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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lovin Friday & The Importance Of Great Sex

Today readers, Emily Bryan is here to tell us about ~ The Importance of Great Sex (nudge, nudge, wink wink).

There is a certain mystique to being a romance writer. When I tell people I write historical romance, they cast me a sidelong glance and I know what they’re thinking.

“She knows more about having sex than the average girl on the block.”

My DH has encountered this assumption as well when he accompanies me to writing conferences. Once a reader who was familiar with my books gave him a long, slow once-over and said, “You must really be something.”

The naughty boy smiled and said, “Thank you, ma’am. I am!”

(Ok, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit he’s right!) But the point is, the love scenes in my books are not just about having great sex.

I hear a big “Huh?”

It’s true. I am passionately addicted to telling a good story. To accomplish that, every scene in my book has to perform important functions. They must:
1. Advance the story forward in a compelling manner.
2. Deepen the characters and/or their relationship.
3. Hopefully all at the same time!

So if a sex scene doesn’t perform one or more of these tasks, I have to cut it. If the scene could be replaced with the words, “Then they had sex.” And then there is no change in how the story proceeds because of the sex, then the scene is filler. I had an interesting discussion with a horror writer about gratuitous gore, which is that genre’s sex scene. He felt the same way about what he called “gorn” (gore porn). The gore, like a sex scene, has to serve a higher storytelling purpose.

When I write a sensual encounter for my characters, I want them to be different for having had the experience. I want it to change how they feel about themselves and each other. I want it to MATTER. Sex without context is pornography. Sex with meaning is one of the deepest expressions of what it is to be human.

Sex is a powderkeg of emotions and sensations. It encapsulates themes of redemption, betrayal, acceptance and rejection. It’s the closest we can be to another person since we left our mother’s womb. How could I not write about it?

I want my readers (and my characters!) to have a good time. I also want it to mean something.

After sharing this, I’ll be interested to see which of my lovescenes, the Royal Court decides to post!

Thanks Emily. After much 'research', fanning, cool showers and a great deal of thought I've decided to share two scenes between Gabriel & Jacquelyn from Pleasuring the Pirate. Not because these scenes are the 'hottest' but because for me, they encompass what it means to love ~ a willingness to put your needs and desires aside for another.

Spent and gasping, they clung to each other. She kissed his sweat-dampened temple, savoring the saltiness of his skin. Her covered her mouth with his in a soft kiss. A kiss that said she had given him a gift and he was grateful.
As he laid his head beside hers on the pillow, still joined, unwilling to sever their connection until it was absolutely necessary, she realized he'd gifted her as well. The giving and receiving of pleasure was a paradox, the most selfish and selfless thing she'd ever done. The more she gave, the more she received.

"You are Lord of Dragon Caern" she said softly. "Nobility has its privileges, but it also comes with duties. It is your obligation to care for these people."
... "Remember whom you're talking to, mistress." He turned his head and pressed a soft kiss into her palm. "A pirate has no rule but his own wishes."

"You are no longer a pirate," she said, willing it to be true.
"And neither am I a lord by any measure but name," he said. "Not yet."
"But you will be," she said with assurance.
Gabriel tipped her face toward him and she thought he was going to kiss her. Instead he just looked at her as if he were trying to burn her features into his mind.
"Do you ever tire of being right all the time?" he finally said.
"Frequently," she admitted. "But only since I met you."
He lowered his mouth to hers in a kiss of bittersweet regret. It wasn't the flame of passion they'd shared in the night, but the connection between them in the gentle brush of their lips was even more real. When he pulled back, she blinked back the tears that threatened to salt her cheeks.

You can find out more about Pleasuring the Pirate on Emily's website - http://www.emilybryan.com/

Leave a comment one lucky person will win one of Emily's novels.

Day 5 winner - booklover1335

Empress Signature


Jane said...

I agree. I want those scenes to be relevant to the story and helps move the story along. That's not to say I don't enjoy a gratuitous sex scenes once in a while.

housemouse88 said...

Hello Emily,

I'm currently a little over half way through "Vexing the Viscount" and you have me wanting more. The story that is unfolding between Daisy and Drake in a way reminds me of a hot fairy tale. I can't wait to see how things unfold. Have a great day.

booklover1335 said...


That's a great excerpt and am in total agreement with Emily about what makes or breaks a great love scene. I don't like to use the term sex scene because it is about so much more than that which is why I like the term "love scene".

And yeah, am so excited that I won a book from Emily...now how do I possibly choose one! Any suggestions on which I should choose?

Sharon said...

That is a great attitude! I love Emily Bryan's point of view and this scene causes me to want to read the book.

EmilyBryan said...

Jane--I think sex scenes that mean something can be even more fun! Hot, yes. Meaningless, no.

Housemouse--I'm so glad you're enjoying my VISCOUNT! Daisy and Lucian do have a naughty good time!

Booklover--Love scene is a great term, but to me that either may or may not include sex. You always hope a sex scene will also be a love scene as well.

May I recommend you visit my website and try out the excerpts? And please don't forget you can also pick one of my Diana Groe books?

Sharon--Thanks! I was pleased to see the scene the Empress chose.

Thanks, Teddy. I know your research was exhausting!

Mandi said...

Very interesting..good points!

I love - "He lowered his mouth to hers in a kiss of bittersweet regret"

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Mandi! That's a good example of what I mean about the scene advancing the story forward. You can't kiss someone regretfully and not have something bad about to happen.

etirv said...

Another vote for meaningful sex!

Aloha Emily -- do you have a favorite plot or storyline to read? Is there one that you don't care for or that you feel has been overdone or are tired of? Reunions, beauty and the beast, forced marriages, love triangles, plain Jane/scorching guy, etc.?

Teddyree said...

LOL Em, exhausting but very satisfying!

There are plenty of 'hot' love scenes in Emily's books, none of them without meaning. Choosing one which gave away no spoilers or an inkling of the ending was a challenge but I loved these scenes from Pleasuring the Pirate, the wording is just *Ahhh* *sigh* - makes me want to re-read it.

Booklover ~ you can't go wrong with any of Emily's novels IMHO and while I am only a few chapters in to Silk Dreams (Diana Groe 3rd novel) I'm loving it. I will be reviewing that one on my own book blog The Eclectic Reader as EB week finishes tomorrow. Maidensong and Erinsong are 2 of Emily/Diana's that I don't have, so I will have to rectify that situation!

Linda Ellen said...

I enjoyed reading this post. Thank you! =)

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. There seems to be more and more sex in books today. All too often the scenes don't really add to the story. Read a story a few years ago by a very well known author. Had read several of hers and liked them. This one however was nothing more than serial sex scenes. It seemed the only plot was how many times and in how many different places the could "do it." I didn't read anything else by her for a long time. As with anything else, there has to be a reason for it and it needs to be handled well.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. There seems to be more and more sex in books today. All too often the scenes don't really add to the story. Read a story a few years ago by a very well known author. Had read several of hers and liked them. This one however was nothing more than serial sex scenes. It seemed the only plot was how many times and in how many different places the could "do it." I didn't read anything else by her for a long time. As with anything else, there has to be a reason for it and it needs to be handled well.

Valorie said...

Why oh why can't I meet a man like that in real life?

Witch Baby said...

OMG - I must say I loved the "The naughty boy smiled and said, “Thank you, ma’am. I am!”" comment.

EmilyBryan said...

Etirv--Since I try not to write formula type plots, I'm usually not looking for them as I read. Romance is character-driven fiction. I'm looking for well-developed, sympathetic characters whose lives I can try on for a bit.

Teddy--I'll be interested to see what you make of Damian in SILK DREAMS. Readers have both loved and hated him, but I think he's one of the most complex characters I've ever written.

Linda--Thanks for coming by!

LibraryPat--I understand what you mean. Without some subtext to all those sex scenes, it becomes just imaginative pluming.

Valorie--My DH is always quick to point out that he hopes romance readers realize that the heroes I write are pure fantasy. But the truth is, I think most guys really do want romance in their lives. In VEXING THE VISCOUNT, the heroine Daisy reads, "A man and woman may strip naked and couple in every conceivable manner, but there is still no true intimacy until they bare their hearts.’

WitchBaby--Yes, he is a naughty boy, but it's my fault. I'm afraid I encourage him at every turn!

EmilyBryan said...

Ooops. I mean plumbing, Library Pat. Sheesh, where's my editor when I need her?

ibeeeg said...

Gosh...I so agree with you emily when you posted a commnet to etrive {{ Romance is character-driven fiction.}}
When it is character driven the romance is so yummy...it is far better. I always feel a bit flat when I read a story where it seems the story revolves around the sex...where the characters are flat.

Thanks Emily for your posts,comments. It has been great to read your thoughts and comments. Loved it.

EmilyBryan said...

Some genres lend themselves to more plot-driven stories--thrillers, mysteries, etc. Romance isn't like that.

I have a sticky note taped to my computer that says, "It's the relationship, stupid!" And to have relationship in the story I can care about, I have write characters I care about.

Heather D said...

I have to say that enjoy a really hot sex scene in the romance I read, but I want it to mean something too. I don't like reading about cheap sex between two people who have not and will not form an emotional connection. At that point I feel like I am reading real smut, not a romance. I love your point of view Emily!!

CrystalGB said...

I agree. I prefer the love scenes to have meaning to the story. Not just thrown in.

Anonymous said...

Emily sure lucks out with her covers!
I especially like the placement of the U on PTP. Total genius.
Or is he just happy to see me?
Hugs, Em!

Teddyree said...

What a hoot Genella, how observant you are! I was too busy checking out his abs.

dolleygurl said...

I have recently reached the conclusion that sex scenes do have to have a purpose. If an author can cohesively blend the progression of the story and the sex then it is great! Otherwise it is just a let down!

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

I agree, advancing the storyline, but some of my recent reads have introduced some randomness and I want to skip over these parts. If it doesn't bring something to the read, why add it, it becomes a distraction.

Dottie :)

Belinda M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Belinda M said...

Sounds like this will be a really interesting boo., Please include me in your giveaway

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