Character Connections...of the Intimate Kind (Penny Rader)


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These are the 12 Stages of Intimacy made famous by Linda Howard. Several years ago I attended an RWA workshop she presented and was just blown away.
  1. Eye to body
  2. Eye to eye
  3. Voice to voice
  4. Hand to hand (or arm)
  5. Arm to shoulder
  6. Arm to waist, or back
  7. Mouth to mouth
  8. Hand to head
  9. Hand to body
  10. Mouth to breast
  11. Hand to genitals
  12. Genitals to genitals
Not all stories will use all 12 stages and not all stories will use them in order -- some may jump around.  I hope you’ll check the following articles for great explanations and examples of using the above steps.

Using the 12 Stages of Physical Intimacy to Build Tension In Your Fiction (Jenny Hansen)
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12 Steps to Intimacy (Terry O’Dell)

The Twelve Steps of Intimacy (Erica)

The Twelve Stages of Intimacy (Jana Richards)

Let's Get Intimate (Debora Dennis)

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Ideas for Developing Intimacy in a Romance Novel Relationship (Victoria Adams)

Twelve Steps to Real Intimacy 


Here are tidbits from a couple more articles I found about intimacy.

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How to Get More Intimate Without Having Sex

This article talks about 3 types of intimacy that don’t involve sex.  I've included an example given in the article for each step:
  • Being physical without sex.  Ex: Take hand holding to a whole new level.
  • Having fun together.  Ex: Make a date of watching the sky.
  • Bonding mentally.  Ex: Talk about your bucket lists.

Stages of Intimacy in Marriage (Alexis Aiger)
  • Passion and Romance
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  • Realization and Rebellion
  • Distraction and Cooperation
  • Reunion and Resurfacing
  • Completion and Contentment
Just a reminder: If you like any of the articles above, be sure to save or print them.  You never know when they'll disappear.

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Do you have any tips you care to share on this topic?

14 comments:

Ashantay said...

I attended the same RWA workshop - it was an eye-opener! Thanks for the reprisal.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Ashantay! Linda's workshop was such a light bulb moment. I was tickled to find so many articles and their interpretations of the stages of intimacy. Before any of them disappear I want to compile the various examples into one document for easy reference. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Barbara Bettis said...

This concept sounds familiar--I don't recall if I attended her workshop or not, but I certainly thank you for going over it here!!

Penny Rader said...

Barbara, when I attended the workshop it was many years ago. It may have been the first time she presented it. So glad you found the post helpful. :D

Jana Richards said...

Penny, thanks for citing my post on the 12 stages of intimacy. I'm definitely going to read all the other articles because this is information a romance writer needs!

Penny Rader said...

Thank you, Jana, for writing the post. There are so many workshops I'd love to attend, but funds just don't allow me to participate in all of them, so I really appreciate it when others share what they learn.

Abigail Owen said...

Great topic. Great list of resources, and a really helpful step process. MUCH appreciated and thanks for sharing!

Penny Rader said...

I'm tickled you found the post so helpful, Abigail. Thanks for visiting.

Marlow Kelly said...

Thank you Penny,I'm taking notes for this article and applying them to my WIP. After all, how can there be romance without intimacy.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks for these resources, Penny. In the novel I'm writing now, my blind hero does a lot of touching. I'm having to talk about some of the confusion for my heroine that comes with that 'maybe' intimacy. Good to have these checklists/guides.

Penny Rader said...

Hi Marlow, So glad you're able to apply these to your WIP. I wish you great success.

Penny Rader said...

Rolynn, your current WIP sounds intriguing. I can see where having a blind hero would definitely cause confusion for the heroine because he'd have to skip a couple steps right off the bat. Good luck with your story!

Hebby Roman said...

Interesting breakdown. I know I didn't go to the workshop because I didn't go to RWA, but you've encapsulated what most romance writers try to do, in terms of escalating intimacy. And it's good to go over those steps, so we don't miss any.

Penny Rader said...

Thanks for dropping by, Hebby. I'm still looking for something similar to these physical stages of intimacy that correlates with the emotional growth of the relationship between the hero and heroine.