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Billionaire Archer Bancroft always gets what he wants—and he’s wanted Ivy Emerson, his best friend’s sister, for far too long. Being forbidden and untouchable only makes her more tempting. When a million-dollar bet with his friends throws down a challenge—last bachelor standing takes all—Archer knows he can win. That is, until one enchanted evening with Ivy takes his heart for a ride.
Ivy knows Archer is nothing but bad news: Infuriating, arrogant…and completely intoxicating. But despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to keep away. When a stolen kiss leads to a night of heated passion, Ivy realizes she’s in trouble and in head over heels.
But in the light of day, everything seems clearer and Archer’s not so sure a one-night stand is all he wants. Concocting a plan to keep Ivy by his side, Archer might just be willing to lose this bet…and win the jackpot instead.
Writing a great sex scene: The Key Elements to a Good One by Monica Murphy
When I was given this topic to blog about I was surprised and flattered. But then again, I’ve received really awful reviews as my other romance writer self (Karen Erickson) that have trashed my story completely and then they say, “But the sex scenes were good.”
There’s my claim to fame. *winks*
Considering I started out writing erotic romance as Karen Erickson, I’ve had a lot of, erm, experience writing sex scenes. From super graphic to almost close the door, I’ve done them all. And that last sentence just made me feel like a complete tramp.
So what key ingredients make a great sex scene? There are plenty and here are a few I find rather important.
First up you need a connection between your characters. It doesn’t have to be insta-lust but the couple whose eventually going to get naked with each other needs to feel connected to each other too. This is otherwise known as chemistry, which leads me to…
Sexual tension. It’s so important. A slow build up between a couple is delicious and necessary (or even a fast build up, whatever is essential to the story). She catches him looking at her and her heart picks up speed. He touches her and his fingers tingle. They flirt, they argue, they laugh, she cries and he comforts, it all adds up to delicious tension. And that leads to…
Anticipation. As a reader, I love nothing more than being led further and further down the rabbit hole with the characters. They’re moving toward each other, hinting at wanting each other, their mouths getting closer and closer and then bam! They’re interrupted by something kinda lame. Or kinda important. Whatever it is, their smooching opportunity is lost.
But you know it’s totally going to happen…soon. That makes me want to keep reading because damn it, they must get together. NOW.
Another key element is the show don’t tell theory. This is something us writers are told constantly. For instance, in my new book CRAVE, Ivy could go on and on how hot and special and sexy and handsome Archer is. Yeah, yeah that’s just great but it’s my job as a writer to show you, the reader, just how hot and special and sexy and handsome Archer truly is. I’m hoping the following example will show Archer’s special sexiness (adult content so watch out):
Archer Bancroft has a body like no other man I’ve been with before, let alone seen live and in person, up close and in my face. All solid mass and smooth skin, defined muscles and broad chest and shoulders. He’s all I can see and hear and smell and taste while he lies on top of me, his long fingers curled around my wrists, holding my arms captive above my head.
What we’re doing is so completely unexpected, so unbelievably exciting, my entire body is shaking in anticipation. He’s kissing me like he’s a starving man and I’m the only thing he craves. I can feel his erection nudging between my legs, and I’m so wet for him it’s almost embarrassing.
But I don’t care. I’m drunk on the sensation of his body pressing into mine, his hungry mouth, his insistent tongue, those big, rough hands pinning me to the bed.
I had no idea being held down would arouse me so much, but oh my God, I’m so hot for him I feel like I’m going to burst.
Whew. Archer is hot stuff.
Share that bit makes me want to point out how important using all senses in a sex scene are. Touch, sound, sight, scent. His skin is warm, her lips are soft and taste like berries, he smells amazing and wow, did he just pull her hair and make her moan?
See? It really puts you into the scene if you can smell, feel, hear and taste.
So I saved what I believe is the most important ingredient to a great sex scene for last and that’s an emotional connection. This is different than a plain connection (though there is nothing plain about connections because they’re important!). These two need to feel something for each other beyond attraction for the sex between them to be intensified. And it has to come into play when they’re about to have sex. It can’t be all about: Oh, wow I’m having sex with this super hot guy and he’s making me feel so good whoo hoo…
No, it needs to be more like this: I’m getting naked with my brother’s best friend and I hate this guy. But I care for him too. We’re friends, we’ve known each other for a long time. And now we’re going to be lovers. I don’t know if I can handle this. No way can I handle this—wait a minute, did he just kiss me there? Ohhh God, I think I’m gonna….
Yeah. There has to be this conflict with the emotional connection too because you want them to take risks. To know that if they end up naked with the other person, it’s going to change everything. And that’s scary. Frightening really but they can look past the fear and do it anyway.
Because they can’t resist each other.
And ultimately, that’s what I as the writer am hoping I can do when I write a sex scene. Show you the reader how much my couple want each other. Need each other. Eventually, they’re going to realize they can’t live without each other. But us—the reader and writer? We’re already in on the secret and knew that all along.
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.
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