There are many exotic and unusual places to have sex, and I don’t just mean the Jacuzzi. When I was in grad school, I once reluctantly ended a hot date with a guy called Jason because I had to check on my bacterial cultures, but he drove me to the lab. It was eleven p.m., so no one else was there. I unlocked the door and examined my cultures while Jason stood outside.
“Want to come in?” I said. He declined, looking uneasy.
“It’s safe. And if you like, I’ll sit on the big centrifuge and start it vibrating.”
Sadly, even that wasn’t enticement enough. Though if it had happened in a book I would have continued the action on the big centrifuge and in the embedding room and possibly under the decontamination shower as well.
But as well as giving characters new and interesting places to get it on, a careful use of setting carries a lot of symbolic weight as well. Wuthering Heights is a great example of this, since the setting is the most memorable reflection of Cathy’s and Heathcliff’s violent, passionate personalities. Storms rage across the moors, and Wuthering Heights itself stands high on the moorland, exposed to winds and weather.
And Cathy’s true love is part of that rough, fierce existence. Even though she chooses a life of luxury symbolized by Thrushcross Grange, a house in the sheltered valley, her heart remains on the desolate moors.
In Phillipa Gregory’s Wideacre, Beatrice meets Ralph on the land which both of them love, and they consummate their relationship on the river bank. Similarly, when she sets out to seduce Harry, she does so on the sunlit downs and in the shadows of trees. Again, it’s natural and open.
But as their relationship devolves into power plays and sexual sadism, they start meeting indoors, in a room specially appointed for that purpose. Their relationship is now a secret she has to hide from the land itself.
Settings can also hint at the consequences of such encounters. In my novel Before the Storm, Alex is a woman owned by the nobility, so she’s expected to perform under any circumstances. But when her owner gives her as a gift to his greatest rival, Robert Demeresna, Robert is highly reluctant to touch her in enemy territory.
They gradually start trusting each other as they travel to his home, and when they finally do make love, it’s in the master bedroom of his house. Which should have been a warning sign to Alex that she was with a responsible, conservative man who wouldn’t just tumble her in the hay – and who might therefore expect a similar level of commitment from her eventually.
Now I have a question for you. What’s the most interesting place your characters have ever had sex?
Marian Perera studies medical laboratory technology (final year of college!) when she isn’t writing. Her first novel, a romantic fantasy called , was just released in paperback, and she blogs about writing, publication and every step between the two at Flights of Fantasy