Archive | June, 2013

Writers, do you struggle with sex scenes?

22 Jun

Erotica and comedy are probably the hardest types of fiction to craft. Humor and sex are universal in their effect on us, but sexual preferences and sense of humor vary greatly from one person to the other, and indeed from one culture to culture.

What makes you laugh or aroused will doubtless be different to what works for someone else. Yet, sometimes, erotica or comedy can transcend personal tastes and cultural idiosyncrasies and move us all in the same way. How is this possible? What are the features of this highly-coveted and universally-appealing writing ability, and indeed, how can a writer emulate it?

With erotica specifically, unless you specialize in this genre, it’s hard to write sexually explicit material and not make it seem gratuitous, or worse uneventful. Sex, like any ingredient in successful fiction, has to move the plot forward. It can’t just be there for the sake of looking pretty.

Now, to further exacerbate the difficulty of making erotica resound well with a reader is the gender variable. Men and women respond to sexual stimulation in vastly different ways, including written erotica. For instance, women prefer detailed descriptions of physical appearances, and innuendos. Men on the other hand want to get to the gory details quickly, and explicitly. So not only does the writer have to contend with the innate difficulty of writing sex scenes per se, but we also have to account for the fact that just by being who we are in terms of gender, we may already be alienating members of the opposite sex.

I believe all writers have to hone their skills at writing meaningful love scenes, and the best way to do it is to try it out, maybe in a short story format. You never know when you will need it.

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