This month I’ve been wrestling with the idea of sex in my novels. I’m not in a genre that has clear expectations for sex. It’s not Erotica (More Sex!) or Inspirational (Less sex!) so, the decision comes down to personal opinion and “What the story needs.”
The issue never came up in my first novel. The main character was away from her husband, and married enough that sex with somebody else was out of the question.
Now… the novel I’m working on right now centers around the relationship between a man and a woman (not romantic, exactly, but definitely open to that) and the one I’m supposed to be revising centers on a relationship between two men and a woman.
Not a love triangle, mind you. It’s a domestic triad. Three people. All mutually married to each other. And, believe it or not, its the social dynamic that interests me more than the sexual dynamic.
Being quite honest… I read erotica. I enjoy erotica.
But I have a strange relationship with sex in my own writing. When I’m tired, and frustrated, and fed up with trying to remember whether that’s I-S-E or I-Z-E, I have a tendency to say I’m just going to chuck it all, and sell porn on the internet.
When I think I’m being funny, I’ll say I thought about starting a scatophilia website, but my ex(bosses, boyfriends, gym teachers, etc…) kept bugging me about a job.
And when I hit a tough patch–writer’s block, or just not living up to my own expectations–I actually do find a nice, soft cushion of despair and settle down to write that mediocre but lucrative porn novel that’s just bursting to pay my light bill.
That doesn’t last long, but it does get me writing. And eventually… something somewhere… somehow catches my attention, and I’m off on the next novel.
And my erotica never actually becomes erotic. More of an … and then came some mushy stuff, and THEN–a penguin escaped from the zoo… kind of motif. I’m really, really bad at writing sex scenes.
So, here is my question: Under what circumstances would you consider sex to be necessary in a book? Does it ever? And if not… do you think that any scene can stand in for sex?