Writing Sex Scenes

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Watcher55
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Watcher55 » May 19th, 2011, 4:39 pm

Margo wrote:
Watcher55 wrote::) , said the lurker.

Hey you! Welcome back. Where ya been?
Hey, thanks. I had to let my human take care of some crap (nothin' bad or juicy - just crap).

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Falls Apart
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Falls Apart » May 19th, 2011, 4:44 pm

Wow. Heated topic. :) I've made a couple posts, but it seems to have turned into a completely different issue now. My views on the subject . . .

1. Sex scenes are usually unnecessary, but
2. In the rare cases where they advance the plot, go for it.
3. The morality of the act in question is another issue entirely. I write books about serial killers and sadists, but that doesn't mean I condone it.
4. Just because a teenager reads a book with sex in it does not mean (s)he will make irresponsible decisions. I've read several and remain commited to chastity. I don't even believe in dating. One doesn't have to be naive about an issue to make good choices; in fact, it tends to do the opposite. A teen with an incomplete sex education may not know that (s)he could get virtually every STD even when not "going all the way," that there are some STDs that condoms do absolutely nothing against, or that abstinence really is the only form of birth control that's even close to 100% effective. What causes a girl to get pregnant isn't reading explicit scenes. It's living in a world that says she has no worth beyond her body and going to a school that refuses to teach her about something which she will, most likely, experience someday. Teens will make up their own minds either way; the only difference is how informed they are when they do.
5. Caution should be used when dealing with younger audiences, but it's not black-and-white.
6. The message is the most important thing. Having a character who sleeps around is entirely different from having a character who sleeps around and saying that's a good thing.
7. Preaching, however, is generally bad.
8. Finally, if your novel revolves around sex, or if you're throwing it in for no reason, it will probably end up being unintentionally funny.

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Sommer Leigh » May 19th, 2011, 5:10 pm

Watcher55 wrote:
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.

Watcher!!! I've totally missed you! I hope this means you've returned to us from that "real life" place.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Margo » May 19th, 2011, 5:11 pm

polymath wrote: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.
Oooh, that has such a revolutionary romanticism to it!
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Watcher55 » May 19th, 2011, 5:16 pm

Your keyboard to God's monitor. :)

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Mira
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Mira » May 19th, 2011, 5:38 pm

polymath wrote:
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.
Polymath, that was so beautifully said. What a wonderful framing, thank you.

I think you might consider being a writer. You have a way with words.

Cookie - no worries, I don't know dates either. :)

so, am I the only one who likes gratuitious sex? I think authors should throw sex in all willy nilly every which way. Go for it. It's fun.

Thanks for the recommendation, Sommer. I'll have to check out that book. :)

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by androidblues » May 19th, 2011, 5:47 pm

It depends Mira. In an erotica, sex should be there. Otherwise, it wouldn't be an erotic story. The more 'good' sex the better. The same can be said for violence. You go to an Alien/Predator/Rambo/Riddick movie for kick-ass violence.

But then, if it's in context, with respect to the genre, I guess it's not gratuitous. My biggest problem with sex in books is when the sex randomly pops up between two characters that have no chemistry during a time that something much cooler could be happening. *cough* Vampire Academy: Shadow Kissed

So, no you're not alone. I don't mind lots of sex if I know that's what I'm reading for. But when it's just there and it's randomly inserted, that becomes a problem for me.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Margo » May 19th, 2011, 5:54 pm

androidblues wrote:You go to an Alien/Predator/Rambo/Riddick movie for kick-ass violence.
Yes, I DO! Anyone else around here think Kick-Ass had the best treatment of action and violence ever? The little girl kickin butt to a Joan Jett song? And the music playing as Kick-Ass comes to her rescue? Priceless. Okay, well maybe Kick-Ass and Fight Club...and Jane Austen's Fight Club.
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by JulieCJ » May 19th, 2011, 6:05 pm

Sierra, Sierra, Sierra . . . *sigh*
You obviously are not a romance writer. And, you don't understand HUMAN sex, either. "Only so many ways to have sex?" PUL-EEZE! I've been married for going on 43 years now, and I'm here to tell you, the variations are darn near endless . . .
I really am having a hard time understanding why you are SO VEHEMENTLY ANTI-SEX. I have to assume that perhaps you have been victimized in some way because of it, or, maybe it's some religion thing - but your personal problems with sex don't mean you have to deny everyone else their reading enjoyment.
Romance novels are based on the relationship between the lovers (not always male-female - which may open up another bag of worms for you). In a romance novel, the sex NEEDS TO BE THERE. Real-life married couples DO NOT GO THROUGH LIFE WITHOUT SEX . . . Couples in romance novels are like real-life couples - and nothing will change that. There are countless plot twists, many of which end with a 'reconciliation.' And, the sex scenes shed light on the relationship - good, bad, deep, shallow, jealous, trusting, loving, etc., etc., etc. And that's just the sensual sex. Then there's the rough, out-of-control sex, or even deviant sex or rape. There is nothing else that can take the place of sex scenes to accomplish the goals of sex scenes.
Other genre's focus on the 'object,' the killer, the espionage, the car, the building, the 'whatever.' Sex may or may not happen and if it does, it's only a sub-plot, at best. Those books work within their own genre, and sex isn't the focus. In romance books, sex is very often the primary focus. That's just how it is. The romance genre is not going away because YOU have a problem with sex.
My blog post - which seems to have earned your ire - isn't about the morality of sex, in any event. That's entirely up to the individual writer. The post is about the mechanics of writing a sex scene, should the need for one come up. I did not say every writer HAD to use sex scenes. That's ridiculous. The content is up to the individual writer. I just know that a lot of writers are not comfortable writing about sex - and, in most cases, it's more about the environment they grew up in than anything else. It was in my case. So, I recommend that these folks practice writing sex scenes, just as they practice writing in general. It was just that practice that helped me overcome my own inhibitions about writing sex scenes.
By being so anti-sex, you have effectively closed the door to a crucial part of the writing experience for yourself. You'd be surprised what you can learn about your characters by doing a sex scene (even if you never include it in your book). Things are said and done (other than the sex) during that time that wouldn't normally happen in a straight-laced and sexless everyday life. Suddenly, your characters become more real - for you, and for your readers. By refusing to utilize sex scenes when your muse drags you kicking and screaming to that point, you've destroyed your story! Your readers will, from the lead-up, expect a sex scene and when they don't get it, they will be greatly disappointed and may even abandon the story.
You may not like it but sex sells books, especially romance books, but others as well. It's true that it's a reflection on the deterioration of the human condition in today's world, but from a marketing stand point, if you're writing a romance novel, you really should be good at doing sex scenes. You, as one person, no matter how hard you try, are NOT going to change that.
Stop looking at this like a morality thing and look at it as a writer who needs to be ready for ANYTHING your muse presents!

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Mike R » May 19th, 2011, 6:10 pm

androidblues wrote: But when it's just there and it's randomly inserted, that becomes a problem for me.
Pure Genius!!! LMAO

Oh, I too am a fan of gratuitous sex.

And I also find random insertions problematic. :-)

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by androidblues » May 19th, 2011, 6:11 pm

Margo wrote:
androidblues wrote:You go to an Alien/Predator/Rambo/Riddick movie for kick-ass violence.
Yes, I DO! Anyone else around here think Kick-Ass had the best treatment of action and violence ever? The little girl kickin butt to a Joan Jett song? And the music playing as Kick-Ass comes to her rescue? Priceless. Okay, well maybe Kick-Ass and Fight Club...and Jane Austen's Fight Club.
Jane Austen's Fight Club is awesome. I'd say it's even better than Fight Club. Of course, I'm biased because I couldn't stand that book.

And I wasn't referring to Kick-Ass, as I've never seen the movie, but that's the perfect example. Some people go into it, knowing that it's violent, yet they complain about the violence afterwards. It astounds me. It's like watching porn and being astounded that there's sex.
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I never want to hear the screams of the teenage girls in other people's dreams.

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by androidblues » May 19th, 2011, 6:12 pm

Mike R wrote:
androidblues wrote: But when it's just there and it's randomly inserted, that becomes a problem for me.
Pure Genius!!! LMAO

Oh, I too am a fan of gratuitous sex.

And I also find random insertions problematic. :-)
Unintentional innuendo, but if it works, it works :D
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Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I never want to hear the screams of the teenage girls in other people's dreams.

In the real word as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems.

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Margo » May 19th, 2011, 6:12 pm

Mike R wrote:And I also find random insertions problematic. :-)
0_o

[/speechless]
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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Watcher55 » May 19th, 2011, 6:13 pm

I hope I don’t come off like I’m potificatin’ ‘cause I generally like to keep pers’nal stuff pers’nal, so I’ma try ta keep my comments in the scope of how the issue affects my work.

Sex is the most personal communion civilized humans have to enjoy. It has its place in the world, and that’s a beautiful thing. It has its place in literature, and that’s a beautiful thing. Sex, however, is just like everything else – it refuses to keep its place, so society makes its place more expansive, but if you build a bigger warehouse, you’re gonna fill that one too.

It’s important that I have those concepts in my head whenever even a hint of sexual tension exists between characters. I also have to remember that more often than not, the story is better when the tension’s energy is frustrated and/or redirected.

As for how graphic the sex should be naturally depends on the writer’s relationship with the audience. Personally, the question of how graphic an actual sex scene is is subject to the same “Watcher’s rule of thumb” as everything else: If it BELONGS, move on. If it doesn’t, rip it out and start over.

I will say, I won’t recommend any novel with graphic sex to a teenager except to warn them it’s in there if I’m asked. A novel that is frank and honest about sex and sexuality is different. I would prefer that YA authors guard themselves against peddling graphic sex for its own sake (not that I know since I’ve never read any YA).

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Re: Writing Sex Scenes

Post by Margo » May 19th, 2011, 6:18 pm

Watcher55 wrote:I will say, I won’t recommend any novel with graphic sex to a teenager except to warn them it’s in there if I’m asked.
LOL. You'd probably be better off saying the book is boring. 'Warning' the average teen that a book contains graphic sex is as good as putting it in their hands.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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