DEFINITION : Naked - You don't have on any clothes!
DEFINITION : Nekkid - You don't have on any clothes and you are up to something!
I am certain most "normal" people visualize some scenario out of a really bad movie when it comes to how we writers go about putting a sex / love scene together. (When I say "normal" I mean non-writers. If you're a writer, honey, the "normal" ship sailed without you a LOOONG time ago.)
They see us lolling on our chaise lounge in Victoria's Secret lingerie dictating said scene to our half-dressed sex slave (sort of like the guy who delivers the Miss Drag Queen results to Rue Paul in To Woo Fong, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar "I don't know who he is, but if there's a snowstorm tonight, he's going on my tires!") pausing only to dip a strawberry in chocolate, sip some champagne and thumb through the Kama Sutra or Debbie Does Dallas to decided what happens next.
And if this is how you write your sex / love scenes, you go girl !! And post some pictures! If dressing in lingerie helps you to write a hot scene, go for it. Frankly, that stuff is too itchy, cold and tends to creep into places I don't want it to creep for me to write in it. Lest we forget, if lingerie is working correctly you won't be wearing it that long.
There are some romance writers who love writing sex / love scenes. There are others who cringe at the thought of doing so. Either way, writing sex/love scenes is something all romance writers talk about at one time or another. We talk about it with our critique partners. We talk about it at chapter meetings. We talk about it in hotel lobbies at conferences and cause Microsoft conventioneers to choke on their lattes. Not that I'd know anything about that.
You'll notice I use the term sex / love scenes - two terms for one act. And I firmly believe both types of these scenes are possible and plausible in a romance novel. If you don't believe it read Sherrilyn Kenyon's SEIZE THE NIGHT - Valerius and Tabitha's story. These two are definitely attracted to each other from the time she stabs him during a fight with daimons. (I don't think stabbing a guy in the chest with a big knife is in the Kama Sutra as foreplay, but maybe I missed a page.)
However, if you want a great example of that getting to know you sex, that 'please, sir, can I have some more' sex this is a great scene to study. For those of you playing the paperback version of our game the scene starts on page 129. The reason I know this is because my copy seems to fall open at this page on its own. I have no idea why. But if nearly getting nekkid on the stairs and getting down to business against the closet door isn't great sex, I don't know what is. Put Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" on the Ipod, light some red candles, knock back a few margueritas and you will be ready to write!
Of course for a real love scene, you need to start with a great kiss. Check out Loretta Chase's LORD OF SCOUNDRELS for a great "DAYUM!" kiss. Jessica bursts in on Dain, who happens to have a lap full of hoochie mama, and dresses him down before storming out. He chases her down the street in the rain. She yells at him some more. He decides the only way to shut her up is to kiss her. Well. Really well. Really, really well. And it takes a bolt of lightning to break them apart. Now THAT'S a kiss.
If you need to see rather than read a great kiss check out the train station kiss from BBC's adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskill's NORTH AND SOUTH.
By the time you get to @ 2:20 minutes in you will see what I mean. Can Richard Armitage kiss or what?
For this sort of kiss, and the love scene that follows you want some sensual music - try Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings - some soft lamplight, the scent of roses or gardenias and some hot chocolate or a great wine.
Delilah Marvelle, a great historical romance writer and a student of sex in history, says she prepares to write love scenes by making out with her husband and when she is good and revved up, off she goes to write the scene. I'm not sure all husbands would be as understanding! But it is a thought.
I had a piano professor, at a Baptist college believe it or not, who gave a pretty good definition of the difference between having sex and making love. He was referring to a performance by a much touted young piano prodigy. The young man's teacher brought him down to a master class with Van Cliburn. He played a very passionate, showy piece with so much energy and flash he literally moved the piano across the stage. Once he was done and everyone had applauded loudly Mr. Cliburn said "You played that very well. When are you going to start making music?" My piano professor took it one step further. He said "Playing the piano is like sex. You can jump in the back seat of a car or tear each others clothes off on the beach and go at it like it's your last day on earth. Or you can lay down in front of a roaring fire and spend hours learning every inch of each other before you ever actually join your bodies. Either way the end result is the same. It's the getting there that decides what kind of music you're making."
The bottom line is no one can tell you how your characters are going to finally become intimate. The characters will tell you if you listen hard enough. And there is no right way to sit down and approach the writing of these scenes. It's not about the mechanics. It's not about how many positions you can squeeze into your book. (Some of the Kama Sutra stuff can land you in the hospital. Some of the Fifty Shades stuff can land you in jail in some states, but we won't go into that here!)
I think it's about what you want to tell your readers about romance, about what it is, how it starts, how it stays alive and wonderful, and how, with luck, it never ends.
What's your approach to writing "THOSE" scenes? Any rituals, must haves or must not haves? And how do you write love scenes when your own love life is non-existent or worse - not going well at all?