University of Iowa

Shades of Gray: Sensuality vs. Sex

Weekend July 13 to July 14 2019

Sensual writing can be just as powerful, if not more powerful, than sexual writing. What is the difference between a sensual love scene and a sexual love scene? How do writers convey passion, emotion, and love without using explicit language?


This workshop offers participants an opportunity to develop an important skill in fiction writing. Exercises will explore how to effectively use metaphor, imagination, and narrative silence as alternatives to overt wording and erotic physical description to write about love. Experimenting with elements like color, food, music, seasons, environment, and more, you will discover how to create powerful and memorable love scenes using sensuality over sex.


In view of the sensitivity of our subject, participants will take care to maintain a respectful and professional approach in workshop. This class is for writers at any stage of the book-writing process.


In this workshop we will generate new writing through guided exercises and prompts.

All Genres
Short Story