I was reading a string of responses after a very funny post on writing sex scenes. That got me to thinking about my own experience with this topic. You know I had to add my two cents.
Ah, the dreaded sex scene. I know I am not alone in my anxiety over writing sex scenes. I’ve heard from a lot of other authors who feel the same way. Some choose to do fade to black as a solution to their dilemma. I admire the writers who not only don’t have trouble with sex scenes but love to write them. It shows.
I wanted to dig deeper into the psychology around this. As the initial post suggested, there might be a fear of family and friends reading our sex scenes. A lot of us can relate to this. I know I can. And as the post suggested after about the fifth or sixth book, we may start to take a ho-hum attitude regarding friends and families reading those very intimate scenes. Some of us, like myself, still squirm. The question is why?
I don’t like one answer, but I have to acknowledge the remnants of my own Catholic upbringing were not without negative consequences. Sex was considered taboo, especially before marriage, and gasp, between two women! Catholicism is not the only religion that places certain taboos on sex. Culture plays a huge part as well. In my research, even in the more enlightened countries and cultures there is a certain taboo regarding women as sexual beings. Religion coined the term “living in sin” and this suggested that sex outside of marriage was a sin. Since lesbians only recently gained the right to marry in the eyes of the law, well, that meant there was a whole lot of sin happening. Those messages we’ve grown up with are very hard to shake. Oh, and I hate that these messages are different for men.
It’s no wonder I’ve struggled with writing sex scenes. But, the cultural taboos on sex are not the only struggles I have. Like others, I wonder, after 19 books (I am currently working on my 20th and not all 19 have been released yet), how I can possibly make those sex scenes fresh and new. It is proving more difficult than I first envisioned. I’ve written everything from sweet, first-time intimate love scenes to the lighter end of BDSM. I’ve had my characters use everything from a feather to a camera in their foreplay. I can’t claim that I’ve physically researched every single instance, but drawing on my personal experience has certainly been one technique.
So, how as a writer can I write about things that are definitely outside the realm of my experience? Google. Today, a writer can find just about anything they want on a variety of topics. Thank Goddess for that!
Honestly, I don’t think I will ever completely lose my hang-ups about sex. No matter how far I have come in becoming comfortable with the fact that I am a sexual being and there is not a damn thing wrong with me because of it, a tiny kernel of discomfort will remain. Sometimes I joke about sex because that is a tried and true technique for me to cope with something that causes me discomfort. But, perhaps the best way for me to continue to embrace something that is perfectly natural and good is to continue writing those sex scenes. It’s all part of my reformation project. I am not too freaked out to admit I love reading sex scenes, so it’s logical that others might as well. That means no fade to black for me. I’m going to continue to push through my discomfort. I owe it to womankind!
If you want to read all my different sex scenes, you know the drill. Click on the links below. I have at least one in every book I’ve ever written.
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2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Sex Baby…Part 3”
I’m a male, born into a Catholic family, but dropped my adherence to the faith early in my teen years. I don’t know if it had more to do my actual disbelief in the Catholic dogma or with those Catholic teachings interfering with my nightly fantasies and my relationship with my hand, and the possible repercussions of eventually ending up in Dante’s Inferno for engaging in those deeds.
Today, I have absolutely no compunction in writing erotica of any sort, whatsoever. However, I only write about those things, which I have personally experienced or have experienced in some form. I do feel to write about types of sex in which I have not personally engaged will across as inauthentic. It would be like me writing about what I did and felt during my year working in a hospital emergency room. I’ve never done that either and the veracity of anything I would write in that respect would come across as suspect.
I did meet one woman online who was Catholic. She was heavily involved in her church, and was, in fact, the cantor there. When her husband found her secret erotic writings on her computer – which she shared with men online (as some sort of release, I took it) – he revealed them to their entire extended families. Not only did she suffer humiliation and ostracization from many in both families, but her “transgression” eventually led to their divorce, which he instigated, feeling he was justified. When I first met her, she was a terribly broken woman as a result of the divorce – however, she continued in with her previous habit of writing erotica to men. Today, she’s a published romance writer.
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Great story about the woman and I hope she is very successful in her writing!