Thursday, 19 November 2009

How Sexy Are You?

No, I don't mean you personally. Sex in books is nothing unusual these days. Whether it's subtly hinted or explicitly drawn, sex sells stories too. It has done for centuries. However, putting that aside, sex - if used well - can also elevate the story by portraying a side of human nature. In quite a few of my favourite books, sex is included. I don't mind. Sometimes, it's good and I read it, and sometimes it resembles tons of romance clichés and I skip over it. In my own stories, there is always romance to a certain degree, and in some stories sex wouldn't be unsuitable. I even had ideas for a few erotica novels, but after attempting to write sex scenes, I have almost come to the conclusion that it is not my thing. That is not to say that my scenes are prudish or don't contain any sexual stuff, because they do. It's just that total, explicit, full sex scenes might not be my thing. They always come out sound ridiculous. I have definitely decided against erotica. That's just not my thing. Of course considering that I don't particularly like to read erotica should have been a hint there. But oh well! Anyway, so back to occassional sex scenes in other genres - like fantasy or mainstream in my case. At this point I have decided that I will continue to write them, but not necessarily describing every single detail of the act. That is working better, instead of forcing myself to write sex scenes. Though I would like to improve my skills for these scenes, no doubt about that. What about you? Do you have sex in your stories? How comfortable are you with them?


  1. I don't have any sex in mine, but then, my main characters are eleven. I am writing another story about a guy who falls in love with a nun. That alone should get me on the bullet train to hell, so maybe I'll try some sex too.

  2. I'm rather like you in this account. I mean I have sensual stuff, and a lot of them, and oftentimes it's even a tad non-standard (like exploring the sexuality of old people or occasional lesbian streak of straight girls, stuff like this), but sex scenes?

    Well, I have an excuse. I see sex as a fun thing in the first place, and I'm doing and saying silly things while at it. I can't keep my face straight if somebody tries to go full-blown romantic on me. Luckily, my husband isn't the romantic type so I'm spared.

    But, unless I decide to write erotica that makes the reader laugh instead of come, I'm out of the game.

  3. It's very interesting to think about this particular elephant in the kitchen ...

    My problem with writing sex scenes is that they always seem to end up sounding the same.

    Okay, I'm just going to say it. Sometimes I wonder if, in books I'm reading, the sexual details are ... I don't know, connected to the author and his or her own experiences/fantasies/whatever. I realize that fiction is fiction, but I can't help wondering this, especially where there is often some major similarities when you've read many books by an author.

    I don't know, maybe I'm just weird : )

  4. My current story has A.J. and Robret (gal&guy). They are certainly drawn to each other and like each other quite a bit. But there will be no 'bedroom scene'. Either I wouldn't know how to write something like or I just feel it's too private. "She turned off the lights and they... " all seems too corny to me. I can't imagine sex ever showing up in anything I'll ever write. Never has. Not a prude...just not me I guess.
    Good question!

  5. Well, you know I write romance, and on the steamier side of the curve, so to speak. So yes, there's sex in my novels...and quite a bit of it. I've not ruled out writing erotica either. I like reading it, I like writing it...and unless you ask me around my mother, I'm completely comfortable with that. LOL

    In romance, the point of sex is to further or enhance a relationship. So a lot of what I write isn't actual sex, but rather sexual tension between two people. And it's much easier to keep that from getting stale than the actual act (I think). I've written entire scenes that when read, "feels" like the characters had sex, when they actually didn't. I like those a lot - fun to write, and wrought with emotion without having to keep track of so many body parts and the non-repetitive/cliched naming of such.

    I think scenes that are not explicit but still very emotional can have just as much (if not more) impact than an explicit detailing of the same.

    Erotica is all about the act, and it does take work to keep that from sounding the same time and time again. I'm not that good yet, but maybe someday. Practice makes perfect, you know. ;-)

    KLo - When I'm writing, all of the scenes (sex and everything else) plays out in my head like a movie, so really, it's all a big "fantasy" to me. That doesn't mean I've personally done or even want to do everything I write about, but on some level, I at least thought about it in order to write it...

  6. Everyone, really great comments. Thanks for sharing them.

    A guy falling in love might spare you hell, unless you are going to make the nun fall in love with him too, and do something about it ;)
    But then you know the whole forbidden romance thing is so very tempting.


    Erotica and laughing, yes I guess you should stay away from it ;)


    I know exactly what you mean about sex scenes sounding same. I have found this to be especially true in series books, and particularly series books by same author.


    I agree that not having sex in your books doesn't make you prude. It just depends on the story and author's comfort level or even just personal preference.


    Having read some of your work, I think you are well on your way. Your sexual tension is spot on (speaking as a reader, as a writer - I have no idea), and I think that's the key. Sexual tension, in romance, is far more important than sex itself.

    I would think you would be good at writing erotica.

    About the movie part, I can see the scenes in my head too. Unfortunately, transferring them on the paper is not so easy.

  7. The sexiest thing I have written so far is a kiss, and it was a pretty ordinary kiss. ;-)

    That said, I have no qualms about writing sex if a scene requires it. :-)


  8. When I first started writing I wrote a story in which my two main characters shared a kiss and it took me forever to write it, it made me that uncomfortable.

    Now, however, have no problem at all writing about kissing and touching and s*e*x. As Jamie says, it gets easier with practice. ;-)

    The lead up to sex can actually be more exciting for the reader than the sex itself, and I'm not just talking about foreplay, I'm talking about sexual tension. I write romance, not porn, so there's always a reason for the sex - sometimes as a natural progression for the story, sometimes for character development.

    That's not to say all romance novels should have sex in them, far from it. I've read many excellent romances with no sex - a couple come to mind where the two main characters never even kissed until the very end.

    Oh, and like Jamie, I've never done any of the sex I write about and some of it I wouldn't never even consider, but it's still fun to think about! ;-)

  9. Nah, I can't say I've ever written a sex scene, and I doubt I ever will. I do write emotionally charged scenes between two people falling in love, but any physical interaction is sensual rather than sexual. I seriously doubt I could write erotica - it would just come off as really bad lit-porn. No thanks, I'll spare the world from that hideousness :)

  10. Adam,
    I am surprised. Don't know but I just had this impression of you writing lots of sex :P

    C R,
    I have always been okay with kissing and even more. It's just the full on sex I have got problems with. LOL, I think a lot of people who have book like sex, probably aren't sitting on their butts writing books ;) or maybe I am stereotyping.

    I know exactly what you mean about bad-lit porn. I think my attempt would probably be like that at Erotica, which is why that's one genre out of my list to try.

  11. Hehe, nope. :)

    Given the people I used to hang around with on the forums though, I can see how you'd get that impression. ;-)


  12. I agree with you about Jamie, having read a couple stories, she is great at it- she has a gift!
    Me? Um-- not even close. I think I've attempted it once, and it was laughable. I write witty retorts and romance/action. I'm okay with it. I think I can give enough to get ya feeling something (at least I hope) I think that is why the switch to YA is working out so well. It's still a bit innocent if anything happens, well not innocent, but less-- um-- erotic per say.

    I do like reading it though. Especially Jamie's!

    Great Post!