Your Place or Mine?

March 24, 2006 | It's All About Writing

The enraptured sigh, the long staring gaze, or quick hops in the sack testing multiple positions are not what writing sexual tension is all about. For each type of romance there is a draw between your hero and heroine. If you don’t have the tension, you ain’t got a sellable romance.

Sexual tension can be broken down into the explicit meaning of each word.

SEXUAL: of or involving sex which equates to wanting it.

TENSION: mental or emotional strain which equates to not being able to get it.

So what you have here is a great emotional strain to have sex with a specific person, but it’s not happening. This is what you must create between your characters in your story. The longer you delay the actual act, and increase the attraction, the better your readers will love the story.

How do you build Sexual Tension? In one word, awareness. Each of your characters needs to notice small things about the other. Sure Cassie can appreciate the bulge in Clive’s jeans while he’s admiring her breasts, but it’s not all tits and ass.

You must tease your reader while your characters are slowly becoming more aware of each other. Consider it a form of foreplay. Such as;

Cassie glanced down and was startled by the bulge in his jeans. Her eyes widen in admiration. Clive tweaked a smile, knowing what she’s doing, though she wouldn’t admit it, even to herself.

It’s more than body parts. You also need to write more than the physical. Each character must be aware of the others values, good and bad;

A warmth spread through Clive as Cassie clasped the tiny hand of the lost child.

Cassie’s lips tightened when Clive cursed at the driver who had successfully run them off the road.

Our couple has become more aware of each other and therefore we have successfully drawn them closer.

Think of it this way – Do you remember when you first fell in love? Did you notice everything about this new person all at once? Or did the scent, strength, and mannerisms dribble into your conscientiousness a drop at a time? More than likely the nature and character of your other half slowly made itself known to you.

This is how you need to write sexual tension, a bit at a time. As your story progresses the awareness increases. It may go on for pages, even chapters, until Clive and Cassie are so attuned they have to make love.

Another important key is that by now your reader is begging for Clive and Cassie to make love and live the happily ever after. It’s up to you, the author and the genre you write, to decide how explicit the love scene will be.

If you’re shy, you can bring your couple to the location – bed, couch, floor – then write a few lines before the door closes and provides them with the privacy they deserve. Or you can write it all, leaving nothing to the reader’s imagination. Either way, it must be fulfilling to the characters and more importantly, to your reader.

Do not cheat your reader. They have invested both their hard earned money, to buy your book, and their valuable time to read it. You are obligated to provide your reader with an afterglow.

Until nest Tuesday, Happy Writing…

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4 Responses to “Your Place or Mine?”

  1. For The Trees Says:

    Here you go again, hitting me between the eyes with something I hadn’t thought about. When are you gonna stop sneaking up on me like this? I hope Never!

    I need this elucidation on points of craft. It’s important to have these thoughts floating around when writing the Great Azerbaijanian Novel. And boy, do I need to build some healthy tension between my hero and his wife!

    Thanks again!

  2. Sloane Says:

    You’re welcome, Forrest.

    Don’t use such big words, dammit. Now I have to dig out the dictionary!

    Hero and wife tension? You’ve been married so draw on your own experiences. The path is right before you and your imagination.

  3. Jenna Says:

    This is awesome!

    Awesome just like you!


    I am…awed. 😉

  4. Sloane Says:

    Thank you, Diva. Now get your ass back to writing and stop blog surfing!