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Explicit Sex

October 21, 2012

Unless you write erotica, it’s rarely necessary to write explicity about sex. Most sex scenes in stories and novels I’ve read are so awkward that I’m embarrased for the author. They read like hastily scribbled notes that teenagers pass among their friends to describe their fantasies about the hot blonde in chemistry class.

We’re all familiar about the mechanics of foreplay and what the naive Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory” clinically describes as coitus. We know how it’s done and how to do it ourselves. Does describing foreplay and fu–, oops, I mean coitus, contribute anything to character and plot? Sometimes, in a coming-of-age story about two young people having sex for the first time, when both are shy about it and the writer conveys the importance it has for the people involved. And then the description is usually sweet, not titillating. And no double entendre intended by the use of that last word.

I’m too lazy to research the name, but an organization gives awards every year to the authors of the worst written sex scenes in novels. They’re all top-tier authors, but the scenes are sophmoric. When I’m reading a novel and come to the sex scene I skim it and say, “Good God, man, get on with your story. I already know how to fu–, I mean, have coitus.”

Before writing “The Champagne Ladies” I wrote three other novels (terrible) that remain unpublished, and thank God for that. There are sex scenes in each one (“She knelt in front of him, naked from the waist up, and jiggled her tits to excite him”) that make me cringe at how juvenile and amateurish they were. More important, they got in the way of the story. They added nothing except for exciting the reader for a brief moment by the word “tits.”

Sex that’s implied is always the most erotic. It allows the reader to use his or her imagination to develop the scene, and readers can let their fantasies run wild to picture it. They often do a better job in their minds than a writer does on paper or Kindle.

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