Sex and the Writer

Before we get to the sex part of the blog, I’d like to mention that A Silence Kept is #1 on the AllRomance Suspense list right now. You can also buy it at Amazon, where it is not on any list, but it’s early days yet. 🙂

And now, on to today’s rant….

I can’t write straight sex <ahem> anymore. I always intersperse it with info or conversation or something else. These scenes tend to be short; they’re part of the action, there’s sex in their lives, but it’s not the focus of the scene. If it doesn’t relay something to the reader, I don’t include it.

I am so bloody tired of Tab A, Slot B sex scenes. I skim them every time. We all know how things fit together. If that scene is only there to titillate, that’s erotica and I hear it sells really well, but if you’re telling a story, the scenes should be there to advance the tale and/or understanding of the characters.

As an editor, I don’t have the luxury of skipping sex scenes. I have to read every damn word, and there are times when I want to scream in boredom. When they go on for page after page with minute detail of every single action taken, oh yeah! That’s totally a case of “kill me now” and my eyes are rolling so hard, I wonder why they don’t fall out of my head and bounce on the floor into a corner.

(If you think I’m talking about you, get over yourself; I’ve edited a lot of books in the last couple of years and this is a general statement. Ain’t nothing personal about it. If you’re sure it’s you, pay attention.)

It was exciting at first, not only writing but reading such scenes in our genre. That’s because it was new. It was unexpected. It was a little naughty. We got hot from the descriptions. Well, I did anyway. In my early genre writing days, I purposefully included sex scenes in my stories. I loved writing them. I hope I made them exciting and interesting.

But after wading through the same scene time and again, I’m over it.

How many times can one person read about the lube, the stretching, the care taken not to cause pain, the insta-recovery so one or both characters can come again, the “this was the best sex I ever had!” line, the inevitable anal sex (even though many guys do not indulge), and the cuddling that follows?

(Side note: none of the men in these scenes ever fart or have to shit at an inopportune time, and they’re always as clean as the driven snow, even if the sex is spontaneous. Right. When does this EVER happen in real life? Hell, reading about someone farting during anal would be different at least!)

And often, these scenes are written without dialog, so it really is a blow by blow account. “First we did this, then we did that, then we did that, and then we did this again.”

*massive yawn*

It’s time our genre came of age. It’s time for sex to take its proper place in the story, and if you feel you must write a string of sex scenes strung together with a plot so thin you can see through it, publish it as erotica so the reader knows what they’re getting. There is a definite place and need for such literature. Sex does sell, as everyone keeps telling us. But is there a law that says it must be boring?

And that’s my other bitch about sex scenes. I can’t remember the last time I read one that was original, interesting, or had something to offer besides the standard fuck.

I can read tons of sex if the writer does it well. Unfortunately, few seem capable of it. For the writer just starting out, I’m sure it’s a rush to write that first sex scene. But that author has to remember many of us have been there, done that, and now throw up a little in our mouths when we see what is, to you, fresh and new, but very old hat to us.

Find a way to make it sing! Intersperse real dialog, have something happening in the background (public sex when no one notices is arousing as hell!), drag out the candles and let them drip, hook up the swing or retrieve that crop someone gave you as a joke gift on your second anniversary, fetch the ice cube tray from the freezer.

In other words, make it interesting. If you don’t, many of us won’t read it, and isn’t that what you want? For us to read–and enjoy–it?

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About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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8 Responses to Sex and the Writer

  1. I thought the sex was really well done in Gemma Files’ Hexslinger Series. The first actual scene is a huge moment in the plot, and I gotta be honest, it was a pretty hot read. There are some books though that would have been so much better without any sex whatsoever, like, if all the characters had no genitals and reproduced through budding it would have greatly improved the book. Everything, the descriptions, the way gender worked in the novel, all of it, was so bad.

  2. A.M.B. says:

    Congratulations on the #1 spot for A Silence Kept! I liked it. It’s a quick read (which, unfortunately, is all I have time for these days). It’s an interesting twist to a ghost story that reminds us not to romanticize the past. The fact that sex is not the focus makes it a good choice for people who don’t normally read romance or erotica. It’s interesting that you include a warning on your books. I’ve never noticed such warnings on other genres with sexually explicit scenes, though maybe I’m just not paying attention.

    • I don’t include sex unless it’s pertinent to the story or necessary for character development. Sex is very much a part of real life, and while I don’t avoid it, I don’t glorify it or focus on it at the expense of the story, either.

      That warning is there mostly because Amazon sells in countries where homosexuality is against the law. They should be aware it contains graphic material, even if there’s only a little. 🙂

      I’m glad you liked it. I think this little ghost story carries quite a punch.

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