The Birdies are pleased to welcome Robin Covington to the blog today. Robin’s talking about foreplay, a topic near and dear to all our dirty hearts. But it’s not foreplay like you think-kinky! Take it away, Robin!
Sex Scenes and Setting: The Other Foreplay
I am psyched to be here with you today – thanks for having me! I was thinking about what to write my post about and I noted that the Dirty Birdies are all talking about setting this month and immediately knew what I wanted to write about — sex!
Those of you who know me find this not at all surprising.
But, more specifically I want to talk about settings for sex scenes in a novel. We spend pages and hours creating sexual tension, weaving in all of the senses to heighten the desire between our characters and to draw our readers deep into the story as well. Word choice, plot, and description all weave together to create a fog of lust that envelopes our hero and heroine (or hero and hero . . . or hero, and hero, and heroine) and leads them to the point of kissing, touching, and screwing their brains out.
But, you can’t just plop them down anywhere and expect it to work. Setting is such a key element to a sex scene and needs to fit in with the overall, organic tone of your event. I find that setting can be one of the most powerful tools I have to ensure that my sex scene maintains the right pitch, and feeling. Putting the lovers in the wrong place can ruin the flow and the dynamic between the characters and reader.
If you want a tender, moment of intimacy, you might choose to place your couple in a darkened bedroom in the deep of night with candles flickering or in a lazy afternoon behind closed doors while rain comes down outside the window. If you want to write a scene where your heroes are unable to keep their hands off each other one more minute – maybe you have them do the deed in the car where gearshafts and cramped quarters can heighten the sexual ferocity between the lovers. If your couple is hiding their involvement, a motel room or a frantic coupling in a closet can round out the desperation of stolen hours and moments together.
In my book, A Night of Southern Comfort, Michaela and Jackson first spend a night together as strangers in a anonymous hotel room. They were both looking for a night of unrestricted, no-strings sex and setting it in a hotel room that undoubtedly looked like a few hundred others in the same building and knowing that any evidence of their being together would be erased by the maid next morning was deliberate choice on my part. I didn’t want them surrounded by knick-knacks and reminders of their real life because they were both seeking to get away—if only for a few hours— from the lives they were leading. The time-clock ticking away on the rented bed was a constant reminder that they only had the one night and they had to make the most of it.
As an author, what are your favorite places to set a sex scene? Do you find yourself going back to the same variations in your work? Readers, what are some of the most memorable sex scenes you have enjoyed in a book? What about the setting factored into your love of the scene?
Thanks for having me – I had a blast.
One night of passion…
Detective Jackson Cantrell never imagined that one night with an irresistible stranger would turn his life upside down. He’s spent years living in the shadows, but Dr. Michaela Roarke awakened a passion inside him he’d buried years ago.
He never expected the woman would turn out to be the governor’s daughter…and his next assignment. The governor blackmails Jackson to secretly watch over Michaela and protect her from a stalker, or kiss his dream job at the FBI good-bye. Swearing to keep things strictly professional, Jackson moves in with Michaela. Too bad his heart can’t keep the same promise.
But when the stalker’s attacks quickly escalate beyond mere photographs to bodily harm, Jackson must race to save Michaela’s life. And he’ll have to figure out how to keep her once she discovers his lie.
Mr. Sex-on-a-Stick took his last shot and accepted the congratulatory thumps on the back from his friends. He didn’t smile in response, just quirked his full, sensual lips and turned to face her head-on with an expression full of hot promise. Catcalls and low whistles from his friends drifted across the crowded bar.
Come on, handsome. Don’t let me strike out at my first real bar pickup.
The breath she didn’t realize she was holding whooshed out as he separated himself from his friends and headed over to her. His movements were precise, controlled, and deliciously predatory. He possessed the confident demeanor of either military or law enforcement. He definitely wasn’t a paper-pushing warlord or a politico. Years of experience trained her to spot those guys a mile away. No, his mask of control was one born of the need for survival, much like hers.
Okay, big boy. You let me peek behind yours and I’ll let you peek behind mine.
He stopped in front of her, his thigh brushing her leg and setting off a series of sparks underneath her skin. His chocolate brown eyes met hers, filled with the assurance of decadent possibilities.
Michaela opened her mouth and shut it again. Now that he was here, she had no idea what to say. What would Angelina do? Channel your inner Jolie.
She cleared her throat. The result was a sultry, sexy voice she didn’t know she possessed. “May I buy you a drink?”
He glanced at the glass in her hand and nodded.
“A Southern Comfort.” She spoke in the general direction of the bartender, unable to tear herself away from her companion. “Neat.”
He slid onto the stool next her, his leg still against hers and her temperature hovering near the boiling point. He leaned on the bar, creating their own intimate circle as the noise of the busy bar faded into the background. His lips curved into a slight smile.
“Is there something funny?”
“No. Not at all.” His deep voice rumbled in her ear, his warm breath grazed her cheek. “I didn’t take you for the whiskey type.”
“And what type am I?”
He leaned back, examining her ice-blue satin, strapless cocktail dress and matching Manolo Blahnik pumps. She squirmed in her seat as her body responded to the desire pulsing between them.
“Honestly?” He cocked his head. “You strike me as the chardonnay type. A proper drink for a proper lady.”
She laughed. Any other night, his description would have been close to the mark. “Whiskey’s a drink of control and power.” She took another sip and caught his stare over the rim of her glass.
“I see.” He lifted his glass and downed the contents, then turned his full attention back to her. “So…why are you drinking alone?”
“I’m not drinking alone. Now.” Michaela gestured toward his drink and ordered him another when he nodded.
“Okay, so you’re here…?”
“Celebrating my new life.”
“Aahhh.” He lifted his glass to her in salute. “Let me be the first to say that your ex-husband is an idiot.”
On her fortieth birthday, Robin Covington decided that having a mid-life crisis and finding a boy-toy were far too tacky, so she delved a little deeper into the “bucket list” and pulled out the long-shelved dream of becoming an author. Now, she spends her time writing sizzling romance where the hero and heroine can’t keep their hands off each other.
She doesn’t miss the boy-toy at all.
Robin is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Washington Romance Writers, a faculty member at Romance University, a member of the Waterworld Mermaids, and a guest contributor to the Happy Ever After blog at USA Today.