Interweaving Emotion & Sex for an Unforgettable Love Scene

I have a workshop coming up, starting April 1, called Writing Hot, Delicious Love Scenes. One of the things new writers often have questions about and which I cover in the class is how do you blend hot sex and intense emotions to create an unforgettable love scene?

Whether you’re writing a highly emotional love scene between two people who are in love, or one-night stand sex between two people who have just met, emotion needs to be a part of it. Even in erotic romance, some kind of emotion is vital. If you don’t include emotion and characterization then your scenes may be porn-like or mechanical and robotic.

Some scenes will have loads of emotion and some scenes will have a little emotion. But even with the one-night stand variety of sex, you still need some feelings and thoughts blended with the sex.

Why is this so important? You need to establish an emotional connection between your reader and your point of view (POV) character. Without this connection, the reader won’t care. And you must make the reader care or they toss your book aside.

You can add touches of emotion anywhere within a scene, whether it's extremely erotic or not. When I say emotion, I don't mean mushy-gushy type emotion. Basically, it's just little things that keep the reader in touch mentally with the POV character. If you only have physical, external reactions from your POV character, you're missing an opportunity to strengthen the reader connection and you're not staying in deep POV. So with any reaction you have for your character, examine it. Ask yourself, is this reaction from deep inside the character. Or is it something an external observer would notice?

For example, if your heroine has insecurities about her body when she's naked in front of the hero, show that from deep within her psyche. It's another opportunity to make the reader empathize with your heroine, care about her, and make her even more likable. The hero could pick up on her insecurity and say or do something to make her feel better. This would be a touch of emotion that makes him more likable. It shouldn't be cliché at all. And an alpha hero can stay alpha and still do nice things. You will hopefully make a character empathetic when first introducing them, but you also need to keep that empathy going throughout the story, building on it, making it stronger so the reader completely identifies with the heroine, and falls head over heels with the hero. This links back to who the character is inside... their thoughts and emotions.
If you're interested in learning more about my workshop, click: Writing Hot, Delicious Love Scenes. You can read past student testimonials at my website also. :)


Lise said...

Nicole, you've hit the proverbial nail on the head and the insertion (pardon the pun) of emotion into a "sex scene" is, in my opinion exactly the ONE thing that distinguishes an erotic romance. Without the sense of emotional connection to the scene, it's just so much naked flesh.

And I actually think that the power of the emotions can even be more intense when they are rendered briefly, and simply - avoiding at all costs the lengthy emotional examination in the midst of a hot, hot, love scene. A single emotional thought will ramp up the scene ten-fold.


Holly Greenfield said...

Great topic, Nicole. It's not easy intertwining sex and emotional and make it sound beautiful. :0)

Nicole North said...

Hi Lise, thanks!! And you're so right about not putting in toooo much because that can distract the reader from the hot stuff and slow the scene. Just the right balance of physical and emotional.

Thanks Holly!! That's true. It can be a lot of hard work. :)

ShawnaMoore said...

Excellent post, Nicole! I couldn't agree more with your views on adding emotion. It's a very delicate balancing act, and an author must always be mindful he/she conveys the degree of emotion properly.

Happy week wishes,

Shawna - who's knows Nicole workshops will always be successful and sought-after!

Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

This is the exact issue I'm working on in my present WIP. I'm at the end and what should be the biggest love extravaganza just seems like a porn fest. I've got to ramp up the emotion to make the end of the story--uh, more satisfying.

Nicole North said...

Thanks Shawna! You are too kind! Yes, you're right about that balancing act... sometimes very difficult.

Thanks Marie-Nicole! Sometimes adding the emotion is the hard part, but well worth it in the end.
:) I love erotic scenes that are highly emotional.

Carol Ericson said...

Nicole, you're so right. We all know that all kinds of thoughts go through your head during sex. One night stands? They can be super-emotionally charged, playing into all kinds of insecurities or perceptions we have of ourselves.

Nicole North said...

Carol, that's true. Those one night stand thoughts can be very interesting! :)