Some days I like me a really smexy book, and then other days, I just want a clean romance.
But as a writer, how does one put the sizzle in a romance without the sex? Beats me, but RT Book Reviews has a few tips that I’d like to quote below, if only to remind myself again, how to write a story without the sex scenes–and I mean, not a single one.
- Explore and cover the psychological and emotional aspects of love and falling in love. Physical appeal is there, sure, but also the elements of a character, his or her traits, create an appeal as well. Personalities, behaviors that characters have and the decisions they make are all relevant and play a part in winning someone’s heart and loyalty. Or the reverse when needed—to cause doubt and raise conflict in the relationship.
- Use a strong conflict and an engaging plot to build and heighten true love. A disagreement that can be solved with an apology or a misunderstanding that can be explained with a simple conversation are not conflicts. A person who has divided loyalties, who has to decide whether to sacrifice someone or something to make a relationship last has a real and challenging obstacle to overcome. That character has a conflict. Having heroes and heroines sharing, fighting, finding their way through these challenges and coming out the other side—together—create the deep roots and the circumstances that make falling in love believable. And none of that requires sex. The same point applies to plot. Casting situations and having characters react and face things can build trust and respect and ultimately romantic feelings. None of that necessarily has to involve sex.
- Remember that intimacy takes many forms. A private joke, a look, secrets and shared confidences, even banter helps develop a closeness between the two primary characters. And though lovemaking doesn’t happen in a sweet romance, it doesn’t mean that everything is off limits. Even in clean romances, there can be kissing, affectionate touching and attraction.