Writing Sex Scenes

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Writing Sex Scenes

Postby JulieCJ » 18 May 2011, 09:04

Hi to all,
I'm a newcomer to forums in general and to Nathan's forum in particular.
Today, I'm putting a post here, and another in 'Excerpts.'
My 'All Things Writing' entry is a blog post.
I wrote this blog post to offer suggestions on how to get over being uncomfortable with writing sex scenes. Most people are uncomfortable writing sex scenes to varying degrees although they may readily agree that sex is as natural as breathing. Very few people are truly anti-sex in books - they just can't get past their inhibitions to write sex scenes themselves. (The comments are interesting reading, too.)
Please go to: http://wp.me/pKBK0-kl to see my blog post on Writing Sex Scenes. Don't worry, it's totally G-rated (as in how movies are rated). As a paranormal romance writer, I do sex scenes, but I don't do porn, nor do I litter my writing with foul language.
Thanks so much.
Regards,
Julie
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby sierramcconnell » 18 May 2011, 11:23

I used to write yaoi fanfiction for years. I'm totally not uncomfortable with writing sex scenes. :D

But I find them an unnecessary addition to novels. People know what happens, and most people don't want to see it. In fact, when it's added to a movie, most people I know go, "Ugh, do they have to put that in just to sell the movie?" or "Great, another sex scene".

They're unwanted and unneeded unless it's a romance novel. If I didn't come for the lovin's, I don't need to see it, thank you. :)
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby JulieCJ » 18 May 2011, 11:51

I totally, totally agree that sex has no place in YA novels, even though sex is increasingly a part of that genre, like it or not. I, however, don't write YA novels.
Adults, generally speaking, enjoy well-written sex scenes - if they didn't, and shunned books that contained them, why are there almost countless books out there that employ erotica? Some writers have based their entire careers on erotica. Face it - sex sells. And, the comments attached to my blog post seems to indicate I'm on the right track.
My post was not about the morality of sex scenes, in any event - it was about the mechanics of sex scenes for those who wanted to include them in their writing, but were uncomfortable in doing so because of their own inhibitions.
Thanks for your comment.
Have a great day,
Julie
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby sierramcconnell » 18 May 2011, 11:55

JulieCJ wrote:Face it - sex sells.


One unfortunate reality in our quickly downward spiralling world. [sigh]
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby Falls Apart » 18 May 2011, 13:33

It can sometimes have a place outside the world of romance. A good example would be The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Some R-rated stuff in there, but it's not just thrown in for fanservice. However, sex has started to become an exploitive obsession rather than a part of life. I don't mind media with sexual content, but I can't stand media that's sex-saturated.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby Margo » 18 May 2011, 14:38

sierramcconnell wrote:People know what happens, and most people don't want to see it. In fact, when it's added to a movie, most people I know go, "Ugh, do they have to put that in just to sell the movie?" or "Great, another sex scene".

They're unwanted and unneeded unless it's a romance novel. If I didn't come for the lovin's, I don't need to see it, thank you. :)



I don't agree that 'most people' feel this way. Some people do, some people don't. No one likes poorly written sex scenes or scenes that could have been replaced with "and then they did it". Plenty of people (myself and quite a few of the people in my social circles included) enjoy the scenes if they include something important about the characters and are sensually engaging.

It's strange -- and not to pick on you, Sierra -- but everyone I know who doesn't like sex scenes always insists that no one likes sex scenes.

I won't insist that everyone likes sex scenes if people will stop trying to speak for me.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby Margo » 18 May 2011, 14:45

Falls Apart wrote:It can sometimes have a place outside the world of romance.


Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel books (epic fantasy). Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake and Merry Gentry books (urban fantasy). Karen Moning's faery books (urban fantasy). There's even a crucial sex scene in de Lint's The Wild Wood (contemporary fantasy). Interestingly, many people who have a problem with how sexual in nature the Anita Blake books have become are entirely comfortable with the sex in the Merry Gentry books - it's a character development thing.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby sierramcconnell » 18 May 2011, 14:55

Margo wrote:It's strange -- and not to pick on you, Sierra -- but everyone I know who doesn't like sex scenes always insists that no one likes sex scenes.

I won't insist that everyone likes sex scenes if people will stop trying to speak for me.


I read the Demonica series and until the last book it was a rather nice series. And it's FULL of it.

So don't assume I don't like those "particular" scenes.

But there is a time and a place, and people are putting far too much stock in it because they think OMG it's graphic, it'll make such an impact.

No. Just like severing the head of a baby, it's just not needed.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby maybegenius » 18 May 2011, 15:35

JulieCJ wrote:I totally, totally agree that sex has no place in YA novels, even though sex is increasingly a part of that genre, like it or not.


I'm curious about your position here -- why does sex have "no place" in YA novels? Teenage sexuality is actually a pretty prominent theme in their lives; why wouldn't it have a place in their literature? You yourself are advocate that teens today are well-versed in sex in the blog post you linked. Am I misunderstanding that you don't think it has a place in YA? Or are you referring specifically to sex scenes, rather than sexual attraction?
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby JulieCJ » 18 May 2011, 16:19

My 'no place in YA' comment may be as simple as a definition of YA. Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but MG, middle grades, is 7th and 8th grade, or thereabouts, which means 12 or 13? Therefore, YA would be 11 or 12?? That is way too young for sex scenes. I'm an adult paranormal sensual romance writer so it's no holds barred but pre-teens? The kids today are growing up way too fast as it is.

I too, am concerned by the blanket 'no one likes sex' or 'it isn't necessary.' The entire ROMANCE genre wouldn't exist if sex scenes were eliminated. I don't have much experience in other genres so I can't say anything about them, but if I'm reading a romance - I WANT ROMANCE!!
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby Falls Apart » 18 May 2011, 16:31

YA is for high schoolers. I do think that teenagers are having sex shoved down their throats, but, as a teenager, I've read books with sex/rape scenes and haven't been bothered. My main problem is that in many, many cases, sex scenes are put in for the wrong reasons. If an author's uncomfortable with it, it shouldn't be put in; few books would be unable to survive without graphic sex. Also, if an author is inexperienced, pleasepleaseplease don't put it in (*cough* twelve-year-old virgins writing fanfics *cough*). The results are . . . disturbing. To put it mildly.
Also, I don't read much romance, but what little I have read has been completely free of sex scenes, and it never bothered me at all.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby sierramcconnell » 18 May 2011, 17:03

Okay, let me rephrase that.

Does the sex propel the plot forward?

Simple answer?

In most cases, NO.

Does having sex help you get the bad guy? NO.

Does having sex help you save the world? NO.

Does having sex help you get that much needed artifact? NO. Actually, if you hadn't stopped to have sex five pages back, you might have made it to get the damned artifact, you freaking hormone controlled idiots. Pull up your pants, get back to the story, and write something worth reading.

Sex is not a plot device. Unless, of course, you're an incubus. (And I have a few of those.)

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby Mike R » 18 May 2011, 19:29

I did a blog about why to write it. The link is in my signature, you'll have to scroll down a few to get to it.

I think that sex is an important relationship building tool. You can also destroy relationships with it. Characters will do and say things during sex that they won't otherwise. You can reveal things about your characters with sex.

Sex is a tool and a good one. If you don't want to use it, don't. But I do, and I will. And I'll have fun doing it. That may be the best reason to write sex; it's fun.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby JulieCJ » 18 May 2011, 21:26

Mike R - You are quite correct. The sex scenes can define the characters in ways that aren't possible with the constraints of society and culture getting in the way.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Postby sierramcconnell » 19 May 2011, 05:31

Or you could come up with something more clever that hits them in the same way. Something that doesn't involve the same ol boring "insert slot a into tab b". Because in the end (totally not a porn joke) there's only so many ways to have sex.

It's not a 'doesn't like sex' issue here. It's an issue of do you have to fall back on something just because you think it has shock value when really, it's been run into the ground and isn't all that great anymore?

I was watching videos last night, and an ad came on for a sitcom. Do you know what they were making fun of?

Sex.

It is EVERYWHERE. It is OVERDONE.

Do you really, REALLY have to do it?
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