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Monday, 22 April 2013

S is for Sex - Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

Now sex is a tricky subject, but don't worry, I'm not about to go into detail about the logistics. What I want to talk about is sex's place in fiction.

I think far too many people are scared of sex in fiction when, in fact, it is simply another aspect of a plot. However I do believe there are some considerations when adding sex to a story.

Whenever I think about it I ask myself a couple of questions:
  1. Why am I adding it?
  2. Who are my audience?
Answering those two questions always lets me know if I am adding it because it adds to the story or if, actually, it would be better to leave it out.

Now I come from the background of fanfiction and one thing fanfiction is not scared of is sex. I would like to clear up one misleading idea that the press seem to have picked up because most of them have no idea about fanfiction. Fanfiction is not all about the sex. There are huge amounts of fanfiction that has no sex at all, not even any relationships. Fanfiction is simply fiction written by fans about a fictional universe created by another writer or, in some cases, real people.

Now most fandoms are not shy about sex, but they are usually careful about it. You will most often find that in fanfiction communities all fiction is rated and will give you information on pairings and warnings about content so that you can pick and choose what you like to read according to your own tastes. This makes it very hard to stumble in on something you don't like.

Many times it's not so easy with published fiction.

There are also many levels of sex in fiction:

  1. Alluding to events of a more carnal nature.
  2. Having the lead up and then fading to black.
  3. Describing the acts in a less explicit way.
  4. Describing everything with anatomical detail.

If I've answered the first of my questions to my own satisfaction then the answer to "Who is my audience" will often give me the level of description required.

The one thing I find most important in a sex scene is the characters. I have read far too many incredibly boring sex scenes, because they are all about tab A in slot B and not about what the characters are feeling and thinking. Having the characters not feeling anything and just going through the motions is a perfectly valid way to write a sex scene, however, there had better be a reason the characters are doing that or you will have lost me as a reader.

If they're doing the Sunday crossword in their head that's fine, it's adding to the character, but I like reasons for the sex, so if it's just sex without character input at all, I call it written porn and I'm not really interested. Some people might like that, and, good for them, but not me. When writing, I look at sex scenes like any other scene and if they don't add to the plot they get yanked out.

I've written fiction with no sex, fiction with kissing, fiction with semi-explicit sex, fiction with full on anatomical detail and what I have found is that it's like writing anything else. Research is important, but it's fiction, so it doesn't have to be totally real, and make it entertaining or your reader is going to switch off.

How do you perceive sex in fiction?

If you would like to check out any of my books, they are all listed down the side of this page and clicking the covers will take you to the full book listing for each on our company webpage at WittegenPress.com.

If you would like to see what all of my posts will be about in advance, click here to see my theme post.
My twin and I are also doing the A to Z Challenge over at our fantasy erotica blog: http://fantasyboysxxx.blogspot.co.uk/


  1. I think sex in fiction is quite acceptable, it's when it gets tacky and giving people the wrong impression about sex. After all we all got her via sex but some magazines are a bit too much.

    Tastefully written.

    1. Thank you. I've always preferred erotica to porn; usually because it's more about the sensual than the simply sexual. When I write sex I usually write it to bring two (or sometimes three ;)) characters together, so that's the important part of it for me.

  2. I read a lot of romance books, Paranormal romance and erotica so I don't mind sex in fiction. I think if done right it brings a lot to the story.

    Dark Thoughts Blog

    1. Definitely :) of course if it's done badly it can leave you laughing out loud while rolling around on the floor ::g::. Authors who can write a really good sex scene are a treasure.


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