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  1. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Let's talk about sex

    Discussion in 'Research' started by BFGuru, Aug 15, 2011.

    Do your characters have it? How do you introduce it? When is a good time for that first scene and how in detail do you go?

    I'm writing a historical romance of sorts (I haven't quite pieced together my main protagonist's love life, but those around her all have committed relationships of some sort). I'm trying to piece together how much I offer. Baby making is a huge part of this era, so um...the process should be committed to.

    Do I give it fancy fluffy silly names? How do you describe your scenes and are you comfortable naming the genitalia or not?

    I'm used to reading things like "his shaft" or "her lotus" or "manhood" or "triangle", but really? It seems downright silly to write it, even if I enjoy that genre immensly. I'm trying to figure out when to introduce the scenes. How long into a story do you like to be before you discuss romance?
     
  2. sidtvicious
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    sidtvicious Contributing Member Contributor

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    I personally go for the fade to black/implied intercourse route, though romance isn't my genre. It's generally something along the lines of either the beginning of foreplay and something along the lines of "she took him inside of her" and that's that. Or alternatively, fast forward through it having them lying next to eachother spooning/breathing heavily with a small bit of dialogue. It's not that I'm against writing a graphic sex scene, I've only done so once, but unless it moves the plot in some way a brief blurb suffices. This also depends on how much sex your characters are actually having too. Sometimes we don't need a long description of every sexual encounter that a character is having with another, especially if it's regularly occurring.
     
  3. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't dream of using any of those terms you mention... but I don't write romance.

    I sometimes go the 'sex is implied' route, as some film reviewers like to call it.
     
  4. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are other ways to imply... for example, after the characters enter the bedroom, you can just write out the dialogue and let the reader fill in the blanks (human minds are very good at that).
     
  5. walshy12238
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    walshy12238 Senior Member

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    I don't usually have sex scenes in my stories, but sometimes they're unavoidable/relevant to the plot, so when I do have to have them I just use the implied sex method. A transition to not long after the characters doing it works for me.
     
  6. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write romance/erotica so, yes, it does come up. I'm working on a series in this genre at the moment, about the relationship between an escort and a seemingly asexual mechanic, so sex is important to the story.

    Sometimes I'll fade to black on the odd occasion where giving details beyond the bedroom door will not advance the story at all. The sex scenes I write in full exist to develop the plot and/or characters (mostly the latter) during the scene itself, so it's vital that they are written.

    Fluffy terminology makes me cringe - of those you've listed, "shaft" doesn't bother me but the rest do. I'm not uncomfortable with naming the genitalia but I find I don't need to all that often - I can usually find a better way to phrase what is happening which better fits the tone/style of the novel. Some slang can work as long as it fits the characters/feel of the scene.
     
  7. Quorum1
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    Hmmm, I write for younger readers so I can't say it's ever come up for me. In books I've read the approach I've found best (to read) is when a few saucy details are given at the start, but not the whole shebang so to speak :redface::p I read a scene in "Snow Falling on Cedars" that had lots of detail and it was just embarrassing. Jodi Piccolt usually has them and writes them well I think.

    I wouldn't use euphemisms, maybe more descriptions rather than names though, unless you want it to sound clinical. When to introduce it probably depends on your plot, I don't read romance, but in the books I've read s3x scenes tend to be further into the story, once the characters and chemistry has been established and the reader has had some time to anticipate it.

    I'm sure this thread will get plenty of replies, or views at least ;)
     
  8. Show
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    I don't do romance or erotica or anything like that. So sex scenes typically only come up for me during a rape. I try to imply. There are times when a character may be naked for other reasons but referring to the parts, I try to be anatomically correct without being crude. I certainly don't go for euphemisms. It's pretty rare that I'll need to mention anything, especially in a sexual context. So I don't pay it too much mind anymore.

    I don't need to see a sex scene. So yes, if you must do it, I say imply it.
     
  9. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    ... Did you just say you're used to reading "triangle"? WHO CALLS IT A TRIANGLE?

    Personally, my stories are along the lines of horror, so there's a lot of lust, but not much of it is romantic. It's more along the lines of casually eating your ex-girlfriend's flesh and stuff. *Stare*
     
  10. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Well, there is an entire song call "Map of Tazmania" referencing the triangular shape of a woman's pubic hair. But yes, I've often read reference to the shape a woman's hair takes on below the waist. However, I was pulled into romances through Harlequin, so that may explain the cheesy factor.

    You may want to clarify the casually eating your ex-girlfriend thing though. We have an erotica writer in this thread. ;)
     
  11. Leah
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    Leah Member

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    Well, I do write romance and erotica, so like Yoshiko, it does "come up". (pun totally intended)

    Sex scenes, imo depend on what type of story you are writing and the characters involved. If it's going to seem totally out of place to have a hot and heavy scene with sexy language, dirty talk, body parts, then simply imply it. But if the story can handle it, bring on the heat.

    I MUST refer you to a book that left even my jaw agape when I read it. It's a historical romance, of sorts, like what you are writing but the love/sex scenes are .. well, ahem .. worth the purchase of the book. So well written, and give the story that extra spark and tingle, without losing the seriousness of the other storylines.

    "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon

    She has an entire series of novels with the two MC, but the first book really will give you a taste for what I am talking about.

    Good luck ~ and if you need any ideas for romance/erotica, PM me and I can send you a sample of one of my stories. :)
     
  12. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    I may take you up on that Leah. It just seems odd that in working through my character introductions, it's already come up....it just sort of happened, but it's not that it was a sex scene, just a spouse realizing why he still loves her and her openess to physical affection. I didn't even describe anything too heavy or even necessarily sexual at that point, but it was definitely alluded to that this couple had um...come together frequently. I don't want erotica. It's a genre I enjoy reading, but I think too heavy for my plot. However, I don't want young adult either. Or something along the lines of Tosca Lee's "Havah". I found myself irritated with the lack of description in the sex scenes in that book. It almost seemed like a rated G bed scene and out of place. I guess I'm trying to find the happy medium.

    I've gone into more description of the breastfeeding process, than sex thus far, and because of the nature of the book, the first section of the book will be heavily involved in the aspects of dealing with infertility. So, I've not had problems there, and it seems appropriate to even discuss things like bleeding during menses....so the romantic encounters have to come close to that level of description in order to maintain consistency.
     
  13. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, so it wasn't casual, really... I wrote a horror piece a while ago. The main character kills and eats his girlfriend. It was an awesome scene to write.
    He didn't "eat" his girlfriend, if that's what you're thinking.
     
  14. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    No, I realize he didn't "eat" his girlfriend, but with a few erotic authors around, they could um...take liberties with such things. Heehee.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Let's keep the discussion PG-13, please.
     
  16. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    There are genre-specific 'rules' about sex. In erotica, obviously, you show everything. Purple prose such as "her dewy flower" and "his throbbing manhood" is frowned upon these days. Different lines of romance novels have specifically defined levels of heat: from blazing to sweet cheek kisses and nothing else.

    Non-romance fiction can go any way you want it to, as long as you are true to the story, your characters and your readers' interests. I've written descriptive sex in a fantasy novel where it was required by the plot, but I usually do the standard 'fade to black' technique.
     
  17. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've only written one sex scene. I focused on the emotional and sensory rather than on the mechanics. Personally, I find descriptions of the mechanics typically boring or outright laughable, particularly the more gymnastic ones.
     
  18. Mckk
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    All the terms you've used are worryingly cringe-worthy *shudders* But then again, I generally dislike sex scenes.

    I have quite a bit of romance, although the genre I write is mainly fantasy. Romance doesn't usually require a sex scene - some of my most romantic scenes aren't physical at all. But then again, I'm a girl - it's not the sex that makes it romantic for me, it's what all leads up to it.
     
  19. proserpine
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    There will be one or two sex scenes in my novel. I plan on focusing on the character's emotions and sensations, and avoid any play-by-play or clinical description. The second scene may take the "intimacy implied" route, but the first one will be very integral to the characters' emotions, so I don't want to omit what could be a very emotionally enriching scene.
     
  20. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Adding another dimension, there will be an attempted rape that is integral to the story line. Everything changes as a result of this attack. It seems, what I've read, these tend to be more graphically detailed? However, I'm trying to decide how much detail is really needed if the perpetrator is caught in the act.
     
  21. Yoshiko
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    You don't need to be more graphic with rape scenes - it's how you express it that is going to catch the reader's attention. Just like emotion drives a romantic scene it is also what will set the tone for a violent scene. As long as you understand how both characters involved feel (so no matter which character's POV you're writing from you need to know the rapist's motivation) then you should be able to capture that without needing to be too graphic - even better if you can contrast it with a more romantic sex scene somewhere in the novel as the comparison the reader makes between the two will make the rape scene feel even colder.
     
  22. proserpine
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    Ugh, don't detail it. Implying a rape is quite enough, in my opinion. If you feel you must, just detail the emotion, and not the mechanics.

    I'm sure there are well-written rape scenes, but it would take a delicate hand.

    Also, I wouldn't consider a rape scene anywhere close to a sex scene.
     
  23. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    You are right, it would fit more into the violence thread, however my initial question initiating romance was spurred because of this event. I didn't want the only form of sexuality experienced by my protagonist to be violent.

    O.k. I'm turning my gears, and contemplating ditching most of what I wrote last night haha. But that is based off of other research, and the fact that a lot of it is simply scene setting. However, that's another thread entirely.
     
  24. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i write romance, so you would think I can't avoid it, :/ but I don't go into details, I think the romanticism is more in the overall feeling you get from the entire novel than explicit sex-scenes. I'm not comfortable writing them and I don't even like reading them, because it seems they are rarely well-written. (I have read a lot more poorly written ones than good ones)
     
  25. Quezacotl
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    If it's relevant to the story, write it, but keep in mind it will always come off as awkward and badly written, if it is romance, rape, or casual. A better way is to imply it and an even better way is to have a metaphor for it. Describe the characters sharing a luxurious meal and take a long smoke afterwards.

    But euphemisms for genitalia sound hilarious. I would never use them in serious work.
     

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