Clean Steam- Dancing the Line Between Classy and Trashy

A while back I had someone ask me why I decided to not have sex scenes in Love Exactly. I sat there for a moment puzzled, then I went and looked through the novel. I wondered if the version they had somehow miraculously had the sex scenes taken out of it. Nope, they were still there. Then I had to try to decipher what the heck was going on. I ended up answering that, yes, there were sex scenes in the novel–three in fact. I still sat there trying to determine what had happened that the scenes weren’t obviously sex scenes…hadn’t I had people commend me for them? Weren’t the characters described as naked, weren’t there words like ecstasy and bare skin? Check and check. I admit readily that my version of sex scenes aren’t overly descriptive–I don’t describe the–err…parts and where they go. You already know how it works if you’re reading a New Adult novel. Now, the first time I was introduced to New Adult I was unwillingly thrust into a sex scene that made my skin crawl. I happened to be on Goodreads and decided to read a review one of my “friends” had written on a popular New Adult Contemporary Romance–they even included an excerpt! Oh. Boy. Oh. Boy. I suddenly and irrevocably knew exactly why people were calling New Adult Young Adult smut. This was smut…oh, my was it smutty. I wanted to poke my eyes out, yet I kept reading in rapt wonder at how in the heck someone called that ROMANTIC.  I swear to God, if my husband had ever said any of those things to me, his part would have been shoved so far up his own @$$…I digress. There wasn’t one thing in the whole paragraph that I would have considered romance in any shape or form. I get sometimes people just want to rip one another’s clothes off, but wow this was far, far, far past that. There is a fine line between classy and trashy in writing sex scenes, and you know what, some people LOVE and RAVE about that particular novel that the excerpt was from. It shouldn’t define New Adult, though, and it certainly shouldn’t define sex scenes. Thus, I came up with a way to describe my New Adult Contemporary Romance: Clean Steam. That’s right, it’s steamy, but it also can’t be described as “not for the faint of heart”. It’s clean and it’s classy–the sex is about the emotions involved, and is written without the need for a massive amount of words that I shall not type here. So instead I’ll answer you this–yes, my novel has three sex scenes in it. I decided to write them the way I did because I never want to have a reader feel as alienated as I did when I read the above described excerpt–and you know what? I don’t enjoy reading them, so I don’t enjoy writing them. It’s as simple as that–I never made a cognitive decision to NOT write in-depth sex scenes. It wasn’t a marketing tool, or a ploy. It’s simply who I am as a writer. I leave the smut to other New Adult authors that like, and want to write those scenes. Does smut sell? Have I been told my novel isn’t enough 50 Shades of Grey? Yes, and yes–has this fact earned me 2 star ratings and reviews? Yes, it has, and I just got one today. That person LOVES the novel I spoke of above, and they HATE mine. It makes sense. I’m not ashamed of the way I write my sex scenes, though. I’m damn proud of my sex scenes, and I’ll show you why–you can take it or leave it.

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Instead of answering I kissed him first on his thin upper lip and then full on the mouth before pulling away and saying, “I’ll face every single fear I have to be with you.”

He sat up, pulling my legs around his waist as he moved with his lips still crushing into mine. It made it very hard to breathe when he kissed me like this and made it even harder to keep my mind on anything but the way his tattoos glowed in the moonlight, accentuating his muscles in a painful, gorgeous way under my lips. I slipped the buttons of his shirt loose and slid it over his shoulders while his fingers set my skin on fire as they softly made their way up my shirt, lifting it over my head before he kissed my collarbone. I learned early on to never underestimate his strength, and I was glad when he was able to stand with my legs wrapped around his waist, his hands solid against my upper thighs. We left our shirts and shoes behind as we made our way back up the beach to the car. When we reached it Evan leaned my body up against the cool metal hood, and I shivered as his hands slipped my remaining clothing off. He pulled me up into the warmth of his body before carrying me to the back seat. His hands pressed mine into the leather as he moved over me with a slow, deep motion that sent my nails digging into his back. This was love exactly as it was supposed to be, slow, sweet, and agonizing in its perfect way.



2 thoughts on “Clean Steam- Dancing the Line Between Classy and Trashy

  1. I, like you, enjoy steam in what I read and write but only to a point, a point several hundred metres away from the smuttiest of smut. I was discussing this with one of my writing friends and mentioned to her the combination of being sexy while being classy — that is, being what we’ve jokingly dubbed as “clexy.” Now whenever we exchange work we always remind each other that “clexy” is the goal, nothing more and nothing less.
    Great post! 🙂

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