Wednesday, September 22, 2010


By E.J. Rand

“I start to write a sex scene and wind up with a love scene.”  --E.J. Rand

I have a problem with "erotic" in that, to me, it has come to connote extreme behavior.

My characters fall in love. It may be a torturous process, replete with danger and violence, but once they acknowledge their feelings, they both must find out if they are meant for one another sexually. She looks at he, he at she, and they want each other and the completeness that brings. Completeness is the right word: Wake up in the morning holding someone you adore, and the world is good. They may be afraid, shy, bucking all the defenses they've thrown up--but sexual passion is necessary or you have friendship.

Invariably, I start to write a sex scene and wind up with a love scene. While personally I glory in shape, color, texture, taste--all the remarkable differences God has given man and woman--the characters grab me by the (well, never mind) and dictate their scene.

To me, and I suspect the mass of readers, the puckering of jutting, two tone nipples--eroticism, to me--is less erotic than taking the reader on the short, powerful journey from wonder to love. I drafted the following recently. I'm writing in the head of Suzanne Martin, a strong woman who has come to trust Douglas Gallagher--and for her, that enables the rest.

        "Can I kiss you?" he said. "No hands."
        ". . .I haven't brushed my teeth since yesterday. All those Chinese vegetables before. What if I have bad breath for our first kiss?"
         "So? I'm a wounded man. . . .What if I can't get it up?" As she began laughing, he frowned. "What's funny about that?"
        "Nothing. It's just--this is amazing. You're right, we can tell each other anything."
        She hesitated but couldn't hold it in. "Douglas Gallagher, I'll help you get it up. Any time you need me to, any way you like."
        She saw him flush, and she went on. "I never said that to anyone before. Never did it for anyone before. But before we kiss, I'm going to brush my teeth."

Perhaps eroticism is in the eye of the beholder.♥

Ed Rand, writing as E. J. Rand, is a four-time award winner for his Reluctant Sleuth series, published by Deadly Ink Press. DARK SEA, the fourth book, is a winner in MWA/NY Chapter's 2008-2009 Mentor Program. Info on the series, with sample text, is at (Photo of Ed by Ray Turkin.)


  1. "Perhaps eroticism is in the eye of the beholder." This is so true, and I think it's up to each writer to decide what best drives the sexual intimacy, be it love, lust or whatever depending on the story they're trying to tell. Your excerpt, minus the jutting nipples and rock hard whatnots, is very provocative. I agree less can be so much more.

  2. Wonderful post and great excerpt. Expecially the last line!!! Love it!

  3. I think it's an art form to be able to write a subtle love scene that somehow shimmers with passion and takes the reader's breath away. The scene itself may not be graphic, but it elicits graphic images from the reader's own imagination that are more powerful than any shocking, "erotic" details the author could have used.
    If anybody has Ed's book Say Goodbye, take a look at pages 198-200. It's a subtle love scene written by an adult and for adults--we can probably figure out what the gymnastics are, although Ed isn't too, too explicit--but what you'll notice is that it's emotion-driven, not sex-driven. Ed doesn't write historical romance, of course, (I do), but I would enjoy seeing more of that type of finesse, and less of the breathlessly feverish striving for effect that is so common in the historicals that women write. Hot!,Hotter!!, Hottest!!!. Yeah, OK. Yawn. Elizabeth Palladino

  4. Great illustration for your message. Let's hear it for both the erotic and the love scene, maybe the erotic love scene?