Yesterday in comments, I mentioned that the major sex scene in my first book runs for 30 pages – it does, but don’t be fooled into thinking that means 30 pages of sweat and lust and tedious repetition – because it’s certainly not that – Technically, I suppose, you could break the scene into two, even three segments, but for all of that, with all that happens – the mental gymnastics, the physical fun and games, the action, the fallout and the aftermath, from beginning to end it really does last that long.
It’s actually hard to separate all that out, but I can say that it doesn’t feel anywhere near that long when you’re reading it. Mind, I don’t think anyone notices the page count at that point… or the pages… or the book.
It was actually a hugely tricky scene to write, and not just because of the sex.
First up, I’ll say that not all sexual encounters have to be detailed, of course. Hints or foreplay and then the closed bedroom door or a jump to the next morning works fine for many writers and readers. But then, that’s why there’s a warning stuck at the top of my blog page and on my books at Amazon and Kindle. Mine gets graphic, not always, but when it does, it DOES.
Detailed sex is probably THE most difficult things to write convincingly and realistically – particularly when you want it to appeal to both sexes (it’s a wide band, but put very, very simply, most men get turned on by physical description and most women get turned on by emotional description).
Writers can get in their own way when it comes to writing sex. It’s very easy to become self-conscious, shy or awkward, or worse, turned on – seriously, it might sound funny, but you have to know what goes onto the page and what’s going on in your head. You are WRITING, it has to be ON THE PAGE. It does a writer no good at all to fade out into their imagination and then assume that their readers have followed.