Saturday, May 8, 2010

Writing Sex Scenes

One of the things I enjoy most about writing The Rule of Love is crafting the sex scenes. I promise, it's not because I'm a total pervert. It used to take me days of cringing and blushing before I could force myself to complete a pivotal love scene for my characters, but no longer. Writing this manuscript has been so important in helping me "get over it" and just get it done.
Sex can be one of the most intimate moments that people can share, but how do you convey a full sense of the experience? Especially, when the difficulty with sex scenes often lies in the descriptions of genitalia; more often than not, the scene becomes crude or comical, dependent on the terms you use. When I used to read historical romance, I often skipped the sex scenes because they were too explicit instead of sensual, or completely ridiculous. No more heaving or aching bosoms, please. And the idea that a very virginal heroine would be completely at ease exposing her naked self to a lover for the first time, know exactly where and how everything goes, and have a mind-blowing orgasm seems too far-fetched.

In writing Rule of Love, I focus most often on the emotions of the POV character and an exploration of the senses of the POV character, rather than who's doing what, in where, to whom. In the balance between physical acts and emotions, the latter usually wins out. And, there are at least ten of the twenty-three chapters I've written so far devoted entirely to sex. My first chapter opens with an orgy. No gratuitous scenes, because sex is not just sex in this manuscript. It also conveys a deep level of intimacy and love between characters. There's sex for the simple pleasure of it, and scenes that involve the domination and subordination of characters. It helps that my critique partners are both open-minded and they've provided wonderful feedback. I hope the audience I'm writing for will one day feel the same way.

As a reader or writer, how do you react to sex scenes?



Mary Mary said...

It's always interesting to see how other authors struggle with writing particular scenes. I agree that the sex scene can be one of the most difficult, but for me, it's much easier if I imagine myself in place of the POV character. If there's something that would seemingly make me uncomfortable, then I'd write it into my character. Same goes for something I know I would really enjoy. After all, as writers, we learn to live bits and pieces of our character's lives. I hope I helped in giving some sort of perspective on the matter.

Anita Davison said...

Some make me go, 'Oh perleaze', others make me squirm as they have little to do with love, but yours, Lisa are always eloquent and add exactly what a sex scene should to the story. You could give lessons!

Michelle Gregory said...

great post.

i read them and sometimes write them, but don't share them with anyone. still figuring out how to do that and not let my straight-laced friends know it was me writing them. not sure that i've found the right balance between the physical act and the emotions, and they all end up sounding slightly the same, but they're sure fun to write.

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