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Sunday, 21 July 2013

Coitus, Lovemaking, Intercourse, Sex!

by
Shelly Hickman

I had to lead with the word “coitus” in honor of one of my favorite TV characters, Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. The topic is writing juicy sex. I can’t see myself doing it for one obvious reason, and that is I’m a teacher who doesn’t use a pen name. But even if I weren’t a teacher, I probably wouldn’t go there. Not that I have anything against sex scenes, but I’m pretty critical when they’re not done well. Writing is difficult enough without trying to incorporate sex that’s original, sensual, and believable.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t read romance very often. I’ve come across scenes that actually turned me off because the sex was presented in such a way that either made me roll my eyes or snort with laughter. Certain word choices have made me wince, not because I’m a prude, but because I don’t find them the least bit sexy. Puckered nodule? Ewww! Just say hardened nipple. I realize it’s challenging to come up with new ways to say things, but I don’t want to hear a nipple referred to as a puckered nodule. Sex is such an intimate expression between two people, whether it’s the down and dirty kind or so sweet it makes you cry. When it’s written poorly, it can easily dampen my engagement with the characters.

Though I was one of the few who didn’t sing praise for Fifty Shades, I admire E.L. James’s guts for her trek into a la kinky. However, when I think of the grief she received in many of her reviews about the sex scenes, I believe I’ll beg off. Writing sex is no easy task, so my hat goes off to those who do it successfully.

Another reason I’m not comfortable writing explicit sex is that readers inevitably wonder how much of a story is invented and how much is from the author’s experience. I suppose that’s not such a big deal if you’re writing vanilla sex; you could be talking about anyone. But what if you decide to delve into the really naughty? The thought of my friends, family, or co-workers speculating on the authenticity of raunchiness is something that makes me a little queasy.

Romantic scenes that don’t necessarily include sex can be just as tricky. Yes, we read novels for the escape, the passion and enchantment we probably don’t experience very much in everyday life, but I also want my heroes and heroines believable. Let’s face it, most of the time, men are not very romantic. And to be fair, neither are women. I have a hard time expressing romantic feelings toward my husband, not because I don’t have them, but because . . . Well, I don’t know. Just because, okay?


A hero that goes on and on to his lady about how much he cherishes, worships, and adores her, would do anything to protect her, doesn’t get very far with me. In my experience, the men who are the sweetest talkers are usually the ones you trust the least. I prefer heroes who are quietly strong, funny, and maybe even a little dorky from time to time. He doesn’t have to possess washboard abs and smoldering eyes, but he must have sincerity. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate broad shoulders and muscly arms as much as the next girl, but whether it be sex scenes or romantic scenes, there has to be a bit of realism along the way, or I’m not buying into it.

Somewhere Between Black and White
Romance, humor, family drama, with a touch of Buddhism. Sound interesting?

Amazon
B and N
When approaching life's problems, Sophie sees in black and white. That is, when they're someone else's problems. So when it comes to her sister, Sophie is sure she has all the answers, and offers them without hesitation. If only her sister would listen.


Then, through a series of chance encounters, she meets Sam, who is witty, kind, and downright unflappable. Sophie has the overwhelming sense that she's known him before, and as a relationship builds between them, odd visions invade her mind. Though she tries to dismiss them, their persistence will not allow it.



As someone who is quick to judge others, she is intrigued by Sam's ability to accept people as they are. She begins to see him as a role model, but try as she may, his accepting nature is difficult to emulate. 

Will Sophie ever be able to put her hasty judgements aside and realize not every problem has a simple solution?


Shelly Hickman
Living in Las Vegas since she was two, Shelly Hickman has witnessed many changes in the city over the years. She graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Art in 1990, and in her early twenties worked as an illustrator for a contractor for the Nevada Test Site. In the mid-90s, she returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Elementary Education. She now teaches computer applications and multimedia at a middle school in Las Vegas. She loves to write about people, examining their flaws, their humor, spirituality, and personal growth. Shelly lives with her husband, two children, and their dog, Frankie.

11 comments:

  1. Great post, Shelly! I can so understand how you feel about writing sex scenes. And having read and loved your books, I can say you do a beautiful job of letting us know when it has happened and how it was without all the dirty details. It is part of life, so you don't keep it out of the story entirely, because that wouldn't be realistic. Yet, your message is more about the relationship between the people involved and what they're learning in their journey, which is wonderful.

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  2. Thanks, Patricia! Maybe when I retire from teaching, eons from now, I'll get more adventurous with the sex scenes. I really need to find something in education where I'm not in a classroom. Haha!

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  3. Thanks so much for closing out the tour!

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  4. Puckered nodule? Ew! I loved this post because it is so true. I have read some excellent sex scenes and ones that made me laugh. It is so very hard to describe sex enticing enough to draw in the reader without delving into porn. Fantastic tour, Shelly!

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  5. Thanks, Samantha. I know, there's nothing wrong with a sex scene making you laugh if that's the intention. But when it's meant to be hot, not exactly the desired effect. ;)

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  6. There are some weird names for body parts, and I agree, most are so stupid I end up laughing--or wincing, as well.

    Romantic scenes should be about feelings rather than the actual performance, and erotica should be full of velvet shaft that and yes, puckered nodule this. :D

    I'm not keen on reading erotica, and when writing my own sexy scenes I tend to miss out the actual deed (unless it's told in a comic way) because, gotta say it, it's hard!

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  7. I agree, Louise. I leave a lot to the imagination. I'm thinking of going more the comical approach with my current work. We'll see. Thanks for having me! :)

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  8. I agree. Sex scenes are hard to write, especially if you want to be suggestive and not right on. I was sent a book by an author not long ago for review. The very first chapter had sex scenes in it where he used parts of a car as a parallel to body parts--I was completely turned off, put the book away and haven't opened it since. Really??? A gear shift and a man's...you know. No thanks! Writing intimate scenes is hard--yes, but it can be done! Just keep your car where it belongs--in the garage!

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  9. That is so funny, Cindy! Sometimes I see this stuff and think to myself, "Please don't go there!"

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