Experienced Only Need Apply

Now that revisions are done on the contemporary, I am returning my attention to my Regency-set historical book, and am wrestling with some anomalous issues:

Namely, how does my virginal heroine have even the slightest clue what to do when it comes to sexytimes with the hero?

Unlike me, my heroine did not have her mother’s naughty paperbacks lying around; nor did she likely talk sex with anyone–she grew up in a vicarage with her father and brother. It would be a very different kind of book if she actually talked sex with either of them. But I am not Eloisa James, and can not write a deliberately bad sex scene, where one or more of the participants has no idea what to do.

How can I give her knowledge without making her a total anomaly?

All suggestions welcome!

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11 years ago

Girl talk? Talk with her maid? Dotty aunt?

Isobel Carr
11 years ago

Why not just let the hero lead the way and give her a quick wit and a vivid imagination?

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

Would she ever have seen dogs or farm animals copulating?

Or perhaps she got into her brother’s stash of naughty prints. There were dozens of them.

11 years ago

You can have her as a wild child, always running around and perhaps playing pranks on an older brother? She could be hiding in the bushes and listening to the boys/men talk/

Elena Greene
11 years ago

The animal thing can lead to some funny ideas about positions! But seriously, these are all possibilities. I’d bet a lot of women learned from married sisters, cousins, close friends. They wouldn’t have written about it so it’s hard to say.

Or go ahead with ignorance if that’s what makes sense for the heroine. As Isobel suggested, she can be a quick learner. Personally, I think a little awkwardness and humor can make it real.

Megan Frampton
11 years ago

Thanks, guys! I am glad there are some ways she can have more knowledge than she oughta.

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

Those old estate libraries were rife with naughty books in every language imaginable AND they had illustrations! She could stumble upon the “dusty old dry tomes” section of the library and discover why grandma is always smiling in all of her portraits!

11 years ago

An innocent bride is not a drawback. She knows something is supposed to happen, just not exactly what. A few comments from an older, trusted maid to allay her concerns, but reliance on her hero to lead the way. Things may be a bit awkward at first, but passion does take over and it sort of comes naturally. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. They can look forward to practicing to make it so.

So much of life didn’t (and still doesn’t) come with an instruction manual.

Janet Mullany
11 years ago

Absolutely seconding Isobel’s recommendation. Instinct and curiosity can take you far! Quite honestly I don’t know that perusal of forbidden erotic novels or prints could do an inexperienced woman much good–they were for a male audience. And isn’t the female gossip most likely to have been about horrible childbed experiences and inconsiderate marital demands?

11 years ago

wel…. why does she have to? Wouldn’t the man she’s with “teach” her? Just my .02

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