I can't resist an intriguing prompt. The prompt was write a sex scene that takes place in a given local. I wrote a sex scene -- no love, romance, or emotional bondage intended.
Jo, a no-fear femme fatale, barred no holes in her pursuit of the object of her desire.
Mick, the tasty morsel she shared an office with, played hard to get by throwing out the morality roadblock. Mick lusted after Jo, maybe even more than Jo lusted after him. He obstructed her path with arguments about office dating, and the prerequisite rules that society demands.
That didn't hinder Jo, since she wasn't after romance, a relationship, or even morning coffee. Jo knew the backlash Mick feared would only come into play if they tried to sustain their tryst in the real world. Jo wasn't about to sweat the petty stuff. She itched to get naked and pet Mick's sweaty stuff.
She thumbed through her list of feminine wiles, and chose the tricks that would demolish his blockades. She used her brain and her charms to end up sandwiched between his solid heat and the icy bite of a metal railing. No promises, no excuses, no consequences. Hot, horny sex with her chosen stud muffin... She wanted it; she got it; she was gone.
It was a fun piece to write. Jo was no wimpy, whiny, abused damsel in distress. She could navigate her way in the world without help. It was liberating to play in her head awhile. Unfortunately, some of my readers didn't share my sense of adventure.
There were comments like "not romantic". Good, I say. I wasn't writing the great American love story. I was writing a sex scene.
Another didn't like the way Jo dallied to her point. An old fashioned tease-and-tempt was, in Jo's mind, the best route to her destination. It was her buildup to the big moment; foreplay, if you will. She was careful to choose the psychological warfare most likely to topple Mick's defenses. His body was willing. Only his psychology kept them apart.
I took the opportunity to flex narration muscles I don't normally use.
My scene was written in first person, to see if I could make a sympathetic character narrate her own story. First person makes it tough for the reader to identify with a character. In order to help the reader establish a connection with my leading lady and gent, I avoided any identifying physical traits. I was happy with the feedback I got concerning the characters. I think I pulled that off.
I wondered if I could make it go real time and be believable. I used present tense. This, it seems, I didn't accomplished so well. With words like dallying, and a comment about forgetting they were even in a stairwell… well, I think I fell flat there. It was still fun to do something different.
The last part of my experiment was to make it sizzle without using any harsh words, while escaping the purple prose trap. I think I managed to check those two items off.
Even though I missed my mark with my audience, the experience was enlightening. The best part is the responses got me thinking about rules for writing sex. I've read them before, but they really sink in when you have something personal to relate them to. We all struggle with our sex scenes a bit, so I thought I'd share my thoughts.
Number one on my list: Know your audience. If your readers expect the raging inferno of raunchy sex in exotic locals – that is what you must give them. Dish up a helping of that course to an audience hungry for a sweet shaky first kiss to plant the seed of forever love; you'll spoil their appetite.
Number two isn't very far from number one. Understand what the sex is about. People have sex for all varieties of reasons: Because it feels good. Maybe they are looking for love, starved for a human connection, or they can't help themselves – as in addiction. For some, it's a way to get what they want, distract a lover from their true purpose, ease some emotional pain, or even because they are bored. And once again - it's my favorite - because it feels good. There's a whole host of sexual motivations I haven't touched on, but that isn't my point. You have to understand why your characters are about to lose their laundry. And, refer back to rule one, and decide if your audience can connect with your reason.
List item number three: Avoid the ick factor, but don't slip into the so-so everyday boring rut of tameness. Be open-minded, but know when to slam the gate before that train of thought derails. I'm not able to elaborate on this one much. I hope that we'll know it when we see it as writers and critters.
Number four: Last, but absolutely not least… switch it up and have fun. Live vicariously through your characters. Put on the Goddess Gown and play with attitudes that may be out of your reach, but so within the grasp of your fiction-vixen. Explore, dream, and give your reader something more than they get in the confines of their reality. Fiction is fantasy.
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