13 April 2016

Kissing, Sex, & Other Naughty Things

**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE REVISION PROJECT. Topics I come across while I write the third draft of my novel, Uneven Lines.**

I flew up the stairs, banged desperately on his door. He could barely get it open when I collided into him, smothering his mouth with mine. I was breaking every rule, and I didn’t care. I didn’t want any space between our bodies.

WARNING: I may use a few naughty words in this post. Also, SPOILER ALERT. I'm totally going to talk about how far my characters' physical relationship progresses.

Time for some action! Well, at least talking about it. If you've got two characters who are romantically involved, chances are there is going to be some kind of physical interaction. Depending on your book and even the particular scene you're writing, it could be tame (a simple kiss) or extra juicy (full blown sex scene). Figuring out what your book needs or even what these scenes need can be tricky. How much do you need to show? And how many times should you show it?

Well, it all depends on your story. If you're writing erotica, then by all means, show everything. And keep doing it. If not, then you really need to choose what needs to be shown and for how long. For most of my book, it's all about kissing. Well, because it would be illegal for my characters to do anything else. It's kind of the point. Their whole relationship is centered around this sort of arrangement that only allows the physical moments to go so far.

One of my favorite kissing scenes is the first one. It doesn't happen until Chapter 8 (well, it may be 7 in the third draft since I may be cutting a chapter, but that's not the point!). I think it's always fun when a book doesn't give you that first kiss right away. You have to wait for it, just be screaming at the pages until it finally happens. Tension should build up until that point and when it finally happens, it should be a significant moment in the story. What I like about the first kiss in my story is that it's incredibly simple and short, but also a huge deal, both because of the characters' relationship and because of how long it took to actually happen.

So after the first kiss, how much physical interaction should you show? For me, there is quite a bit of it. The characters' physical relationship progresses very slowly, so my idea was to show more detail when something new happens, basically when it advances the plot (or the relationship) in some way. I can spend a whole page on a make out scene or just a sentence or two to imply that it happened. It depends how important it is.

There is one sex scene in the book, and it's in the last chapter. Well, my characters are human, and they screw up. They let things get too far. The interesting thing about it though is by the time my characters do have sex, it isn't really something either of them wants. It's more of a way out. Which is why I think I have a hard time writing it.

No matter how many times I write and rewrite the sex scene, I just can't get it right. And I don't think it's because of the physical elements. I've done my homework, everything besides actually watching porn (because EW! EWWWWW! I'd much, much rather read some erotica. Or just binge watch Looking...). No, trust me, I know what needs to happen between my two male characters. My issue is balancing the physical with the emotional. It should be a sad scene, really, but it should be sexy, too. It is a sex scene after all. But it's difficult to get that right.

I have an earlier scene that only has a handjob, but I actually like it more than the sex scene. It just works. There's passion, excitement, there's really just an energy to it. I read that scene and wonder why I can't take that energy and put it in the sex scene. Well, I know the emotions are completely different, so it can't be exactly the same. But as it is now, the sex scene just doesn't have any energy. It's completely weighed down by the emotions. And I just can't seem to get it right.

All right, I'll wrap this up before I tell you about every single tiny physical interaction my characters have throughout the book. Do I have some of it figured out? Hell yes. Do I have all of it figured out? Not even close. I guess it's just going to take some more rewriting. Lots and lots of rewriting.

How do you approach a kissing or sex scene in your writing? How do you balance the physical with the emotional?


  1. So, without knowing what's happened to these characters to get them to this point...If their sex scene is something neither of them really wants, and it's more of a way out that's bogged down by emotions, should it really be sexy? Maybe if you just focus on the emotional catharsis side of it and not the sexy side, it might work and/or feel better?

    I usually write sex scenes in layers. They start off very PG and then I go back and add in layers and details until the scene just feels right. There was one such scene in Effigy that I kept avoiding because I didn't know how to write it, but it eventually got to the point where I had to admit that the scene didn't work without it.

    I also like that build-up to a first kiss.

  2. Writing sex is always tricky, balancing the type of story, the intended audience, what feeds the plot, the emotions, and your own reticence (or lack thereof). Whew! Best of luck finding the balance in yours!

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  3. I think tantalize is the best word to keep in mind while writing sexy scenes.

  4. I read somewhere about how one writer described sex scenes using metaphors, so that he didn't describe all the technical aspects of the scene, but he still described it in a way that the reader knew what was going on.

  5. I agree with MJ, if they don't want to have sex, where is the passion? Now, if you mean, they don't want to have sex, but really do want to have sex but are being stopped by some cultural, religious, or personal issue- then make sure that battle is expressed and when they throw all caution to the wind, then that could up the sexy factor.

  6. Yep, sex is tough to get right on the page. My favorite literary event of the year is the Bad Sex Awards :D (How nasty of me, right?) And you're right, a lot of it depends on the genre. Romance vs Thriller vs Literary vs Sci-Fi... They'll all describe a sex scene differently. Oh. Wait. GREAT idea for a comparative post there! (Dibs ;) )

    Happy A2Z-ing...
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs (and member of co-host Damyanti's team, D's Company )

  7. I have a tendency of putting in sex scenes and then cutting them later because of changes to the story or characters. I'm not sure you want the sex scene to be sexy if neither of them want it and maybe the fact you can't figure out how is a sign that it is right.

  8. I was about to say something, but then I read MJ's post and totally agree! Maybe you're coming at it from the wrong angle.

    I've written a few sex scenes, one a steamy quickie that focused more on the sensual part of it, but it was also something they both wanted. I imagine, though, that if it's something neither want, we need to be in his head going through his thoughts while it's happening.

  9. I am pretty sure I could never write a sex scene ... but I find it interesting that we both came up with the same topic for the "K" post :)

  10. In my books it's all about the emotions though my editor sometimes sends it back and says make it hotter. I hate doing that.
    Susan Says

  11. I don't write erotica so I go heavy on the emotional and light on the physical descriptions.

  12. I don't dabble in full-blown sex scenes because it's too complicated to write out. As far as kissing scenes, I try to plan them out as much as I can. They usually have a purpose. Otherwise, it's not worth it. I try to put myself in the scene, kissing the woman. I try to imagine what actions I would be doing, how to describe it, and the emotions involved. It's not easy, but it makes it worthwhile.

    G. R. McNeese from
    Project Blacklight

  13. Personally, it took me a couple of years to get comfortable writing various flavors of sexual situations (had to, because my chose forte is adult fiction), then another couple of years to write them so that they don't come off as scenes from an adult movie (again, because of my chosen forte).

    It really does all depend on the audience you're shooting for, for the type of sexual situation you want to write. For me, what you describe would take me about an hour to write the first draft, then another half hour toning it down to suit the scene in question.

    Father Nature's Corner