Sex and the Written Page

Tweet of the Day: Some Like it Hot


I’ve talked about sex in books way back when I started this blog, with the general admonishment that one should avoid sex scenes if possible. Mind you that post was written in a comedic way, that is making fun of romance and erotic books, but now that I’ve put romance front and center in my current WiP, it is time to recalibrate my position. It is no longer a question of if their should be sex, but how much, and in what manner.

The Tweet of the Day has a nice breakdown on sex scenes in media. Go check it out, I’ll wait.

Back, good. Since that original post I dabbled with sex scenes and with different levels of explicitness. Most of the time the scene in question serves less to arouse and more to shine a light on the nature of the relationship between the characters. Which brings me to my main concern: distraction. The way I see it, once you cross a certain line (which I can’t define even if I try) you cross over to erotica. At that moment, your audience shifts from one interested in the story and is delighted (or disgusted) by the spicier bits to one skipping over the content just to get to the “juicier” parts. The key to my current mode of writing is the relationship(s) not the sex. The sex is part of it, of course, but there is so much more happening than that. The goal is to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

Another concern is the violence/sex double standard.

Guilty as charged.

I can be very explicit when it comes to violence. I feel that sometimes you have to show the effects of it, otherwise it loses any meaning. But then I shy away from the sex. Nope, can’t do that. Intellectual integrity demands more than that.

In the end it is a question of “What the Story Needs” + “What I’m Comfortable With”.

That is as close to an answer I can come up with right now.



6 comments on “Sex and the Written Page

  1. I’ve read good erotica where the storyline was still superb. It’s about writing style and adding in the right amount of sex. Sex scenes can reveal much about character behavior. Also, I think erotica is an underrated genre for the simple fact that is hard to write sex well. O, you can say A goes into B, but to show emotion and feeling plus arouse is hard. It can become written porn if not done correctly. I started writing erotica for that reason to challenge myself to write hot sex on top of telling a good story. Emotions, allowing the reader to connect with the character’s journey to that point, and the right amount of detail.


  2. This gives me something to think about…


  3. I agree about crossing the line. In writing sex scenes, I would say motion and visceral responses are fine, but as soon as you mention body parts and explicit actions, then to me that’s erotica. 🙂


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