Sex scenes--hold back, or let it all out?
Written by
Kimberly Wesley
September 2010
Written by
Kimberly Wesley
September 2010
I have been struggling with how sexy should my sex scenes be. I could have them real tame--a kiss here, a touch there, and cut to the next scene, or have it close to a porn movie. My mind is leaning toward porn. Soft porn anyway. What I would call soft porn may be nothing to the next reader. It's a sensitive topic to me. I think about what my friends would say when they read those passages. I know, I know! I should not think about that when I write, but I do. I still write it, but it's on my mind. And then I keep thinking, I'll have to publish this under my fictional name because I feel on edge about it. In my first novel, one character seems to talk about sex a lot. She's a wild character, and it works for her. Not saying my other female leads are prudes or anything, but the other character is definitely the "Samantha" of the crew. So this should not be an issue, because everyone LOVED Samantha, right? I mean, she could be a bit over the top, but a lot of women have an inner Samantha. We just don't voice it as much as she did. To sum up my current WIP plot, it's a romance with a young "millionaire playboy" who thinks love is for fools. He's been scorned with love once, and has given up on finding it again. He dates many women, none he cares a bit about, except how they can please him sexually. That's only a portion of it (because he eventually does fall in love), but this is enough where you get the picture that the sex scenes MUST be intense. I can't hold back. It's the nature of the character. In reality, it's probably nothing. I've read the Zane books, and those get pretty intense. I'm more in line with Jackie Collins though. I started reading her when I was a mere fifteen and had no clue about S-E-X. I need, for me personally, to just talk about sex more. I can write it, but when I am in conversation with a group of my friends, I'm more the observer. Me the writer can come up with all kinds of kinky things. Me, the person... what the heck is wrong with me?? Okay, I may be sharing a little too much. But this blog helps me to at least talk about it more.

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  • Simone Cooper

    My co-author and I decided that to be honest in our thriller novel, our sex descriptions would be as explicit as our violence descriptions, and so we were able to make our decisions about how graphic to be within a consistent framework.

    We read a lot of sex scenes of various levels from fade-to-black to full on porn, to start really understanding the differences. We wrote practice scenes; we asked our friends of both genders which scenes were "hot" and why--it wasn't always from the most graphic ones that people felt the heat!

    A great, fun resource that I really enjoyed is Stacia Kane's blog posts about writing _important_ sex scenes. She collected them all under the tag "be a sex-writing strumpet." It gives great tips about knowing when such scenes are necessary and when they should fade to black, when (and how and why) to shed your own inhibitions about the words and language, and the levels of explicitness, etc. etc.

    She does a great job.

    Good luck!