Oh boy, I’m embarrassed already. Mom, if you’re reading this, stop it. Right now. Same goes for my mother-in-law. And my coworkers. AND MY BROTHER. Oh hell, why am I writing this again?
Oh, right–because it’s an issue that writers have in their writing process. Sometimes authors have to include a little bit of smexy time. And some readers adore that kind of stuff. Me? I turn all Stuttering Stephanie and skip to the next important plotline.
In case you didn’t figure it out already, I am one of those weird introverts that can turn awesome when I need to, but usually float somewhere around the lines of “totally awkward.” This is especially obvious with sex scenes in TV, movies, and books. You know hard it is for me to sit through certain scenes in Game of Thrones? I’m all “c’mon, this lesbian sex scene adds nothing to the storyline!”
(By the way, we’re assuming these sex scenes are for consenting adults. I’m not into writing high school sex scenes and not just because it’s awkward as hell in real life. A post for another time, but here we’re talking with the grown-ups.) It’s not that I don’t appreciate the work authors put into it and it’s not that what they’re writing isn’t hot as the sun (ever read Kendall Grey’s work? Yowza). And I suppose someone might describe it as a “prudish” stance, but I’ve never been big on talking about throbbing members and dark spaces (although I’m secretly a 10 year old because those terms still make me giggle). I didn’t get the teen-and-parental sex talk and romance in stories was never my favorite part. Because I’m such a fan of action and comedy, I didn’t bother with the romance.
But now I’m beginning to write different things. The next piece to be finished will probably be my Witchy WIP, but it’s definitely an adult book. The characters are in their late 20s, hearts are being ripped out, and the heroine’s desire for the hero is bigger than butterflies and high school crushes. Do I want to write a sex scene? Not particularly, no – but not because I don’t think I can.
Is it that I fear what others think of me? Possibly, but not necessarily. I’m a married woman and lived with my husband for 4 years before we got married, so my mother is certainly smart enough to figure it out. My coworkers secretly read 50 Shades, so they probably wouldn’t be scandalized but so much if they read a sex scene in another of my books. What if writing sex scenes just wasn’t for me? Is it bad for a writer to “fade to black” instead of giving details? Are readers going to think of it as the coward’s way out or be upset because they desperately wanted a description of the hero’s pulsating…um, organ?
I say, why not have readers use their imagination. They already use it for how they see the characters or what a setting looks like. We all have different shades of red in mind for the heroine’s hair color and the villain might often change height and build when the reader is sketching out the scene. Also, if a writer is uncomfortable writing something, I’m of the firm (har har) belief that it’ll show – readers can tell when something is forced just for the sake of having it in there and that’s not fair to the writer OR reader!
When I asked for opinions on how to write those scenes when you’re already blushing in your seat when considering family will read it, I got quite the mixed response. While some, like me, hope to god we can just skip over it and never, ever talk about it (please!), there are others who are understandably proud of their work and don’t care who gets all hot and bothered over their work. HUGE thanks to the amazing Laura Howard for her help on Facebook in getting some fantastic (and hilarious) answers!
It’s not that I’m a prude and I don’t judge others for reading smutty romance – sometimes it’s simply what the reader wants! But as an easily embarrassed author, I don’t want my writing to come across as fake if I don’t really want to write it. What’s so wrong with leaving it up to an imagination?
What do you guys think? When it comes to sex scenes and the people you know, are you comfortable knowing your mother in law is reading about your hero’s giant…accessory? Or does the entire idea make you want to create a new pen name in hopes they never discover it’s you?