Sexual tension is when two characters are physically attracted to each other. The closer they get to intimacy, the harder it is for them not to pay attention to the fact that they’re close. One of the hallmarks of good sexual tension is that the character is hyper-aware of the other person physically, their physical closeness, their body heat, and the little details of their person. These little details show that one character pays close attention to the other.
Good sexual tension is about two characters who have feelings for each other, and they’re attracted to each other. They desire each other and build their courage or wait for the right circumstances. When you want a thing, you pay very close attention to it. When you desire somebody, all the little details about their person become painfully obvious from how their shoulders move.
When you have two characters with much chemistry and are attracted to each other, they build sexual tension. The audience is dying and waiting for it to happen, which keeps the audience interested. So you have to have to keep making it almost happen. When it does happen, you must develop a new long-form conflict to keep the story going. Keep scrolling if you want to know more about it.
How to write sexual tension?
In order to write a sexual tension, let’s first take note of what makes good sexual tension so we can remember to avoid mistakes at all costs. Good sexual tension gears up the tension and prepares the readers for what will happen. The readers don’t need to see the characters experience those things, so they believe they are desirous of each other.
The characters don’t even need to experience that thing to get busy. If you blur the line between romance and erotica, it’s not that important. Who needs lines and boundaries? Obviously not your characters because they’re already dry humping on the couch.
If the audience desperately wants those people to get together, they’ll wait for the moment before the kiss. The kiss itself is a little bit anticlimactic. It’s the moment before the kiss that they’re waiting for. Is it going to happen? That is what they want. Now, I will talk about my best 5 advice to write about sexual tension. Let’s do it!
1. Focus on dialogue
Dialogue is one of my favorite parts of writing in general. It is because I love how the dialogue is an effortless way to show care for voice and the different relationships between the characters. It is an invaluable tool to use when creating sexual tension, but it’s also one you can manipulate easily.
- The best way to ensure your dialogue hits the mark is to have critique partners and beta readers.
Dialogue is easy to show character, voice, personality, and relationships. So take advantage of that. When writing these scenes of sexual tension, think about what logically your characters would be saying at the moment. Sometimes it will require you to go back to the drawing board with your character, which is essential. Once your character’s voice and personality are nailed down, it’s easy to figure out what they would say.
2. Be careful of word choice
The word choice is one of the most important things in writing romance. It can do you a world of good or a whole lot of bad when writing sexual tension. At this point in your writing process, you should have a vague idea of what vibe you want for these various things of sexual tension. At least consider the general vibe you will be going for. That way, you can reflect it in your word choice.
Do you want the moments of tension to be exciting for your characters, or do you want them to be terrifying? Consider the vibe that you are going for and think about your words. Also, think about how to use these words to convey your scene’s tone and vibe.
3. Create conflict
Please take a look at what you know about your characters and think about what conflicts would be between them. Focus on their personalities, backgrounds, and beliefs. If your characters don’t get along super well at first, for whatever reason, guess what that causes. Once you’ve decided what your conflicts are, the next thing you want to figure out is how long they will last.
In some books, conflict can be as short as one chapter, and in others, they can be as long as one book or more. It largely depends on how long you want the tension to us. When it comes to sexual tension, there are usually at least two or three conflicts, and it’s usually not one, knowing the different conflicts that you want to create and how long they are going to last. All of these conflicts will create tension between your characters, which is exactly what we want: awareness and emotional responses.
4. Add emotions and awareness
When it comes to writing, sexual tension usually the protagonist won’t fall into one of two camps. One is where your protagonist has no idea about the tension going on, and they are super obvious. So it is a little harder to do because your character isn’t fully aware of this sexual tension, making it a little harder to communicate through the narrative. It can also lead to a lot of other storytelling issues.
For example, A lot of the times when this is shown in books, it’s done very poorly where you’re left in a confusing position. It is the route that you are going to go. You will want to be careful with how you’re showing this. The best way to execute this is to not focus on the awareness because your character is not aware, but rather focus on their emotions and physical responses. The reader will expect the mixed emotions to be a bit more exciting if you discuss the hotness of your love interest.
When it comes to emotions, it’s very common for people to feel emotions and not sure why they’re feeling them. On the flip side, if you are not writing a book where you are going for the character is oblivious to the sexual tension thing, things will be a bit differently. The emotional responses, in this case, might be a little clearer to the reader because the book is a little more aware of these actions. Then it also means you can play into the awareness bit of this much more. So consider your empathy and their love interest.
5. Show physical sensations
Physical sensations are an essential part of sexual tension. The majority of authors can nail it fairly well because it’s simple. Close your eyes and think, what your character would feel at this moment is hot all over, or maybe there is a hitch. Think about the physical aspects of it and how that’s going to affect the sexual tension.
Touch is what gets me going in sexual tension. Moreover, it makes your reader mad because they want those characteristics. For example, if you are going for a little bit more of a soft romance, then the hand almost holding thing will work very well. But if you’re going for more scheming than the almost, kisses can work very well. Then you can also again combine this with other parts on the list.
Let your character start locking faces. You can include some dry humping if you’re brave or even go farther than that. Capture everything except full-on intercourse is allowed. If you’re writing hot sexual tension, a good exercise is to see how close you can get your characters to having sex multiple times before some terrible circumstance breaks it up.
Somebody can walk in, and they can get attacked. Maybe they fall off the bed. Whatever it is, you can have some reason for them not to do the deed that doesn’t include them having actual reservations or emotions around the issue. When your characters finally do kiss, or they finally do make love, or whatever, then the reader feels satisfied that all of that tension has finally built to a climax.
So if you want to write sexual tension, ignore all that crap. Have your characters be on top of each other right away. Don’t have them experience desire without completion. If you have any questions or advice, please share them with me. I’m waiting for your opinion and current writing situation.
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