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As I was posting the link yesterday, I got thinking about the stories I’ve been asked to comment on in recent times.

  1. Do women prefer cold cash to hot sex? My reply: Of course. It’s a no brainer.
  2. Are men better at writing sex than women? Do women get soppy, and bring too much emotion into, writing about what is primarily a physical act? My reply: Men write porn, women write erotica. Depends on what you prefer. (Can’t find the link)
  3. ‘Do Bad girls go places?’ or is it just a smart phrase? My Reply: D-uh! (Can’t find the link)
  4. Then of course the piece de resistance, the futuristic story I was asked to write about a scenario where women rule the world and men are their sex slaves.

Then I got thinking about search terms that people employ to, and successfully, to arrive at my blog: Smita Jain sex (easily tops the list), kinky sex India, hot naked teens, hot lesbian fuck videos (don’t know where that came from), middle aged aunty sex (DEFINITELY don’t know where that came from), sex.com (okay, that I can understand).

WTF?! Going by this one would think I’ve written a Jonathan Black! Guys, it’s only chicklit. All right, all right, so I do have some sex in my books, but it’s only max two-three scenes. Okay, okay, so it’s four-five scenes, but still. It’s hardly enough to bestow upon me the title of expert. Or is it?

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It’s that time of the year again. I have to write about sex. Contrary to what people think considering my books are always big on sex, I’m not a big fan of writing on the subject. In fact, I positively cringe at the prospect.

It always takes me longer to write one sex/love-making scene than it does to write a whole chapter. This hold-up happens because I can never quite decide how to approach it. Do I describe it as it is happening as in the physical description of the act of making love? Or do I concentrate on feelings?

If I just write about the physical act, do I make it rough and raunchy? Or am I in danger of getting smutty? Should I make it funny? What words should I use various body parts, the biological ones or slang? If slang, then which slang, because there’s a variety of words that can be used, ranging from funny to downright derogatory. Will I be accused of writing porn?

The other argument is that I should just concentrate on feelings. Since my books are not shooting scripts for porn films, I should just concentrate on the situation. A few details in the physical is all I need. The rest is setting the emotional connection between the lovers. I tell myself that writing sex is like writing about any other emotion or situation. That all I need to do is make the reader feel what the characters are feeling at that moment. But then how many ways are there to describe ‘that melting/rippling feeling in the pit of my stomach?’ And if I do take the second approach, will I be guilty of being overly sentimental?

So far I’ve been able to dodge the bullet since my books have been chicklit and a little flippancy is always welcome. But now it’s a genre and the levity will not be appreciated.

Verily ’tis a quandary, I tell you. I guess the art is balancing the lust and intimacy in the writing. Not so easy to write. Perhaps I shall take the easy way out and skim over the whole thing. After all, when in doubt, go back to the rules. And the rules say Less is More.

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Now we broach the extremely delicate, not to mention, difficult art of writing good sex. Because, of course, if you’re writing about real people, they will, at some point perform the S act. (Unless, of course you’re writing about Indians in which case you will show them act with propriety in public and molest girls/children later. Rape scenes are easy to write – chhod do mujhe! Bhagwan ke liye chhod do!)

 

But I digress. Coming back to the point, there’s good sex and there’s bad sex. Even notables like Tarun Tejpal (remember him? He of Tehelka fame), Gabriel Garcia Mraquez and Salman Rushdie haven’t been spared criticism for writing bad sex. Check out the following for more details:

http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IE420051128222538&Page=4&Title=Features+-+People+%26+Lifestyle&Topic=0

 

Coming to Bollywood, we’re bad at showing sex. And I mean BAD. Remember Mallika Sherawat in Murder? And that’s just one instance. I mean what’s with the heaving bosoms? Do heroines look like they’re shaving fun? Or that they need emergency CPR?

 

So how do you write sex scenes without offending reader’s/viewers sensibilities or making them cringe?

 

1.     Keep it to the minimum: There’s no set formula for writing good sex. What one finds explicit, the other may find offensive. So, unless it’s absolutely vital to your story, it’s always a good idea to keep it to the minimum. Sex is overused as a gimmick to keep a reader’s/viewer’s attention. The best stories are the ones where the plot is so riveting we don’t notice the lack of sex scenes. Writers complain that without sex their product may no be racy enough. Here’s they’re in for a surprise. Contrary to popular belief that viewers/readers want sex, they do not. They feel that sex only drags the plot.

 

2.     Know your target audience: If you’re writing a book/film that will be sold to social conservatives or families, keep the sex muted or “off-camera.” Just show the couple going into the bedroom and closing the door. We all know what happens behind the door, and if those details are not crucial to the plot then they really don’t need to be discussed. Show a bit, then leave the rest to the reader’s imagination. They can fill in the gaps just fine. On the other hand, if your market is teenage and young men, you probably don’t have many limits, either in imagination or prose.

 

That is still the don’ts. So how do we write? More on that tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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