There’s Good Sex and Bad Sex


For some good sex means violins and cupids, slow-burning romance building to a heart-pounding climax. Others prefer bodice ripping and bad boys hung with biologically phenomenal appendages. I’m talking about writing sex scenes . . . but the same could easily apply to real life.

It’s a deeply personal choice and for that reason, writing sex scenes is a jaw-grinding challenge. Ask any author. My first sex scene almost became my last when after submitting it to a writer’s chat room, along with my soul, the only response I received was, ‘This made me cringe’. That’s enough to turn any budding author off writing sex scenes forever. Right?

Well, it did for a while. Until I grabbed the bull by the horn (so as to speak) worked hard on my technique and wrote a handful of sex scenes into my debut novel ‘What Matters Most’. Then I held my breath and submitted it to my publisher. All good – they liked it. So did my editors and my readers.

Those who know me know that I write contemporary fiction –stories about families, about adult relationships and about the good and the bad that happens to children. That’s where the bad sex comes into my stories. No arguments about it –sex that exploits children is never good. And those scenes are heart-achingly difficult to write.

But what about good sex? And how is it best written?

Popular romance writer Carla Caruso says good sex scenes focus on emotion rather than body parts: They build towards the moment; that  readers want characters to enjoy a happy ending. Yes, that sort of happy ending, but also in their personal growth. When it comes to sex scenes, suspense writer Rowena Holloway wants her readers to fall in love with her characters and agrees that capturing the emotion is key. Sizzling romance writer Maggie Mundy likes to spice up her tales with uncertainty, but says sex scenes must be part of a bigger story, that each scene must move the story forward. Sex scenes by Canadian erotica writer, Lisette Kristensen are driven by her characters . . . Darkly decadent, flawed females who use their sexuality as a vehicle for recovery or salvation. Lisette kindly gave me a peek into her new novel, ‘Running Blind,’ hitting the market in May. Honey, that stuff’s hotter than a blowtorch. Even my eyeballs were blushing.

So whether you hanker after cupid’s arrow or bad-boy guns or something in between, good sex scenes billow and burst with emotion –any sort of emotion as long as there’s feeling beyond the physical. There’s always intrigue. And there’s got to be a bigger picture –good sex doesn’t happen in a vacuum. But most of all, authors agree that a good sex scene is just that. It  leaves everyone feeling good.

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  1. Mel

    Great blog post!

    • diannemaguire

      Thanks Mel 🙂 I loved hearing other authors’ views on this tricky topic.

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