Sex

by RS on January 8, 2010

Got your attention, right? I recently participated in a playful email exchange with a friend and he commented that as a writer I knew how to hit the right spots.

Oh, I wish that were true. Writing sex scenes is not my forte. The one scene I wrote for the first novel was way over the top. Almost porn. I managed to tone it down, but I was still embarrassed by it.

I realized early this week I need to add a little spice to my character’s sex lives. Writing a sex scene will be a challenge because in a way it feels a little voyeuristic and at the same time a little too personal to share the sexual exploits of your characters.

Although sex doesn’t have a huge role in Julius, the two main characters are attractive, healthy, relatively young, they’re in a relationship so it would make a sense to throw in a love scene or two that isn’t gratuitous, but fleshes them out as people.

Makes sense right? But how do you pull it off  successfully without it becoming too titillating or cliche? Jodi Cleghorn wrote in Write Anything:

An evocative sex scene is tough to create and it can go from bad to worse very quickly. Writers fall into the use of uninteresting and overused cliques or inappropriate and mismatched names for body parts that verge either on the ridiculous or the offensive. 

Well, I certainly don’t want to venture in either of those territories. In another post in Write Anything, Annie Evett offers this tip:

Tantalize, provoke, and tease your reader utilizing short sentences, break the flow of your prose not only with the words you use, but with its structure. Just in the way your characters may be short breathed in a specific moment, reflect this with your writing. Be suggestive rather than descriptive through the use of metaphors, simile, and imagery founded on your characters psyche.

Hmm, I think my two characters are going to have some fun (and me writing it).

And on the note, time to make Julius a little sexy!

1 comments
Tony in The Bronx
Tony in The Bronx

There's nothing wrong with porn in literature. The problem with sex is how subjective it is. The atmosphere, the choreography, the details that turn on one person tend not to do much of anything for most everyone else. But the feelings are universal, and I go along with Annie Evett's idea of evoking them through suggestion. In other words, a written sex scene is less about the sex and more about how the characters feel about the sex.

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