“Visions of his warm bed and even warmer wife lit Lord Arik’s face. A deep, rich chuckle rumbled in his chest at the vivid images of how he’d wake Rebeka.”
-- Opening lines of The Knight of Rapture by Ruth A. Casie
You would think that as a romance author, I find writing sex scenes easy. Just sit down and dash them off. That’s not always the case. This situation isn’t unusual. Comfort levels vary when writing different types of scenes. Some authors have difficulty when their central character must face a difficult situation, when they have to write conflict. Sex scenes are just another challenge.
Intimate scenes are personal moments between my characters. And sometimes putting pen to paper seems so intrusive, embarrassing. So, Ruth if these scenes are so difficult for you to write, why do you write them?
Here is the conundrum. I love romance stories. I love stories that paint an emotional journey, where the heroine and her hero must work together through adversity to overcome their conflicts and reach their goals together and ultimately celebrate when they reach their happily ever after. I truly believe that love is an essential part of the human story and I do want to write about it.
So, how do I overcome my embarrassment when I write a love scene?
Sex has a purpose
No matter the story, there is no right or wrong way to write an intimate scene. The author’s only mandate is to make the intimate scene essential to story, move the story forward or else the sex is gratuitous. I skim over intimate scenes that pop up out of now where and are purely for titillation impact. If there are too many in a story I usual put the book aside. Voyeurism and porn are not my thing.
However, when the scene is essential the natural flow of the story makes revealing the character’s emotional growth (that mean’s intimate moments) in support of the story. When I’m in this zone the writing seems so natural that it comes easier (not easy).
I write knowing my character must grow and I vary the aspects of the intimate scenes, some are all kissing and touching while others are more emotional and graphic.
I read a great article by Jamie Gold. In it she spoke about three aspects of intimacy:
Action: How far to go? This can be from an embrace to a full love scene.
Description: How explicit do you get? This can be a summary, hint at every action or give full details.
Reader Experience: What does the reader see? Nothing once the intention is understood, behind closed door, or no door at all.
Like real people, story characters express their intimate moments differently. In part, it’s that difference that makes the characters and the story believable. Authors mix and match the aspects mentioned above depending on what’s needed for the various characters and the scene: high action but low description and reader experience, like the excerpt above. Word choices and sensual description run the gamut from sweet to warm, to hot, to blistering. I use all the senses to deepen the reader’s experience and make the scene as believable as possible.
Sex and the Writer
No matter the genre and the reader expectation, the writer can take steps to ensure reader expectation is met without causing them undue anxiety.
Write for your character
Choose a variety of word choices and sensual description that fits your character and the moment: from sweet to warm to hot to blistering
Use all the senses to deepen the reader’s experience and make the scene as believable as possible.
Read stories at the heat level equal to what you want to write – learn the words, the balance between the physical, emotional and mental descriptions
Read stories one level beyond what you write – it desensitizes and can be used to your benefit
Some writers get in the right mind set with candlelight, music, incense and wait until everyone is asleep so they can write without distractions
Ultimately if you’re not comfortable writing the scene … DON’T because your reader will know it and writing should not make you anxious
I love my Druid Knight stories. Arik and Rebeka are so special to me. Here is a scene I found especially difficult to write. Not because I was embarrassed, but for me it was a very emotional scene. (Rated PG-13)
“Hold me. Don’t let me go,” she said as she nuzzled his neck and sank into his strong embrace. “Love me,” she whispered in his ear and felt him shiver. She wanted to feel his arms around her, his lips touching hers—she wanted him to bury himself deep inside her and shout her passion to her world and to his.
They sank to the ground and held each other close. She was afraid to let him go, afraid the emptiness would find her, afraid of losing him, again. With an unending thirst, she focused on his mouth, the shape of his lips, the kisses that they promised.
His hand stroked the side of her body from her breast to her thigh, claiming it for himself. She stretched and molded her body to the contours of his, the way he liked. One stroke of her breast and she tugged on his shirt. He didn’t hesitate. He obliged her and pulled it off. Her hand played down the familiar hard planes of his chest. Her eyes widened when she saw the marks. His back and chest were covered with intricate symbols. How hadn’t she seen them before? “These weren’t here.” She traced them with her finger.
He stopped her hand and brought it to his lips. “For six months I tried to find you. He tilted her face to his. She closed her eyes and felt the tingling traces of Dark Magick that thrummed around him.
She moved away, a concerned expression on her face. “What have you done?”
He pulled her back into his arms. “I did whatever was necessary. Now be still and let me hold you.” She settled against him.
“I’ve tried to remember holding you, feeling you before I love you, reliving every moment with you.”
She put her head on his shoulder. He opened her nightshirt and stroked the top of her chest then, with trembling hands, touched her breasts. A low moan escaped her lips. She tipped her face to see his eyes.
“Why are your eyes closed?” she asked.
“I’m seeing if you are as I remember.” He laughed softly.
“Better,” he said as he bent and kissed each breast.
She pulled his head away and kissed him. He ignited a flame inside her that set her on fire. A delicious shudder pulsed through her.
The muscles on his chest danced as her fingers lightly traced the runes. “This rune is for the Great Mother.” Her finger poised over the sign. “Thank you, Great Mother,” she said as her lips brushed against his skin. She watched it deckle in gooseflesh. Her finger moved on. “This is our sign.” Encouraged by the hooded passion she saw in his eyes, she kissed the rune and moved on. The tips of her fingers traced down his chest. “Here it is again.” The rune was below his navel. Another kiss. Her fingers trailed down further.
He pulled her up and rolled on top of her. Her body instinctively arched against his. “You are mine.” His warm breath brushed against her face. Two heartbeats passed. “Do you hear me? You’re mine,” he said more urgently.
“Yes.” Her voice was an intimate whisper. His lips tugged into a sideways grin.
It was the smile that made her bones go limp. It was his magick.
“Forever,” was all he said as he settled between her legs. Every inch of him was hard and ready. She focused on his lips while her hands ran over his body. The insistent need to touch him consumed her.
“Love me, Arik. Now.” She wanted to taste him, smell him, feel him.
He bent down and let his lips brush gently across hers. Arik soothed and calmed her with his touches and kisses only to build her heat and her passion. Tiny licks of pleasure shot through her while his erection pressed against her.
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RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong empowered women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Her Druid Knight novels have both finaled in the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. Writing with the Timeless Scribes, Ruth also writes contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and international bank product and marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures. For more information, please visit www.RuthACasie.com or visit her on Facebook, @RuthACasie, Twitter, @RuthACasie, or Pinterest RuthACasie.
Have a great Valentine’s Day. Kiss someone and tell them you love them!