Let’s talk about writing sex. Or not writing sex. But finding the balance of showing male-female attraction in our stories.
I happened upon a piece not to long about by an up and coming author and well, she kind of over reached on the sexual attraction.
The hero spent most of his internal dialog thinking sexual thoughts toward the heroine and while we all understand men are visual, in this context, the hero came across shallow and unlikeable.
In story, emotion is king.
It doesn’t matter than men are aroused visually. Or that they like a nice cut of cleavage or a nice shot of a thigh peeking from under a short skirt, what matters is how the reader feels.
If our hero and heroine meet physically first, the emotional element is cauterized.
Let your hero and heroine reveal their heart first before taking the relationship to a physical level.
When I read novels that lead with a physical observation (which isn’t often) I am turned off. The characters are instantly shallow to me.
If the story opens with, “Man, she was hot,” I want to close the book.
But if the story opens with, “Man, he never expected to meet a woman like her today,” I’m intrigued.
I want to see what captured his attention.
I want to know why he didn’t expect to meet someone.
Did he just break up with the love of his life? Or did she break up with him?
That sort of opening line has all kinds of implications about the hero.
But “Man, she was hot,” does not invite me into his heart and mind at all.
In the inspirational market, we’re challenged by the world to add more sexual content.
Yet challenged by the Word and by our readers to be modest and conservative.
Some authors feel the sexual boundaries should be pushed and tested.
I don’t see the added value of pushing sexual content. Even if it’s to show healthy sexual relationships.
Because in the end, writing descriptively about sex only awakens desires that may or may not be slaked.
Just because people are married in the story doesn’t make it more holy to write descriptively.
But sexual desire and tension is real. Our characters should have sexual attraction.
Just don’t start there. Write about the people, the emotion of the story, first.
Keep your descriptions modest. Maybe imagine someone reading it out loud to your kids, your family, your Mama or Grandmama.
Or… you know, Jesus.
Here are a few thoughts:
- Introduce your characters from the heart first. Let us meet their emotions, how they think or feel about the other.
- The more you build up the tension between the characters, the more exciting the slightest touch can be. Like holding hands.
- Employ third grade play ground tactics like teasing, slight shoulder bumps and comedy to build sexual tension.
- Make the hero a true hero. He may “want” the heroine but instead of pushing for his desires, he politely walks the heroine to the door, kisses her sweetly and leaves.
- While writing internal thoughts, make sure the hero and heroine note spiritual, emotional and intellectual attributes of the other as well as the physical ones. It’s great Jack and Jill are getting together but he has to bring something more to the table than his luscious full lips.
- Ask God for help. He invented sex.
- Use metaphor to show sexual tension. But be careful here. We don’t want to read Song of Solomon type of stuff.
- Keep it simple. Keep it real.
- I like to tie physical touch to emotions. For example, “His kiss purchased a piece of her melancholy.” We get the picture that his touch made her feel better, perhaps loved.
Hope this helps. Don’t want to be a prude but want us to think about how we show sexual tension in our stories.
Go write something brilliant