Monday, March 29, 2010

Sex and My Contest

MY CONTEST: Have you entered? Have you spread the word?

So far, I've got 5 new blog followers and 11 new Twitter followers since the contest started. I'm thrilled that some of you are spreading the word about my contest (blogging, tweeting, sending readers my way) but I think we need to step it up. Because I'm pretty sure that 2 of those new Twitter followers are bots. What do I have to do to get your attention, people? Post a link to one of my old Poochie commercials? Geez.

On the bright side, one of my new followers on Twitter is Janet Reid! I'm honored, but I'm also pretty sure she's just trying to keep an eye on me since I am now friends with, enemies with, and/or constantly Twittering with several of her clients. Or maybe she just likes my link to Everything Octopus in the "Non-Literary Blog Goodness" section at the bottom of my sidebar...

So. Enter the contest! Tell people! Maybe win a FREE book! (Not convinced that the book I'm giving away is worth the effort? Read a review and some excerpts here at Authors Anonymous.)

Okay, on to the part of the blog that probably made you click through here in the first place:


It seems to be on the collective (dirty) minds of the blogosphere these days. James Killick advocates more sex in writing, Lexi Revellian (what a great name) is a less-is-more fan, Randy Susan Meyers focuses on emotion, and Elizabeth Black just hosted a one-paragraph love scene contest (where some of us included more sex than others). It's everywhere, I tell you!

So, what's your take on good sex in literature? I've talked about trends in sex writing before, but how about the craft of these scenes? Do you just know it when you read it, or are there some specific elements that you think make up the recipe for particularly good (or bad) sex scenes? Have you written any? I've got one in my novel, but we really just see the before and after moments, none of the during moments. Maybe the next book will have more, but the first story just doesn't lend itself to having any explicit detail.

What do you think?


  1. You were such a little tease, weren't you.

  2. No one can top Lady Chatterley's Lover. He writes the best sex scenes that have ever been written!

  3. Sean, I have belatedly realized that writing the word "sex" in conjunction with a link to my child acting days is going to get me some really unwanted bot followers...

    MollyC, I tried to read LCL in high school and never got through it. (Okay, I flipped through and couldn't find the sex scenes, then got interested in something else.) Maybe I should try again.

  4. We humans are sexual animals. Apart from the Bonobo chimps, we seem to be the only species that not only enjoys the sexual contact between individuals but also uses it to resolve conflicts.

    Some of us say less is more, harking back to the understated and censored sex scenes of the films of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Others seem to want to "bring it on" with long and graphic descriptions of the sexual encounter, replete with detailed descriptions of anatomical variations and positions.

    Like it or not, however, sex is a major part of human life, and without any of it in a work of fiction, unless the work is designed for children or intentionally stresses the asexual characteristics of the characters, the story comes off as unrealistic to me.

    The key, to me, is the way in which it is portrayed. If it can be portrayed from the point of view of one who has really "been there" and the author is honest enough to let his or her experience come through in the writing, a sex scene can give the reader an enormous emotional charge, and underlying sexual tension running through a book can keep the reader turning the pages. However, if the story is nothing but a series of cliche-ridden, graphic descriptions of the sex act itself, it becomes nothing but pornography.

  5. David stated it pretty well. Like the use of profanity, which we've discussed in earlier posts, I prefer the less-is-more approach. I think we should tell what we need to tell and show what we need to show, but not get unnecessarily graphic, otherwise it starts sounding like those Penthouse Forum columns or whatever those things were that I used to read years ago. Not very good art and not needed.

    By the way:
    I’d like to invite you and your readers to join us in a blogging challenge for the month of April. Check it out at Blogging From A to Z

    If you're in I'll include the link to your blog in my list of participants which appears on my sidebar. I've gained five new followers so far since I put this out there--maybe you could add some too. And it's a writing challenge! I know how you like those.


  6. I think one problem is that the only times I remember reading full sex scenes were in "trashy romance novels." They definitely carry a stigma, and 'good writing' isn't supposed to include graphic sex. I'm for both, personally. Good writing and lots of sex. It's a part of life, right? Would you limit your character from eating, breathing? Do you limit him/her from kissing? So why sex? Bringing these things out in the open, making them acceptable, normal, and well-written will only buoy sex in the eyes of society.

  7. I'm on the fence on this one. My characters are a part of me and I can't see talking about their sex life any more than I would talk about my own. I agree, there's nothing wrong with sex scenes, and have certainly enjoyed a few! But in my writing, it feels like kissing and telling. I think I'll leave the full on sex scenes to someone else and stick with veiled references.

  8. I prefer sex scenes that are about emotion. I don't want to hear about glistening abs or rippling pectorals. I want to hear about how emotions are running high as they take the plunge.

  9. I think I'm with you, Susana, and I think honestly and emotion (as many others mentioned) is what elevates these scenes into the realm of literature.

    Of course, I'm not sure I've got the skill set to do it right yet...

  10. Thanks for linking! I think context is everything, as far as what works for sex in literature.