Pushing the Envelope


As an author of erotic romance, I’m often pressured to push the envelope on the next big sex scene.  The competition to come up with something original, sexy, without being raunchy or gross is an ever-present thorn in my side.

It’s bad enough coming up with a story line that will capture your readers. It’s harder still to incorporate sex scenes that enhance the plot. Erotic romance is hardly about the sex, but more about the emotions and sensations the author’s words inspire.

Ever so often I read a scene in an erotic novel that makes me slap my forehead and say WTF? If a sex scene is inserted just for he sake of “calling” your work erotic, then don’t bother. Also, sometimes I come across a scene that flows well into the plot and storyline, but seems physically impossible! Other scenes I have read are so unbelievably unimaginative that I’ve had to force the images into my head.  Here is where we need to dissect “pushing the envelope”.

I’ll start with the “subtle approach”.  I’ve been guilty of all of the above by the way. And since I have learned from my mistakes, I feel it’s only fair that I pass along this knowledge. 

Subtle love scenes are perfect for mainstream romance. However there still needs  some zest to the scene, otherwise, I believe we lose the “connection” between the characters.  It’s okay to push the envelope and give life to those subtle scenes withOUT being vulgar or over stepping the line into the erotic genre.

for example: Sarah held on tightly to Roman as his body slid against hers. The intense emotions welling up inside her were on the brink of bursting. Her body seemed to float on air as she melted into Roman’s tight embrace, feeling every move he made. She let the sensation take her mind, body and soul. Roman’s body stiffened and she relished the feel of his hard body against her skin, on her, in her.

Okay so, the above example still gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside, without being too dull or too explicit. The reader knows what is going on through the description of how Sarah is “feeling” her lover. It’s pretty much the same for more erotic love scenes.

It’s the words that make the difference.  Now how do we write erotic-love scenes without being too “boring-same-old-thing” or too vulgar. It’s not as simple as many people think.  Coming up with new un-conventional ways for characters to “get it on” is hard work.  (research is great : D ) but putting the right formula together is damn difficult.

Here’s three basic ingredients that I like to use when coming up with my sex scenes.

1. location-this could be the “originality” part, I think exotic locations work best…or dare I say it…public places….yep that is correct…doing it where some “might” see you is a fantasy most people wouldn’t dare try…

2. Fantasy…ah yes the one ingredient that we all have, yet are afraid of speaking aloud.  This is one reason erotic romance is such a guilty pleasure. This is ALSO the part where pushing the envelope can either make a great scene or one that makes the readers eyes burn in shame. I prefer not to burn anyone so I generally play it safe, (sort of) ; ). I do like to push the envelope at times, however if I’m going to do it I make sure that my descriptions are tantalizing withOUT being offensive.

Titilation…As a writer, I want my words to instill certain feelings and emotions in my readers. I want to not only create a vivid picture in their minds, but also induce pleasant feelings in response to the visual stimulus. In order to do this I have to make sure my words paint very vivid pictures in the reader’s mind. The titillation will follow. So, for me at least the way to push the envelope without getting that “ewe” factor, is choosing my words carefully and in a sequence that describes without being offensive.

If this wasn’t a PG-13 blog, I would give y’all an example. However, if you want to check out what I’m talking about, visit Everynight erotica.com and look me up!

until next wed, happy reading!

Emma

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2 responses to “Pushing the Envelope

  1. You are right. If a writer puts a sex scene in just because, then it will fall FLAT!
    Great post!!

  2. Thanks Brenda!

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