Everything you wanted… ;)

Another one of the blog topic suggestions came from Jane Devin. Since she already knows something about New Mexico, she thought I should write something about sex. Yes, SEX. She even suggested it twice, so I have to assume she thinks that’s an important topic, or she believes that I’m some kind of expert. [insert: cackling and guffawing sounds] Silly.

Alas, never one to shirk one’s duties I’ll give it a go.

Having spent the bulk of my professional career working as a registered nurse, I know a thing or two about sex—mostly the clinical aspects, though. I did spend a couple of years doing clinical trials for HIV treatments and in the course of interviewing patients, learned a little bit more about things…heretofore unknown to me. I also volunteered as a CASA (court appointed special advocate). Sadly, this part of my education was into the darkest most tragic aspects of sexual deviancy. Not so fun.

So let’s not talk about clinical stuff.

More apropos to the subject would be my latest reinvention as a fictioneer [writer of fiction], specifically romance. That challenge has proved itself a tough row to hoe. Those familiar with the task of writing a compelling romance understand the difficulty of walking the thin line between romantic fiction and erotica. Given the popularity of the latest bestseller,which shall remain nameless, I probably should have chosen erotica/porn for a profitable career.

Let’s agree on some basics: Sex Is a Good Thing and Sex Sells.

When Maslow described his hierarchy,  at the very base, along with breathing, food, water, sleep, homeostasis, excretion, —you guessed it, sex! It ranked before security of: body, employment, resources, morality, the family, health, and property. So it must be something that we all value to a greater or lesser degree.

I think we can safely say Romance is a very popular subject. It’s a theme often found in books, movies, songs, operas, paintings, and every form of advertising. The way our legislators bandy about women’s rights, there’s hardly a day that goes by without mentions of birth control, abortion, or vaginal probes (good lord). Still as a writer, I’m always cognizant that my characters need to be authentic, three-dimensional human beings and that I must pay attention to their needs wants and desires. This is not only because it makes the stories more realistic, but also because readers want to pick up a book and become invested in the story and the characters.

My job is to create stories that have those elements, which frequently involve flirting, true romance, love and the consummation of their passion. It’s tricky. I don’t wanna teach anatomy and physiology. I also don’t want to provide a trail of bread crumbs without a resolution.

Teasing is a mean.

Most of the time I create situations and allow the characters to move the dial—up or down, according to their whims. Sometimes I’m surprised that a casual conversation in the kitchen suddenly ends up in the bedroom or a romantic conversation ends up in an argument. You never can tell.

Two years ago I heard a keynote address by a well regarded romance writer,                  KG MacGregor, who challenged us to push the boundaries in our writing. To write more realistic, more diverse, and more interesting characters. We are a diverse country with literally millions of unique individuals to draw from. The age old stereotypes for romantic characters are falling by the wayside. And we must believe at one time or another, virtually every human being experiences love, romance, desire, and… Sex.

So for my writer friends out there, take up the challenge and stretch your boundaries. For all of the wonderful readers who keep us tied to our desks, look for new stories and new authors. You may be pleasantly surprised.


10 thoughts on “Everything you wanted… ;)

  1. To quote the wise and lovely, Jade Lee: if you’re not squirming in your chair while you’re writing the sex scene, how can you expect your readers to be?
    That’s sort of a quote at a workshop I took from her at RWA a few years back. And it’s very true! Fade to black?! Really? Pfft! Totally not for me. I want to be in the bedroom alongside those characters with a scorecard in one hand and a glass of ice water in the other. I want to be sweating right along with them, so cudos to those authors who rip off the sheets and invite us in.
    I realize that’s not for everyone, but it’s what works for me as a reader and a writer.
    Thanks for such a climactic topic!
    Molly Evans/Tami Sinclair

    1. Thanks, Molly. Ice water? really? you’re too funny, but I get what you’re saying. I well written sex scene can be …uh…inspiring. A poorly written one is comedy at best, disgusting at worst. Sexual tension is not easy to describe in words. Film is often a better medium. I try to “see” the scene as though it was being acted out. Hit freeze frame and try to describe what I can see. Sometime it works. 🙂

  2. Great blog, Jeanne! Many thanks! And you know, as long as the sex (however it plays out in the book or story) works within the story and moves it forward, then I am fine. If it is forced or out of step for the characters or really poorly written, then I am not a happy camper. So, thanks for continuing to write and work at your craft.

  3. Another great blog. And you’re right, “Sex sells”. There are some writers that you count on for exciting and wonderful scenes of physical intimacy. Others fade to black. I do know that writing a sex scene well is difficult and I applaud all the wonderful authors who get it right. In the meantime if you write them, we’ll read them.

    1. Thanks, MAF, it’s a tricky balance and ultimately, it’s about the characters and their ‘truth’. If it’s forced it won’t be authentic and nobody likes fake.

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