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. In this last post of our “Putting the Romance into Your Sex Scenes” series, romance author Angelica French 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 Angelica French
I have to learn not to take umbrage. I get it a lot—the sly winks, the horrified looks, the gasps. The queries: How does it feel to write smut? Dirty books? Trash?
I love writing sex scenes. Yeah, I do. Maybe because I like sex so much. Maybe because I feel that sex in all its infinite forms is essential to what it means to be human.
To write sex scenes, I must become a character. I imagine the touches, the emotions, the sounds and smells. I use touch to experience what I am writing so I can capture the sensations accurately. Hubs loves my “research”!
But I do not write smut/dirty books/trash. I write stories about people struggling with the same issues they struggle with in non-erotic romance—it’s just that I add in the very real component of their sex lives as well. This makes some people uncomfortable.
In my erotic romance, Streetwalker, protagonist Carrie wrestles with heavy stuff. She is a victim who refuses to be one—but her refusal doesn’t change the fact that she is, nonetheless, affected by past events—and lives the life she does because of it. Streetwalker is, at heart, is a story of redemption, recovery and renewal. But if you didn’t get past the first page where she is bored while servicing a john, you might not know that.
Streetwalker includes sex scenes and romantic sexual encounters. The difference? To me, sex scenes focus on physical acts in themselves. Romantic sexual encounters focus on emotions.
I included kinky sex, BDSM, straight sex, same-gender sex, and other incarnations of The Act(s). Each of the scenes I wrote, whether tender romance or sex-to-humiliate was difficult in its own way.
In writing about sex, the author has to understand and relate so many aspects of the human psyche. How does it feel to hurt and enjoy the act of hurting? How does it feel to want your beloved to step on your back while you crawl around a room? How does it feel when your heart is uplifted and expanded by someone’s touch—be it gentle or aggressive, tentative or commanding?
How does it feel to try to connect soul and body while making love?
After 39 years as an educator, Angelica French “transitioned” to the life of full-time fiction writer. She’s an intrepid cook, game-player, and miniatures lover. She writes culinary mysteries, women’s fiction, historical fiction, short stories, plays, and erotic romance. Angelica has lived in every region of the country except the Pacific Northwest and has loved every single one of them. Her current favorite region is the desert Southwest. She is married to the most extraordinary man and has four children, one daughter-in-law, a grandson, and a dog named Maudie.
For more information Angelica French and her premiere novel, Streetwalker, check out her Guest Author Interview with Romance blog Happily Ever After Thoughts!