Posted by: nancycurteman | February 22, 2012

How to Write Emotion into Love Scenes

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As an author you need to decide how much emotion to write into your love scenes. You will base this decision on your characters and the type of book you write. In pornographic novels characters will concern themselves with explicit engagement in the physical side of coupling. In these novels, emotions are usually secondary if present at all. In romance novels, which can be heavily erotic or emphasize courtship, the plot usually orbits around the “twitterpated” couple. Depending on the kind of romance novel, emotions may play an important or diminished role. In a novel in which romance is secondary to the basic plot, such as a mystery, the love scenes may be brief. So, in order to impact the reader, they must be packed with emotion.

As a mystery writer, I think the best love scenes are really about character emotions. How do you write emotion into love scenes? Here are some points to consider:

Let your characters get to know each other a bit before the big scene. Let him appreciate her intelligence as well as her sensual curves. Let her admire his passionate devotion to a cause as well as his lean muscular body.

Throw up emotional roadblocks to their romance that they need to overcome. He can’t allow himself to fall for her because he has already had an unfaithful wife. She can’t allow herself to fall in love because she can’t bare the thought of giving up her hard-won independence.

• Create conflict that almost prevents the characters from coupling. He can’t get involved with her because their worlds are too far apart both physically and culturally.  She knows he would expect her to give up her career and that she would never do for any man.

Increase internal battles. “I’m not ready for this,” she said, but her body begged him to take her.

• Use the “more concealing than revealing” strategy.  Imply rather than graphically describe the coupling. A heat, like whiskey, surged through his veins when she unbuttoned her dress, and let it slip to the floor. He caught his breath as her inviting body filled his senses. When she slid into his arms and returned his kiss, his body jerked as the sensation shot through him. She let herself fall back on the couch, her breathing deep and uneven. He pressed himself against her, kissing her neck and shoulders; tasting, touching, exploring…

Involve the characters’ five senses He smoothed his big hands over her warm shoulders and nuzzled her perfumed hair. She could hear his rapid heartbeat when he cradled her head to his chest and whispered, “I’ve never felt this way about any woman before.”

Let your characters help you write emotion into your love scenes. They will be your best guides.

More writing tips:

The Romantic Heroine in a Mystery Novel
How to Write Love Scenes that Generate Emotions Not Giggles



  1. Great stuff! Thanks for posting.


    • Thanks, Richard. I have to do a love scene in my new novel. I’ll have to review my advice.


  2. Great advice. Can’t wait to have you make suggested improvements to my love story!


    • I really enjoy reading your memoir pieces. Looking forward to the next one.


  3. Beautiful examples, Nancy.


  4. I’ve missed reading your great posts in my month long absence! This was a great one. I love your tips, and love scenes are something I seriously have to concern myself with for my novel is about a rockstar, and let’s just say, he’s a bit of a ladies man…


    • I think love scenes are extremely hard to write. It’s difficult to find the lines between emotion and anatomy; feeling and comedy; depth and shallow description. I think the author needs to try to imagine herself as one of the participants in the scene she is writing.


      • Definitely Nancy, I’ve read some love scenes that make you cringe, whilst others make you laugh, and others are just right. It’s definitely a skill one needs to master…


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