Intimate Scenes For the Christian Writer

Vanessa Grossett provides tips and advice for Christian writers who want to include intimate scenes in their fiction or nonfiction writing

Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, writing intimate scenes can come as an uneasy task for the Christian writer.

Writers don’t want to upset their audience, as there are readers who still think it is wrong for the writer to add these scenes into a story that is Christ-centred, as they think it will make the book erotic.

Because of this hindrance – and to please their readers – writers don’t add intimate scenes, much to their frustration. If you’re a Christian writer and you want to add a love scene for your fiction, or a deep personal experience for your nonfiction, here are some tips to help you along.

When adding an intimate moment between couples it doesn’t need to be graphic; you can make it just as pure, romantic and passionate.

Here is an example of an intimate scene by one of my authors, Parker J. Cole. The extract is taken from A Marquis to Protect the Governess, published by Mills and Boon/Harlequin Historical.

André’s arms were her anchor as she rode out whatever this ultimate pleasure was that had taken her captive, until the feeling eventually stopped, and she collapsed into his arms, her knees unable to hold her up. Tender kisses now swept her face, as she tried to catch her breath.

The extract is intimate, leading up to the act, but it’s romantic, not graphic, and full of passion. Description is important, and there are many ways you can write a love scene using pleasant wording. It is best to research the wording that is used for love scenes that are not erotic.

If you prefer not to describe the full act, you can end the scene like this: ‘That night the two became one’, or ‘Their bodies entwined’. Here, the reader gets an idea of what is happening – without the narrative going into full detail.

With nonfiction, if you’re going into deeply personal details, especially if there is sexual abuse involved, you don’t need to outline everything that happened.

With a nonfiction book I recently edited that involved sexual abuse, the writer wrote: ‘I was touched in private places. I didn’t understand what was happening.’ This was acceptable, as it gave the reader an understanding of what was taking place. They then went on to describe in great detail the act, which wasn’t necessary. Remember, with nonfiction – especially if it’s a heavy story – you need to write just enough for the reader to get the idea.

Are the love scenes necessary for the story? This is a very important consideration, especially when you are writing your memoir. How much do you really want to reveal to the readers? Remember, these are readers you may not have connected with yet. The first impression they will form about you will be based on your biography.

If you’re in a relationship, will it have implications to that current relationship? How would your current partner feel, reading intimate moments between you and another person they don’t know? 

There are other descriptive words you could use to convey the idea of intimacy to your readers, such as: ‘We became close, beyond a friendship level.’ In fiction you could write:

That night was like no other; their eyes were locked onto each other, and they knew this night would change the dynamics of their relationship.

If you feel you really must describe an intimate scene, because you believe it will be more effective, then follow the guidelines above on how to make it pleasurable and not graphic.

Informing your readers
If you want to write love scenes as a Christian writer, I personally don’t believe your creative talent should be held back, especially when it can be written in a pure, loving, romantic way, or in a way that full details don’t need to be revealed. Even the Bible talks about intimacy – but God’s way.

However, there could be that niggling feeling in your mind concerning your readers. What will they think? Will you have any readers left after the book comes out?

Well, during pre-promotion you can inform your readers that your book has some ‘spice’. They will get the idea, and if they don’t want to read it, they can read your other books. Thank them as well for their support and let them know that you felt the ‘spicy’ scenes were necessary for the story.

Happy writing, Vanessa

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