I love sex in books. I love to write sex in books but I don’t love to read books which are essentially a string of poorly written sex scenes with no plot. I rarely read romances without sex in them because frankly, I like sex in romances. BUT, I’m dismayed a lot by the idea that sexy means a full blown sex scene every eight pages. And I’m dismayed by sex in books of any genre with no purpose. Sex is a great way to advance the story, to show a breakthrough, to bring out anger, fear, pain, healing, love, hate, etc. Without purpose it’s just a waste of words.
I was having a discussion a few weeks back about sex in books and my perspective is this – a book with one or two sex scenes can be way more erotic and hot than a book with ten or twenty. Because erotic is not in the number of scenes, but the build up. Building up tension takes words. Now sometimes a smart author can have sex on page three and make it work, and sometimes it doesn’t happen until page 204.
Sometimes a brush of lips over an ear can be a million times hotter than actual intercourse. It’s the build up that creates an ultimately satisfying sex scene, IMO.
And while we’re on the topic and I’m sitting here in this pot of very hot water, let me just talk about the quality of sex scenes because well, okay here’s my thing – if you personally feel uncomfortable writing sex scenes, don’t. For the love of cupcakes, please, don’t do it. Becuase it shows and it makes me wince. And also, hello, if you’ve never actually done something before either research it well and talk to people who do, or don’t write it.
For instance – many BDSM and D/s books bug the heck out of me because most of them aren’t written by people who’ve done it or have talked to people who do and it’s like this carnival of weird sex scenes wherein the hero does things to the heroine that most women (submissives included) would knock him out for. Why does he spank her? How does it make her feel (and not just the strikes of hand on ass)? How does it make him feel to dominate her? BDSM is a rich theme for emotions and you rarely see that because the writing is all about the sex and it misses the opportunity to deepen the sensuality and get into people’s heads instead of just into their orgasm.
I’m not one of the erotic romance authors who cringes at the idea that their sex scenes turn people on. I figure that if they don’t turn readers on, I’m not doing my job. I have no shame that my sex scenes are evocative, in fact, I’m proud to hear when they are because I work hard on them. But I’m far more proud when they fit into the story and mean something more.
I’m not perfect by any means. I have a lot to learn and I expect I’ll be making mistakes until the last breath I take. I love my genre and I think there are a great many talented authors in it breaking down doors and pushing the envelope, writing books that knock your socks off as well as get people excited. I’m proud to be a part of this genre and I’ve learned a lot from other authors working hard and putting in the time to put out a product that gives the readers a whole experience.
And lastly, even erotica is more than just a whole bunch of sex scenes. Well written erotica’s sex scenes are also there for a purpose. Without the purpose, it’s just porn. And that’s fine, I don’t have problems with porn, it’s just not what I write and not what I enjoy reading.
So as far as sex in books, give it to me! I love it. But give it to me with purpose.