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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7 Responses to “Writers, do you struggle with sex scenes?”

  1. imitationwriter June 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    I definitely agree with trying them out before you need them. I have recently dabbled in both of these areas as practice to see what I could do with them.

    • aktwo June 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      And what was the result?

      • imitationwriter June 22, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

        Sex scene was generally a success. I don’t think I’m cut out for comedy as a focus.

      • aktwo June 22, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

        You should try combining both – a sex scene that ends up being a bit of a laugh 🙂 would love to read your trial run. On your blog?

      • imitationwriter June 23, 2013 at 1:55 am #

        Yeh, my stories are on my blog. Will have to keep that idea in mind.

  2. C.S.J June 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    I did struggle – and sometimes, still do. I find the more I write them, the easier it becomes to actually get them done…but trying to make them different so they aren’t repetitive is also a skill one needs to develop. So yes, practicing is certainly the way to go ;D

    • aktwo June 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

      I agree with you C.S. Much of writing is about skill acquired through repetition. There is a fine balance between raw talent and experience, but once you strike that balance I think that’s a writer’s sweet spot. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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