I’m thrilled to welcome Marian Perera, a fellow Samhain Publishing author. She’s celebrating the release of her paranormal fantasy romance, The Highest Tide and has a fun post about sex.
Thirteen ways I learned to write about sex
Thanks for hosting me, Shelley! I like interesting lists, so when I found your blog I read through all the Thursday13 posts first. Those gave me the idea of this guest post.
But here’s the story behind it. I grew up in the Middle East, in a devoutly religious family, a sex-segregated school and an extremely conservative country. How conservative? If a couple kissed on a TV show, this was cut out before the show was broadcast. So speaking of kisses, my first had to wait until I went to college in the States. I was that sheltered.
And now I write romances with explicit sex in them.
Of course, this transition from saint to sinner didn’t happen all at once. So here are a few of the steps I took to become an enthusiastic proponent of the open-bedroom-door policy…
1. Read every romance novel I could lay my hands on, from Sweet Savage Love onwards.
2. Bought and read Stacia Kane’s book Be A Sex-Writing Strumpet. The book is so blunt it overcame a lot of my inhibitions.
3. Reminded myself that it’s not about what I’ve been taught, or what my family believes. It’s about what’s right for the characters and the story.
4. Reminded myself that my editors have read hundreds of steamy romances, so there’s no need to be embarrassed if they refer to certain, uh, technical aspects of the scenes.
5. Kept sex scenes in-character. If the couple enjoy verbal teasing, there can be a rest in the action where they playfully spar with each other.
6. Put the characters in unusual locations. Not only is this fun, I get to think about where they could have sex long before they reach that point. Cave on a deserted island? Got it. Inside a hollow baobab tree? Came out earlier this year.
7. Pushed my personal envelope. Most of my romances are a slow burn where the sexual tension builds up until the characters finally give in. With The Highest Tide, they got their clothes off in the first chapter—and had good reason to do so.
8. Used sex to heighten the characters’ emotional struggle. At the end of The Coldest Sea (coming out later this year), the heroine has settled down with a job she enjoys, and she reluctantly tells the hero, a freighter captain, that she can’t just leave to marry him. So he makes love to her in an intense, the-last-time-we’ll-have-each-other way. The story ends happily, but I milked that scene for all it was worth in terms of heartache.
9. Read some really bad sex scenes. It’s good to know what not to do—for instance, I don’t believe it’s ever arousing to mention the heroine’s urethra.
10. Learned to drop the occasional f-bomb. I don’t use this word very often, so when it occurs—especially when the hero says it in a sexually charged moment—it packs a punch.
11. Held true to my convictions. I believe that even in fiction, when a woman says no, a man should back off (unless they’re play-acting or the scene is written as assault). So I’ve written hot makeout scenes which stopped when the heroine remembered a good reason not to go further. That made it even better when she did want it.
12. Figured out how to incorporate contraceptives into fantasy romance. Or, if they’re not used, to show why not. One of my heroines is infertile, and knows she is, and doesn’t end up with a surprise baby at the end.
13. Wrote sexy fanfics. Less pressure there. Plus, they were Transformers fanfics. If I can write about giant robots having sex, I can write about anyone having sex.
Bio : Marian Perera started reading fantasy at 6 when she found a huge hardcover copy of The Lord of the Rings. Her parents replaced that with a more age-appropriate paperback of The Hobbit. Later she discovered another book with an adorable bunny rabbit on the cover. Yes, that was Watership Down. She had to wait ten more years for romance novels, but once she discovered those she never looked back, and now combines the two for maximum fun.
Marian was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in Dubai, studied in the United States (Georgia and Texas), worked in Iqaluit and lives in Toronto. For now. With five hot fantasy romances published by Samhain and Loose Id, she’s just getting started. She blogs at Flights of Fantasy, is on Twitter, has lots of excerpts on her website and still writes the occasional giant-robot-smutfic with no guilt whatsoever.
One touch, and the tide isn’t all that’s rising. When brothel health inspector Jason Remerley finds a uniformed woman waiting impatiently in the Velvet Court parlor, wanting to hire a man’s services, he’s struck by lightning. His intense, immediate attraction compels him to pretend his way into her arms.
Enough silver, and most men forget about Captain Lera Vanze’s half-burned face. She senses something off about the handsome, ill-dressed prostitute who sells himself so cheaply. But with his first touch, goose bumps turn to shivers of desire—right before the truth drives them in opposite directions.
Her fury is still simmering when they face each other in a more “official” capacity. She’s joined a warship to stop a terrorist only Jason can identify. Though trust is scarce, they’re swept away in a tidal wave of murderous plots and an explosive attraction that could leave them marooned in an emotional—and very real—minefield.
Warning: She knows how to wield her sword, he knows just how, when, and where to apply his…mind. Contains deception in a brothel, sex in a cave, a shark with a bad habit, and one very large wave.
Samhain Publishing | Amazon
Do you have any questions for Marian or tips to add to her list?