Flying Sparks: Why “Sweet” Romance Can be Just as Hot as Explicit Sex Scenes by Sariah Wilson

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[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to welcome author Sariah Wilson to the site today. She’s talking all things sweet romance, and what makes it hot. Take it away, Sariah!]

As a lifelong romance reader, I’ve never particularly liked love scenes. I would skip over them. I always preferred the build-up—the chemistry, the attraction, the first time the couple touched, the first time they kissed—it was always more interesting to me as a reader. 

So when I sat down to write my first romance, I decided to keep sex scenes off the page. I read other sweet romances to see how they handled the physicality of the main couple. In my experience in reading those books, I often felt disappointed. There was no attraction, no wanting, no desire at all. This didn’t fit with how I’d fallen in love, and so I wanted to combine the elements of traditional romances with sweet ones—where there are no sex scenes on the page, but the heroes and heroines can barely keep their hands off of each other.  

 Part of connecting with readers is showing them the emotions that the characters are feeling. This applies to sadness, happiness, nervousness, excitement, but also to that attraction. In my upcoming release, The Seat Filler, my heroine is so starstruck when she meets her favorite celebrity that she’s unable to speak. Not only because she’s a fan, but because he’s so handsome it renders her speechless. Her heart races, her mouth goes dry, and the reader gets to experience her attraction with her!  

 Showing all of their emotions allows readers to fall in love alongside the characters, to move through each of the stages of a romance. Restrained attraction, one that isn’t acted on, can be very sexy. Think of Darcy in the 2005 “Pride and Prejudice” movie, flexing his hand after touching Elizabeth. It’s the flex GIF heard round the world. By not having more explicit means of intimacy, it forces your characters to give bigger weight to smaller moments.  

 And believe it or not, those small (and bigger) moments can be just as hot, just as steamy, as more traditional sex scenes. There are fewer body parts that can react in a sweet romance, but all of those feelings and sensations are still there on the page! It means that writers can give a reader all the same tingly thrills that they would get from a spicier book, while staying within their comfort zone.  And being comfortable is the place where romance truly begins.

About the Author:

Sariah Wilson is the author of  THE SEAT FILLER  (April 27, 2021; Montlake Romance). A passionate believer in happily-ever-afters, Sariah and her own soulmate live in Utah with their four children and the two family cats. Her belief in true love has inspired many other standalone novels, including ROOMMAID (October 1, 2020; Montlake), and several bestselling romance series, including End of the Line (THE FRIEND ZONE, JUST A BOYFRIEND); Lovestruck (#STARSTRUCK, #MOONSTRUCK, #AWESTRUCK); Ugly Stepsisters (THE UGLY STEPSISTER STRIKES BACK; PROMPOSAL), and Royals of Monterra (ROYAL DATE, ROYAL CHASE, ROYAL GAMES, ROYAL DESIGN). You can visit Sariah online at sariahwilson.com.

The Seat Filler by Sariah Wilson, out now!

The meet-cute award goes to dog groomer Juliet Nolan. It’s one of Hollywood’s biggest nights when she volunteers as a seat filler and winds up next to movie heartthrob Noah freaking Douglas. Tongue tied and toes curling in her pink Converse, she pretends that she doesn’t have a clue who he is. It’s the only way to keep from swooning.

She’s pretty and unpretentious, loves his dog, and is not a worshipping fan. No way Noah’s giving up on her, even if his affectionate pursuit comes with a bump: Juliet has a pathological fear of kissing and the disappointments that follow. What odds does romance have without that momentous, stupendous, once-in-a-lifetime first smooch? Patient, empathetic, and carrying personal burdens of his own, Noah suggests a remedy: they rehearse.

The lessons begin. The guards come down. But there’s another hitch they weren’t betting on. As for that cue-the-orchestra-and-roll-credits happy ending? It might take more than practice to make it perfect.

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