Over the years, I have written to various levels of sensuality. Each story requires something different but in general, the levels of intimacy remain the same. You will find many articles written on this subject with good reason. For us, the romance writer be it erotic or sweet or sensual, the stages are all the same.
Everyone is in agreement that these steps need no verbal que but all lead from the first advance to intimate contact. It’s all in the body language, folks and body language doesn’t lie. If you need some lessons in body language, watch the new Fox show, Lie To Me and you’ll learn everything you ever wanted about body language. They do it right.
But getting back to us writing love scenes, it is imperative that you have these steps. Sometimes, you can skip a step if the story calls for it BUT for the most part, these steps need to happen for your reader to really get into your story. And the love scenes can make or break a novel.
Eye to body – This is commonly known as the once over. And it is usually very subtle. The gaze will drop from the upper face, meaning the eye and nose area, to the lower face then on down to the upper parts of the body. Sometimes, the person will step back to get a better, more full look at you. If that happens their whole posture will change as they glance at you up and down to see how your face matches your body.
Eye to eye – Intimacy increases the moment two people have eye contact. The more eye contact, the more soulful the looks. The looks will become more and more meaningful as more are exchanged. If a person refuses to gain contact in this sensual charged moment will send a message one is not interested.
Hand to hand – Contact is usually lingering but light. It can be disguised as being accidental or occurring in a social setting which is considered acceptable. This would be like one putting a hand under and elbow to guide someone, two people reaching for the door handle at the same time or a handshake that slowly ends. Look at the way the Victorians or those of the Regency period acted toward each other and you will see this step every where.
Hand to shoulder – This behavior can again be hidden within what is considered socially acceptable behavior. Until this point, either person can withdrawl gratiously without any real hurtful feelings. But once this boundry has been crossed, there is no going back without one’s pride being severely injured. This is just a touch to the shoulder for a variety of reasons, like getting ones attention. This is also a form of claiming ones territory and can be used to ward others off.
Arm around waist – This is the signal that one wants greater intimacy. This is the time to get out if one does not desire this relationship. Feelings will be hurt if one doesn’t respond positively to this gesture.
Mouth to mouth – No, we don’t mean the rescuitation kind. LOL! This is the actual act of kissing where chemical information is passed from one person to another. The kiss adds another sense to intimate contact and that is taste. The first sense, encountered way back in step one, is smell and pheromones are a very powerful odor. Taste can tell one all sorts of information about people like body temperature , hygiene level and a variety of other things. If the people are really involved in the kiss, their temperature will go up since the stimulation will cause sexual excitement. When people are emotional cold, they are usually physically cold as well which means they are not that interested in continuing the encounter. The more passionate a person gets, the more their temperature increases.
Hand to head – This is a trust issue. The more one person trusts another, the more likely they will allow their head being touched. Women tend to do this way before men. Caressing ones head indicates an increasing trust between the two people involved. Our heads are extremely vulnerable and only someone we trust are ever allowed to touch us there with a negative reaction.
Hand to body – This fondling can happen through clothes or under them. Some people will close their eyes as they are unconsciously gathering more information about the person they are with. However, keeping ones eyes open while maintaining total eye contact is a more powerful gesture. There one uses even more senses, touch, sound, taste and sight as well as smell. During the physical portion of our encounter, our sense of smell is very powerful as it will help us to become more in tune with our sexual partner, making us more sensitive to their unique smell. Odors are a powerful aphrodisiac which helps to prepare us for a pleasureable experience and to etch our partner in our memory. The best source are natural smells, so keep the perfumes to a minimum.
Mouth to body – This can be very stimulating and a real turn on for both parties. Breasts and necks are very sensitive for both sexes as are the lower abdominal region. Fellatio and cunnlingus can be very rewarding as long as both partners are into oral sex.
Hand to genitals – Gentle caresses are always best in this stage. If you have gotten this far, intercourse is usually immenent. One can heighten the sexual tension in the story by making the characters get this far without fulfillment. Once one gets to this step, each partner trusts each other explicitly in a normal relationship. There are some other types of relationships where trust is never achieved.
Genital to genital – This is the final act in lovemaking. Everyone is different and the emotions as well as all the senses need to be utilized when writing a great love scene. Vaginas and penises are utterly boring when none of the stimulus is present.
Now, not all of these steps need to be present in your novel. Just remember, each step is a sensual journey. Recently, I had been in the blah stage of writing a love scene. Then I saw last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy and they reminded me of just how sensual stolen looks and accidental caresses could be. Suddenly, I was all hot and bothered again to get back to my characters.
Hope that this little journey can help you all create great love scenes.
Until next week…