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What you always wanted to know about love scenes…

What you always wanted to know about love scenes…

I totally just went there.

I was inspired actually by one of my readers the other day, who shall remain anonymous, she messaged me and asked if the love scenes I write are inspired by what men truly think or if it’s my projection and my own imagination that fuels those heated moments.

For an author it can be one or both, or none, but for me, well, I like to get the research done on my end, so I do ask my husband, I read non-fiction books, I’ve read books about what men really think, the psychology behind mens thinking, I mean I can go on and on and on about the research I’ve done, mainly because I find it absolutely fascinating!


Haven’t you ever seen those cosmo sex and love posts where they show what a mans response is in text and then show what their “real” response is in text? It’s one of the main reasons I love using text conversations in my books between guys because I feel like it really gets through the nitty gritty of what they’re really thinking when they’re talking with their friends.

Take for example, my main guy Braden, he just stormed out of a room and is laying on his bed questioning his life choices when he grabs his phone and starts texting his bros (From my book Provoke, out April 14)

Me: FYI next time you guys decide to “help” can you make sure the girl in question isn’t Pollyanna with a stick up her ass? Please and thank you. 

Will: Huh? Who are we talking about? 

Zane added Drew, Ty, and Trevor to the conversation. 

Well shit, there went the private conversation I’d been about to have. 

Zane: I’ll admit she wasn’t hard on the eyes. Honest moment, when I heard the term life coach, I imagined some Tony Robins-looking guy in a matching Adidas windbreaker and the inability to use an inside voice, so…

I frowned at the phone. 

Me: Who the hell is Tony Robins? 

Trevor: Ah, youths. 

Ty: He’s loaded, that’s what he is. He makes people feel better about being mediocre. 

Drew: You’re just saying that because you’re pissed he makes more money than you. 

Zane: Yeah, he’s not wrong. Guy charges more for two days of a convention than a handful of our concert tickets.

Me: Wait, back up. He’s a life coach?

Zane: Keep up, young one. He is, just like her, only she’s clearly more…what’s the big word I’m looking for? Help a guy out! 

Trevor: I’ll take Rhymes with Concrete for two hundred, Alex!

Zane: Discreet! DISCREET. Son of a bitch, why was that hard? 

Ty: Hard. Just like our poor Braden as the hot life coach kisses his boo-boos and tells him he’s not crazy. 

Will: You’re not crazy…by the way. 

Me: I know I’m not crazy. I’m not the problem. It’s all the other psychopaths out there. 

Drew: Maybe Ty’s right. Get laid. It might create more happy chemicals to combat the traumatized ones. 

Me: Um, he said I was hard, he didn’t say to have sex. 

Zane: Sex fixes everything (said with heavy sarcasm) 

Trevor: I mean, it can. If you’re horny, I guess. But it’s probably against her contract to touch you in your happy place. 

Me: Can we not call it that? Ever? LIKE EVER. 

Zane: Your fun zone? 

Drew: Trail of tears? 

Me: THE HELL? 

Ty: Because girls weep with pleasure, bro…take a compliment. 

Will: Yeah, I didn’t mean it that way. 

Me: I hate all of you right now. It’s been three days, what if she can’t…?

Will: She can. 

Zane: She will. 

Me: You didn’t let me finish. 

Drew: Look, man, I know you’re freaked that she might not be able to help you, but promise us you’ll try. I want you touring with us, all right? You’ve been family since we picked you up off the streets at nineteen! 

Zane: Sad and wandering in the rain, asking God for a sign. 

Ty: With an embarrassing amount of Adrenaline and Zane posters in your room. 

Will: Begging the universe to avenge you!!

I sighed. 

Me: You guys done? Oh, also, my YouTube video that day got two million MORE views than you guys. 

Drew: F U. By the way, how’s Mom? 

Me: You’re dead to me. 

Will: To be fair, his mom is really striking. 

Ty: Not to be creepy or anything but—

Me: No, just no. And I’ll try, all right? But if she busts out some weird vision board shit, I’m out. 

Zane: Wait, you don’t have a vision board? 

Me: Tell me you’re joking. 

Drew: His has a pony on it. Don’t ask. 

Me: But why?

Trevor: DAMN IT, SOME THINGS DON’T NEED TO BE BROUGHT UP! 

Zane: lolololololol we’ll tell you when you’re older, sport. 

Me: On that creepy note, I need to go shower and head to bed

Drew: Taking lots of cold showers, are you? 

Ty: Hide the socks. 

Trevor: Out of lotion? 

Me: I’m flipping all of you guys off. I’m not some pubescent teen. Oh also, I lost my virginity at sixteen and slayed in high school, unlike some people. Cough, cough, Zane. 

Ty: He was protecting his treasure while you were pillaging every able-bodied female for more. 

Me: A man doesn’t pillage. He does, however, give multiple orgasms. I’ll send you a manual later. Sounds like you still need help finding the G spot. It’s cool, bro. Not everyone has that skill. 

Drew: I have that skill in spades. 

Trevor: We know. We have earplugs because of it. 

Me: I’ve never been more proud. 

Will: Stop setting a bad example! 

Me: Okay, I really am going, I want to know about the pony later. 

Zane: You really do. YOU REALLY DO.

Will: You’ll never be the same, and I mean that. I’m shuddering. 

Me: I’m out! 

As you can see the guys talked about stress, teased one another, obviously it went into sex because, men, and then included a bit of emotion. Now, I’m no pro, I’m just a girl, but I do see some of my husbands texts and weirdly enough I’m in a lot of group texts with our mutual friends and I can tell you one hundred percent, the texts look scary close to the one above.

So what about the love scenes? How do you convey what a guy’s really thinking while still making sure you’re adding in the emotional aspect. Well here’s the thing about romance novels, they aren’t just about sex. I know, I know, I just shocked you. It’s actually quite insulting when people insinuate that we write mommy porn. Some of my “sexiest” books have actually been books with the least amount of sex. Why do you ask? Because the books focus on the emotional connection between the characters in such a deep way you feel almost exposed. That is the goal of a romance author, to make sure that you emotionally connect. You don’t need tons of sex scenes to do that, sometimes it just takes one, sometimes we write multiple, it always depends on the characters and the message you are trying to get across to your reader. The goal, always is to reveal something about that character, maybe an insecurity, an emotional bond, anything that clues you into the deeper part of their psyche, and that my friend connects you to that person even more.

I’ll sometimes ask my husband to kiss me so I can write down what it feels like, because weirdly enough sometimes I forget when I’m just trying to write a scene. The point is, men may be very different then women, but at the end of the day we all want one thing.

To connect. To be seen. To be loved.

Especially while everyone right now deals with isolation and being alone. Right now books, and words, and texting, that’s all we got right? So this is a very unique time to use those tools to make connections.

Love scenes aren’t the easiest to write, but making sure that you get the emotion across, does everything in selling that scene to the reader.

See below for another quick example of building into the scene:

I dropped my guitar onto the carpet and kissed her back hard, as much as I could, trying to show her my gratitude. The love I felt budding in my chest, the way she made me feel when she had no reason to stay but did anyway. 

I picked her up and set her in my lap. 

And then she was pulling at my shirt. 

I wondered how I’d ever lived without her hands touching my skin. My shirt went flying, followed by hers, and then I just went for it, unhooking her bra, cupping her perfectly full breasts in my hands. They were so sensitive I could feel every gasp, every moan as I kissed her again, while she went for the button of my jeans and gripped my length in her hand. 

I hadn’t been lying when I’d said I didn’t do one-night stands. I’d had sex in high school then promptly stopped once I started getting famous because I had no idea if it was real or if I was just a celeb they wanted to screw. 

So, it had been a few years. 

I groaned, feeling myself harden in her hand to a painful degree as my body surged with adrenaline, need, and a greedy desire to bite and mark every inch of her skin. 

“Damn, your hand feels good,” I muttered against her mouth. 

“I bet I know what would feel better,” she teased. 

And then I did it. 

I gripped her by the ass and laid her across my coffee table, jerking off her sweats in the process, leaving her in nothing but a pair of pale pink underwear that I was going to rip off of her with my teeth. Okay ,maybe not. Be a gentleman, not a caveman.I pulled them down to her ankles and threw them next to the rest of our clothes. “I’m suddenly so thankful I missed dinner.”

As you an see I included his need to feel her, touch her, but also included what he was thinking along with his actions. Any man will most likely tell you that they aren’t thinking of anything at that point except, naked, the girl is naked. Hah, but in books we have to add a bit more than, boob, I see boob.

Hope this helps you understand what goes into making a sex scene, and hopefully answers some questions! If you want to check out Provoke, click on the link to read more info!

About The Author

Rachel Van Dyken

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and, adorable son. She loves to hear from readers!

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Releases Aug 17 2021