Long before romance novelists wrote explicit sex in their novels, women were reading romance. After all, it was the romance stupid. Women wanted to read about the developing relationship and falling in love.
Tiffany Tyer describes four powerful romance novel love scenes in Beyond the Bedroom Door: Most Romantic Love Scenes. She puts it very well when she says, “Romantic love scenes aren’t really about flowery words, soft lighting, or a specific setting. They don’t have to be slow or lengthy. It’s about the connection between the hero and heroine, a relationship that has been carefully crafted to bring the romance to a certain point, where the love scenes become truly memorable.”
In thinking about this blog post, I searched the Internet and found a lengthy, but interesting article in Psychology Today (online). The article, Intimacy: The Art of Relationships by Lori H. Gordon, was published December 31, 1969 – last reviewed on August 30, 2004. The author talks about how our modern culture does not provide our biological need for intimacy.
Ms. Gordon explains, “… our cultural talent for commercialization has separated out sex from intimacy. In fact, intimacy involves both emotional and physical closeness and openness. But we wind up confusing the two and end up feeling betrayed or used when, as often happens, we fail to satisfy our need for closeness in sex.”
That’s why a love scene in a “sweet” romance where the bedroom door closes on the couple can be as emotionally satisfying as the most popular erotic novel. It’s the presence of emotional intimacy that we enjoy reading.
To me, the new standard for a love scene comes from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, a Starz original series. The wedding night between Jamie and Claire was a mixture of sensuality and humor, a sweet and sexy unfolding of their relationship together. If you haven’t seen the Starz version of the book, it’s worth finding a way to view it.
Love scenes work in romance novels when they combine the two types of intimacy—the emotional and the physical. The physical can be explicit or implied, but without emotional intimacy, the love scene will fall flat and fail to satisfy.
Jan Scarbrough is the author of the popular Bluegrass Reunion series, writing heartwarming contemporary romances about family and second chances, and if the plot allows—horses. Living in the horse country of Kentucky makes it easy for Jan to add small town, Southern charm to her books, and the excitement of a horse race or a competitive horse show. A member of Novelist, Inc., Jan has published with Kensington, Five Star, ImaJinn Books, Resplendence Publishing and Turquoise Morning Press.
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No one crosses Parker Stuart, caretaker to his family’s thoroughbred racing empire. Parker retaliates against anyone who dares slight him or his blue-blooded British family, especially Regina Ward and her poker-playing father. The previous spring, Reggie had had the nerve to walk out on him after a torrid, three-week affair. Now, when Parker arrives in Kentucky to collect his family’s winnings, he’s determined to settle the score with the lovely Ms. Ward.
Regina Ward doesn’t consider herself a damsel in distress. After all, this is America, and she’s accustomed to depending upon herself. However, when her father loses four of the yearlings from their central Kentucky horse farm in a poker game, Reggie knows it’s up to her to save what’s left of her family’s homestead and her proud Kentucky heritage. Can she do it when Parker Stuart, the most arrogant and infuriating Brit she’s ever met, shows up in the Bluegrass?
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