I don’t think I’ve ever addressed the topic of sex in fiction. Honestly, it’s never seemed like something I really needed to touch on, but the recent release of a certain (shitty) movie based on a certain (shitty) book has prompted me to give the topic some thought.

What movie? Oh, I don’t want to say. How about this? It rhymes with “Nifty Blades of Hay”. (People, it’s Twilight fan fiction. Need I say more?)

Horrible pop-culture treatises on sexually and kink aside, if you’re writing fiction for adults sex is going to come into play. It must. We are sexual beings. If you carve that out of your characters, you’re censoring their souls and that’s no small thing. Please note, however, I’m not saying sex will make its way directly into your stories. I’m only saying that for your characters to be whole people they must also be sexual beings.

One more time, just to be clear, I’m talking about fiction written by adults for adults. Not exclusively erotic fiction, either, but certainly not anything written for minors. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think sex belongs in YA fiction, at least not in any racy incarnation.

That said, it’s entirely possible that sex will happen in your fiction. People get intimate for all kinds of reasons. When your story takes a passionate turn, how do you deal with it?

I can’t tell you what to do in your own fiction. I can only tell you what I do, which is simple: I get out of the way.

If two of my characters are getting it on, I let them. How much I relate to the reader depends on the story, the characters and how much is relevant. Sometimes nothing more than a subtle indication is needed. Sometimes a graphic depiction is warranted. There’s no hard, fast rule. (Yes, I said ‘hard’ and ‘fast’. Stop giggling. Geez.)

I apply the same rule to gore in my horror. I don’t give lengthy descriptions of blood and guts just to gross the reader out, and neither do I write paragraphs that use words like ‘member’, ‘thrust’ and ‘moist’ just to make people blush. Both tricks are cheap and tacky. It’s the story that matters. If the exchange between two characters is essential for the story, then it’s important that I relate it. If something about the nature of the love-making is key, I’m not going to leave that out. How people display intimacy often says a lot about them. When that’s true for my characters, I fill the reader in.

What I’m really curious about, though, is this: how do you handle sex in your fiction? Is it a non-issue? Are your characters pure as the driven snow, never harboring an immodest thought? Or do you find yourself tip-toeing into the bedroom with them on occasion, quietly recording what you witness there to the degree that it impacts the story?

How ’bout it, folks? How do you handle sex in your stories?


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

2 Responses to sex

  1. I am curious to know how many clicks you get on this blog title. lol! I wish I had thought of it!
    These scenes are soooo difficult to write. Well…many scenes are, but, sex scenes are right up there in difficulty. The best advice I ever got, and one which I (mostly) adhere to, is don’t make it about body parts.
    Like all good writing, these scenes are best expressed in emotion.
    Oh, and as to that book? Yeah, YUK.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dex says:

      I didn’t even think about the title leading to increased web traffic…er…I mean…yes. I’m a social media marketing machine!

      Thanks for sharing that advice. I totally agree. I mean, a bit of fleshy description is okay, but a little goes a long way.

      Liked by 1 person

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