• Cattleya

Writing Sexual Tension: How Far Can You Go?

Anne looked up across the table and felt the blood rush to her head.

Devon was staring at her, piercing, unblinking eyes met hers. For a second, she thought Devon was angry but forgot everything as his eyes traveled down her neck, slowly taking in her rumpled flannel shirt dotted with specks of paint, his eyes following the buttons, down to her hands, then back up.

In contrast, Devon’s clean-cut business suit made Anne feel like something the cat dragged in. Then Devon smiled. But it wasn’t innocent. In fact, it held a faint promise of something a bit filthier than she knew.

He maintained eye contact for two more seconds before looking away, his shoulders dropping as if he’d been holding his breath. Anne looked down at her plate and smiled secretly.

It seemed that Devon was as attracted to her as she was to him!

When it comes to incorporating sexual tension in books, you do not have to depend on adding raunchy, steamy sex scenes in each chapter to create chemistry.

For the most part, your aim has to be to make the reader feel something, remind them of their own experiences, and playoff that. Consider one element of sexual tension: awareness.

The romance genre uses the element of awareness heavily to create a connection between the two (or more) love interests. The color of someone’s eyes, their crooked smile, the way they run their hands through their hair or gesture wildly when they are excited. Awareness creates a personal link between the characters and makes it stand apart. So, when you write about it, you do not say:

Evelyn told Rhoda off.

You say:

Evelyn narrowed her eyes and pushed her glasses up, as she always did whenever she was about to tell someone off. Rhoda smirked, ready to hear whatever she was going to rant on.

And that is what makes the difference. Rhoda knows Evelyn enough that she notices her habit before she gets angry. That creates a personal touch between them, making the reader aware that there is something between the two characters.

Adding Physical Attraction

Look back to the example above at the start. Even without touching, there is sexual tension because there is clear evidence that the characters are physically attracted to each other. These are the nuances you have to add to give the relationship some footing.

A glance that turns into a stare, a character leaning in too close, then pulling away, the gentle touch that sizzles—these are experiences people want to feel in their relationships. Adding such details not only plays on the reader’s imagination, but it also reminds them of their connections, which adds to the experience.

As long as you play the element of dissatisfaction well before finally giving in and allowing the characters to get together, the sexual tension works well in piquing the reader’s attention.

Read My Book!

Being among the fantasy book authors, I have implemented all the above rules in my trilogy, The Black Shade of White. A fantasy and paranormal novel, my books have all the elements of a satisfying, romantic read that crosses multiple genres.

Check it out and have a read. Let me know which element of romance you found to be most satisfying!

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