I love romance.
I love to read it. I love to write it.
Most of the time.
I love my heroes and my heroines. I love getting inside their minds and hearing what they’re thinking. I love it when they surprise me with the things they say and do. I enjoy creating dialogue and I LOVE the sometimes zany secondary characters that appear out of nowhere on the page and the unexpected twists and turns the story can take.
I enjoy building the sexual tension.
And then . . .
It. The sex scene.
I will tell you my dirty little secret. One of my favorite things about reading romance novels is the sex.
Unlike Billy Crystal’s character in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, I do not read the last page first to see how the story ends. But when I start reading a new romance, I ALWAYS thumb through the book and find the culminating moment. I don’t read it, mind you. But I know what page it’s on.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. It’s supposed to be about the romance and the glorious, all-conquering, life-changing love between the H and H. And that’s great too.
But me, I like a steaming hot sex scene.
And knowing where Tab A meets Slot B in the book gives me something to anticipate.
But WRITING a love scene? That’s different.
How to make it romantic and sensual but not purple? You know what I’m talking about. ‘His magnificent scepter’ or ‘her steaming tunnel of love.’
It’s a quandary. Euphemisms are tricky. And as for the medical terms . . . .
Penis? Forget it.
If I were a guy, I’d be picketing Washington or NIH or wherever demanding a better word.
And I’m not crazy about the anatomically correct term for the girl part either. You know the one. It rhymes with Regina with a long ‘i.'
Nothing romantic or hot about either one of those words.
So what’s a romance writing girl to do?
Erection works. It’s simple and straight forward. Not sissy and wimpy like penis. But ‘erection’ is a relatively modern term and the guys in my books haven’t been to Earth in centuries.
You see my problem.
So, sometimes you just have to call it what it is. Or, rather, what you character would call it.
And, ultimately, that’s what it’s all about: Being true to you characters.
The last love scene I wrote took me the better part of four days to write. It also required a big bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream and several glasses of wine. But I did it.
Or, rather, THEY did it.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate writing sex scenes. But I pull my hair out trying to get it right, because love scenes are important.
And darn hard to write.