I grew up with older, conservative parents. They were born in the 1920s and lived through the Depression. My father served overseas in the Second World War. They never spoke about sex. In fact, my mother—born in rural Newfoundland—arrived in Canada in 1945 believing babies came from under rocks. She was seventeen. That’s what her parents had told her; it was what all the children in the community were taught.
In my very conservative raising, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of smut—as they would put it. When I was about fourteen, however, I found magazines my mother was reading. They were called True Stories. Anyone who remembers these magazines filled with short stories knows what I mean when I say, there was a little smut amongst those pages. And I read many of them, hiding out in my bedroom or in the work shed.
I shouldn’t have been surprised my mother read these stories and was interested in sex. After all, I was the tenth of eleven children. But she was a proper lady who changed her outfit when she went out in public, never cursed and wore plastic rain hats to keep her hair-do dry. All her clothes were ironed—even her underwear.
There was no smut to watch on television because we had only three channels (one was French), and we were ushered off to bed at nine. After I was sixteen, I got to stay up until ten if it wasn’t a school night. Members of my family were early birds. Dad was sitting at the table having his first cup of tea of the day by 5:30 am.
Fast forward a few decades, and I’m faced with writing my first smut scene for my romance novel. Although I knew it had to be included because it was an adult romance, I hesitated: what would Mom think? Then I thought back to all those smut books I caught her reading in the past thirty years—I think she’s catching up on the first 25 years of her life when she wasn’t exposed to much smut—and think, she’d enjoy it. But would she enjoy it coming from her daughter?
No matter. To prepare for writing the scene, I read a few romance novels and noted the wording. I searched online to see what others did and tried to find one closest to my style: sexy, but not crude. I’m sure the sex scene in my first romance is a little cheesy. That’s okay. It was my growing stage.
The scene in my second book Twistmas – The Season for Love is much better. Here’s how it starts:
Jan heard a thud and directed him away from the wall and down the hallway. The day’s events emptied from her mind as she thought about what he wanted to do, about what she wanted to do. His gentle fingers caressed her back, her buttock and ran along her side. He touched every inch of her skin except her breasts and the soft mound of hair that yearned to accept his hardened manhood. It was as if he first wanted to explore her body, the parts few men gave any attention to, before he explored the features separating man from woman.
She buried her fingers in his hair, envisioning its rich, dark red colour. The knight of her dreams had flowing red hair and a trusty steed. Santa couldn’t deliver him, but he found her just the same, and now his lips left a chilling trail between her breasts, across her quivering belly and down her hip. She wished she could see his face, but in the blackout, she could scarcely distinguish the outline of windows as the snow outside shimmered with a breath of light. He rose slightly and wrapped his lips around her rock-hard nipple. She drew him closer with one hand while the other explored his solid chest, his hip, the manly skin on his thigh.
“Do you know the difference between a snowwoman and a snowman?” he whispered.
He chuckled. “Snowmen are everywhere, but beautiful snowwomen are hard to find.”
“I don’t know,” she said softly. “I’ve been looking for the right snowman for a long time without luck.” She kissed him. “Until now.”
I was reminded of this timid journey into writing sex scenes while reading Millie Schmidt’s post Writing a “Romantic” Scene. She provides her experience with writing a romantic scene and offers a few links to help you get started.
Although I know novels with lots of sex sell—sometimes that’s the only reason the books sell because there is no story to them—I’m not big on the bedroom details. I’m the They closed the door behind them and that’s where they stayed ‘til morning sort of person.
But I do like to tease. Shadows in the Stone
Bronwyn caressed her shoulders, then explored her back with his fingertips. One hand slid to her belly and traced the line of buttons on the front of her dress. He quivered when he felt her massaging his thighs, inching closer to his buttocks. He pulled nearer. Through hazy vision, he realised they occupied his office. He kissed her again, cupping her face and stilling the urges to unbutton her dress. Every bone in his body wanted to be alone with her in his quarters.
When their lips parted, she pulled him into her arms, planting tender kisses on his cheek, his ear and neck. He felt their breathing fall into rhythm; it felt as though they drew the same breath. Exhaling at the same moment, their energies mixed, were gathered again and shared.
He heard her mumble something but couldn’t make out what she said. She clung so tight, he thought she might never let go. He listened closer when she spoke again in a low voice.
“I want you. I’ll always want you.”
Although he didn’t want her to pull away, she did. Alaura stared at him with eyes filled with unshed tears. “I’ll think of you always, Bronwyn Darrow. Regardless of where life takes us, you’ll always be dear to me. Promise me you’ll remember this.”
Have you tackled a romantic scene in your novel? Did you worry about what your parents might think? Your brother, kids, friends? Your grandmother?