I think writing erotic love scenes that don’t make our readers cringe with embarrassment are very challenging. I liken them to filming exquisitely sensual sex scenes. In order to make them appear sexy and seductive, the director has to film a million controlled takes. And they definitely are not sexual for the actors participating in them. But when they get it right, the end result is worth every take. Likewise, to make written love scenes authentic, you have to expose your inner woman, that part of you that is most private and vulnerable. Not easy!
Here’s a small look-see at my approach.
My characters have to stay in character.
If my hero is an ex military fighting-fit alpha protective male, I can’t have him turn into a polite metro-sexual lover who says penis instead of cock or dick, because dirty-mouthed bossy men may freak me out. That’s not going to cut it. Likewise, if said alpha stud makes my heroine’s thighs quiver with desire, I have to let her admit to it, embrace it, and relish it. Holding onto any socialized primness will most definitely kill the mood. This might sound obvious, but when you’re writing erotic love scenes with explicit descriptions, it’s not. Because I not only have to tap into my own sexuality, I have to put it out there for my readers to see.
Arms and legs have to stay where I put them.
Overthinking body positions can lead to reams of unsexy explanations. Just picture how she went from kneeling on the bed and slipping off her bra, to lying, legs spread, against the pillows. Or how he went from lying on top of her, to lying on his back with her astride him. Visualizing it is sexy-hot. Writing it can be sexy-not! It may sound weird, but trying to describe, in the shortest and most sensual way possible, the movement of an arm or a leg into a position where it can add to the erotic scene, can be decidedly unsexy. Limbs have a tendency to get in the way, not to mention the occasional instance when a third arm pops into the picture—and I’m not talking ménage here! So, if I don’t want my readers to burst out laughing, or turn the book upside down like a roadmap, trying to understand how he could be cradling her face with both hands while stroking her butt as well, I need to take care to count my limbs!
Finding the line between erotic and pornographic.
This is a tough one because I think it differs for everybody. My mantra is to be true to myself, and true to the love story. The focus is always on emotion, not sex. When he pulls off his shirt and she touches his ripped chest for the first time, how does her heart react, her mind? What is she feeling? When he spreads her legs, and dips his head to taste, is he driven by lust, or a need so primal that if he can’t have her, his soul will wither and die? With every touch, I try and make sure their emotions spiral higher. I take every expletive, every explicit description, and carefully wrap it in the language of love. Because for me that is what is at the core of an erotic romance—the story of love.
If you want to see if I’m getting it right in the love-scene department, why don’t you read my newly released novel, Luke’s Redemption. It’s a contemporary romantic suspense—erotic!—and I’m delighted to say that it’s already receiving 5-star reviews from popular bloggers. However, one of my favorite reviews is from an Amazon Reader: “Whew! Honestly one of the sexiest books I have read. This book is like a really good thriller that surprises you on Sunday night TV: you start, next minute you are hooked and stay up way past your bedtime to see how it ends. And those steamy sex scenes… yes.”
Chased by her criminal kingpin father, Katya Dalca runs to New Orleans and straight into the arms of Luke Hunter. Sucked into the carnal world of the French Quarter, she succumbs to Luke’s potent sexuality. He not only steals her breath, he steals her heart, and the only leverage she has against her father. She’s left with no choice but to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life alone.
Undercover DEA agent Luke Hunter thought his newest assignment—recover a stolen flash drive to gain the trust of the Russian mob—was like any other. But his target brings him to his knees, and after one taste of her intoxicating beauty, he’s in too deep. Doing his job means walking away, leaving his heart behind with nothing but a promise to reunite. It’s a promise he can’t keep.
When Katya’s past reaches out and her world unravels, her only hope is the one man she is most vulnerable to—Luke.
I snuggled deeper into the cosy bedding, lazy and heavy-limbed. Shifting slightly, warmth spread through me as the slight stickiness between my legs brought with it delicious memories of the night before. I never dreamed that I could be so wanton, so wildly desperate for one man’s touch.
And boy, did he touch! His potency evident in every aching muscle in my body.
Mmmm. Heat flickered as his musky scent infused my senses.
I loved his voice. Especially when he said my name, so deep, rich like dark molasses.
I forced my lids open. And drowned in sensual, male beauty. “Hi,” I purred. And it was a purr. I sounded like a sated cat. Inching a hand out from under the covers, I reached up, hungry to stroke his rough morning stubble.
He reared back as if stung.
My hand hovered midair as he lowered himself to a chair that was pulled up close to the bedside.
How did that chair get there? Was he watching me sleep?
Sluggish, I looked at the window. The curtains were drawn together but didn’t quite meet. Faint light trickled in. It was barely morning. I looked back at Michael and cold started to seep in. Shit. He was fully clothed, he was even wearing his jacket. Only his hair looked out of place. He obviously couldn’t find the cord that I’d enthusiastically pulled from it like a wild woman, and now it hung loose to his shoulders. Bed-hair. Do men get bed-hair?
He was still. Hands clasped together, elbows resting on his knees. Here, but not here. Only his eyes flickered as they roamed intensely over my face. Such wickedly, beautiful eyes. After he came inside me they had turned an inky-blue, almost black.
Now, they were deep shards of navy. And they sent ice cascading through me.
I was still naked and he was fully clothed. I jerked upright and pulled the covers to my chin. My stomach quivered, only it wasn’t in a sexy way.
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Luke’s Redemption is also available from Kobe, Bookstrand, iTunes and The Wild Rose Press. All these Buy Links are available on Anni’s website: http://annifife.com/
About Anni Fife
Anni Fife left a successful career in television to fulfill her lifelong passion, writing. In the space of one month, she shut her business, packed up her city life, and moved to a small seaside village to begin her new life…as an author. LUKE’s Redemption is Anni’s debut novel. Anni loves spending hours on the beach searching for pansy shells, more hours drinking red wine with her gals, and the most hours writing steamy romance novels filled with hot alpha men, and the sassy intelligent women they can’t live without. Coming soon, GRAY’s Promise.
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