That Stuff

My confession

“I don’t write THAT stuff.”

I could hear the inflection in the writer’s voice, even though she had typed and not spoken the words.

What stuff was she talking about? Sweet (as opposed to sexual) romance books. This attitude is not uncommon with the romance writers I have encountered, to where I have left a group of writers because of words dripping with disdain.

I don’t write the opposite extreme — Christian romance — either. I want sexuality to be important to my characters, just not necessarily on the page.

I obviously haven’t found my tribe.

Here’s my confession: I don’t write sex scenes. No steam, no lemon, no insertion, no moaning, no dirty talk, no bodily fluids, no humping.

Black and white image of female buttocks on black bacground

Why don’t I write sex scenes?

If you have preconceived notions about me, these might contradict your thoughts:

  • I have a perverse sense of humor and an open mind.
  • I enjoy reading sex scenes, as long as they’re not over-the-top or badly written.
  • I’m fascinated by my characters and wonder how they’d react sexually.

Some data which might explain things but I doubt will:

  • I’m almost sixty, which probably means I’m slowing down. But nah …

Why I write fade to black, closed-door, no explicit sex romance/romantic fantasy:

  • I’ve seen too many sex scenes that have taken me out of the book, i.e. miles of orgasms, heroic stamina, characters whose prowess becomes their dominant character trait. I’d read that for humor, not for a straightforward love affair.
  • I don’t want to get distracted from the relationship piece. I want to focus on the beginning of enduring traits rather than the short-term lust.
  • I don’t want to feel voyeuristic. I know they’re imaginary characters, but I’ve formed a bond with them and I feel this sense of respect toward them.
  • I like to use my imagination and assume my readers like the same.

I stew about this

My dilemma about writing explicit sex scenes may go back to a distinction I ran into a couple weeks ago between escapist romance and literary romance. I want to write compelling fantasy-romances/romantic fantasies about complex people in a world not quite like the one they entered. To do that, I have to write the way I write and hope it catches on.

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