My first erotic release, Full Disclosure, came out in November from The Wild Rose Press’s Wilder Roses. While one release hardly makes me an expert, I’ve been writing love scenes for years and I’m also a freelance editor. As anyone knows who writes sex, it can be a challenge to keep the tension high and the action steamy while also advancing the story. Not to mention occasionally needing new nuts to spice up the same old coffeecake, if catch my drift. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I try to remember the following when it’s time to turn up the heat…

1) Get them talking… There’s nothing quite as sexy as witnessing two characters bare it all in bed, physically, emotionally and verbally. Whenever I can’t quite make the scene between my hero and heroine feel authentic, I think about what they would say to each other when they’re most intimate. Some characters are all about raw expressions of lust, others use quiet words of encouragement. Still another kind says nothing at all. What kind of characters are yours? Staying true to their voice out of bed will add even more power to an already explosive love scene.

2) Get personal… I’ve heard over and over again that no two people make love the same way. Whatever their personal makeup, their fears/goals/emotions will all be heightened when you strip away the barrier of clothes. Is your heroine someone who sees humor in every situation? Then she’ll probably enjoy a good laugh when the hero has trouble getting on the condom. Or else she’ll get really frustrated. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Maybe your hero is a man who never stumbles in pursuit of his objectives. Yet suddenly he can’t quite master the heroine’s pleasure in bed. Perhaps she’s taking longer than he thinks she should, or all his typical techniques aren’t having their usual effect. Does the heroine get ticklish when the hero plays with her toes? Does he lose his mind when she licks his collarbone? All these unique traits and characteristics will bring your scene to life. There is no one else on this planet just like your hero or your heroine, and their differences are what will fan the flames in your provocative scenes. Also…never forget some of the sexiest “mental sex” takes place without ever entering the bedroom. Push your characters to the brink and they’ll reciprocate when you need them to err…produce.

And finally…

3) Get emotional… The vulnerability and potential risks involved in getting naked with someone amp up the emotion to begin with, so use it. Some heroes become colder after sex because they’re concerned about getting their heart involved. Some heroines become more aggressive because they think making the moves gives them a measure of control. It’s even more fun when those roles are reversed. Maybe she’s the one who freezes up and he becomes desperate to keep their affair going. Whatever your character’s personal situation, exploit it. Drive up the conflict and increase the emotion until both sides are aching with the need for release.

Now it’s your turn. What do you do when you need to find some relief for a scorching scene that’s just not quite there yet? I’d love to hear your tips. As motivation, I’m giving away a copy of my sizzling debut release, Full Disclosure, available here or here to a random commenter.

Full Disclosure

Thirty-eight-year-old divorcee Holly Burrows has had enough of battery-operated love. Prompted by an ad left at her law office, she investigates Hunk Du Jour, a website designed to foster โ€˜adult connectionsโ€™. After weeks of sexy emails and phone calls with surf hunk Kent, she’s ready to test their chemistry in person. But first she has to get through lunch with her colleague Alex, a man with a brain as agile as his body. When their consultation ends with a bang, she barely remembers the man she’d lined up for dessert. Now she thinks she’s juggling two hot young guys. How can she choose between her two gorgeous cubs โ€“ and why do they remind her of each other?

Cari Quinn wrote her first story – a bible parable – in 2nd grade, much to the delight of the nuns at her Catholic school. Once she saw the warm reception that first tale garnered, she was hooked. She attempted her first romance in junior high, long before she’d ever read one. Writing what she knew always took a backseat to what she wanted to know, and that still holds true today. Cari’s genres of choice include contemporary, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, urban fantasy and paranormal. Recently she discovered erotic romance. Oh, how far she’s comeโ€ฆ

Visit Cari at and follow her on Twitter.

Don’t forget — if you leave a comment, you could win your own copy of Cari’s Full Disclosure!

Cari Quinn’s Rx for a Saggy Love Scene
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19 thoughts on “Cari Quinn’s Rx for a Saggy Love Scene

  • December 15, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    As a newbie just getting started writing again my two WIP haven't stumbled across any set plan yet to find relief for my characters…. as for myself… LOL OK so not going there… As a reviewer I love to see consistancy in the characters and agree that the personalities must show through and be congruent whether in the bedroom or out….

  • December 15, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    GREAT TIPS, Cari! OF course, I get to have all your tips to myself for the most part, but I just love to read your teachy blog posts. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I agree that the emotional punch is just as important as the physical. Even if your chars aren't ready for the emotions they tend to squeeze their way in between the sheets…or say a garden bench? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I gotta say, music plays a HUGE role in a love scene for me. If I find that perfect song, I play it again and again until the cadence is just burned into the scene.

  • December 16, 2009 at 4:21 am

    Great advice, Cari, and Tara, I never thought about the music bit. I haven't branched out into "my own" characters quite yet (still steeped in the fanfic genre) so the sex scenes all seem to be a bit blah and remarkably similar.

    I totally agree with the banter and talking point. There's nothing sexier than a little dirty talk; whether it's face-to-face or over the phone, in emails, texts, skywriting — you get the drift.

    The emotional part I have trouble with; my writing comes off as whiny ๐Ÿ™‚ and I typically use the "backspace" key quite liberally when I try. That'll be a good writing challenge for me… thanks!!

    ~ Hath

  • December 16, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Very good advice, Cari! I totally agree. Now let me just put this into practice… lol

  • December 16, 2009 at 9:07 am

    I really enjoyed your post. As a reader I love it when dialogue is part of the love scene. It can make it funny, intense, dirty-kiny, just so much more emotional for me as a reader and how I can relate to those characters.

  • December 16, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Hi ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thank you for sharing here today Cari. I cut & pasted this post into my writing folder to study over & over. I was wondering if the scene gets your (the writer) heart racing, does that mean it is a success?
    All the best,
    and Happy Holidays,

  • December 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Hi, Cari! Great post! Just a reader, but I do think that all that emotional connection really makes for much hotter sex scenes–and as Armenia said, I love good dialogue everywhere, even in bed ๐Ÿ™‚ It makes the whole thing come together even better! Congrats on Full Disclosure–it sounds like you've done your job there!

  • December 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Great post Cari!

    Congrats again on your debut!!! HUGS!

  • December 16, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Excellent advice, Cari. I skip onto the next scene. That's what the polishing stage is for. By polishing time I have a bit more distance and can usually fix/spot the problem easily.

    When I wrote my first erotic romance I was a bit leery of love scenes. When I got to a love scene spot I wrote "Insert love scene here" and moved on. The thing was at the end I had to go and insert all those loves scenes, which I think was worse. I was terribly squirmy by the time I finished filling in all those blank scenes. *grin*

  • December 16, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Shelley wrote "I wrote 'insert love scene here' and moved on"

    I still do that.

    "I was terribly squirmy by the time I finished …"

    No comment other than *snicker* (I don't dare!)

  • December 16, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Great post and great advice. I have the hardest time when I write steamy scenes with the body part descriptions. LOL. There's only so many ways you can describe a man's 'joy stick'. No… I don't use that one but it would be funny if I did until my editor contacted me…LOL.

  • December 16, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Great post.
    Congrats on Full Disclosure!

  • December 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Wonderful tips! I like to get them talking, too. My favorite tool for love scenes is lots of sensory detail.

    As you know, I already have my copy of FD, so you don't need to put me in the drawing. Whoever wins, you're going to love it!

  • December 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Cari, I liked the way you presented your tips. They're all excellent suggestions and not something I could have necessarily put into words myself.

    So, I try to put myself in my heroine's position (not necessarily literally) and capture my reactions. Though since each heroine is unique I have to also take into account her history. For my hero, I have my husband read the scene and give me his opinion. Again, since each hero is unique I have to also take into account his history.

    I have a copy of FD, but had to comment!

  • December 16, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Great tips Cari. I'm not a writer and have to aspirations, but I still find the process fascinating. As a die hard reader I am so grateful for all the time and practice you writers put into learning your craft. xoxo

  • December 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Wow, those are the exact things I look for when reading sex scenes. Thank you for listing them. The book sounds great! Putting it on my wishlist as we speak!

  • December 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Thanks so much for having me here today, Leah! I've really enjoyed all the comments.

    RK, I would definitely say a racing heart probably means your scene is a success. Can't excite your reader if you're not excited too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And Shelley and Leah, I've honestly thought of doing that too. It's harder to write authentic sex when you don't know your characters well, but pantsers often don't know them completely until the end of the story. But yeah, writing all the sex at once held me back. LOL

    Thanks everyone! I hope whomever wins Full Disclosure enjoys it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • December 17, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Hi Cari and Tara!

    Sorry I'm late.

    Cari, the verbal play between the characters is one of the things I liked best about FULL DISCLOSURE.

    When I'm stumped in a sex scene, I have to have absolute quiet and dive behind the eyes of my POV character.

    I try to have fun with it-play with the characters (no pun intended) Loosen things up, because chances are, if I'm tense, my characters aren't having the kind of sex that memorable.

  • December 17, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Hi Cari,

    I really enjoyed your post! Very thought provoking. I couldn't agree more with your comments. For me, the love scene has to have a purpose in furthering the story or it's just sex. It can possibly disclose something minor or it can be a major turning point, but I think the reader should learn more about the characters and perhaps the characters discover something as well. I love writing the dialogue of a love scene because you can really control the tone of the scene that way and it can make it very personal. I usually include something very specific to the characters in such scenes to make it very personal to them, not just as individuals, but as a couple. Hope things are going well with FD. I have my own copy so no need to enter me!

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