Interweaving Emotion and Sex

I'll be teaching my workshop, Writing Hot Delicious Love Scenes, starting Jan 3. Further info below about how to register if you're interested. A lot of writers, especially beginning writers or those who haven't written many love scenes, have questions about how to interweave emotion and sex. It's one of the things I cover in depth in the workshop and give attendees an opportunity to post a love scene for critique so they can get my take on how they've woven these two elements, along with other elements. Here is a small excerpt from the workshop.


Whether you’re writing a highly emotional love scene between two people who are in love, or one-night stand sex between 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 writers make the mistake of thinking sex scenes are only about the physical, as if the character no longer thinks about things or as if their mind is shut down. The opposite is true. When characters or people in real life experience sex, the mind is just as involved in the experience as the body. That’s important to keep in mind for any sex scene.

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 feelings and thoughts blended in.

Why is this so important? You need to establish an emotional connection between your READER and your 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. I’m talking about the psychological. What’s going on in their minds? 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. That links back to who the character is inside. Their thoughts and emotions.


Workshop: Writing Hot, Delicious Love Scenes

Date: January 3 - 31, 2011

Instructor: Nicole North

Fee: $25

Do the love scenes or sex scenes in your romance novel lack that magical spark and sizzling heat that makes the reader go WHEW!!? The romance genre has exploded with bonfire-hot romance and erotic romance novels and novellas over the last few years. In this workshop we'll explore the many aspects of fantastic, hot and delicious love scenes, whether you write mildly sensual
romance or erotic romance. We'll look at the best ways of writing those all-important love scenes that take your characters to the next level of their relationship.

Topics covered:
Leading up to sex
Interweaving emotion and sex
Differences between romance and erotic romance
Choosing your words
Kissing during sex
Sexy dialogue
Humor during sex
Sexual positions
Personalizing your love scenes
Sensual settings
Seducing the reader
The hero
The heroine
Historical vs. contemporary love scenes
Determining placement
Progression from one love scene to the next
Oral sex
Avoid sex cliches
Sex and conflict
Written and multimedia examples

Please note: this workshop does not deal with pure erotica or alternative lifestyles. The lessons and examples contain graphic language and frank discussions of sexuality. Only those age 18 and over are permitted to enroll.

This is an interactive online workshop with exercises and critique/ feedback from the instructor on your written love scene. Workshop will be conducted via a Yahoo group. Lessons will arrive at your email inbox. To register or to see what others have said about my workshops please visit and click on workshops. Thanks!!

Instructor bio: Nicole North's erotic romance novellas have been described
by reviewers as "exciting, high octane, captivating, scintillating, sinfully
delicious and pure romance." Her stories contain "heart and heat, killer
love scenes, magic and extraordinary characters." Her books from Red Sage
include: Beast in a Kilt in Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies (July
2010), Kilted Lover (Nov. 2009), and Devil in a Kilt is in Secrets Volume 27
Untamed Pleasures (July 2009). Laird of Darkness (March 2011) will be her
first novella from Carina Press. Scoundrel in a Kilt will be released in a
future Secrets volume. Though she has a degree in psychology, writing
romance is her first love. Please visit her website to learn more about her
books or see what past students have said about her workshops.


Sarah Hoss said...

This is a class I want to sign up for!

Nicole North said...

Thanks so much Sarah!! I look forward to your being in the class!!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I have learned a great deal from Nicole's classes. This is a must if you are struggling with those sex scenes. I look forward to perfecting those moments.

Nicole North said...

Thank you, Paisley!! I'm so glad you've learned a lot from my classes. Hope you enjoy this one. I'll try to make it fun. :)

Maeve Greyson said...

I highly recommend ANY workshop you teach, Nicole! I took your workshop on sexual tension and it helped me immensely. You're so good at waiving the cobwebs out of the path and showing exactly what works best. You are AWESOME (insert angelic choir singing your praises here). :-)

Nicole North said...

Wow thanks so much Maeve!!! I'm thrilled you liked the class so much!! :)

morgan said...

Great job, Nicole. This is information I wanted to know, but was afraid to ask. Yes, I want to be in your class.

Nicole North said...

Hi, Morgan, I'm glad the info helped you! I would love it if you take the class too!