Guest Post | Writing Sex Scenes

I never planned to write romance with steamy sex scenes. It just kind of happened.

Before you roll your eyes at me, hear me out. I think it’s safe to say most authors are avid readers, and I’m no exception. I love to read and I’ve read plenty of romance. It can even be considered ‘work’ or ‘research’ when you’re a writer, not that my husband believes me . . .

Anyway, of the romance novels I’ve read, unless the novel is pitched as a sweet romance I’ve got to say when the action stops at the bedroom door it leaves me frustrated! So for me as a writer it was a no brainer that I’d leave the bedroom door open . . .

However, if you think that’s the biggest decision you need to make as a romance writer, think again! If you choose to include sex scenes there’s a whole host of decisions to be made. Like how much detail to go into or what certain things should be called. Don’t laugh. This is a serious business. OK, OK, so I might have had a lengthy discussion one time with a beta reader about her hatred of the term ‘panties.’ In Australia we don’t use that term, but it’s widespread in America. And that’s just the undergarments. What about the, ahem, more intimate parts of your characters?

For me, I found I made a lot of the decisions intuitively. Because I read so much, I know the sorts of scenes I like and I aimed to replicate that in my own writing.

In my books I don’t get too specific about body parts and I don’t write what would be classed as ‘erotic’ fiction. I wanted to write fiction under my own name for one, and not have to live a double life. Secondly, I concentrate more on the characters feelings and experiences. I once had a beta reader say that she had no idea how I wrote a love scene without ever mentioning the specifics!

Jokes aside, that’s what is central for me: a character’s feelings and their development. A sex scene isn’t just there for the sake of it in romance. It’s there because it needs to be there for the progression of the relationship, the plot and the character. Sounds very unromantic, doesn’t it?

It’s not. Personally, I find them inevitable. You’ve spent pages and pages writing about two characters and their relationship, you can’t help but write the steamy stuff. When I get to that point in the novel, I don’t think, I just write. I let the characters relieve all that sexual tension and finally be together like they are supposed to.

In fact, if you think too much, you might as well forget about ever writing a sex scene. Wondering if your mother is going to read what you’ve written is not at all motivating!

Oh, and there is a difference between thinking and fantasy by the way, because usually I have in mind the scenario of the first kiss long before it lands on paper. (Yes, romance writers have healthy fantasy lives!)

As for where I get the inspiration? I’ve had the usual jokes about how my husband must be a happy man and do I ever do * elbows me * research? Ha ha. Moving on . . .

Honestly? The characters are my inspiration. Their strengths, their weaknesses, the challenges they have to overcome – those are the things that inspire me and that I find endlessly fascinating. Discovering the unique pull of two people and how and why they should be together . . .

You get all that right and the good stuff just falls into place. 

About the author: Belinda is a marketing communications specialist and copywriter who allowed an addiction to romance and chick-lit to get the better of her. She was named a top ten finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Award in both 2013 and 2014.
Belinda is the author of the contemporary romance series, City Love. The Boyfriend Sessions, The Pitch and Modern Heart are currently available for purchase. The final book in the series, Wish List, will be released in May 2016.
Her other addictions include music and cars. Belinda’s eclectic music taste forms the foundation of many of her writing ideas and her healthy appreciation for fast cars means she would not so secretly love a Lamborghini. For now she’ll have to settle with her son’s Hot Wheels collection and writing hot male leads with sports cars.
Belinda lives in Sydney, Australia, and blogs regularly about writing and reading here: Follow Belinda on Twitter and like her author page on Facebook