09/02/2012 In My Writing
Sep 02, 2012

Sex, No Sex, Somewhere In Between.

Yesterday’s blog resulted in some good advice on how important sex scenes are to the story.  But I’m hoping for a few more opinions before I out this to rest.

Maybe my opinion would help people to way in. For me, I think it’s best to get the characters excited and aroused, but not – as one person said – give a blow by blow, lick by lick accounting of their bedroom gymnastics.  I prefer to get them to the point of sex, then fade out.

I have several reasons for preferring this approach. The first is I don’t anyone who reads my books to think that is how I prefer to have sex. I know it’s stupid, but when I read a sex scene – especially one between two men written by a gay male – I begin to wonder if that scene is drawn on a prior experience. If not, it clearly is something the writer imagined.  So in a way, it’s revealing my own imagination for sex and I almost feel that is too close to home to what happens with me and the husband and I don’t want folks ‘wondering’ if that’s what we do.  Stupid I know, but still.

Another reason is that by NOT giving out the details, the reader can imagine the characters doing whatever they want the characters to do. Which in a way allows for something of an interactive experience. If I define their sexual activities, the character’s sex lives are limited to my vision. If I get the reader but so far then leave the details to their imagination, they can-and maybe do-do just about anything and everything anyone can think of. Some would say that’s lazy, but I don’t think that’s the case. I can write sex scenes, but there needs to be a reason for it and then, to be honest, an 8-10 page ‘lick by lick’ account is way too much.

Last I don’t think everyone likes sex scenes, but no one can be turned off by getting the MCs to the point where the lights go out and leaving the intimate details to the mind of the reader. But the flip side to this, is good sex writers sell a LOT of erotica books. So if the goal is to make lots of money – and it’s not for me – then I ought to not only write sex scenes, but write losts of them and brand the stories Erotica.

So with that in mind, those who have not responded already and have an opinion, fire away. Those who have already, I think I know your opinions, but feel free to expound if you feel so moved.





So the real questions are 1) how important are sex scenes to a non-erotica story? If you think it’s needed, how explicit? 3) Some examples of stories that had it right, needed more, had too much.


1 Comment

  1. podga says:

    1) They’re not vital, but if they reveal something about the MCs or their feelings towards each other at that particular moment or overall (e.g. are they feeling tender, is one initiating something to get the other to shut up, etc.) I’d like to see that, before the scene fades to black. It doesn’t need to be terribly explicit, just enough to convey a mood or feeling.

    2) In published romance books I think Josh Lanyon gets it right overall, as does Tamara Allen. They mention it, you know it’s happening, sometimes they go into a bit more detail, but I’ve never seen a reader comment that they skipped over those parts. And in non-romance, I can’t recall Richard Stevenson ever writing about sex at all in the Strachey series, still the feelings between Strachey and his Timothy are pretty clear. I also think McCauley gets it right in Insignificant Others, where the main character’s sexual relationships form a large part of the story, yet the sex is never explicit.

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