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?” To answer that question, twelve writers offer their own thoughts and advice in this unique WriteSex Author’s Roundtable. Each week 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 Emma Paul
Today’s erotic novel has changed greatly from the old days of porn and sex-driven plots. What was once a “male”-dominated genre has evolved to encompass the romantic element of popular literature, and has brought this taboo writing to store shelves and women’s bedside tables.
It was only after the mid-eighties that former adult star Candida Royalle created her first adult movie aimed at women, titled Femme. The film centered on the woman’s pleasure through explicit sex scenes that did not include shots of external ejaculation. Thanks to Ms. Royalle, the porn industry opened its doors to a whole new genre to target a female audience. I believe this helped women explore—and see themselves as central to—their sexuality and bring a more romantic flavor to pornographic media.
Pornographic literature has been around since Roman times and although I have done little research past that era, I’m sure there are cave drawings somewhere of our earliest modern human ancestors getting it on.
As an author of erotic romance, I feel that the appeal of a good erotic story lies in the relationship between the main characters, and its emotional effect on the reader. Sex is a very important part of erotica—and when that sex is portrayed as romantic, I believe it only emphasizes the scene’s excitement. It means a lot to me to be able to connect sex with love—or in the case of erotic romance, love with sex. In my books, one cannot occur without the other. Love and romance are pivotal parts of my writing and, to me, they’re the most important forces driving the plot to the end.
To understand what this means, it’s necessary to understand the difference between a sex scene and an erotic romance scene. What is the difference? A sex scene in and of itself gives little attention given to the emotional connection between the characters. Although I have written such scenes into my novels, I still believe that they need to fit into the context of the story. When I hold back on describing their emotional connection during a sex scene, I ensure that the main characters will express their love for each other far more effectively during subsequent encounters.
Romantic erotic scenes are more geared toward progressing the relationship between the main characters. The focus should be placed on the emotional bond between the lovers, and on sex as an instrument that strengthens that bond. Every sex scene in an Erotic Romance should move the story forward. At the same time, it should be sexy, titillating and hopefully make the readers tingle. After all, reading Erotica and Erotic Romance is all about getting in the mood.
Emma Paul is the alter ego of a happily married, middle-aged woman. She has been writing short stories all her life and loves bringing her wild imagination to others. She writes Romance, Erotic Romance, Paranormal & Fantasy Erotic Romance, and is the author of Kaden’s Breeder, Corbin’s Captive, Soulmate’s Touch and Prisoner of Darkhaven—with more books coming soon!