Anyway, that coincidence inspired me to write about the concept of sexual heat.
Heat is possibly the most common metaphor for discussing sex. Many publishers rate the sexual intensity or explicitness of their books by counting flames. Total-E-Bound, the publisher Megan and I share, labels its books as “sizzling”, “burning” or “melting”. “Steamy”, “scalding”, “seething”, “blazing”, “searing” - we use all sorts of fire- and heat-related words to try and capture the fundamentally indescribable experience of making love.
But why? Most of the time, sex isn't literally hot (although I do recall one incendiary coupling under the baking sun in the sand of the Colorado desert, and another in the backseat of a Chevy during a summer heat wave where my skin actually got burned by the metal door handle). Warm, often - nothing feels better than crawling under the covers with my honey on a frigid winter night. Definitely sweaty – even in December! Yet when I think back to my most cherished sexual experiences, I remember texture, tastes, scents, in the physical realm, giddy joy or breathless tension as psychological correlates. Not particularly the heat.
So where does the connection originate? Why do we seem to think that sex is like fire?
Well, I have some thoughts. Like fire, sex is powerful and difficult to control. When set loose, lust can consume everything in its path: rationality, responsibility, even morality. Just as fire is used to refine metal, burning away the impurities, sexual desire strips away our illusions and reduces us to our core, animal selves. Sex is simultaneously nurturing and dangerous, tempting and terrifying – just like fire. And like fire, it has a sort of mystery. One can spend hours staring into the flames dancing on the hearth, fascinated by the ebb and flow of the light. I've devoted more than four decades to exploring the multitudinous facets of desire, and still can't claim to fully understand it.
I wrote a short story once (erotica, not erotic romance) about a man with a fire fetish. He's aroused by burning buildings. Eventually he turns to arson as a way to satisfy his sexual cravings. Extreme? Perhaps, but plausible enough that I could imagine the thrill as the charred beams collapsed and a fountain of sparks rained down on my naked skin.
My recent release Hot Spell plays with the sexiness of fire. In fact, the tagline is: The flames of passion are more than a metaphor. Here's the blurb:
The city swelters in the grip of an unseasonable heat wave. Sylvie endures her solitary urban existence for the sake of her career, but the prospect of a hot, lonely three day weekend proves unbearable and she flees east to the pine-shrouded mountains. Far more at home in nature than in the city, Sylvie doesn't mind being alone in the wilderness, but she's not the only being haunting the glades and the trails.
Aidan is fiercely attracted to the voluptuous beauty he finds sun bathing nude in a high meadow, but he must resist his overwhelming desire for the sake of her safety. The sun-bronzed man with the red-gold hair is cursed with power he knows will destroy her if they give full rein to their passion. Can Sylvie refrain from tempting him? Or will she risk being being literally consumed by love?
I think the first page maybe the hottest (literally) thing I've ever written.
He came to her in dreams first, conjured by the sweltering night.
Naked, she tossed in her sweat-damp sheets, drifting in and out of uneasy slumber. The muggy air settled on her skin, a stifling blanket she couldn’t kick off. Like a physical weight, humidity pinned her to the mattress. The feeble breeze coming through the open window offered no relief. If anything, it was warmer than the air in her bedroom, carrying with it all the heat that had been trapped in the concrete and asphalt during the day.
Her limbs were leaden. A dull ache pounded behind her forehead. When sleep overtook her, she found herself wandering barefoot on empty, baking sidewalks. The sun’s relentless glare reflected down upon her from the glass-walled towers on either side. Rivulets of perspiration trickled down her spine but failed to cool her. Her skin felt scorched, ready to crack and peel.
Then the dream changed. The oppressive brightness faded to sultry shadow. Flesh, not air, weighed upon her. Smooth, hot skin, slick with sweat, slid against her own. Strong legs tangled with hers, easing her thighs apart. Fingers of fire skittered across her breasts and danced in her sex, kindling incendiary pleasure. A scalding tongue licked its way to the hollow of her throat, then returned to seal her mouth with a steamy kiss.
He tasted of mulled wine, melted chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne. A sharp tang of ozone hung around them—the smell of summer storms. Lightning crackled wherever he touched her. She ran her hands down his muscled back to his firm, full buttocks, marvelling at the power she sensed in him. Her palms tingled and stung at each contact, as though she’d been slicing chillies. The strange sensation added to the pleasure simmering in her pussy.
She pressed her fevered body against his, trapping his erect cock between them. Hard against her belly, his rigid organ felt like a bar of steel fresh from the furnace. Every searing instant made her want him more. They writhed together, sparks of scarlet and gold whirling around them. Her clit was a live ember. When he brushed his cock over the swollen nub, she burst into flames.
Climax raced through her, a conflagration of pleasure that burned but did not consume her. As she convulsed in his arms, he plunged into her depths, impaling her on a pillar of fire. Another orgasm flared—exquisite delight and unbearable heat. Then he was coming, too, in a blistering, fiery flood. She felt herself kindle, char, crumble to ash. She had no regrets.
So what do you think? Hot enough for you?
I want to thank Megan for the chance to visit here, and to invite you to leave a comment. I'll give a free copy of Hot Spell to some lucky reader who shares his or her thoughts about sexual heat or my excerpt. Please include your email address in your comment, so I can find you if you're the winner!
Here's a little more about Lisabet!
A dozen years ago Lisabet Sarai experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published three single author short story collections and six erotic novels, including the classic RAW SILK. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She edited the acclaimed anthologies SACRED EXCHANGE and
CREAM and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS. In addition, she reviews erotica and erotic romance for the Erotica Reades and Writers Association (http://www.erotica-readers.com) and Erotica Revealed (http://www.eroticarevealed.com) websites.
Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two cosmopolitan felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com).