I can’t write sex scenes. I mean, I know all about the birds and the bees, it’s just that I feel sort of dirty. Which I guess is the point, right?
My writing is just general commercial fiction, so unlike other genres that need to have a bedroom scene, it’s not anything I’ve really studied in other novels or really given much thought to until I got to this one. There is a scene in my first novel in which my main character has sex on a bus (that little tramp, I know) but I didn’t get into details because really, Amanda wasn’t that in tune with what was happening to her physically but was instead focused on her on thoughts.
In the scene I wrote yesterday (*spoiler alert!*), she has a long overdue reconciliation with her ex-boyfriend. Sitting outside on a dark bench, they talk through their issues and well, one thing leads to another. They only round second base before they are interrupted (her sexual frustration fuels what happens next), but I asked myself this morning: if the story needed it, could I have let them go all the way. Or, am I too much of a prude and am I holding the characters back?
It’s not that sex embarrasses me. I love the steamy vampire sex scenes in the Sookie Stackhouse books as much as the next girl. And, I just read a friend’s very steamy sex scene the other night, so I can work with her on how to make it feel like bow-chicka-bow-wow isn’t playing in the reader’s head as they are reading it. So, what is my problem?
Well, first and foremost, it’s my parents. No, they are not puritans, but they will read my novel when it’s ready. I shouldn’t let that bother me, they read the first one without bringing up the bus scene (although I was quick to tell my dad “for the record, I’ve never had sex on a bus.”).
Part of me feels like I’m invading Amanda and David’s privacy. Then again, I’m here to broadcast their private thoughts to the world so I need to get over that.
And, maybe it’s because in high school my girlfriends and I giggled over the “throbbing members” of the Harlequin books and I’m afraid that somewhere, a group of 15-year-olds will giggle over my writing.
For now, I’m safe and my writing can remain virtuous. At some point I have to ditch the dowdy writing and break out that sexy little notebook and let Amanda and David have their moment.
But I wonder, is it really necessary to have sex in a non-genre novel? If so, how do you guys push past “my parents will read this”?