Let’s talk about sex, baby

Ah, the sex scene.

Some writers seem to love the lurid detail and intimacy of a graphic sex scene. For others, the idea of intimate detail is a bit more difficult to approach.

In my writing, I have mostly done the movie equivalent of “the camera pans away as things get hot and heavy.” In my mind, most people have a pretty good idea what goes on behind closed doors.

In my third novel, however, I am changing that. My camera no longer pans away; it’s more of a slow dissolve or fade, allowing the reader a glimpse into the sex lives of my characters.

This left me with a bit of a conundrum. I am not comfortable using explicit words like…well, we all know those words. But I also am not willing to use words like shaft, member, or other euphemisms.

So how did I decide to handle it? By using the other body parts. Most of us know there is a lot of bodily contact during sex. So my focus remained on that intimacy: the touching, the holding, the chest against chest, the intertwined legs, etc. This allowed me to explore the physical but also enter the mental aspect of sex—and try to differentiate between first sex—and sex between familiar lovers.

Ultimately, I think a sex scene has to be something that the writer is comfortable writing, otherwise the readers will know. I am eager to see how my approach works and how it is received by readers.

If anyone has a favorite type of sex scene they would like to share (not the scene, but how it’s handled), I would love to hear.

5 Comments

  1. I believe a good writer leave a open door for the imagination. Detail description can make some reader walk away. I like your thoughts on a interesting topic.

  2. I have to admit, I like the explicit sex scene (both to read and to write) 😉 but honestly, the real ‘steam’ in a book comes from the non-physical interactions, don’t you think? When I recall the sexiest scenes I’ve ever read, they all seem to be fueled by emotions or circumstances, not simply physical interactions and sex-talk. And I agree, if you’re not comfortable writing something, it won’t read well.
    I look forward to reading what you’ve done!

    1. Thanks for your feedback! I’m a big fan of the emotional connection and exploring the intimacy that is not direct intercourse — the gazing into eyes in the midst of passion, etc. So, I agree!

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