Hello, gentle readers. You might want to send the kiddies out of the room, because today, we're going to talk about sex.
A lot of people have hangups about sex. Not just writing it, but reading about it and discussing it. Some people think the subject is inappropriate for a general audience. Others find that writing about it makes them uncomfortable. Some wonder about the necessity of including it in a story. Too few, in my humble opinion, don't worry about writing a good scene.
The appropriateness of sex in your writing, depends largely on who you're writing for. Obviously, sex is inappropriate for a juvenile audience. If you're writing something aimed at teens, sex should exist, but it shouldn't be presented on the page. The act, if a part of the story, should happen off-stage.
The appropriateness of sex in works aimed at an adult audience depends entirely on the story and, to a lesser degree, the genre. Generally speaking, I believe a less is more approach works best for most stories.
But what if you've reached a point in your writing, where a sex scene seems appropriate, but you're not comfortable writing it? What do you do?
In an earlier post, I encouraged writers to write what they like. Here, I'm going to encourage writers to write what they feel comfortable with. If you're not comfortable writing about sex, then don't write about it. It's as simple as that.
But let's say that you're comfortable writing about sex. It doesn't make you blush or squirm (except in a good way) to set fingers to keyboard and write a scene set between the sheets. Or against a wall, as the case may be.
Please, write something worth reading.
If your scene is boring, if it doesn't take the reader into your characters' minds, why bother writing it at all? Just skip to the aftermath and the pillow talk.
Also, if you're writing about sex, know what you're writing about. If your character is an S&M submissive, and you don't have experience with the lifestyle, do your research!
Finally, let's talk about writing porn. A lot of publishers and authors try to avoid this niche by saying that they produce 'erotica.' They're fooling themselves. If the majority of your story contains sex, you're writing porn.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing porn. In the past, writing porn has been profitable. It can be a great way to learn the business of writing, of satisfying the wants and needs of an editor/publisher. On a personal level,it can be a lot of fun, sharing your fantasies with the world.
However, because every Tom, Dick and Harriet these days seems to be writing porn, it's not as lucrative as it once was. The Internet has leveled the playing field. Most of the written porn available on the Internet is, to be blunt, awful. A lot of it reads like it was written by illiterate, teenage virgins who've never gotten past first base.
If you're going to write porn then do everyone a favor and write good porn. Edit your stuff like you would anything else you write. Check your spelling and grammar. And, if you're writing gay or lesbian porn, give your characters different appearances and very different names. Nothing is more irritating than reading porn and trying to figure out which of the two hot blondes is licking the other.