Good Sex Is Hard

Woman lying on brown atlas covered by chocolate and candiesBoth in real life and in writing.

Anyone who thinks otherwise has probably never really done either well.

Or been very, very lucky.

Why do I bring this up today?

Well, first, because I just read a “first time” sex scene in that book that was already annoying me.  (Proof that even someone who has been writing for decades can have an off book.)

Prior to that scene I kept wondering whether the focus on a teenage boy’s wanting alone time with his girl was even relevant to the story.  (Although admittedly more relevant than the two pages spent on finding and describing a latrine.)  So, I’m wondering that and then had to read this awkward little sex scene that really did nothing for the book.

So, there’s that.

And, second, there’s a thread on one of the author forums about writing erotica.  (Actually, there are multiple threads on multiple forums about it.)

Seems people think it’s easy to do.  They figure if sales are slow in their chosen genre they can just slap together a little sexy, sexy time and BOOM! success.

Or they think that including an explicit sex scene somehow lessens the rest of the story.

Wrong.  On both counts.

Have you tried to write an erotic book?  To keep it hot and sexy the whole way through?

Not easy.

Also, if done well, a good sex scene, even in a non-erotic book, is as central to the plot as any other scene.

(As a side note, it doesn’t have to be a sexy sex scene to be a good sex scene.)

Here’s a great quote from Stacia Kane that I’ve paraphrased just a smidge.

A great sex scene should:

“illuminate the most private acts of your characters, [] demonstrate their connection, their trust, the depth of their feelings (or lack thereof…), their desire for each other, the moment their relationship deepens and changes beyond anything they’ve been through before, while also strengthening the story, increasing tension, and adding complications…”

That, friends, is not easy to do.  In any scene, let alone one where you have to find a way to describe intimate acts in such a way that people believe it instead of laughing at you…

And, on that note, I am off to gorge myself on turkey, because it’s Thanksgiving here in the States.  Possibly my favorite holiday because there’s lots of good food, family, and no gift-giving awkwardness.

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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9 Responses to Good Sex Is Hard

  1. hollowroseheart says:

    I seriously just read something just like that in a book by Mercedes Lackey. Was supposed to be a first time sexual experience. All it was was very awkward and odd for it to be in the book.

    • M. H. Lee says:

      Yep…that’d be the one.

      • hollowroseheart says:

        That’s funny. I am trying to decide if I want to finish reading it.

      • M. H. Lee says:

        Yeah, I probably will. My fear is that this one isn’t going to wrap up the series and I’ll have to read another one to figure out what happens. I may just have to go to Wikipedia at that point…As I recall the last book in this series was just “eh” and this one has some terrible editing to boot. She’s better when she sticks to three-book series.

      • hollowroseheart says:

        I agree. I think the books I love the most were the last Herald mage series, along with the arrows of the queen ones…the just got kinda weird after that.

      • M. H. Lee says:

        I did like the ones with the gryphons in them and the sun cats were kinda cool.

        I went ahead and finished Bastion. It didn’t get worse at least. I actually really liked one of the characters introduced towards the end. And the ending was enough of an ending that I won’t feel compelled to read the next one. So, that was good.

      • hollowroseheart says:

        Yeah, I finished it too. Mags cousin was pretty cool there at the end.

  2. angelwanderer says:

    Hi. It’s not easy. I found the process easy to a point and then difficult later. The easy part was coming up with the scenario. The difficult bit was the tempo. How long do you hang onto a moment/s before you lose a reader? Men’s tempos are faster and want ‘visuals’ sooner while women tend to devour each word by licking the texture of each syllable. Both have a cut-off period and there are so many variables to it- A (

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