#IWSG : sex scenes – hot or horrid?

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeThe Insecure Writers Support Group is a marvellous group set up by Alex Cavanagh. On the first Wednesday of every month, members post thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

The link above takes you to details about the group and how to join. You’ll also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge – do check them out.

The awesome co-hosts for this month are J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken!


This month’s question : If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

I know I’m lucky as I’ve not agonised over any particular scene, almost certainly because I’ve not attempted to write a scene I know I have to include, but am uncomfortable writing …. yet.

In my co-authored WIP, the fight scenes were all written by my co-author. I was given the opportunity to have a go at one myself but, time was tight (we were writing during the April A-Z challenge) and he’d done a great job on the previous fight scene, so I offered to pick up other scenes and left him to it. Even before this question was asked, I’ve wondered if I was ducking the writing of the scene just because it was difficult. But the truth is, I probably wouldn’t write an action type story if writing solo.

I do have a WIP which is above love in its many forms, and one of those tales is about a relationship that’s very physical. Despite this, I never wrote a single sex scene, as it definitely gave me pause for thought … not because I’d be embarassed or uncomfortable writing it, but because it’s terribly hard to judge. What would be sexy to some is plain eurgh to others.

And that’s before you get to thinking about bad sex awards. How awful would it be to be nominated for one of those?

If a magic wand could be waved making any sex scene I wrote sexy to all and revolting to none, that would be great but, let’s be honest here … that’s never going to be possible, so when the time comes, I’ll have to decide whether to duck ’em, or give ’em my best shot.

As always, if anyone’s got any advice on how to walk that fine line – I’m all ears! One final word – do not google the words ‘magic wand’ after typing the words ‘sex scene’ on the same computer …


© Debra Carey, 2019

18 comments

  1. You had me laugh out loud at that image – magic wand and sex scenes. I’m uncomfortable writing those.too. I think sex is to be experienced, not read about. Although, well written erotica is quite attractive.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I’m with you on the experience rather than the reading. Far too easy to strike the wrong note.
    I’m glad you had a laugh about my googling experience – I must admit I yelled out loud when it happened, causing my boyfriend to look at me as if I was an idiot! 🙂

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  3. I once read dinosaur erotica because once I’d heard of it, I had to know how someone imagined the mechanics of that would work. If you ever need to write a sex scene and start feeling self-conscious or worried, read some of that. You’ll never be worried about writing people sex again.

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  4. OK, you got me there – that made me literally laugh out loud. I think it’s also the best advice I could’ve hoped for! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I would strongly recommend a careful reading of Dorothy L. Sayer’s _Busmans’ Honeymoon_ for tips on writing good sex scenes. (It’s worth it for other things as well 🙂 ) The thing is, the much derided MIlls & Boon ‘leave them at the bedroom door’ can be, when handled properly, very powerful writing. Used as a cliche, of course it is worse than useless!

    Alan

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  6. I’ve had her on my “to add to the TBR pile” list for ages now, so I’ve decided to jump in while the subject is on my mind. I see that it’s the last in a series of 13 so, if I enjoy it, I’ve just added a *huge* amount more to the pile. I’m trying to give you a stern look, but failing! 🙂

    M&B were the fodder of a desperate reader when I first went to boarding school. Luckily the senior school had a far better library and I didn’t see one again until my grandmother moved to the UK and demanded a subscription 😀

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  7. Yes, I’m with you Natalie. I don’t write erotica and have no great desire to do so, although I understand that it’s a lucrative market. But I need to work out where the line – or the veil – gets drawn.

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  8. Roland, there’s no doubt that a good imagination is a powerful thing. I tend to avoid horror for that very reason and there have been a number of films which I’ve avoided for ages having found the book too much, then found that my imagination was way worse than the film-maker’s 😀 Or that the film-maker subscribed to your first wife’s view.

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  9. If you want to follow the progress of the courtship start with ‘Strong Poison’. You may omit ‘The Nine Tailors’ (but I wouldn’t since the scenery and personalia were all around me before I retired, but it adds nothing to the courtship tale.) And for a powerful description of love in desolation there is a section in ‘Clouds of Witness’ which is quite heartrending. I am impervious to hard stares! 🙂

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  10. Alan, thanks for picking out the best from the 13 – that will help somewhat. I’ll be diving in to them as soon as I finish my current read. Tee hee on the hard stares – you must teach me the skill sometime.

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  11. LOL. I think you should read loads of steamy romance novels before you start to write any, ah, steamy scenes yourself. Just like with everything else, you learn as you read 🙂

    Visiting for IWSG day There’s Only One C…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Good point. I don’t think I’d want the wand to make every find the scene sexy, just to be sure that I wasn’t trite or writing nonsense. I’ve read a few such scenes on blogs – obvious practice ground – that seemed choppy and unrealistic. I realize what I’m reading is unedited, but I’d love a magic wand to ensure I get it “good”.
    p.s. I used your suggestion for my H post in #AtoZChallenge.
    Doesn’t Speak Klingon

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  13. Ronel, your advice is sound – my problem is that I plain don’t fancy reading steamy novels. And I think you’ve very smartly identified my problem. I’m the one who’s not that impressed by most of that writing and I hate the idea of my work being read (and judged) in that same way. I’m feeling my handling of this subject is going to be very much “off screen”!

    Thank you – that was a really helpful realisation.

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  14. Getting nominated for a bad sex award…shudder. I’ve always thought the genres I’d write in would be poetry and young adult fantasy. I’d just stumbled into writing romance a few years ago and it all started with a dream. So naturally, when it came to writing a sex scene in the beginning, had been less than the stellar. I’ve gotten a bit better (hopefully more than a bit inner critic) but reading lots of well written sex scenes has helped. As Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You’re right, of course, Lidy. My struggle is to find sex scenes that are well-written, or that I find well-written *and* where there seems to be a sufficient concensus with my view. A bit of a problem as I’ve yet to find many examples I found good. Tricky when you’re a picky reader I guess.

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