Thursday, February 7, 2013
Let`s Talk About Sex
*Shakes money-maker to Salt-N-Pepa song*
Phew! That worked up a sweat. Just like a good romp in bed only not quite as enjoyable. I thought we could chat about sex, what makes it work in a book, and what doesn`t as far as I`m concerned. First off I`m well aware that this is a delicate subject for many, so here comes the obligatory warning.
Ahem. If you are easily offended by discussions about sex between a man and a woman or a man and a man, now is the time to leave. I swear I won`t hold it against you.
Okay, now that those who may take offense have clicked on a different and less titillating blog, we`ll get down to brass tacks, or perhaps handcuffs?? Oh yes, we are getting naughty here! I am a woman that enjoys sexy stuff in her books. I don`t always require it. If I`m reading YA then I`m fine with the lack of spicy stuff, but my YA reads are limited. When I leave the teens and their worries behind then I want something erotic but not pornographic.
I guess I`ll take a moment here and explain what I feel is the difference between erotica and pornography. A fine gentleman friend of mine asked me just the other day what difference there was between erotica and porn. My thoughts on this is that erotica empowers a woman. It makes her an equal participant in a sensual scene. Pornography belittles women. It makes the woman nothing more than a thing for a man to slake his desire in or on.
I`m one of them types that must have a good plot to support the sex in a book, and please, this is no slam against anyone who reads a book that is all sex with a so-so plot woven through the grunting and groaning. If that is what you like, and both the characters are over eighteen and willing participants, go for it! For me, I must have a story that is viable and strong. Then the sex can be sprinkled on like a nice hot Cajun seasoning.
So when I sit down to write a bedroom (or haymow or shower or fireside) sex scene, first and foremost the woman is a sexual equal to the man. She may hand over her equality at times, and he may too, but she will always be the one in control of the situation. This is my rule number one. If she says stop they stop. If she says go faster, he may go faster, or he may go slower to make her writhe a bit. Even if the man involved is a god, he takes his cues from his leading lady in all manners of carnal pleasure.
I also write my sex scenes for M/F and M/M alike. I do not make my male/male love scenes more raw or crude. My guys are in a long-term committed relationship. They are not starring in a gay porn movie. They are making love. When Paul and Gordon come together it is an expression of their devotion for each other. Just like when Libby and Ares share themselves, or Maggie and Gerard or Dana and Jonah. A couple in love is a couple in love, no matter the genders involved.
My books tend to have one highly detailed sex scene per novel. I`ll spritzle random hot moments, long passionate kisses, heated embraces, and hot and spicy grope sessions throughout my books, but I only do that one ‘Holy Hannah!’ scene once. For me as the writer, it just works better this way. I can devote more time to humor, romance, action, and adventure if I`m not trying to cram a sex scene into every chapter. I also feel that sometimes less is better.
Just as we talked about with action, too much sex takes away the tenderness and special feel of our couple making love. That is how I feel about my own books. That is not to say that I don`t enjoy more than one adult scene in other books. The WARDen puts several sex scenes in her books amid very strong plots, subplots, humor and action. For her tales more sex works and I enjoy it greatly! For mine, I don`t feel it would. You can see that we`re two different authors with different approaches to how we write our books in varying genres.
I`m also no fan of closed door sex or stringing the reader along to the very end for the connubial bliss to occur, no I am not. Please fellow scribes, don`t rely on making the reader slog through a slow book for the sex at the end. If your plot isn`t strong enough to carry the story, then don`t use the much-coveted bedroom fun as the lure. Your readers will be sick and tired of the weak plot and won`t give two tingles about the love scene when they get to it. If you`re using sex to entice folks to the end of your book, you need to rework your manuscript and add some drama, humor, action, and/or adventure to propel the storyline along.
There isn`t much for me to say about behind closed doors. I`m well aware some readers like their romance this way. It`s just not for me. I want to hear every sigh, see every caress, smell every spicy candle, and taste the passion that is thick in the air. Oh my, I`m feeling flushed of a sudden…..
So that`s how I feel about sex in books that I read and write. What are your thoughts about sex? How do you handle things when the heat between your romantic leads begins to climb?