Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to Create Sexual Tension in 10 Easy Steps By Nicole North

How to Create Sexual Tension in 10 Easy Steps
By Nicole North

My latest release from Red Sage, Kilted Lover, is a contemporary erotic romance novella with what I consider a lot of sexual tension.

Sexual tension is the “want it but can’t have it” factor that makes the characters crave each other sexually, but they must abstain, at least for a short while. I teach a month long workshop on how to create sexual tension called Turn Up the Heat!, but here is an abbreviated list of how you can heighten sexual tension.

1. Have a strong conflict between the characters, a good reason they can’t go for it and jump into bed on page one and live happily ever after.

2. Use sexy, appealing visuals from both characters’ points of view, along with the other four senses: sound, touch, smell, taste.

3. Write one or more hot kiss scenes.

4. Allow some of the conflict to erupt through sexy banter or repartee. This works better for some stories than others. It should feel natural, not forced. And not pointless bickering.

5. Allow your characters to fantasize about each other.

6. Put your characters in close quarters, or make them have to work together so they can’t avoid each other.

7. Show what they like or admire about each other, even though they may not be able to admit it.

8. Keep the conflict high, but also show how the characters connect. If you’re writing romance, the reader wants to believe they can reach a happily ever after and not fight forever.

9. Show their emotions. You want to show how physically attracted they are to each other, but also that something deeper is going on. They’re developing feelings for each other and falling in love.

10. Use your characters’ backstories to play up the sexual tension and conflict, either because they already know each other, or because of emotional baggage or issues.

Hopefully, these ten tips will get you going on turning up the heat and sexual tension in your stories.


Kilted Lover: When kilted caber-tosser Scott MacPherson tosses Leslie Livingston over his shoulder to rescue her from two armed thieves trying to steal her priceless amulet, they are thrust into a deadly but sexy adventure. Though Leslie already has a lukewarm, uninterested boyfriend, her attraction to Scott is white-hot and undeniable. She wants to lick this tall, muscular alpha male all over and explore the depths of eroticism with him. But will he want anything more than one night once the danger is behind them?




  1. Nice, Nicole. Concise, easy to use and remember.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Tessy, Gwynlyn and Julie!! Hope these are helpful. And Julie, that's true. I love to see some kind of connection.

  3. Great list of conflicts. I just happen to be adding more conflict to my story right now so this gives me more ideas. Thanks!

  4. Is it all right if I do #5 about the hunk on your cover? Great tips, Nicole!

  5. Thanks, Nicole. Great tips! I agree that the emotional component can't be overlooked. Too often I see "sexual tension" that is physical only and you know that there is something lacking.

  6. Paisley, thanks for checking it out! Conflict is a wonderful thing.

    Mary, LOL!!! Yes, fantasize all you want. Thanks!

    Denisse, thanks for allowing me to be here at your beautiful blog!

    Miriam, yes, I love a good dose of emotions thrown in there. Mmm. Thanks!

  7. Wonderful addition to my growing list of check lists, Nicole. Thanks!

  8. Who knew? Great suggestions and I was happy to see I already write using some. I LOVE hot kiss scenes!