Saturday, February 11, 2012


By Lena Hart

Reading a wide range of authors, particularly in the genre I’m writing in, helps me recognize what’s within my comfort zone as a writer when I’m crafting my own love scenes. One author I find myself referencing the most is Linda Howard because I like how she brings alive the chemistry between the two hero and heroine, making their connection (in and out of the bedroom) sensually intense and hot.

At the 2010 RWA National conference, she held a workshop on “The 12-steps of Intimacy”, which described the steps a writer should take to build intimacy and sensual tension between their characters. Below are my notes from the workshop.

The 12-steps of Intimacy:

1. Eye to Body Contact (the “once over”)

2. Eye to Eye Contact (followed by a smile if its instant attraction)

3. Voice to Voice (reacting to the other’s timbre)

4. Hand to Hand Contact (men can improvise by touching arm or elbow)

5. Arm to Shoulder (is not sexual but brings the bodies together; think movie theater arm stretch)

6. Arm to Waist Contact (sexual move to get closer to intimate parts)

7. Mouth to Mouth Contact (kissing reinforces the sexual bond)

8. Hand to Head Contact (usually occurs during a kiss; signals a major intimate move)

9. Hand to Body Contact (usually touching the breast)

10. Mouth to Breast (can lead to sensitivity or orgasm)

11. Hand to Genital (major bonding happening here)

12. Genital to Genital (full intercourse; solidifies the emotional and physical intimacy)

These steps can be used all in one scene but work best when weaved throughout the story, effectively building sexual anticipation and unforgettable love scenes.

Lena Hart is an unpublished author of sensual romances, and is currently looking for a home for her contemporary novella. She’s editorial assistant for the RWANYC newsletter, and is working on several literary projects while obtaining her MA in English Language & Literacy. To learn more about Lena and her work, please visit and


  1. I simply love to read Linda Howard's work. I actually live only a few minutes away from her hometown in Alabama and I work with her daughter-in-law at our local college. She is an inspiration to me as well.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this list. Several years ago I attended a writer's conference and took the romance writing workshop where we were given the list of the twelve steps to intimacy and I lost it. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. That is very cool, Savannah! And I'm glad this was helpful!