Monday, 5 September 2011

Why I Will One Day Write A Sex Scene (But Not Yet)

(It's steamy writing! hehe)

Which is to say, I have never written a sex scene at this point in my life. Why? Well, there are five reasons.
1) I'd have no idea what I was doing.
2) I'd mess it up horribly.
3) I've only ever heard/read mockeries of sex scenes in which anatomy is uniquely labeled. So I might accidentally imitate that.
4) I really, really would have no idea what I was doing.
5) I'm actually one of those lame-o no-sex-til-marriage kids, so when I say I have no idea how to write a sex scene... I really mean it.

Which begs an interesting question - When does 'write-what-you-know really apply?'
A lot of writing purists will say always.
A lot of fiction writers will say never.

I've never fallen in love (I think), but my characters have, and I've written it even though I don't 'know' it.
But like I said above, I also don't 'know' what sex is like, and so I've never tried to write it.

Someday (let's hope) I will know. Then I'll probably write a scene, just to see if I can. And perhaps my fantasy novels will get a bit risque (probably not).

That said, I'll probably never publish it because my blushing would be visible through the pages, trust me. (Seriously, I don't know how you romance writers do it. I practically blush when my characters shake hands.)

So what do you think?
Write what you know?
Know what you write?
Or guess and hope it turns out all right?



Carrie Butler said...

High five!

...No, I'm serious. High five. Right now. *Holds hand up in the air expectantly*

Not only do I applaud your morals, I applaud your reluctance to write something you feel uncomfortable with. If you rush it, it'll feel forced and mechanical.

Now, that's not to say you have to experience it to write about it. Read enough books with sex scenes and you'll be well versed on the subject. There are always ways around details--cut the lights, fade to black, etc.

I think, when you're ready, you'll be able to produce a great, authentic scene. Until then, don't sweat it. :)

L.G.Smith said...

I wrote my first sex scene in my last novel. Very, very difficult to get right, because (IMO) it isn't about the physical activity so much (unless you're writing erotica) but rather the emotional impact on the POV character. Once I zeroed in on that it was much easier to describe -- to a point. I still faded to black for most of it. :)

In my current WIP I know I'm going to have to write a scene about the MC losing her virginity, and I know I'll end up writing it several times before I get it right. Not sure how I'll approach it yet, but I usually go for honesty.

Phil Hall said...

Tips: don't write about your first time, as it will be awkward, painful, and not at all the kind of scenario that people will see as "erotic," unless you're going for that awkward, painful, non-erotic which case you're going to be fine. Instead, write about the third or fourth time--by then, you'll have "figured it out."

It's all about logistics and friction.

Lauren W. said...

I am amazed Bethany! Since I've read the love stories in your book I was CONVINCED you had been in love before. You understood and described separated love so well.

I always prefer those romance scenes where less is more. I think the author should lead the reader to the closeness and atmosphere of a romantic encounter but the details are unnecessary. The best romance in movies are suggestive not explicit.

Creepy Query Girl said...

No sex till marraige kids are NOT lame:) I say stick to what you're comfortable with. If a sex scene is out of your comfort zone than put it off until you're ready. Or you could read a lot of already well established romance authors (not erotica) to find out how to write a steamy scene tastfully. Good luck!

Suzie F. said...

As others have said, you are not lame for wanting to experience something so special and intimate with someone you'll be spending the rest of your life with. That's awesome!

Write what you feel comfortable with. Personally I like when the author gives just enough info and leaves the rest up to my imagination.

I have a little something for you on my blog :)

Lisa Aldin said...

This post made me blush. I have trouble with those scenes as well, mainly because I can't help but think, "MY MOTHER MIGHT READ THIS!"

The Golden Eagle said...

I would say take the plunge and guess, unless it's really uncomfortable to write--in which case it would probably come out unnatural or stiff. I usually avoid sex scenes; kissing, okay, but anything beyond that, no. :P

Mark Noce said...

Just try writing a short scene. Sometimes the most suggestive scene can be the most telling, and allow you to use other people's imaginations as an ally in creating the scene itself.

magpiewrites said...

Hey Bethany
First of all, I don't believe in the 'write what you know' trope at all. That's what imagination is for. And you know what love is, though maybe not 'erotic' love. You know what desire and passion are. Those things are enough. You don't need to have experienced something to be able to imagine it. You can do it. Let sincerity and passion be your guides!
good luck

Jennifer Hillier said...

Sex scenes are extremely difficult for me to write. I write thrillers, and sex in a thriller isn't that common for the genre, so if a sex scene is in there, it better serve an important purpose (more so that just showing love between two characters).

I interpret the "write what you know" adage to mean that we should add authenticity to what we write by using our own experiences. My character is a sex addict - I'm definitely not, but I can certainly relate to her insecurity and neediness at times, and I tap into that when writing her.

Damyanti said...

I've written sex scenes, and hopefully I've done a competent job at them.

I'd say write what you're comfortable with, but do not be afraid to test your comfort zones. ha! some advice.

Stopping by to invite you to the The Rule of Three Blogfest ---a month-long shared-world fiction extravaganza in October with some great prizes, and of course, a lot of exposure and constructive feedback for your writing :).

It is open to all genres, so maybe you could try out a sex scene for one of the Blogfest installments ?

BornStoryteller said...

Hi Bethany;
first, write what you want, what you feel comfortable in writing about, and let the words flow. You don't feel it will be real? Writer what you want, and don't let anyone push you into something that makes you uncomfortable.
Yes, imagination with writers is an important thing; we shouldn't just "write what we know." Where would all the GREAT horror and Science Fiction writers be then?

Second: you are not lame. You have a moral stance that you believe in. Good. Stand by it. Anyone who mocks you are tries to make you feel "lame": that is their own crap. I applaud you for going with your feelings.