1. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    How much is too much when having a sex scene?

    Discussion in 'Erotica' started by Moneica, Apr 3, 2014.

    My first book that I am writing has very graphic sex scenes. To the point of I get down to the nitty gritty if you know what I mean. Is it to much? Should I maybe tone it down and leave more to imagination? The problem I'm having is the story centers around 2 people in there early 20's. Both my nieces have been reading what I have finished so far. One is 18 the other is 19. And they both love it. So I'm thinking maybe my main audience will be late teens to early 40's. I just don't really know what to do in this situation. If I keep writing it as is, I sure don't want anyone under the age of 18 to read it. But yet the story is such I can see 16 year olds getting into it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well, you can't really control who gets their hands on your book in the end, especially in the age of digital, so, though I understand your concern there, I'm not sure how much investment you should give to it. I would be more focused on will my target reader get into it? Both of my WIP's get utterly into the realm of complete and graphic description of the sex. I pull no punches. My target is different than yours, btw, since I write gay erotica, but being a fan of reading it, I know there is an expectation that the goods will be delivered and not just eluded to.

    Have you read a range of erotica for your target audience? Does it get to the nitty gritty, as you say?
     
  3. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    I have read some erotica,the hardest is probably Fifty Shades of Grey. And yeah, it gets to it, but I think mine might be a bit harder core than that even. I even go as far as really getting into the pop shot if ya know what I mean. But I think you are right. I can not control who gets there hands on it. I have let 6 people read what I have so far, and out of them, only 1 has said, its just to much for them. The others are saying hurry up and give us more.
     
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  4. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I feel your pain. My current project (mentioned in another thread I think you posted to) is a character driven story that just happens to have several graphic sex scenes in it. I second-guess myself wondering if I backed the descriptions down to a R-rating if the book would be more broadly accepted, yet my gut just keeps telling me this is the story; it needs the sweaty, nasty, curse-filled language and gooey orgasms. So, I'm writing it that way. Only when it's finished will I know if it's truly 'right' or not. I struggle a bit with writing the scenes, because even though I'm no prude, I know the language would not endear my mother-in-law to my writing. :rolleyes: I just have to press on with the hope she never reads it, LOL. I think you have to be true to the story; you can't 'force' the sex scenes one way or the other. Same with violence. I didn't set out to write an erotic thriller, but I've got a story with some hot sex in it...that's what it 'feels' like it wants to be this time.
     
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  5. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    If you're writing erotica, then the harder the better, I say. If not (and it sounds like you aren't), what purpose do the sex scenes serve ?
     
  6. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    I agree 100%. When writing I have noticed if I try and force something to work in a scene, I end up taking it out.

    Depending on the story line and your target audience, should determine how hard the sex scenes are.{IMO}
    The sex scenes to me, show how much passion my two main characters have for each other. The only thing I was concerned about was my story [Once its finished] could appeal to even a younger audience. And should I tone down the scenes in order to market on that. But just like Wrey said, I can't control who gets a hold of my book once it is finished.
    So in order to stay true to myself and my work. I am writing it like I have been, and letting my characters lead me on the direction they want to go.
     
  7. garionzrh
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    garionzrh New Member

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    Hi everyone. The question it raises for me is this: How much is too much, for your (my) work to be published (which, at least, is important to me and my novel, which I just finished, and which contains 5 strong, sex scenes, featuring straight and gay characters-though not with each other.)
    I agree that the story needs to be strong, and the sex scene merely propels the action forward, or sets the mood. I'm all for graphic sex scenes, as long as they make a point, or are crucial to the plot.
    But I did wonder-what about prospective publishers (mainstream), and more so, what, if one decides to self-publish? Are there rules? I recently read that many e-books were pulled for questionable (sexual) content.
    But what is deemed questionable? Are we talking 'unnatural acts', or is it enough to call 'things' by their (dirty) names, to get booted?After all, I have every intention to get my novel out there, and I'd hate for a few steamy sex scenes to be the cause that it might not. Did any of you write stories or books that contained strong language and graphic sex scenes, and they were published?
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think an important thing to remember with Erotica is that the eros is a fundamental facet of the story that is expected to be present, else it may well not be Erotica. Just like Science Fiction is expected to have Sci-Fi elements and Fantasy is expected to have Fantasy elements. I agree completely with the bolded & underlined portion above as an absolute, but though I agree with the portion that's only bolded to a certain extent, I feel that the wording (and forgive me if this sounds pedantic) is coming from the land of non-Erotica books where sex needs to strongly justify its presence in a story to overcome a prejudice of many readers that "graphic sex doesn't really belong in a novel". This is me admittedly splitting hairs, I know this. But, at least for the target audience for which I write, there is an expectation that there be sex, so for me it's not about it being crucial to the plot, which for me feels like "if the next thing to happen cannot happen at all without this bow-chica-wow-wow taking place" then don't write it. For me, in a piece of Erotica, the sex simply needs to be natural to the plot and the course of events. Would these two players be sweating up the sheets in the natural course of events in a real life love story at this point in my writing? If the answer is yes, then my take is to sweat that mattress clear down to the box-spring. ;)

    I've not published as of yet, so to that portion of the question, I have to answer no, but I do have a large library of gay Erotic novels, traditionally published (though through indi-publishers who specialize in the genre) that get as graphic as graphic can get. Balls slappin' ass and the whole nine yards... or nine inches as would be more apropos. ;) This is why I feel it's very important to be well read in the genre one wishes to write. You have to know a decent range of the material that's out there to get a feel of what's expected.
     
  9. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Books are being pulled for non-consensual sex, suggested incest, kidnap, injury as part of sex, sex with animals, and lots more. Many books weren't even explicit but had words that might have suggested such things. In other words, they are on a witch hunt. However, books published by mainstream "big" publishers are apparently immune even when their books clearly fall within the verboten categories.

    However, don't get too paranoid (yet). So long as your book is not titled "Kidnapped and Raped Twins Forced To F*ck Each Other", the blurb does not include a list of "forbidden" words, like rape, drug, blood, unconscious, drug, and many more, plus the cover shows neither breasts, buttocks, or genitals, you have a good chance if your book has a real plot and story.

    Mainstream publishers would probably be adverse to lots of explicit sex unless the other parts of the book are really fantastic. But there are a lot of smaller publishers and you can self publish, as you said.
     
  10. elletrasclients
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    elletrasclients New Member

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    I have been noticing a lot of erotic authors these days are doing 'romance' versions and 'hard core' versions of their book. I feel like pandering to the audience this way would hinder my creative process. I just write whichever way feels best for me. Some of my books are pure sex, and some are about 1/3 erotic scenes.

    As for your book I would suggest not getting too crazy with the erotica especially if you are aiming at minors possibly reading it. Listen to your gut and your book will be perfect. Good luck!
     
  11. Eedjii
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    Eedjii Member

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    Yeah, that seems like a real cop-out to me, just write what you want. And if the reader thinks it's too much than it's their problem.
     
  12. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    But like @Wreybies said, you can't stop younger readers getting hold of the book if they really want to, a true story to prove this point, I write erotica. Last year I was talking to the head teacher at my son's primary school about something close to the bone that had been said to my 11 year old son. The head said she would look into the matter and keep me informed. I did then tell her that although I had written an erotic book and my family knew they story, I'd never discussed the sex bits with either of my children or let them read any of it. It was then that she told me she'd had to bring in the parent of a 10 year old because they had been talking about Fifty Shades of Grey, when asked how the child got hold of the book, the parent said "I know he's read it, I let him." !!!!

    If you self publish, there is a tickbox that you can check to say the book is only for over 18's and in TP, I'm sure there would be a disclaimer or something on the back that says "contains explicit material, not for under 18's" and so on but at the end of the day, that's all you can do. You can't stop people getting hold of it once it's out there.

    I'm 41 and I still enjoy reading George's Marvellous Medicine from time to time, even though it's written for kids, just because you think your book will be enjoyed by 16/17 year olds, doesn't actually mean it will. I honestly don't think any writer can pre-empt who will love and who will loath his/her writing.
     
  13. Morristreet
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    Morristreet Member

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    I tend to start my works by writing erotic or sex scenes, one after the other, then begin to link them together and wrap a full plot around the narrative. My current WIP is military romance fiction and it started that way. I am now wrapping the full military narrative around the scenes, and have expanded from a romantic sub plot of about 50 pages to a full on adventure narrative currently at 105. My scenes are explicit, but tend to sit on the romantic side, so although they detail everything, they tend to read as natural flow rather than in your face, balls-out explicitness. My test story was posted to an erotic website to see if it would work, I was told that the way I wrote could make a grown man cry at the romantic sub plots. The sex scenes felt natural and they worked within the context of the overall narrative.

    I tend to sit somewhere between Jean M Auel and Bertrice Small in my descriptions (My wife's fave authors so I have all of these works to use as reference), and that works for my readers so far. You do what works for the story. I've written works that detail very explicit gritty sex, and scenes that hint at it with no real detail at all. It's all within the context of what you write and where the story is going, which will either make or break the story.

    Also remember, kids and teens today are reading things that in the 70's and 80's, were definitely rated X. Today's youth are considered more mature and are accessing more explicit material at a younger age, in print and on the screen. I wouldn't worry too much about younger people getting access to it, if they do, then they do. Caveat Emptor.
     
  14. Gisella_M
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    Gisella_M Member

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    You can't work on a first draft thinking about target audiences and publishers etc, just write it, it will change as you do. When you have finished the 1st draft and re-read it you will have a better idea if some scenes sit well, or if they need to be changed.
     

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