September 30th, 2009 by Sasha White
Everything’s better with sex.

As an erotic fiction author it goes without saying that sex and sexuality fascinate me.  I love writing erotica, not just because of the titilation factor (of which there is much) but because lust and desire are such base emotions.  We are all sexual creatures, of different levels and tastes, but it’s something that ties us together. I think thats why all stories are better with sex. :)

Sex births so many emotions within us. Arousal, of course, but also joy, satisfaction, and love just to name a few. Can you imagine what life would be like without sex? I’m not talking about when someone chooses to abstain for whatever reason, but society in general. Say, in a futuristic sense, if sexual activity became a ‘virtual’ thing instead of a living thing.  Would we get the same benifits?  Mentally, pschologically, and physically?  That’s what books without sex make me think of. Sure life can be good without it, but is it truly living?

The Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich are among my top 5 favorites of all time. I love them. I love the humor, the quirky characters, the mysteries, and the writing. But in my opinion they would be soooo much better if Ms.Evanovich didn’t shut the bedroom door after a kiss.  Same with all the Lee Child books. I adore them. I like the writing, the story-lines, the minute details Mr.Child puts into each one …except the love scenes.  The hero, Jack Reacher,(Whom I lust after myself.) gets laid in every book. It’s usually clear it’s not love. The hero is a true loner, but he is a man women find attractive.  Yet, there is never an actual sex scene in any of the books. The fact that author ‘closes the bedroom door’ on the love/sex scenes leaves me feeling ….incomplete.

I understand why some writers choose not to put sex scenes in their books. Just because I’m comfortable writing them doesn’t mean every one is.  Some might not like to write them, might not feel confident  in their ability to write them. Then there is the fact that some stores won’t carry books that contain “certain content”. The local Chapters store in my area won’t even let me do a booksigning because of “the content of your books” *direct quote*  They sell them, they just don’t want to promote them, or me.

It also occurs to me that the T.V. shows that are the most talked about or popular (Both with friends in my daily life and writer friends) are ones that rarely fade to black. Not when it comes to sex, or violence.  It’s one of the reasons HBO and Showtime have so many hit shows, because they don’t cut out ‘the good stuff’, and those shows are often touted as gritty, realistic, dramatic, engaging and amazing.

Am I making any sense at all? I’ve rewritten this post so many time to try and get my point across whithout sounding like I’m saying sex is the be-all and end-all of things. It isn’t. But it is part of us as humans. A large part of us. And I find it very discouraging when I read / hear people denigrate  romance or erotic fiction simply because of the sex scenes or heat levels.  It makes me wonder if those people don’t ever have sex.  I mean, as writers we want our characters to feel real to readers, right? We want readers to connect with them on some level, more than one preferably.  So why wouldn’t we include sexuality as one of those levels? Why deny such an integral part of being human? (And I’m not even going to get into how there is so much more to erotic fiction and romance novels than the sex.)

I know this post is sort of a ramble, but I’m curious to know what y’all think.  How important is sex to a story? Does it matter to you if in that book (or movie) the sex scene ends with a fade to black?  Think about your favorite book/series/movie….does it include sex scenes, or does it fade out when things get hot?  If it does fade out….do  you think you would enjoy it more if it didn’t?

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20 comments to “Everything’s better with sex.”

  1. Charlene Teglia
     · September 30th, 2009 at 5:38 am · Link

    If there’s buildup to a scene, any scene, then I want that scene delivered. I prefer stories that don’t pull punches. :mrgreen:

  2. Shiloh Walker
     · September 30th, 2009 at 7:16 am · Link

    😉 Depends on how well written the sex is and whether or not it adds to the story, or just takes up space :roll: I’d rather read a good romance with lots of sexual tension and no sex than a poorly written romance that seems to think lots of sex makes up for lack of plotting, characterization…story.

  3. SandyH
     · September 30th, 2009 at 7:54 am · Link

    I agree with Shiloh. She said it exactly right.

  4. Lynn
     · September 30th, 2009 at 8:03 am · Link

    I’m going to chime in with Shiloh and say it depends on the story. I do appreciate an author who has a well-adjusted, healthy attitude toward sex, and writes it without all the usual, painful tip-toeing around it in a story as if physical intimacy were a bottomless abyss of iniquity, or a self-applied scarlet letter. Also, I think sex scenes are interesting, especially if they’re well-written (for the same reasons.)

    That said, I don’t mind fade to black or no sex scenes in a book. There are plenty of writers who can’t or won’t write them but who make up for the absence by writing otherwise great stories. I think in romance they have to work a lot harder to keep my interest, though, because the absence of physical intimacy usually creates noticeable gaps in the story.

    I’m not going to do the favorite novel because I have too many. My favorite movie is Speed, though, which has no sex scenes at all and yet I think still has one of the best romances in film (what better way to fall in love than when you’re on a runaway speeding bus that could explode at any moment?)

  5. Suzan H.
     · September 30th, 2009 at 10:41 am · Link

    I think a large part of our populace subconsciously equates sex with evil. (I’m not pointing fingers; it’s something I’ve noticed over the years.) Therefore, they are highly uncomfortable reading, watching or writing about it.

    That said, I hate the fade to black. A friend and I were watching a Star Trek episode in junior high. Of course Capt. Kirk’s kissing the alien babe, the screen fades, commercial, commercial, then fade in with Kirk pulling on his boots while alien babe is brushing her hair. My friend turns to me and says, “Do adults really think we’re that stupid that we don’t know what just happened?”

  6. Sasha White
     · September 30th, 2009 at 12:43 pm · Link

    Exactly. I hate it when I feel like I’ve been left hanging, in any way.

  7. Lynn M
     · September 30th, 2009 at 12:44 pm · Link

    For me, it all depends on the amount of sexual tension that’s successfully created on whether or not a shut bedroom door irks me or not. For example, the romance between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice is pretty much perfect, IMO, but there is almost zero overt sexual tension between them. I thus had no need or desire to see them behind closed doors. And it’s why I’ve never found any P&P pseudo-sequels that go inside the married Darcys’ bedroom to be remotely appealing.

    However, nothing is more frustrating for me than to have this huge sexual attraction build-up, with great chemistry between two characters, only to get shut down before the Big Show. The TV show Tarzan did this – Tarzan (aka Travis Fimmel) and Jane (Sarah Wayne Callies) spent 8 episodes developing a UST that practically exploded of the screen. But we never got to see them even kiss because of the show’s cancellation. Talk about frustration.

    So if the author works hard and manages to create overt sexual tension, IMO she or he lets down readers by closing the door during the payoff (so to speak). If the build up is graphic, might as well go all the way. Otherwise you’re a tease. 😉

  8. Sasha White
     · September 30th, 2009 at 12:51 pm · Link

    I agree with that.

    But the point I was trying to get across in my ramble wasn’t so much about good/versus bad sex scenes, or when they’re needed or if tension is enough. For Me, if the sexual tension is very high and well done through out the book, and then they kiss, and the chapter ends, then the next chapter opens with the next morning, and the character thinking about how awesome the sex was…. I feel cheated. I want to see that sex scene. However, if the whole book is tension, and they don’t consumate during the story, then that’s different. Thats fine. I just feel that if the tension is there, and the fast that the characters have sex, is part of the story, then showing it makes the story /book even better.

    The biggest point I was trying to make was more that sex is a part of life, and I sometimes feel cheated or unsatisfied when I read a book that rocks all elements of human nature, but closes the bedroom door after a kiss. It feels unbalanced. (In my mind, when there should be sex, or what is too much or gratuitous, is a different discussion. Hense my asking if I was making any sense. 😳 )

  9. Shiloh Walker
     · September 30th, 2009 at 12:53 pm · Link

    LOL… i see where you’re coming from. I’ve just read enough BAD sex scenes that if I had to choose between bad scenes that ruin an otherwise good book or just a fade to black, I’m good with that fade. My imagination will fill in the blanks. 😉

  10. Sasha White
     · September 30th, 2009 at 12:57 pm · Link

    That sort of equals what I said in my reply to SHiloh. I agree that there are great stories that have no sex in them. But those are often stories where the sex makes no difference to the story/character arc. Like Speed- They whole thing takes place on a bus, there is no chance for them to have sex, and there is no fade to black scene except during the credits, and that rocks!

    I wanted a title that would grab people’s attention, but I think the title of the post is getting into people heads so much that they’re missing the subtlies of my post. Or maybe there are no subtlies of my post, and I just failed to get what was in my mind onto the page. 😯

  11. Sasha White
     · September 30th, 2009 at 12:59 pm · Link

    Thats exactly what I mean.

    To be very simplistic…If the sex is happening, then it should effect the story/character. If it effects the story/character, they should show it. If it’s not effecting them, then why is it happening?

  12. Sasha White
     · September 30th, 2009 at 1:01 pm · Link

    Great answer, Lynn. I’m almost ashamed to say it, but I’ve never read/seen P&P. I’ve also never seen the Tarzan show, but I get what you are saying. Good examples!

  13. Sasha White
     · September 30th, 2009 at 1:09 pm · Link

    Very true, and my brain agrees with you on that. I know you’re right. LOL Yet… part of me still wants good sex scenes added. LOL

    I know it’s wrong of me to feel that just because the books rocks everything else it would rock a sex scene too. But I’m a dreamer that way. And, once again using my favorite series as an example, when I first started reading the Stephanie Plum books, it didn’t really bother me. I feel that the fade out was handled beautifully, and in character. But now we’re on Book 15 (plus some side novellas) and not one sex scene, and the tension is ridiculous. LOL I find it very frustrating. The Lee Child ones, I don’t find as frustrating. I still love love love the stories, I just wish the sex scenes were in them because everything else in the stories rocks so much. Add some great sex, and they’d be perfect, IMO> LOL

  14. Tim of Angle
     · September 30th, 2009 at 1:26 pm · Link

    I think you need to grow up. Only adolescents think about sex all the time. Adults have more important things to do.

  15. Sasha White
     · September 30th, 2009 at 1:36 pm · Link

    That’s your opinion, and your entitled to it. My opinion is that sex is an important part of life, and if you don’t get that, or if you simply can’t respect the opinions of others, then I feel sad for you.

  16. Shiloh Walker
     · September 30th, 2009 at 1:56 pm · Link

    Really? Sex can be one of the greatest pleasures in life… I think it’s a very important thing to do. For me, it comes in there with family, faith, fun… life. It is a part of life, after all. If you don’t find the pleasure in it, then I’m with Sasha, and I pity you.

  17. SonyaM
     · September 30th, 2009 at 3:56 pm · Link

    Interesting topic & I mean that in a good way. It is human nature; afterall, isn’t that why God created Eve. Including sex in the story can be a way to create a complete, well rounded relationship between the characters. It can add another level of connection, and emotion.

  18. Rebecca
     · September 30th, 2009 at 4:39 pm · Link

    I have a different problem. I am a romance writer who is frozen on the first (of probably two) sex scenes in my book. The line I’m writing for practically requires one, and I’m not afraid to write it. I’ve tried. And tried. But every time I slog through another version, it doesn’t seem any more imaginative or compelling to me than any other sex scene I’ve read in a ton of mediocre books. I don’t want them swinging from the proverbial chandelier, but every description and every internal feeling I come up with has been done a thousand times. I know there’s nothing new under the sun, but all I can think is: my God, am I really that boring? Maybe I don’t have the knack for writing a decent, memorable sex scene. But I sure as hell wish I did.

  19. Sasha White
     · September 30th, 2009 at 5:28 pm · Link

    “But every time I slog through another version, it doesn’t seem any more imaginative or compelling to me than any other sex scene I’ve read in a ton of mediocre books.”

    Hi Rebecca,

    My automatic response to this is stop re-writing and doubting yourself. You say ‘everytime I slog through another version’ and that’s very telling. If you feel like you’re slogging through it, then the readers will feel that way too. Stop overthinking, stop doubting, and just go for it.
    Don’t think about other scenes you’ve read, or heard about. Think about the person reading your story. They care about the characters. They don’t want to be pulled out of the story by some exotic sex act. They want to feel the emotion behind the act.

    It’s the emotion behind any sex scene that makes it erotic. It’s the emotional growth (or lack of) that moves the story forward and makes the sex scene essential to the story. It’s the emotions that the reader will connect to.

    I think one of the most important things to remember when writing a sex scene is to stay true to the characters and the story. If it’s a sweet sensual love story, don’t add something kinky just because you think it’s what the publisher might want. Readers want a good story. Readers read romance and erotic fiction of all heat levels. You said you’ve read mediocre books, think about what made them mediocre. Perhaps it was because it was like Shiloh mentioned above, a book that was full of sex but no story, or no tension/buildup. Maybe it was sex scenes that didn’t feel true to the characters, or perhaps it was that you didn’t care about the characters, therefor you didn’t care about the sex. Either way, I think you need to trust your self when it comes to writing the scene that is right for your story, and stop focussing on what’s out there.

    Good Luck!

  20. Sasha White
     · October 2nd, 2009 at 5:12 am · Link

    Exactly. And when writing a story here a relationships are a huge part of them, I think showing all the ways people connect, or don’t, is important. :)


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