Posts Tagged ‘writing sex’

If you’re not writing porn, and we’ve established that we aren’t; and if you’ve absolutely determined that it’s required in your writing, identify your target audience.

If you’re writing B grade pulp (Jonathan Black) go right ahead and don’t shy from using offensive P/D words and C words for body parts. Degrade it as much as possible. Have deviant sex. Only your imagination (or sanity) is the limit.

If you’re writing romance for women, try and focus on feelings and sensations rather than bludgeoning ahead with offensive slang and gory details. Just pick up a romance or two. It’s a pretty set formula and M&B, Harlequin, Silhouette etc have got it down pat.

“Every movement he made, drove her higher and higher till she stood just over the edge of the precipice. She wanted him to stop, knowing that if she gave in she would be lost forever, then contrarily willed him to go on, knowing that she was lost anyway. And then he ground against her in a frantic final burst that took them both flying, up and away, higher and higher.”  See what I mean?

Cheesy? You bet!

Unrealistic? YOU BET!

But part of becoming a writer is finding new imagery for the same old same old and trying to be realistic at the same time. And the good thing about taking this route is that even if you don’t manage to find new metaphors to equal or surpass, “He took her higher and higher in a swirling cloud of emotions and sensations till they both shattered into a million ecstatic pieces,” you won’t be in any danger of being offensive either.

About the unrealistic bit, picture this: A rich dude (who’s not married or gay) falls in love with a frumpy waitress, when he has perfectly good eye candy on his arm already? Puh-lease!

If your book/film is targeted at mass market, try and use similes and metaphors for the act of making love. Similar to the one above but less, well, feminine.

Though, come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I read an explicit sex scene in a Jeffrey Archer or a Robert Ludlum. You know why they don’t write sex? It’s because they know the secret to good, pacy writing.

1.      Make your plots so riveting that people don’t miss, or even realise the absence of, sex.

2.      Don’t write unnecessary sex. It only drags the action and makes readers impatient.

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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:



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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