First let me reveal my bias, I write for an adult audience. My sex scenes are hot and explicit. To me, sex is a normal, healthy part of adult relationships. I can't imagine leaving that part out of the story, or not allowing the reader to experience it fully and completely. I leave the bedroom door wide open so readers can grab a box of popcorn, pick a seat, sit back, and enjoy the entire show.
Although I candidly tell folks that I write erotic romance or urban fantasy with erotic elements. I don't think I write erotica. Why? Because the sex isn't primary, it's not the focus of or the reason for the story. Rather it's something that naturally unfolds as the desire and emotional connection between my cotagonists deepens.
I've seen and read lots of books and articles over the years about how to write a good sex scene, some focusing on the "dos", other on the "don'ts". Today I'm writing about something that I haven't seen a lot of other authors discuss, the importance of a bad sex scene. Now, I'm not talking about poorly written sex, or a specific type of sex that I have judgments about. I'm simply talking about a sex scene in which the outcome is far from ideal.
Personally, I love it when an author inserts a well crafted and strategically placed scene in which the characters fumble, struggle, strike out, or somehow "misfire". I think it makes characters more real, more vulnerable, and most importantly, more relatable. This is particularly the case when the author is able to show that the hero/heroine can get through the situation with finesse and that, as a result, they experience a more profound sense of intimacy.
There are some important key elements to making this sort of scene work for you.
1. Regardless of the failure, your hero/heroine must stay in character. You don't want the reader to suddenly feel as if two entirely different characters are introduced.
2. Remember that you are striving for vulnerability and reality. The situation should be believable. You don't want it to come off as comical and you don't want to make the reader too anxious or afraid. Be subtle.
3. Use humor carefully. No one wants to be laughed at or feel like they are being ridiculed when they're naked. Remember that your characters are bare not only physically during an intimate scene, but emotionally as well.
4. Keep the sexual tension high and the pacing steady. Lead both your characters and the reader down the garden path and then surprise them by inserting an obstacle.
5. Acknowledge the obstacle. It's better when one of the characters is able to do this rather than relying merely on narrative.
6. Have the characters talk through the obstacle to normalize it. This will show the reader that they have the strength to get through those mundane relationship issues that are necessary to conquer if they're going to have a long-lasting relationship.
What's the most important ingredient of all? The thing guaranteed to turn your imperfect encounter into utter magic? Giving the reader the sense that above all else, the characters are in love. To quote Jason Jordan:
"True love does not come by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly."
Samantha Sommersby is the author of the critically acclaimed Forbidden series, including her newest book Forbidden: The Temptation. Sam happily spends her days immersed in the world of the Forbidden, a world where vampires, werewolves, and demons are real, where magic is possible, and where love still conquers all. To learn more about Sam's books or to sign up for her monthly newsletter visit http://www.samanthasommersby.com
There’s a fine line between man and beast…one only the heart can cross.
Forbidden, Book 4
A year ago, Jacob Madison got more than he bargained for during a rock-climbing trip to Yosemite. A freak accident left him badly injured, at the mercy of the elements—and the wolves who rescued him. If it hadn’t been for them, he’d be dead. He’d also still be human. Now he’s back, hoping to find out who he is and what he’s become. Instead, he finds smart, sexy Allison Connelly.
A forensic psychologist, Allison is newly divorced and proudly standing on her own two feet…until an unexpected storm shears off the snow bank she’s standing on. She plunges down an icy ravine, thinking she’s heading for oblivion. Then she lands in the arms of a tall, dark Texan. Jake.
Brought together by circumstance and bound by passion, secrets from their past threaten their future before it can begin. And somewhere in the mountains lurks a rogue Were turned serial killer. Whatever the danger Jake’s inner beast poses to Allison, there’s only one way to protect her—unleash it. Even if it costs him her love.
Product Warnings: This book contains raging winter storms, truly inspiring sex, a kick-butt heroine, and one very hot, dirty-talking cowboy…who’s sometimes furry.
10 Wonderfully Weird and Random Facts about Forbidden: The Temptation
1. Much of The Temptation, my very first werewolf novel, was written in a coffee shop named after an iconic vampire – Lestat.
2. The forth book in the Forbidden series was not supposed to feature Jake. The hot, dirty-talking cowboy made an appearance in The Revolution and seduced my muse into giving him his very own book. Jake can be very persuasive.
3. In an act of revenge my vampire Dell, sexy secret agent and sorcerer decided to pop up in The Temptation and steal the show for a few pages.
4. Baylor University, which is where the epilogue takes place, is my alma mater and where I met my husband.
5. Pine Ridge Ranch was loosely based on place I vacationed with my family near the Grand Canyon a few years ago.
6. In addition observing wolves locally at the San Diego Zoo, I watched Wolves: A Legend Returns to Yellowstone and A Man Among Wolves with Shaun Ellis, over and over. I think that Shaun Ellis scares me more than the book’s villain, Roane Devlin.
7. I learned about the Pawnee creation story a few years ago while on a tour at the Library of Congress and used it as the basis for Roane Devlin’s belief system and the motivation behind his killings.
8. As part of my research I used handouts my son received and notes he took while attending a workshop on how to blow things up at DragonCon. If they repeat that one this year I’m definitely going. Too much great information to miss.
9. My son’s friend Ryan asked me to put him in one of my books. That was the inspiration for the character Ryan. I expected him to have a small, bit part. I should have known better. The real Ryan has yet to discover that I make him wear an apron in the book. I’m not sure how he’s going to feel about that.
10. I’m currently spending my days profiling characters for a Young Adult story that will be set in my hometown of San Diego, CA. Wright, the young Were from The Temptation, will be one of the featured characters.