It’s Too Early in the Morning for This: Reading, Writing, and Editing Sex

I also wrote a post for the Just Contemporary Romance blog, where I discuss how I approach sex scenes. (Hint: Carefully. Especially at eight in the morning.) And click over to their blog for a giveaway!

When it comes to romance novels, I’m promiscuous. I have very few nonnegotiable demands, other than an entertaining story, clear consent before sex, and non-abusive behavior from the heroes and heroines. I don’t care whether the book is set in the past, present, or future. It makes no difference to me whether the protagonists are humans, vamps, or aliens. The story can be funny or angst-ridden, lyrically written or brutally efficient in its verbiage. And while I don’t mind novels where the climactic payoff is a simple kiss, I also get a kick out of erotica.

But I understand that many—most?—readers are not like me. They have favorite subgenres and definite opinions about heroes, heroines, preferred mood, and writing style. This is especially true, I think, when it comes to sexual content. I’m happy to read almost anything, but not everyone wants to encounter tumescent body parts every few pages.

If you’re someone who prefers either absent or closed-door lovemaking, be warned: I enjoy writing sex scenes. If I hit the steamy bits after I’ve been writing for a while, I’m deep in the characters’ heads—so when they get turned on…well, I’m not entirely unaffected. What comes next seems natural. Fun. Inevitable, even.

I don’t light candles to set the mood. Given how immersed I get on a good writing day, I’d probably burn the house down as my characters burned up the sheets. And I’m not pumping Barry White or Sade on the stereo, either. I don’t like distractions while I work. But through the power of the images in my head and the words I put on the screen, I can still write sex scenes that make even me squirm. In a good way.

Editing sex scenes, though… That’s an entirely different issue.

Reading sex scenes I wrote doesn’t bother me while I’m still in the moment. But when it’s seven in the morning and I’m staring bleary-eyed at my computer screen, I really don’t want to read about penises. All the thrusting and pulsing and moisture…ugh.

Unhappy woman giving thumbs down

My face, upon editing a sex scene early in the morning.

Here’s the difference: As I write my sex scenes, somewhere deep in my brain, I’m thinking, This is my job! This is MY JOB! I can’t believe it! But when I edit those scenes, I’m thinking, This is my job? THIS is my job? I can’t believe it. I honestly cringe and cover my eyes sometimes, even though I’m sitting all alone at my desk.

My debut novella, Broken Resolutions, is not the steamiest book I’ve written—that honor goes to Mayday, the third story in my Lovestruck Librarians series. But it’s still hot, no doubt about it.

So if you love reading sex scenes, enjoy mine—just like I do while reading and writing them.

If you don’t, turn those particular e-reader pages quickly—just like I do while editing them.

And either way, please know that I’ll understand completely. Happy reading!

3 thoughts on “It’s Too Early in the Morning for This: Reading, Writing, and Editing Sex

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