Let’s Talk About Sex

In my writer’s meeting yesterday, we had a great conversation about writing sex scenes. I’m currently writing my first piece of fiction – it is a love story – and my first sex scene.

A great sex scene from one of my favorite movies, Love Jones.

We were discussing the term erotica and its definition. I assumed this story would be categorized as erotica simply because it contains sex. I was mistaken. Apparently, it is only deemed erotica if sex is central to the story: if you remove the sex and there is no story, that’s erotica.

We also had a great discussion about how the needle has moved for the romance genre, a reflection of the times. Another writer in the group is a romance enthusiast and author, she loves love! I don’t think I’ve read too many romance novels and I am surprised to be writing in the genre… I’m calling it a love story… Anyway, we concluded it’s subjective, finding that sweet spot (no pun intended 😉) between clinical and smutty.

That evening, I had a great conversation with my daughter about it. I know, right! She’s 25 and she asked about my day and we got to talking about the meeting, then we’re talking about sex!!!

It was a great conversation and not at all awkward. I guess because we were really talking about language and words. We simultaneously cringed when we reflected on writing that used the term “member” for a man’s penis. Who talks like that? NO ONE. We also decided that we don’t like euphemistic phrases like, “they became one.” C’mon.

It’s sex. Everybody does it and despite people’s behavior, it’s not a bad word. It’s beautiful and can have beautiful results!!! Besides, central to my writing are truth, authenticity and vulnerability. You cannot have a love story with sex.

Yet, I’m still puzzled about the language to use… I want there to at least be an initial sex scene for the couple’s first time. Later instances may not be as detailed but I think this is critical to the story. The couple is truly in love and have an intense attraction to one another. It is a love that spans over 50 years.

So help me! Are there words that I should use? Words to avoid? How would you write your sex scene with an unforgettable love? To be clear, I’m asking for feedback in the comments.

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