“Throw in another sex scene!” said the guy who was betaing (is that a word?) my most recent book. Then he added: “You know you want to!”
Well, actually I didn’t want to. Not because I don’t like writing sex scenes between my characters, because I do. These guys love each other, or are well on their way to loving each other and I want them to show it! But I don’t think the point to gay romance is two guys (or more) clawing at each other every other paragraph. I don’t write erotica. I write romance.
My assumption is that these guys are having sex a lot more often than I’m writing about it. My book doesn’t chronicle every second of their day. There’s a story going on here and I write in service to that story, not to my character’s libido. I mean there are only so many ways that two human beings can make love. The logistics of the experience are well known. There’s no doubt that you can explore a ton of alternative positions like armpits and what have you. I also realize that there are many types of sexual experiences open for writers to explore and that’s all very well and good.
But basic meat and potatoes sex isn’t really all that complicated. Two penis’s, two testicles, two pair of hands, two mouths, two anal openings. That’s pretty much the basic equipment. Now combine them in any way that suits you. After awhile though it would all have to come out sounding pretty much the same, at least mechanically. Insert tab A into slot B.
What makes a sex scene unique, in my opinion, isn’t the sex, it’s the feelings being expressed during the sex. It’s the emotions that lead TO the sex. It’s the sentiments that are expressed AFTER the sex. The sex itself, the mechanics of it all… who cares? To me that’s barely worth mentioning. How many ways ARE there to give a blowjob? Only one that I know of. But there are a million ways to experience that blowjob both as a giver and a receiver and THAT is where my interest lies.
It’s that singular moment – that split second – when their eyes meet and their very souls cry out in an ecstasy that is secondary to the unity of their bodies. That’s where the story lives. If I can somehow capture that moment, then it’s not a sex scene anymore. It is a joining of two human spirits that transcends the physical. A joining that fills an emptiness which is experienced in the spirit rather than in the body. I want to write sex scenes where bodies are a means to that end rather than the end itself.
I want my characters to feel differently after they’ve made love. I want them to BE different. I want the experience to bring a sea-change that alters them and their relationship in ways which are fundamental to the story I’m trying to tell.
In Love’s Magic, the very first time Colin and Joshua make love, Colin is instantly transformed. He might not have fully realized it at the time, and god knows he put them both through the tortures of the damned before he’d finally admit it. But the experience altered him. It opened a place within him which had been crusted over and barricaded tightly shut. Joshua’s kind, gentle nature touched that wounded place within our tough, Irish cop and coaxed open a small window allowing healing and light to penetrate.
That’s what a sex scene should do, in my opinion. It should bring light to the dark places within our character’s soul. At least the ones we write about should. Every sexual encounter between our guys might not bring that sense of profound healing and change. Sometimes they’re just making love. It’s pleasurable and satisfying and they enjoy the hell out of it, but it doesn’t move their souls. Those moments are fun for them and I’m glad they have those moments. I just don’t want to write about them. I’ll give them their privacy during those encounters. I’ll only stick my nose in when they have those soul-moving moments that propel our story, and their relationship into new and unexplored territory!
So, nope. I didn’t add another sex scene. I did want to, he wasn’t wrong. But truth is… I just didn’t see the point.
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