Authorized Thoughts: The Sex Scene, From Implied to Pornographic

Three things have just converged: another blogger just wrote about needing to write their first sex scene, my series has also gotten to that point in the story-arc where I need two characters “to connect”, and the novel I just started reading yesterday had one of the most explicit sex scenes I’ve ever read in a sci-fi novel. In the book I’m reading, the scene needed to happen, but the depth and girth of the scene seemed gratuitous. Or, am I just reading Erotica disguised by a good plot? For the story I’m writing, I was thinking about more of an implied scene. It needs to happen, but the details do not alter the plot.

I don’t consider myself a prude. The Paula Guran anthology I just finished last week, Extreme Zombies, had zombie sex in a few stories. Rarely, did it seem gratuitous. It was part of the examination of what it meant to retain humanity. On the other hand, the sex scenes didn’t last for eight pages.

To those reading this, where is the line between too little and too much? Is there a line? Also, is it wrong to consider how much or little my future readers may want to read when I write the scene? I welcome opinions.


11 responses to “Authorized Thoughts: The Sex Scene, From Implied to Pornographic

  1. I had the same problem, when writing some sex scenes for my novel-in-progress. I put it off for weeks. I knew it had to happen, but wasn’t looking forward to writing it. In the end, I made the scene subtle and brief. It conveyed the act, without being too graphic. Without distracting from the story I was trying to tell.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Unless you’re writing erotica I don’t think it needs to be gratuitous. I’ve read some pretty hot scenes that were not drawn out or overly graphic. I want to say it was more about what the character was feeling and experiencing than…err…mechanics and body parts?. But I am no expert and am struggling with this myself. It may have even been my post you were referring to… But I have to ask, zombie sex? I would be afraid things would just…break off.

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  3. As your brother I can’t help but suggest you write implied sex scenes, but that is probably just me. I think the line between character development and titillation often lies in focus. If the POV is describing how it feels to them and the solely their own response it is likely to come off at titillation. Focusing on the others responses and the interaction often reinforces or builds connections. Of course this can all go either way still. You should probably just insert a link to video…

    “They collapsed into each others arms among the burning wreckage of the animal shelter and (”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I suppose it depends on your purpose. Is the sex scene, in detail, crucial to character, or interpersonal character, development? Does it get into why the characters do what they do in the rest of the story? Does it need to be so effusive that it overshadows the reader’s understanding of the story, the character(s), or the whole book? Sure sex sells, but should the book be sold on sex alone (e.g. Fifty Shades of Crap) or should there be a realistic portrayal of the lives and sex lives of the characters? If they’re interesting people, maybe they have interesting sex that can be portrayed interestingly (again, not like 50 Shades of “Oh please…”). If they’re not, maybe all it’s worth is a well-crafted allusion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You bring up some very strong points. The sex matters in the book I reviewed, Chaos Station, and will post Thursday, b/c the characters are a) life-long friends, b) ex-lovers of a brief goodbye fling, and c) war-broken soldiers dealing with PTSD and POW-torture [one of them] and other physical atrocities [the other one]. That said, the scenes were very long and detailed of porno-mag quality. It felt like erotic fan fiction inserted into the story.

      The book I’m writing will utilize well-crafted allusion. I’ll let you fill in the erotic fan fiction . . .


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