering” is far more sensual, then “a languid float back to earth.”

    Very interesting breakdown of the weight of the sex scene. They can be difficult, but I haven’t had these issues. I hope you find a way through them. I’m sure you’re story will be just what you want it to be in the end.

  8. Margaret Wilson says:

    Wow… This was meant to be a humorous piece… Guess I got it wrong

  9. aj says:

    I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it but I think I just read it as humor. I got the impression men like the word dick in general conversation not as men who write romance novels.

    I just crank them out. To be honest I don’t give them a lot of thought. They might need some correction later but its always easy for me to edit it than get it down in the first place. Probably after you’ve written thirty or forty they’ll come with less trouble. (Lol, that pun was totally not intended.)

  10. Kate Pearce says:

    For me, writing the love scenes is the easier part of the book, not sure why but I look forward to writing them because I know my page count will double :) and multiple orgasms? Love them :)

  11. I had a roommate who never said dick and always referred to his as a cock. Actually, he’d say ‘fat cock’ grin So I think it varies.

    One of the hottest and most sensual love scenes I’ve read was by a man, It totally sticks out in my mind even until this day! It managed to be both loving and hot.

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