I think writing about sex is an issue for many writers. 

How do we know when it's too much?  What can we make our characters do?  What should they show?  Should I be descriptive, explicit?  Well, should I put his hand here?  Should I make her say this?  Isn't it all remarkably like porn?  I was always afraid of making my characters seem stupid.  I would write a scene, then reread it. 

"Great heavens," I would say.  "If I read that out loud I'll be giggling like a school girl."

Now I reread my bedroom scenes and there is some really hot stuff in there.

I did two things to help me on this quest to better perform in the literary bedroom.

1. I asked questions.  No, not questions from other writers or agents, etc.  It started like this. 

I was in bed with my hubby...ahem...just laying there, and I decided to ask him how it felt to be a man.  It was a good question, I thought.  I obviously don't possess his equipment. When I stand, my body is heavy in different areas than his.  I wanted to know the nitty-gritty stuff, things girls aren't suppose to know just cause we're female. 

It took him several attempts to answer.  With each new answer, the burrow in his brow intensified, but I gained new knowledge.  Then, I asked him what men talk about amongst each other when women aren't around.

"Good God," he said, "you're not putting that in any of your books.  Are you?"

"Of course not, honey, but it's beyond my control if one of my characters chooses to experience it."

He wasn't much help in that department.  It's a good thing I have brothers.  You wouldn't believe the things men talk about in secret.  I made a vow not to reveal it in this blog.  However, this knowledge has been so helpful in creating my male characters.

After that, I read what I could on the subject of men and how they differ from women.  I reached down into the psychological level.  I invaded the man cave.  I do love men, but I'm thankful each new day for being a woman.

2. I picked up several books from romance writers. 

There are two extremes. 

I had one writer who would stretch a romantic scene for 20 pages.  It took her five pages to remove a scarf of undo two buttons because the guy was too busy either kissing or caressing. 

My reaction:  Will you hurry up and get to it already.

By the 20th page, she had delivered the scene beautifully.  I had to fan myself for about 5 minutes.

The second writer was so brief that she left me hanging.  She got right into it.  I felt cheated.  Toss that book aside.

I felt my place was somewhere in the middle.  The reader knows best.  We don't want to be bored to tears, and we certainly don't want to be left in a state of frustration.

When I picked up the third book, the main character was having an orgy.  When is it too much?

Today's society is not so prim.  Everyone is having sex.

I decided the best way to tackle my problem was to keep it natural.  We use real experiences to write well.  Why not do the same for sex?

Just something to think about.  Now a quote from someone who knows.


A promiscuous person is a person who is getting more sex than you are.

                              ~Victore Lownes~


  1. I wrote 3 different sex scenes in my novel. One of my crit partners told me the last one was pornographic. I corrected her & told her it was erotic. But her comment made me change the scene. I made it more of an emotional joining rather than a physical one & I used it as a direct contrast to a violent rape scene earlier in the story. That scene was graphic & done as a play by play so the reader experiences what the victim experiences. But overall I find less is more. If you express the emotion in tangent with the physical, the scene is rich without having to be explicit.

  2. Thanks for the pointer Nancy. I agree about the joining of emotions with the physical. I actually have a hard time connecting characters who have sex and are not in love.


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