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July 14, 2009
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July 16, 2009

Sex on location? Yes, I said sex on location. Tonight, the Sapphire Blue authors will be hosting a chat at Coffee Time Romance. The Path to Freedom author Lisa Pietsch will be moderating the chat. Our topic is going to focus on sex on location.

Sex Scenes and Location

The old saying suggests that location is everything. But is it really when you are writing a sex scene? This is a tough question to answer. In a romance novel, sex scenes serve a pivotal role in defining intimacy in your characters relationship. But how important is the location of the sex?

In Julie Garwood’s Slow Burn, Kate is staying at her best friend Jordan’s brownstone in Boston when she first hooks up with Jordan’s brother Dylan. The one night stand was unexpected, but the characters have known each other for years. Kate’s pretty embarassed that she hooked up with Dylan in Jordan’s apartment while Jordan was in the hospital.

Later, the two are thrown together and they are staying the same hotel room. Kate and Dylan have separate beds, it’s dark and the sexual tension is palpable. Dylan finally says “Are you coming over here or am I coming over there?” Those two scenes are very different, in terms of emotion and sexual chemistry. The location for the scenes is really important. Jordan’s brownstone is the setting for a rash decision, based on need and mutual desire whereas the hotel room, in the dark, separate beds creates this illusion of isolation that is important for the characters to bridge in order to be together.

Locations Set the Tone

Where a couple consummates their relationship can say a lot about the commitment, the level of tension while also illustrating the different beats in the relationship. Sex very early in the manuscript can mean that it’s important for these two characters to be united against a threat. Sex at the very end of the manuscript can mean that it’s vital the characters overcome obstacles to be together. So where you place the sex scenes can really impact your story.

I think it’s important that the sex scenes be totally organic. I don’t think you should ever force a sex scene nor should you make it totally gratuitous. The first time your characters make love it’s important, arguably, the mini-breakup and reunion sex scenes are important, but if they get it on like bunnies every night — you don’t need to see it.

Remember, I’m not talking about erotica, I’m talking paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

Sex Sells

Without question, sex sells. Conversations about sex draw in a lot of people. Everyone has an opinion. Apparently, in someplaces you can even get kicked off a plane if you’re reading a book that’s too sexy. European television has a lot of sex on it, so does American (we just like to keep ‘clean’ or consign it to cable).

While sex is very much a part of the human condition like living, breathing, eating and interacting — it’s a tool in a writer’s arsenal. Sex communicates intimacy and the deepening of a relationship. Sex can also muck it up by creating problems with communication.

In Patricia Briggs Cry Wolf for example, mated couple Anna and Charles have sex but neither feels their mating bond deepening. It’s confusing, but the bond doesn’t deepen because despite really enjoying their night together, Anna’s not as wholly committed as Charles is. It takes time, she has to get her heart, mind and body on the same page.

The setting, the location and even the timing of the sex is pretty spot on in the novel, but it takes place near the first half, indicating deeper obstacles to be overcome. So sex and location are really important partners in telling your tale.

What do you think about sex on location?


  1. RKCharron says:

    Sex on location is important as the setting helps determine the mood. Sex would be entirely different in an alcove in a church than in the kitchen, for example.
    Thanks for sharing another great blog post!
    Love from Canada

  2. Heather Long says:

    Thanks for coming by RK! And yes, where sex happens can have a distinct impact on the story.

  3. CJ Parker says:

    Wow. Great blog. I'll be there tonight.

  4. Heather Long says:

    Thanks Char! Tonight will be a blast!

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