The Ladies Want…

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What turns women on the most? Surveys reveal a deep, smooth voice. Think back to when celebrities were not made by reality television shows, they were movie stars in every sense of the concept. Men like Elvis, Rock Hudson, John Wayne. Women only had to close their eyes, and they felt protected and fought for.

Just as men respond to certain female features, the same holds true for women.

A large, broad chest signals he can not only go out and kill that saber tooth tiger, but he can carry it home to feed his children. The larger a man’s chest, the more respect and power he can usually command among women and other males.

Narrow hips and muscular legs signal power, endurance. He can run over long distances to chase and hunt, protect from enemies.

A small, tight butt signals more efficient sexual reproduction. Compact muscles in the male derriere provide for stronger thrusting motion needed for the successful transfer of genetic material.

Here are some common female gestures that tend to alert men to their willingness to be courted: 

Playing with hair

Licking lips, parting mouth, using teeth to tug at lower lip

Touching her thighs or neck (if he plays his cards right, he might get to do the same)

Fondling cylindrical objects, such as wine glasses and coffee cups, are sometimes an unconscious possible offer

Looking down or glancing sideways with a smile, both are acts of submission

Positioning the body to highlight the physical differences between men and women, such as curvy hips and cleavage

We often demonstrate possession in social situations where we feel threatened by others. Men tend to demonstrate to other men that a woman is with him and off-limits by placing his hand at her waist or her lower back. On the flip side, women demonstrate the same sentiment to other women by touching her man’s arm or chest.

Recognize the biological significance now?

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And the Gentleman Prefers…

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We all have our favorite physical traits when it comes to the opposite sex. But attraction is…visceral, biological. It has a purpose anchored into our DNA over eons of time in order to better the chance of human survival.

Now women are, at the very least, unconsciously aware that men find larger breasts and rounder hips to be sexually attractive. That’s why we wear push-up bras, high heels, and low-cut jeans.

Why do most men gravitate to those particular areas of female real estate? It goes back to the caveman, it’s primal. In pre-historic times, women with adequate to larger breasts and curvy hips had a better ability to carry, bare, and feed a child, therefore, she increased the tribe’s chance of reproductive survival.

Now while this next bit is not politically correct, it is biologically correct.

Men will often say the first thing they notice about a woman is her eyes, or her smile, her confidence. But let’s face it, that’s not really what catches a man’s attention first. Second maybe…but not first. Not even in our modern, politically correct society. Biologically, men are initially attracted to three areas of a woman’s body: 

First – A woman’s backside, triggers a man’s brain into thinking she might possibly be sexually available to him. The rear is an area of fat reserves, an asset that lends to better success with keeping children alive in lean times.

Second – Breasts are also mostly fat as well, and of course, produce milk for feeding those baby Neanderthals the tribe needs to survive. Breasts serve as an overt sexual signal, more cleavage, more readiness.

Third – The legs can signal to a man that a woman is potentially of sexual age. When a female reaches puberty, her legs undergo rapid lengthening, telling men she may now be capable of childbearing.

The language of lust involves many varied nuances. Attraction is but one small fragment that often begins the conversation.

Speaking the Language of Lust

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Whether we realize it or not, our best bet in gaining the upper hand in any situation is an adept ability to read body language. Reading someone’s body language is usually far more reliable than believing the words that come out of their mouth.

While some gestures are specifically cultural, most movements occur together with a great deal of predictability. The caveat? You must pay attention to the circumstances and the surroundings as a whole, not just focus on the individual.

One way a man perceives – often unknowingly – whether a woman is ‘interested’ in him, is by looking into her eyes. Why? Well, receptiveness – be it for conversation, a kiss, or possibly something much more delicious to come after dinner – can be determined by pupil dilation. The larger the pupils, the more receptive she is to him. If you look carefully at print ads and television ads, more often than not, you’ll see actresses have been photographed or filmed under conditions that cause the pupils to be dilated. But, keep in mind, if your characters are in uncomfortable environmental conditions, such as the freezing cold for any length of time, the pupils are more likely to contract into pinpoints, and may not truly reflect that she’s interested.

Women are typically considered the more perceptive gender. We are often called ‘intuitive’. But this intuition is just an unrecognized ability to read body language.

The most memorable of heroes and heroines are the ones that don’t fit into the stereotypical category of gender behavior. The most Alpha of males are the ones who can read any situation (especially a female situation) and work it to his favor. On the other hand, a woman who breaks gender behavior and uses wit and logic to tackle a situation will be the one to capture a man’s attention.

Lust is chemical. It’s white-hot. Incendiary. Lust is what makes the butterflies in your stomach do somersaults. So if you want to learn to recognize the signs…stay tuned.

Attraction and Men

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One of the topics I get asked about the most as a romance writer and social psychologist is body language. Specifically – attraction.

Attraction can be as simple as looking forward to the company of someone you know, or a pure, white-hot chemical heat that, good or bad for you, burns your soul, leaving a mark to last lifetimes.

Now men are often rather obvious when it comes to attraction. Ladies, we’ve all experienced it…the guy who can’t take his eyes off you as you pass by him on the sidewalk, then turns his head to watch as you keep walking away. The man across the coffee shop who spills his drink because his focus is on you, not what he’s doing.

And my favorite, the wink and smile as he hurries to open a door for you.

Men don’t fall in love the way women do, emotion swirling round like leaves in an autumn windstorm, flying every which way. For men, love pretty much runs up one day and bites them where the sun don’t shine. A man is more likely to show his woman he loves her long before he tells her.

Or even knows himself.

But ladies, if we are very, very lucky, we get the kind of attraction I write about, the gut wrenching reaction that turns bad boys and wounded souls into protective men, just for her, just for the chance to see her face, her smile.

For love.

Now whether she can read the signs…that’s another story.

Taking Great Pleasure

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As I admitted in my last post, I take great pleasure in the slight shock people always get when they find out I write romance, then rock back on their heels when they learn it is erotic romance. But my husband is not the only one who will tell people what I do, or dig out and proudly show off my cover flat. Often times, friends and family blurt out that particular tidbit about my life when they introduce me to someone new.

Now, I am so very fortunate to have family and friends who are supportive of what I write. And when my book came out, many were more than eager to read it. Not surprising. I’m always anxious to read a new release from one of my author friends. What I found so unusual about the requests for my release date, is how many of them came from our male friends.

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking, I thought the same thing. Mine, are stories written to appeal to women, I couldn’t imagine our male friends wanting to read my book. And yes, these friends regularly asked my husband when my book would be out in the year between selling and the book hitting the store shelves. Though on the flip side, they probably couldn’t imagine their friend’s wife writing such a book.

While I didn’t doubt that they truly intended to read my book, even genuinely wanted to, I found it surprising at how many couldn’t get passed the first chapter. But it was the girlfriends and wives of these men who took great pleasure in sharing that tidbit with me.

 

 

Some Write It Hot…

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In the decade since I began writing with professional intent, the market for erotic romance has exploded from obscurity to ebooks to big print publishing houses. Even my first book pushed far beyond the sexual parameters of the stories that were being published at the time. I find myself still pushing the limits of what is considered this “new” mainstream, where more often than not, the bedroom door is not just open, it’s off the hinges, inviting the reader inside to explore through vivid scenes and graphic detail the growing relationship between the hero and his heroine.

In a sense, the change in mainstream has opened up new writing territories, and many, many writers like myself are more than willing to go there to explore and map these tempting new boundaries, stretching the limits of our creativity.

Though the writer in me is a tried and true introvert, living happily, if temporarily within the stories I create, I do take more than a little pleasure at the shocked look on people’s faces when they find out what I do. From my husband.

But regardless of the shifting, blurring lines between mainstream and erotic romances, I will continue to let my characters test my limits and my imagination, as they explore harbored, secret desires, because just like some, I have to write it HOT…

On Your Mark, Get Set…

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Are you getting ready to go? Most of the writers I know are spending this month preparing for NaNoWriMo, including myself. While 50,000 words is only about half of what I’ll need for this next novel, it will be a terrific start. Whether life gets in the way to derail my November goal, or I speed past the finish line and break the tape with 50k, I still come out a winner.

As a writer, some days are better than others when it comes to getting the words to flow, but any progress is good progress. I can’t edit a blank page.

So…my characters are on their mark, my outline is almost set, I’m just waiting for the GO!

Wicked Indulgence…With An Audience

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Have you ever acted on impulse? I’m not talking about sneaking an extra cookie when no one’s looking, or tossing a handful of candy bars onto the conveyor belt at the grocery store. I mean an act of wicked indulgence, with an audience.

While in public, most of us (writers especially) tend to curb the urge to actually commit an outrageous act of daring. Instead, we weave them into our heroines and heroes, living through them just a little bit.

But, writer or not, once in a while we need to shake things up. Get our hearts to skip a beat and smile like we ate the biggest canary on the face of the planet. Well, I have. And it was fabulous.

Let me explain…

The day was perfect–gray, windy, a touch rainy…just right for a Highland festival. But the weather was merely the backdrop. Bagpipes, bodhrans, and whistles filled the air, adding excitement to the day. Then came the call. There were openings on the panel to judge which single, kilted man had the “bonniest knees”. As a writer of historicals, Scottish and Viking, I went all giddy inside. Little did I know.

At the urging of my family, and especially my husband, I volunteered. I can do this. I can look at bare male knees peeking out between wool stockings and plaid tartans to pick the nicest pair. Well, imagine my surprise when I, a willing volunteer, found myself ushered to a chair and blindfolded. I was to judge all right, but not by sight. I had to judge by feel.

One by one a line of men paraded in front of myself and several other ladies, standing patiently as each pair of female hands reached forward blindly in their general direction to “squeeze” their knees. Brave fellas, huh?

I don’t think the smile ever left my face.

Now what has all this got to do with writing? Well, aside from a great deal of fun, I dared to act. I chose to do something I would never ordinarily do – and with an audience no less.

As writers we tend to linger in introverted, creative worlds. But we do need to live life in order to create more believable characters. Don’t pass up a chance to smile, or laugh, or cry. We will be better for it, and so will our characters.

And know this, you can take great joy in feeling your way through.

A Reset

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A new day, new goals, new ideas. A reset. As a writer, I cannot allow the challenges of yesterday to bleed through the dawn and interfere with today. I must trust that this day will bring to my characters new paths yet to be traveled, paths with challenges to conquer, not just roads to walk.

Over the last few years, writing has changed me. Life has changed me. As it does to all of us. But change is good. I have found new weaknesses, discovered new strengths, and learned that I love writing more than I ever did before.

I do not need to wait for inspiration to find me. I already possess it. I wield it, with strength and passion and belief. Inspiration is with me in every moment and every breath. And with change comes the opportunity to discover. To…reset.