Amongst many of the late night conversations at Fantasycon was a discussion on sex scenes. There were stories of horrendous sex scenes both published and unpublished and we then spent the rest of the night giggling like naughty schoolchildren at words such as ‘spill’.
But this brought up one of my personal bugbears about sex scenes. All too often the sex is too perfect, the participants automatic black belts in the art of lovemaking. Sex is clumsy and raw, rarely a well choreographed dance.
I think it’s fine to have perfect lovemaking if you’re writing erotica or for titillation but if your sex scene is part of the plot or character it always strikes me as some wish fulfilment on the part of the author. It should reflect character. It seems a protagonist is rarely crap in bed or a selfish-lover, almost as if the author is worried that they are making some embarrassing personal confession.
Above all else, I find it dishonest, and dishonest writing is bad writing.
I think fantasy has some way to go with sex scenes, all too often they are a bad cliché of sweat and bodies moving as one. Our genre has grown up over the years, I think our sex scenes need a grow up a little too.