As I mentioned in my last post, there are a plethora of writing courses available online, some fabulous, some not so much. Mary Buckham's course on "Writing Sexual Tension" is definitely one of the former.
I enrolled in Mary's course because my current WIP contains romantic elements, and something felt off about the sexual chemistry between the two main characters. I mean, I had them practically tearing each other's clothes off a quarter of the way through the book. How could there be no sexual tension?
The very first thing you learn in Mary Buckham's incredibly well-researched and -presented course is that human intimacy builds in 12 predictable stages, beginning with "Eye-to-Eye" (the couple noticing each other) and culminating with "Genital-to-Genital" (no explanation needed). If characters rush to Stage 10 (Mouth-to-Breast) or Stage 12 (Genital-to-Genital) without visiting earlier stages such as Hand-to-Hand, Hand-to-Head, and Mouth-to-Mouth (kissing), they might have sex, but the story will lack sexual tension. That's because it's the conflict - the obstacle keeping the couple from the intimacy they so desperately crave - that creates the tension.
Needless to say, this was a huge ah-ha for me. I devoured Buckham's 4-week course on Teachable, which is comprised of lectures, numerous of examples how various authors have shown the various stages of intimacy in their works, weekly assignments, and quizzes. In addition, the course has its own Facebook group, where Mary conducts live Q & A sessions and participants post their assignments for feedback from Mary and the other participants.
As a result of this course, the sexual tension in my WIP has gone from sluggish to (I hope!) steamy. If you're looking to add sexual tension to your own work, Mary Buckham's course is well worth your while.
The hub and I practicing Mouth-to-Mouth in Seattle's Japanese Garden