That got your attention, right?
Sex scenes are fun to write until you realize who will be reading it. Like your parents. Cringeworthy. What got me thinking about this? A post on the Backspace Blog by Randy Susan Meyers. I think she is very on target about how a sex scene can add to the book and give you insight into the character’s psyche if done right. I love the reference to avoiding the format of “insert Tab A in slot B.” Priceless. The example she uses is awesome for how a sex scene need not be a blow-by-blow description yet can evoke all the emotions involved.
In The Curse of the Radcliffe Rubies, my characters have romantic entanglements, there are some steamy make out scenes, but I faded out for the rest.
Was it a cop-out? I don’t think so. I didn’t feel the sex scenes were necessary for the story. That’s not to say that they won’t be essential in my next book. But they have to be a part of the story.
I love the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. She writes amazingly steamy, passionate, sometimes painful sex scenes. The sex is key to the character development and the complicated relationships Anita has with everyone in her life because of who she is and what she is becoming. I would argue every sex scene is absolutely necessary in that series.
With The Curse of the Radcliffe Rubies, however, I hesitated to go there. I tried anyway and it felt awkward. I scaled back and let the scene unfold and flow and nothing went beyond making out (onscreen anyway). Bottom line, I felt like I was true to the characters. I also found for my characters sometimes the scene was a description of sensations, other times more about their emotional responses to it.
So tell me what do you think makes a good sex scene in a book? And what makes it feel completely unnecessary/not enjoyable as a reader?