Writing Sex Scenes

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Mira
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Mira » May 19th, 2011, 2:27 pm

Polymath - I do agree that I think YA sex scenes should be written carefully and responsibly. Safe sex, protection from pregnancy, the emotional consequences of sex before people are ready, the beauty of sex when people are ready, all of these and more are valuable lessons that can be explored in the confines of YA.

Margo - sounds fun. :) I'll tell you, some of the wildest sex scenes I've ever read have been in those innocently covered Harlequin Romance novels.

Sierra - I think we've moved into an area where we just don't agree on a religious and moral level. I don't believe in the Christian religion, so I think we will probably not see eye to eye on this. We should probably agree to disagree.

In terms of your friend's child, I'm very sorry to hear that he was born deformed. I'm surprised they didn't do a C-section. But either way, I agree that teen pregnancy, when unwanted, can be a terrible tragedy.

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by polymath » May 19th, 2011, 2:28 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:And that bit about 'forbidden fruit'? Do we not remember what happened the LAST TIME someone ate some of that?
Well, the first time, according to Old Testament traditions and interpretations, Adam and Eve were tragically evicted from the garden. I don't see it that way. I see the forbidden fruit as a divinely inspired impetus to exercise free will, learn to think and speak and act conscientiously, critically for one's best self, and evolve into the higher beings humans are destined to become. Humans have come a long way since the garden. There's a long way yet to go to realize enlightened spiritual and temporal coexistence before final reunification into the origination deity.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Margo » May 19th, 2011, 2:30 pm

polymath wrote:I'm partial to guerilla.
Oooh, nice. I like that one.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Margo » May 19th, 2011, 2:32 pm

Mira wrote:Margo - sounds fun. :) I'll tell you, some of the wildest sex scenes I've ever read have been in those innocently covered Harlequin Romance novels.
HA! As a matter of fact, I had that very experience recently. It looked like a Regency, I tell you! A Regency!
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by androidblues » May 19th, 2011, 2:36 pm

sierramcconnell wrote: Teenagers do not need to be exploring sexuallity. This is where a lot of trouble comes from. Sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy that they cannot handle. Reading a book isn't going to help them with that.
I'm probably one of the five teenagers on this board. This will be the last thing I have to say about this particular subject.

Not all teens are on the same level of intelligence and maturity. Turning twenty does not flip a switch in your head that magically makes you mature. Granted, many teens are immature when it comes to sex. But so are many adults.

If you never tell someone the right way to go about having sex, how are they supposed to learn? Books do help. Books teach things. Like it or not, a powerful book will effect a person for the rest of their life.

By saying that a book isn't going to help them, you're also saying that a book won't do any harm either. So sex in books shouldn't matter if a book doesn't help someone at all. Which is it?
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Sommer Leigh » May 19th, 2011, 2:39 pm

Sex is complicated. Sex between the wrong people, sex between the right people, sex between the right people for the wrong reasons, sex between the wrong people for the right reasons -- sex can change everything about a situation and about a relationship between two characters. It is beautiful and wonderful and happy-making and toe-curling for the right people at the right moment, but it can also destroy friendships, work relationships, or groups of friends. It can cause rifts in families that can never be mended. It can rewrite someone's religious beliefs. It can charge a story with empathy, with regret, guilt, fury, passion, tension, intimacy, and awkwardness. Sometimes all at the same time.

Whether the sex itself is good or bad, I think most people can agree that after the deed is done, it is a one way door that characters can't step back through. The deed, once done, cannot be undone.

Here's the thing about this subject that can muddy the waters - it's wonderful that we can all talk about this subject and its implications for writers and readers, but I think it is sometimes easy to forget that we're talking about sex in two separate categories.

We are talking about our own personal feelings on the issue - sex in real life good vs. bad, reading sex scenes good vs. bad, and writing sex scenes good vs. bad.

But we are ALSO talking about the universal human experience of sex, drawn upon within a narrative to complicate a character and his/her world. We all know that a one night stand between best friends will rarely end well. It's not even that sex "sells" so much as it speaks to everyone in some way and therefore every reader has an opinion and/or experience they can use as a gateway to understanding all the hidden layers of complexity that is introduced to a narrative when two characters decide to get it on.

I would also like to back up Mira's comment with a "here here!" There's the awkward un-sexy, un-romantic, hide-your-eyes-from-embarrassment scenes like the one in Looking for Alaska by John Green that have an important component to the character's story, and then there are books like Sarah Maclean's Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake that's just plain fun and fabulous to read.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Sommer Leigh » May 19th, 2011, 2:43 pm

polymath wrote:
Margo wrote:Edit: oops, I think I'm supposed to say self-published instead of indie. I wonder if I could popularize another cool term, like rogue author or renegade or ronin. ;)
I'm partial to guerilla. Independent asymmetric disestablishmentarianist publication insurgency.
I think guerilla author is an awesome term we should all popularize. Give self-published author's a new branding!

Also, I'm not calling them the Independent asymmetric etc etc. If I can't spell "definitely" right everytime I type it, I am surely not going to be able to spell "disestablishmentarianist" correctly.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Cookie » May 19th, 2011, 2:45 pm

Margo wrote:Edit: oops, I think I'm supposed to say self-published instead of indie. I wonder if I could popularize another cool term, like rogue author or renegade or ronin. ;)
Ronin ftw.

My opinion on sex in fiction: Gratuitous, no. Done well and meaningful, yes.

And whether or not teenagers should be having sex, they are still exploring it, whether they are "doing it" or simply thinking about it.
Which brings up more experience. I had a friend in school that got pregnant. Because she was so small, she gave birth to an adorable little boy who has half an arm. All because his parents couldn't keep it in their pants long enough to get through their teenage years, he'll have to live with that deformity for the rest of his life. That poor little baby. Not to mention whatever else might have been wrong with him that you couldn't see.
I don't think that has anything to do with her age. Plenty of teenagers give birth to healthy children. In fact, up until a few hundred years ago, it was normal for a girl to be married and pregnant at 13. Heck, I would be considered a spinster. Of course, they also lived considerably shorter lives, but that is besides the point. It could have to do with genetics or a million other variables.

My best friend got pregnant at 16. The baby was normal and healthy, if not a little large (11.1). Of course, he has learning disabilities but that has nothing to do with her age and everything to do with the coke she was snorting.

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by sierramcconnell » May 19th, 2011, 2:49 pm

androidblues wrote:By saying that a book isn't going to help them, you're also saying that a book won't do any harm either. So sex in books shouldn't matter if a book doesn't help someone at all. Which is it?
I didn't say that. Stop twisting my words.

Children, and yes, teenagers are children who have far more on their plate to worry about now than sex, do not need to be out there doing /that/. They need to be focusing on the fact that there are NO JOBS out there. That they need to be looking for one RIGHT NOW. Or looking for grants and scholarships that will help them afford a /reasonable/ college degree. They need to be researching what they will be doing for the rest of their life because it's time for that, not sex. Don't wreck what you have before you've even been given it.

The real world is hard. Don't complicate things with meaningless relationships and hook-ups that will not last. How many people are even going to stay together from High School? Especially if you do /that/? Once it's done, it's done. You want to know about High School sex?

Guys only want you to do it, then they're done. That's it in simple form. They're jerks. And when they're not jerks, they're usually too shy to A) want you, or B) do anything about it. Or, in the rare case C) they stalk you. And then you have to threaten to kill them until they leave you alone.

Wow. The world isn't that complicated. And actually, it's more fun for them than you. Because unless you get one of the rare good ones, you're usually unsatisfied.

There ya go. Sex 101 in a few sentances. Go Web MD for pictures and stuff. It's ridiculous.

And I'm done here. All over.
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The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Watcher55 » May 19th, 2011, 3:05 pm

polymath wrote:
Margo wrote:Edit: oops, I think I'm supposed to say self-published instead of indie. I wonder if I could popularize another cool term, like rogue author or renegade or ronin. ;)
I'm partial to guerilla. Independent asymmetric disestablishmentarianist publication insurgency.
:) , said the lurker.

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Mira
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Mira » May 19th, 2011, 3:08 pm

Margo wrote:
Mira wrote:Margo - sounds fun. :) I'll tell you, some of the wildest sex scenes I've ever read have been in those innocently covered Harlequin Romance novels.
HA! As a matter of fact, I had that very experience recently. It looked like a Regency, I tell you! A Regency!
Margo, I totally believe you! Those romance novels are pretty feisty!

Sommer, that was beautifully said. Hear, hear back atcha!!

Androidblues, well argued. You represented your generation well! :)

Cookie - yes. It's really only since the advent of birth control that women began to NOT have children in their teens.

I vote for Guerilla as a term, too. It captures it, polymath. I want to be a guerilla author!

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Cookie » May 19th, 2011, 3:13 pm

Mira,

I wasn't sure on the exact date or time frame, so I was a little vague. ;)

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by polymath » May 19th, 2011, 3:26 pm

Grandmas Tabitha and Alice married at age twelve. Mom married at age 15. Not just because that's the way things were, because they were eager, ready, willing, and able for married life. Marriage more than anything was the option to the miseries of their familial home life. Expendable, useless laborers, costly mouths to feed, oppressed and emotionally and physically neglected and abused. Talk about social indoctrination. Make the family life so miserable even the oppressions of married life are an improvement.

Since the middle Twentieth century, womankind has earned and been steadily empowered with more independent lifestyles, including the obligations and privileges of social equality. Humanity is overall better off for it near term and into the foreseeable future. Womankind's one essential unique contribution to society is the emotional bonding and consequent community building that benefits us all. Which comes instinctively from womankind's vulnerability during biological reproduction processes. Society has obligations to provide security during those processes. However, womankind is also entitled to exercise free will for the good of the individual and for the greater good. Mostly the right to choose their destinies, enjoy brilliant successes, and suffer tragic trials and errors as they can best negotiate with the support and encouragement of society.

About 1940 is when the ball started rolling headlong into new social territory. When women's birth control became available, and hygiene products liberated womankind from the home hearth. The U.S. demographic transition finalized about then too. Here seventy years later, strong resistance to empowering womankind continues, though meaningful strides have come to fruition. Conflicting messages, self-serving agendas, and a host of other complicating influences stall acclimation to womankind's right to equality. So, of course, there's still a lot of tragedy going on in young persons' social lives, especially young women's, everyone's really. Ripe fodder for literature.
Last edited by polymath on May 19th, 2011, 3:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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polymath
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by polymath » May 19th, 2011, 3:40 pm

Mira wrote:I vote for Guerilla as a term, too. It captures it, polymath. I want to be a guerilla author!
There is no want to be, you are a guerilla author with every breath you breathe, every step you take, foreground on the field of honor or pending deployment strategically in reserve until you're ready, willing, and able for debut. Then you might become an establishment author or you might at least reach the underground audience you seek, if you aren't already, like here at bransforums.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Margo » May 19th, 2011, 4:26 pm

Watcher55 wrote::) , said the lurker.

Hey you! Welcome back. Where ya been?
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