The Many Levels of Intimacy by Lynn Crain

Over the years, I have written to various levels of sensuality. Each story requires something different but in general, the levels of intimacy remain the same. You will find many articles written on this subject with good reason. For us, the romance writer be it erotic or sweet or sensual, the stages are all the same.

Everyone is in agreement that these steps need no verbal queue but all lead from the first advance to intimate contact. It’s all in the body language, folks and body language doesn’t lie. If you need some lessons in body language, watch the Fox show, Lie To Me and you’ll learn everything you ever wanted about body language. They do it right.

But getting back to us writing love scenes, it is imperative that you have these steps. Sometimes, you can skip a step if the story calls for it BUT for the most part, these steps need to happen for your reader really to get into your story. And the love scenes can make or break a novel.

Eye to body – This is commonly known as the once over. In addition, it is usually very subtle. The gaze will drop from the upper face, meaning the eye and nose area, to the lower face then on down to the upper parts of the body. Sometimes, the person will step back to get a better, fuller look at you. If that happens their whole, posture will change as they glance at you up and down to see how your face matches your body.

Eye to eye – Intimacy increases the moment two people have eye contact. The more eye contact, the more soulful the looks. The looks will become more and more meaningful as more are exchanged. If a person refuses to gain contact in this sensual charged moment will send a message one is not interested.

Hand to hand – Contact is usually lingering but light. It can be disguised as being accidental or occurring in a social setting, which is considered acceptable. This would be like one putting a hand under and elbow to guide someone, two people reaching for the door handle at the same time or a handshake that slowly ends. Look at the way the Victorians or those of the Regency period acted toward each other and you will see this step everywhere.

Hand to shoulder – This behavior can again be hidden within what is considered socially acceptable behavior. Until this point, either person can withdrawal gratuitously without any real hurtful feelings. But once this boundary has been crossed, there is no going back without one’s pride being severely injured. This is just a touch to the shoulder for a variety of reasons, like getting ones attention. This is also a form of claiming ones territory and can be used to ward others off.

Arm around waist – This is the signal that one wants greater intimacy. This is the time to get out if one does not desire this relationship. Feelings will be hurt if one doesn’t respond positively to this gesture.

Mouth to mouth – No, we don’t mean the rescuitation kind. LOL! This is the actual act of kissing where chemical information is passed from one person to another. The kiss adds another sense to intimate contact and that is taste. The first sense, encountered way back in step one, is smell and pheromones are a very powerful odor. Taste can tell one all sorts of information about people like body temperature, hygiene level and a variety of other things. If the people are really involved in the kiss, their temperature will go up since the stimulation will cause sexual excitement. When people are emotional cold, they are usually physically cold as well which means they are not that interested in continuing the encounter. The more passionate a person gets, the more their temperature increases.

Hand to head – This is a trust issue. The more one person trusts another, the more likely they will allow their head being touched. Women tend to do this way before men. Caressing ones head indicates an increasing trust between the two people involved. Our heads are extremely vulnerable and only someone we trust are ever allowed to touch us there with a negative reaction.

Hand to body – This fondling can happen through clothes or under them. Some people will close their eyes as they are unconsciously gathering more information about the person they are with. However, keeping ones eyes open while maintaining total eye contact is a more powerful gesture. There one uses even more senses, touch, sound, taste and sight as well as smell. During the physical portion of our encounter, our sense of smell is very powerful, as it will help us to become more in tune with our sexual partner, making us more sensitive to their unique smell. Odors are a powerful aphrodisiac, which helps to prepare us for a pleasurable experience and to etch our partner in our memory. The best source are natural smells, so keep the perfumes to a minimum.

Mouth to body – This can be very stimulating and a real turn on for both parties. Breasts and necks are very sensitive for both sexes as are the lower abdominal region. Fellatio and cunnlingus can be very rewarding as long as both partners are into oral sex.

Hand to genitals – Gentle caresses are always best in this stage. If you have gotten this far, intercourse is usually imminent. One can heighten the sexual tension in the story by making the characters get this far without fulfillment. Once one gets to this step, each partner trusts each other explicitly in a normal relationship. There are some other types of relationships where trust is never achieved.

Genital to genital – This is the final act in lovemaking. Everyone is different and the emotions as well as all the senses need to be utilized when writing a great love scene. Vaginas and penises are utterly boring when none of the stimulus is present.

Now, not all of these steps need to be present in your novel. Just remember, each step is a sensual journey. Recently, I had been in the blah stage of writing a love scene. Then I saw last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy and they reminded me of just how sensual stolen looks and accidental caresses could be. Suddenly, I was all hot and bothered again to get back to my characters.

Hope that this little journey can help you all create great love scenes. I know that I read them again and again when I get stuck.

I want to thank Cynthia for allowing me to come to her place. It’s a wonderful place to gather. One commenter will get a copy of my newest book, The Harvester, sometime next week. You’ll be chosen by random drawing and I can’t wait to meet you.

Have a great week!


Lynn Crain has penned over 25 novels in romance in the genres of science fiction, fantasy and contemporary romance, erotic to tame in nature. She always knew that writing was her calling even if it took years at other professions to prove it. She has belonged to EPIC and RWA for more years that she cares to think about. Currently, she lives in Europe while her husband of nearly 30 years pursues his dream of working internationally. Her state-side home is in Nevada where family and friends wait patiently for their return. You can find her hanging out at A Writer In Vienna Blog ( and various other places on the net (;; ). Still, the thing she loves most of all is hearing from her readers at

Logline: Sky Nerezsh, a Harvester of men, leaves home avoiding a tragic path when a rival comes to claim Earth and the two Scottish lifemates she’s just discovered.

Blurb: Princess Sky Xera Nerezsh came to earth to avoid the normal succession path to the throne. Being the oldest daughter, she will be required to murder her mother in order to secure her path to power. Sky loves her mother and refuses this path, choosing instead to disappear in the vast reaches of space. When her past collides with her present, she has to think quick on her feet, claim two men and a whole planet just to avoid the inevitable: a meeting with her mother. Along the way, she discovers true love and a burning need to be there for them always. Now if the other Harvesters can just keep to themselves, they’ll have no problems. But who said true love was ever easy.

Excerpt: Suddenly one dark haired man was on the table in front of her, gyrating his sexy hips in her face, his package mere inches from her mouth. In another life, she would have leaned forward and planted her lips on his crotch, willing his body to perform. She really should have been paying more attention to the situation around her instead of wondering about where Angela had gotten herself.
Leaning down, his breath reminded her of the sweetgrass that grew on her home planet of Tyrsati, heightening her senses even more. “Sweetheart, I see how you want me…it’s written all over your face.” His voice purred in her ear.
Sky gasped and pulled back to get a better look at the man in front of her. He reminded her of the gods of Vada. He was tall, well-muscled, dark hair brushing the top of his shoulders and had the most incredible violet eyes she had ever seen. Guess the optics weren’t wrong. He would fetch an exquisite price on Texra and her mother would be extremely proud for her acquisition. She shook her head to clear the cobwebs.
“Nice eyes, sweetie – hang around after the show – I’ll make it worth your while.” His voice hit a resonance with her and her whole body flushed. It had been years since she had reacted to any man. Now her emotions and body betrayed her for an insignificant being on an outer planet. She shook her head. This planet was no more insignificant than any other, including her own but she knew if she didn’t get herself under control, the Harvester in her would take over. Old habits die hard.
“Don’t let his demeanor fool you, luvey. He just wants to get into your pants.” Another deep voice reverberated close to her ear.
She glanced over her shoulder and again her breath was nearly taken away as she looked into the bluest eyes she’d ever seen in the galaxy bar none. The sky of Octa couldn’t hold a candle to the color that swirled in their depths.
“Ooo, Jaxon is right about the eyes. Very cool green.”
“Contacts,” Sky managed to get out for the second time this evening, her voice low.
“And a sexy voice to boot. Very nice.” He twirled away to join his companion on stage. He was just as nice looking as the first guy but just a little shorter. His shiny hair swung around his jaw line as he moved and her hands ached to run her fingers through it and over his body.
She sat there stunned as the people at her table laughed and clapped her on the back as if she’d done some sort of fantastic feat. While her time on this planet had been very thrilling, in her old life working for her mother, their performances had to be impeccable or their fate might be worse than death. She vaguely wondered just how she’d rate them.
Sky did her best to smile and act as if what happened was one of the most exciting things in her life when in reality it brought back some memories she’d rather forget. Folding her hands in front of her, she closed her eyes and steadied her breathing. She opened her eyes slow and caught a glimpse of a targeting laser. The light was in a part of the spectrum that no one of this planet could even see but her optics caught it.
Scanning the crowd, she allowed her eyes to whirl, not caring who saw. There were not supposed to be any Harvesters on this world as it had been declared too primitive to even be included in the Alliance of Planets. She came here because she knew this was the one place her mother wouldn’t think to look. Now, she knew another Tyrsatian walked the same world as she did, occupying the very same room.
Maybe it was time to see just what type of trouble Angela got herself into. Leaning across the table, she quickly gave Jayne her phone number and said her goodbyes to all the others present. Rising slowly, she didn’t want to alert the other Harvester but she was just far enough away and at a weird angle to not see who it might be. Moving quickly to the back wall, she moved to where she stood way behind the woman but close enough to see who it was.
Jesata Ardik. Of all the Harvesters to show up on her new home planet, one of the most relentless in the business had to land on her new home. This wasn’t going to be easy. She had to delay her from marking them because once they were marked, it didn’t matter wherever in the universe they were, they would be considered fugitives until captured and sold to the highest bidder. Meaning, she wouldn’t be able to get them off world without the help of her mother.

Buy Links:
Smashwords ~
Amazon ~
ARe ~
Barnes & Noble ~

12 thoughts on “The Many Levels of Intimacy by Lynn Crain

  1. Thanks so much for posting this. I keep finding and losing the 10 steps. Of course, there’s some fabulous writers that skip a step or two, but it’s really hard to master

    • It is something I keep in a folder myself, Linda. I’m always looking back at it as there will be something I see that I’ve either forgotten or can take a new angle with. Using these steps can create the best love scenes ever.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Awesome post. I think it’s a good idea to follow this build, and if we miss a step to make sure there’s an excellent reason, so we pull the reader along with the characters.

    • Thanks, Shelley, awesome compliment coming from you! I am glad you stopped by to read the article.

      Yes, it is important to do each step or like you say, have a darn good reason not to do so.

      Thanks again!


    • Glad I could be of help, Annette. This is a compilation of many lists and talks I’ve attended over the years. I wanted something that was easy to refer to and had good explanations. Hope the list comes in hand to you as well.

      Thanks for dropping by the blog today. I really appreciate it!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *