Writing Romantic Scenes

This is an impromptu post fueled by  white wine and a desperate need for empathy. In other words, I’m wine writing and I “Blame it on the ah ah ah ah ah alcohol.” – Thank you Jamie Foxx.

I’m struggling to write sex romantic scenes between my protagonists. Every time I approach a steamy passage I get so embarrassed I just skip it. I’ve written around, over, and under, three romantic scenes because I get so bashful. I am not a prude, why is this happening?!

I have been a romance reader since I was twelve. I was sneaking Harlequin romances from my Mom’s collection before I was wearing a training bra. I haven’t been this awkward about sex since a boy in middle school asked me to “come sit on his lap and talk about the first thing that pops up.” (And since I can still feel the horror of that invitation, let me tell you I sent a very swift declination his way.)

The wine is helping immensely, and I was able to write one of the risqué passages in my novel. What do you do when you are writing romance? Is this a problem for anyone else? Do I become a temporary alcoholic until my novel is finished?

Cheers, (literally)

Rachel McKee

Author: Rachel McKee

I love reading about everything. I'm not a book snob. Lately I have been "reading" a lot of picture books to my toddler and baby. In my past life before motherhood, I was a professional technical editor and writer.

14 thoughts on “Writing Romantic Scenes”

  1. Here are two thoughts that spring to mind.
    It may be that the sort of romance you’re talking about is actually a form of fantasy writing, a steamy idealization of what might happen between two imaginary “beings” looking to fulfill a magical quest (in this case, overcoming their differences and consummating their desires?!?).
    Another approach might be related to the discomfort of coming to terms with how personal these situations really are to you and either getting really honest about how you feel/have felt during your personal romance with your spouse (but idealized).
    Although I think that romances are fantasies, for them to connect they must have a core of achievability and truth for the reader or it’s just going to annoy them.
    Or I could be entirely wrong.
    K regards and good luck, MSOC

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your advice. I really appreciate it. I think you nailed it with how these romance scenes are actually more fantasy, and almost like a different genre. Maybe if I look at it that way, I can come to terms with writing them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I won’t be much help with some of this, as I only write romantic scenes, and “yell cut to the cameraman” before clothing comes off or anything more physically intimate than kissing or over-clothes-touching occurs. It’s a personal and professional, and purposeful choice, as I don’t feel including an actual sex scene between any of my characters would add anything to the story. For me, it’s a lot more about character development or a needed plot point – if it’s important to their relationship, or to something in the plot, to note that they slept together, then I’ll make it clear (politely, still) that it happened. But I don’t think details are necessary. The descriptions need to be about how they relate to each other, if it affects their past/present/future, and how their feelings will impact their relationship with each other and as individuals (will the sex mean the end/continuing/deepening of the partnership?).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great advice! Because I’m writing YA I want to keep the details PG-13 and I want some detail but not too much. Maybe I should be looking at this a different way and consider how I can be more vague but get the message across that they were intimate and how it effected their relationship. Thank you, as always, for your much-needed advice.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, well, um, congrats on having the courage to write this post! I’m glad others have this problem too. I struggle also to write these kind of scenes. It took me three days (and some cold showers!) to get the first one done and sometimes I take the easy way out and just write a scene that implies what happens next which I think you can completely get away with when writing YA. When I read your post I thought of the quote, “Write drunk, edit sober”. (PS: Is that you in the photo?! 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry to be dragging into this discussion late. I had a similar post….waaaaay long ago. It’s a related issue but please allow me to share. My problem was how far to go! The novel I’m working on isn’t YA but it has YA characters who as the plot demands get physically involved.

    I’ve found that instead of writing sex, I get better results writing tease, e. g., the accidental touch or closeness without touching such as whispering (a whisper can be quite sensual as it requires lips to be close to the other’s ear), the sight of bare skin, for instance the girl’s neck or the guy’s muscled back or the girl’s slim waist revealed when she stretches, OR the knowledge of what’s under the clothes, the girl in her wet bikini or the fully clothed male whose erection won’t go away!

    And now that we know it ain’t you in the visual, I’d say forget alcohol and just write what you see in the pic! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great advice Paul! The tease can tell just as much as the act. I think I needed to get more creative and your guy’s advice has really helped. Please, always feel free to chime in on any post comments regardless of how much time has passed. 😆

      Liked by 1 person


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