1. SilentDreamer
    Offline

    SilentDreamer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    14

    Intimate Scenes - anyone else find this?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SilentDreamer, Nov 23, 2015.

    So, I'm new here, but I'm stuck with something, and I'm hoping I'm either not alone, or someone can help.

    My current WIP is disjointed and a little hard to describe at the minute (for some reason it's insisting on being written in pieces, and joined up later...), but the main character is female, and in a relationship. She also happens to be gay, but I don't think this has anything do to with the issue I'm having.

    There are certain intimate scenes that feel (currently anyway) that they need to be included in what is gearing up to be at least a R16 type story, but I can quite happily write them at the time, be quite happy with them - I go back and read them and cringe, and fight the urge to just delete them and leave them out. I think I written one of them three times - and finally have just changed the page when I wanted to delete it!.

    Is it just me feeling uncomfortable about the sex scenes? Or do others who don't normally write erotica (and it's not erotica in the story) feel the same way? I wonder if it's cause I'm not doing it justice, or maybe not portraying it accurately. The...mechanics of the scene is not the problem...this particular character's gender and sexual orientation match my own (that is ALL that is similar though). It's the comfort level I have after writing it.

    Weirdly enough, some traumatic scenes in it, I can work through, and sit easily with my discomfort as the scene is supposed to be uncomfortable, but the sex scenes shouldn't be....should they?
     
  2. Gisella_M
    Offline

    Gisella_M Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    17
    Sex scenes are the most fun! But then I am one of the aforementioned erotica writers.

    Treat it like any other scene. Don't think about your test readers when writing/rewriting it, think about what its purpose is, get inside the heads of your characters.
     
    Imaginarily likes this.
  3. SilentDreamer
    Offline

    SilentDreamer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    14
    I think that's the problem. They are the most fun to write, though I'd never be an erotica writer (for the very reason of this thread!), I enjoy writing them, but then I read them and think "Good lord, what would someone reading this think?" (my partner included!).

    I will take your advice on board, and try to get away from the test readers thoughts, and get back on the characters...and see what happens.
    Thanks!
     
  4. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,288
    Likes Received:
    5,161
    Location:
    London, UK
    I have this problem too. What I'm afraid of is that people will read and think I'm trying to live out my sexual fantasies through my writing. Which is ridiculous because I don't worry about that with any other type of scene... for instance, I don't worry that people will think I've created my perfect partner in the male lead, and am living vicariously through my female MC.

    I think perhaps it's that if we're writing the scene to be erotic (rather than a funny scene that's supposed to be bad sex) we are, by default, saying "this is what I think good sex is". That's quite an intimate thing to tell a bunch of strangers - our readers.
     
  5. SilentDreamer
    Offline

    SilentDreamer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    14
    THIS! Not necessarily that thats what we think good sex is, but that people will think that's what we think....and, as any one starting out will know, people who know you are writing something often want to read it - friends, family - and well, no. Not this one...not this time anyway!
     
  6. Woof
    Offline

    Woof Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    122
    It may seem daft, but try taking your name off it and writing with a pseudonym. I mean not just for any possible publication, but for the writing process... almost like writing in character. Perhaps even choose an actual hat or pair of specs to wear when you write this story? Might give you just enough distance to not feel uncomfortable about it. I'm speaking from my POV not as a writer of erotica or even any sex really, but as someone who has to constantly shortcut round psychological hurdles or I'd never leave the house!
     
  7. SilentDreamer
    Offline

    SilentDreamer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    14
    Sounds like something that could work - thanks for the suggestion. It's weird, some of the traumatic scenes that occur to the MC make me uncomfortable to write, but that discomfort sits okay with me, as I don't want to be too graphic with the scene, but it's supposed to be uncomfortable...the 'nicer, consentual' scenes are the ones that make me more uncomfortable. I'll give this a go! Thanks
     
  8. Lozboz
    Offline

    Lozboz Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    UK
    I also think this is a great idea. I never used to like writing 'intimate' scenes in my fiction, it always made me feel uncomfortable and a little sleazy. But, I recently started writing erotic fiction under a pseudonym and it's changed how I feel about them completely.
     
  9. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,810
    Likes Received:
    7,333
    Location:
    Scotland
    Yes, I can understand why this can feel like a problem.

    However, it isn't. You're a writer who needs to portray this kind of scene to tell your story, the same as you would portray any other kind of necessary scene. That's the trick here, really. Don't see it as 'apart' from the rest of your story. It's a vital part of your story, so just blend it in.

    As you write it, FORGET what anybody else is likely to think about it. (And folks may surprise you ...a lot ...by accepting exactly what you're doing, if the scene reads naturally.) Write exactly what you need to write, in the voice you are most comfortable with. Sex is not separate from our lives, it is part of our lives. It should not be seen as the 'other' when writing it.

    Later, once you've finished, give it a few days, then have another look at it. Edit it exactly the way you would edit anything else. Get it to where YOU feel you've said what you needed to say. That's it, really. If you're going to be an honest writer, you have to write honestly.

    Personally, I find nothing more off-putting in a writer than one who shilly-shallies around sex scenes because they are 'uncomfortable.' I'd say get comfortable. Just do it. It's the only way to get past this notion that other people will be judging you. So what if they do? You're a writer. Writers write what they see, feel, and need to tell their story. You'll get over it, and so will they.
     
    ChickenFreak likes this.
  10. mg357
    Offline

    mg357 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    33
    I personally have a really hard time writing intimate scenes I don't think that their fun to write either.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  11. KhalieLa
    Offline

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    390
    Location:
    United States
    I didn't have trouble with intimate scenes to begin with. They flew out of me like everything else. THEN I got feedback for people telling me the sex was to kinky, likening it unto bestiality, or flat out saying sex had no place in a book anyway. I actually had one reader tell me, "I hope you don't believe in practicing those kinds of things!" (The most graphic thing I've written is in the workshop and no one here found it to graphic.)

    Now I find it hard to write the scenes. I do worry about what the readers will think, especially since I've gotten a lot of negative feedback from people who question my moral aptitude and believe that I am some kind of degenerate.
     
    jannert likes this.
  12. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,810
    Likes Received:
    7,333
    Location:
    Scotland
    Ignore them. They are not your target audience. I'm not saying that in a flippant way. I really mean it.

    If they offer suggestions as to how the scenes could be better written, or stuff like that, fine. But if they're complaining because you wrote ABOUT what you did ...really. Ignore them. Prudes are not your target audience. You don't need to explain yourself to anybody.

    Sex has no place in a book? For pity's sake, it's a huge part of life and what makes us what we are. And it certainly appears in lots of books, including prizewinning literary novels. That's nonsense. Don't let that sort of prejudicial criticism shake you. Just look for other readers.
     
    Wreybies and matwoolf like this.
  13. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes Received:
    1,729
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    I have a hard time with intimate scenes also, to the point where I avoid them completely. There's one scene toward the end of my story when my MC invites her love interest to stay the night. It's implied that they have sex, though I don't say anything about it. He was gone in the morning before she woke, to avoid an awkward confrontation with another character. My MC questions why he left later that day, and he says something like, "I didn't think you'd want her to find us in bed together."

    I printed out my manuscript when I was finished, and literally just read this scene today. And I was so uncomfortable with that one sentence, I scratched it out. lol So I can't help you. But just wanted you to know you aren't alone!
     
    mg357 likes this.
  14. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,810
    Likes Received:
    7,333
    Location:
    Scotland
    That's true enough. But writers are exposing lots of themselves when they write, aren't they?

    There is nothing wrong about writing a book with no sex in it. However, it does get awkward when the sex in it is obviously being avoided. I'd say just go for it. We've all had to take that step, if we've included sexual scenes in our books. I know I did, and I did initially wonder what people would think. I opted for what the heck, let them think whatever they want, and just did it. What surprised me totally was how easy it was to write the scenes, once I made up my mind they needed to be there.

    What also surprised me is how generally well-received the sexual scenes were. Many of my betas took exactly what I wanted from them. Of course there were some who objected, or found it difficult to enjoy reading them. (Those people who want it all to stay 'behind closed doors,' as if it's too personal to write about.) But hey. I can't imagine my book without them, because they are crucial to understanding my characters and how they interact at that level.

    And no. They are not my fantasies, nor are they necessarily things I've experienced myself. They are what my characters needed to experience for the story to move forward.
     
    Haze-world likes this.
  15. KhalieLa
    Offline

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    390
    Location:
    United States
    I have a male character that suffers from a sexual dysfunction. I borrowed a book on sex therapy from a colleague in the psych department to better understand my characters mind. Seeing as I am a female, male sexual dysfunction is not something I've experienced. I was asked why on earth I'd write a character like that? How do you answer? All I could say was, "That's just who he is."

    I don't understand why we are judged so critically on our sex scenes with the implication that it's something we desire or experience in our own lives and not on the other scenes? Nobody condemns me for the fact that my female MC killed 5 men over a period of 2 days. Personally, I find that more disturbing than the fact that on occasion she has sex.
     
    jannert likes this.
  16. Fernando.C
    Offline

    Fernando.C Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    125
    Location:
    Lands Beyond the Wall
    I have no problem reading or writing an intimate scene, no matter how graphic the scene, and I'm not an erotica writer. I think the problem is with the society we live in and how it has conditioned us into thinking of sex as wrong and immoral. even though it's a perfectly natural and necessary part of every human beings life. We are way too sexually conservative for the 21 century. I mean for God's sake we're supposed to be modern and progressive, yet our attitudes towards anything remotely sexual is medieval.
    Sorry for the rant! Not back to the topic at hand;
    When writing your intimate scenes try not to think what other might think of it, all that matters is what YOU think of it. Do YOU think the sex scene is necessary to YOUR story? Do YOU feel the sex scene is too graphic?
    Yes there will always be those who don't like and approve of anything even remotely sexual in nature, but you're not writing for them are you? you're writing for like-minded individuals, those who think like you and have similar tastes as you in terms of the type of books they read.
    You can't please everyone, neither should you even try to, that only hurts the quality of you're writing.

    Sorry for the lengthy post, hope it helps though. And good luck with your writing!
     
    jannert likes this.
  17. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,288
    Likes Received:
    5,161
    Location:
    London, UK
    You're preaching to the converted. :) I was just unpacking why I feel the way I do, even though I don't shy away from sex scenes.
     
    jannert likes this.
  18. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,810
    Likes Received:
    7,333
    Location:
    Scotland
    Yes, exactly. Tell the next person who says that to you that you've also gone out and killed 5 men, just so you could write about what it was like. That should shut them up.
     
  19. Doctore
    Offline

    Doctore Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    34
    I guess I must come from a world of savages because I know of more people who are fine with reading sex in writing. Infact, I say some enjoyed it. I have received comments in the past such as "It made me squirm." ThoughI am far from an erotica author. I have also received comments such as "Tehe, you must have been watching porn before you wrote that." So really,can't please everyone now can we? As for the first poster, might you try telling instead of showing in this case? This way you block out the embarrassing feelings because the act is but a mention.
     
  20. Fernando.C
    Offline

    Fernando.C Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    125
    Location:
    Lands Beyond the Wall
    I absolutely love this line @jannert. It's the prefect response to the 'moral', judgemental folk.
     
  21. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I try not to approach the sex scene as THE SEX SCENE. It's just another scene as far as I'm concerned. In my WIP there are some pretty uncomfortable sexual scenes in the story ( actually as we speak I'm working through one right now ) but I knew when I started the story they would come up. I treat them like anything else I would describe. It has nothing to do with me - it's got to do with my characters.
    Sometimes I think the discomfort comes from the writer keeping himself in the position of being too much the voyeur. Something that usually happens when watching a movie - you're the third party witnessing the couple's intimacy. When you actually have to readjust yourself. Overall you're the director orchestrating the action, the participant conveying emotion, the editor pulling it all together.
    I usually take comfort by back peddling into the space of words. And focusing on what I need to show. It's not so much the sex but what the sex is to reveal - about the characters or a relationship.

    And if people don't want to read it - I don't care, skip, skim or don't read the book.

    I can't stand gory or violent scenes myself ( though I like horror ) and tend to skim or skip them. Not a big deal.
     
    jannert and Lea`Brooks like this.
  22. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,347
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    I can think of plenty masterpieces that do not include sex scenes.
     
    mg357 and jannert like this.
  23. Bjørnar Munkerud
    Offline

    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Messages:
    393
    Likes Received:
    140
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    My advice is as follows:
    • Make sure you have enough emotional and intellectual connection to the relationship and the sex that you can portray it realistically.
    • Make sure you're not turned on at the time of writing.
    • Make sure you have your audience figured out in terms of how intimate and graphic the material should be.
    • Make sure you're not exposing anything too uncomfortably awkward about your own sexual preferences.
    • Make sure you don't always end up copping out and making every relationship like yours, like the relationship you'd like to have or what you picture as a normal and/or perfect relationship.
    • Make sure what you're writing is important to the story, fits within it and has intrinsic value.
    Disclaimer: This is all based on my own experience writing relationships, love, kissing and sex. I don't write erotica. I also think your mileage may vary, so that other pieces of advice will be more appropriate for a lot of writers.
     
    BayView likes this.
  24. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,347
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    This only applies if you have a weak voice. A writer's persona/voice should serve as a wall between the actual story and the writer himself. I often say one ought to write from the heart, but this will still be filtered by voice.

    For example, I don't think Nabokov is a pervert or a pedophile. That's because Nabokov transcends himself in his writing, and creates Humbert Humbert, or Charles Kinbote, or whatever narrator of his choice.

    If you think that a sex scene, or a fight scene, or a character, is going to directly expose something about you, it's probably because you have a weak voice and are not able to convince the reader that your story exists outside the mind of the writer.

    I'm not going to point any fingers, but I can think of a few authors (often fantasy) who fail to project voice. At some point, the veil disappears, and I don't see the narrator, but the "writer," sitting in his or her chair, one hand at the keyboard. It's no longer even art at this point, just wish fulfillment.
     
  25. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I'm not sure if it's Madame Bovary where there is an implied sex scene but I recall a marvelous scene of a hansom cab driver who is ordered to keep driving by the two characters in the back. Every time he stops they tell him to keep moving. And the lush language of the driver racing on gives the impression of what's going on in the back.
    So that's a trick right there.
    You can imply something instead of simply showing it, thereby making it even more special.
     
    jannert and 123456789 like this.

Share This Page