One of the questions beginning writers ask us most often is: “How do you know if you have captured the love in your characters’ lovemaking, and aren’t just writing a run-of-the-mill sex scene?” 12 writers offer their own thoughts and advice in this unique WriteSex Author’s Roundtable. Each Monday a well-known romance author will discuss the difference between a sex scene and a love scene, and show us how to charge an erotic encounter with romance. Look for personal insights and how-to tips from our participants in this first ever WriteSex Authors’ Roundtable. —Ed.
By M. Millswan
I made my first introduction to sex between the pages of a book when I accidentally discovered a dog-eared paperback during a search for my father’s secret stash of Playboys. I don’t remember the title, but I will always remember the illustration on the cover: an impossibly buxom redheaded stewardess bending over to offer a traveler a drink, along with a view down into the grand canyon of her cleavage. Upon those pulp-fiction pages ran a story of lustful abandon—fucking, sucking, groping, stroking, and cumming and cumming and cumming, with enough jizz to make even Linda Lovelace choke. Upon page after steamy page, I learned that a woman craves nothing more out of life than to give herself over in every way possible to the lustful desires of any male she encounters, anywhere and at any time. And every macho man she entices into her embrace possesses a twelve inch rod of high-carbon steel, and his impassioned thrusting makes the pounding of a jackhammer pale in comparison to power of his massive manhood. For a young man still yearning for his first sexual encounter not involving a spinning bottle, books such as these provided a peek into what I assumed was the real-life adult world of lust and sex. And, clearly, it was all about the sex—raw and carnal, yeah, baby!
“Let me finish this cigarette, Toots, or whatever your name is. Then how about you bend over, and let’s go for sloppy sevenths.”
“Oh …yes …yes …do me, Big Daddy! Give it to me! You know I want it! And baby wants it now!”
Erotica such as this (complete with rampant exclamation points so the reader knows when to be excited) had its place when sex had no choice but to hide in the shadows. And yet, just as people have evolved and learned that living in a house is much more comfortable than living in a cold, dank cave, so too have we learned that sex spiced with passion and romance is much more fulfilling than sex as no more than another excretory bodily function. Much more than heaving bosoms and thrusting cocks gushing cum, an awesome sex scene should always be about the emotions of the participants, whether experienced by real people or enjoyed vicariously through our books and stories. Sure, sex will always be a natural function of the body—but the passion and pleasure of it is all in the mind. Every successful romance or erotica writer today knows they must show the scene—and make the reader feel it—rather than simply describing its mechanics. It’s necessary for the reader to envision these scenes with such passion that the story really can be a vicarious sexual experience; that it’s their lips being kissed and their body locked in a sultry embrace. To satisfy the discriminating tastes of today’s sophisticated consumer of romance and erotica, rather than writing a wham, bam, thank you for swallowing, ma’am type of sexual encounter, it’s important to encompass both the physical and the emotional aspects of sex. As an example, here is an excerpt from “Snap Shot” which illustrates the promise of romance mixed with the anticipation of passion, setting the scene for a romantic but very sexual encounter:
It seemed she filled the room. The scent of her, the blue of her nightie, the pink of her lips, the heat of her breath, the flush in her cheeks, the way her hair shone as it moved in the afternoon sunlight, everything; she seized my every sense and so much more. When she slipped off her nightie and let it fall to the floor, it seemed a haze clouded the room, time stood still, and there was no sound at all other than my heart pounding in my ears. In my private reality, the one I’ll always cherish, there was no more outside world, only this ravishingly beautiful girl standing stark naked before me. She glided right past me, easily as alluring seen naked from behind as from the front, those legs, her hourglass hips, the way her cheeks came together below the curves of her bottom, merging into that place of dark mystery concealed between her legs. My awareness of her nudity was almost overwhelming. I just could not believe I was here with her, even while feasting my eyes upon her. When she lay down upon the bed and beckoned to me with her eyes and a come to me crook of her finger, it was almost too much to comprehend; but here she was, alone with me and entirely willing to do whatever I desired of her. Yet I wondered, would she truly do anything, anything I asked?
Of course, there are as many different tastes in sex and romance as there are readers of sex and romance, which is why there are so many genres out there—and a whole spectrum between “sweet” romance and edgy, no-holds-barred erotica. Yet whether a reader enjoys a little romance with their sex, or a little sex with their romance, it is the writer’s goal to anticipate and fulfill those desires. The one common denominator between all these genres, subgenres and combinations of romance and passion? The surefire way to satisfy as many readers as possible? Put them in the scene. Because isn’t that what we all want anyway? Not to just read about it, but to actually be there.
M. Millswan is the author of over one dozen books, many of them erotica.
Millswan writes, “Isaac Asimov gave me great advice about what it takes to become an author. Corresponding with him was always as flattering as it was educational and inspirational. My first best-seller, Farlight, was a science fiction novel. From the success of Farlight I have expanded into the genres of Horror and Erotica.”
From the cutting-edge socio-erotic novel Living in the State of Dreams to the softly sensual Snap Shot series of novellas and short stories, readers from around the world have expressed how much they enjoy the vivid sexuality and softly sensual emotion captured in every M. Millswan story. In ’09, Millswan’s short story, “The Best of Friends”, was singled out for critical honors as one the best of the best in the Swing! anthology. Newly released erotica titles include Tabu, Weekend at Sally’s, Damned, Lady Luck and The Best Erotic Short Stories of M. Millswan.
“It was surely destiny that I moved into the field of Erotica,” Millswan says. “While owning and operating a white water lodge in the jungles of Costa Rica, my wife and I were victims of a tropical storm. With our business destroyed, she was forced to return to the States while I stayed behind to guard our remaining property. Almost completely cut off from the world, each week I penned her a handwritten letter. After a while I had the idea to begin writing her a story expressing how much I missed her. She saved each chapter, and once we were reunited she urged me to try to get it published. The rest is history, as the historical romance I wrote for her, Rolling the Bones, helped me to become established as a professional author.”
“When people claim they are only human,” he often observes, “it’s usually because they have been making beasts of themselves.”