Sex and Romance
As a romance progresses, a sequence of classic moments play out; people love reading novels that take them through these moments. As readers we don’t really want to be aware of how prescribed this progression is – we want to experience it every time as if it’s the first time. As writers, though, it helps to be aware of what these moments are so we can make sure our characters suffer through them and enjoy them, too.
What are these moments?
BEFORE I GET TO THAT (Some foreplay here…)
A classic dynamic between couples is the following: he takes one stop forward, she takes one step back. Then she takes one step forward, and he takes one step back. Sexual tension is all about the anticipation building during this dance of attraction and repulsion. Once there’s any kind of consummation, the stakes must be raised or reversed so that there’s a new sexual tension.
On some level, we are all fascinated by this dynamic. We want intimacy, but we’re afraid of it, but we want it, but we don’t.
Which brings me to one of my favorite subjects…
In a sense, all sex is forbidden sex. Or should I say all good sex is forbidden sex. Or am I just talking about myself? In any case, forbidden sex adds that certain something that makes your story more fascinating.
Use aspects of the forbidden to turn up the heat.
- Find ways to keep them apart. Be smooth about it; this should not seem contrived.
- Explore what keeps them apart, be it something having to do with society or something having to do with psychology.
- Let them meet in secret.
- Have your main character preoccupied with the anxieties surrounding the keeping of the secrets.
- Explore the guilt, exhilaration, liberation, rebellion…
- Eventually provide relief. Either bring them together in a public way, or end it once and for all.
In other words, be a tease. Keep your reader guessing. Will they find each other? What will keep them apart? Will they end up together? How will it happen? Your job as a writer is to titillate the reader for as long as possible.