For a sex writer, I’m surprisingly indifferent to sex scenes. Predictably, I’m quoting this one from Kate Furnivall’s novel The Russian Concubine for a theoretical reason: because it gives not one, but two instances of checking in with one’s partner to ensure their continuing sexual consent … and the sex goes on afterwards just fine. One of the most frequently-heard complaints about ensuring consent is that it will supposedly “ruin the moment”. But if that were really true, then you’d never find check-ins being glorified in hot romance novel sex scenes!

Note: the main character has never had penis-in-vagina sex before.

It was as if her skin became something other than skin. It grew so alive it leaped out of her control, rubbed itself against his body, her hip pressing against his, her hands touching, searching, stroking, seeking out each bone of his back, his flat wide shoulder blades, the curve of his buttocks. Her lips opened to his and the unexpected sensation of their tongues entwining sent such a shiver of delicious shock through her body that it made him stop, lift his head, and gaze at her with concern.

But she laughed, almost a purr, and wrapped her arms around his neck, drawing him back to her once more. …

[make-outs, make-outs, make-outs]

Abruptly she could hold back no longer and she took his good hand, placed it between her legs. Instantly he lifted his head so that his mouth and her tongue could merge with her own, and his fingers started to caress the moist heart between her legs, gently at first, then firmer, harder. She moaned, and under it she heard a low breathless growl that was him. She lost track of time. A minute or an hour, she had no idea. She wrapped a leg up over his hip and felt his penis tight against her cleft, the pulse of it hot and needy.

And suddenly he was above her. His lips kissing her eyelids until she opened them and found his dark gaze looking down on her with an expression so tender and so full of longing that she knew she would carry it with her till her dying day. His mouth moved against her own.

“My sweet love,” he breathed. “Tell me this is what you want.”

For reply she bucked her hips so that the tip of him slid inside her and she heard his quick intake of breath. His teeth bit down on her lip. Slowly, gently, with infinite care he entered her. A one point a sharp pain made her cry out but he held her close, murmuring, whispering, eating her up.

Quick analysis:

One of the check-ins in this scene was totally non-verbal, and the other one involved only one partner speaking. Moral of the story: if you think check-ins aren’t hot or can’t be done without ruining the moment, then maybe that’s because you have a very narrow idea of what a check-in looks like. If you’re interested in more on this, try reading my post on safewords and check-ins.

(Final note: I don’t know if the author would call this a “romance novel”, which some would say is a scornful term. The Russian Concubine is definitely better-written than your average romance novel, and it also features Chinese history during the Communist revolution, and stuff. My point is that I’m not meaning to insult it or anything, but, like. It’s pretty freakin’ romantic.)