Ugh. This is a hard one for me. I feel like sex scenes are so awkward to write. Sure, I’ve written them before, but wow, I have to really put myself in the right state of mind to pull it off.
(Okay, why does everything in that sentence sound like a double entendre?)
Anyway, I just finished reading Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty, and I must say, he writes the best sex scenes.
They make sense, they don’t feel like they go on for too long, and they never make you feel like a voyeur as you read them. Martin uses the act of sex as an illustration of the state of a relationship. The main character, Lacey, tends to throw men away – until she doesn’t. But when Martin writes a scene between Lacey and a partner…um…between the sheets, he leaves things unsaid. He lets you imagine what’s going on, and he doesn’t go into detail.
I think that’s what makes them so appealing: the element of imagination (and the things left to the imagination!). His scenes also feel organic to the story; they just fit. I hate it when a sex scene feels like filler or detracts from the story.
And I suppose that’s the lesson – and the one I’ll remember as a writer – if it feels natural for the characters to rendezvous in that way, then go for it. Otherwise, don’t force anything, because your characters don’t want to be forced into sex any more than you do. And don’t forget the element of imagination: leave some things unsaid.
…And use the word rendezvous more often; it’s delish!