Whether on the page or under the covers, the best sex is honest, authentic and unrestrained.

On the subject of writing or reading sex scenes, I’ve said before that I prefer those that are less graphic and leave more to the imagination.  Recently, I’ve had to reexamine that notion as it applies to my writing.  There are lots of things that I hope to accomplish with writing, one of them is to always improve.  Part of that requires having an open mind about change and being willing to stretch my boundaries.  It doesn’t mean not being true to myself, but rather, continuing to discover all of my hidden truths.  I firmly believe that one’s best writing comes from a place of honesty.  Unfortunately, circumstances of life often leave our truths buried by any number of negative emotions or misperceptions.

I’ve been working very hard on my next novel, Step into the Wind. A smart woman raised the possibility that in writing sex scenes I was holding back because I was being shy about them.  Out of respect for her, and my desire to improve my writing every step of the way, I took a step back and evaluated the possibility as honestly as I could.  She was right.

The first thing I reminded myself of is that I am romance writer.  While I intend to always try to tap into the difficult issues that lesbians face in the everyday real world, at the end of the day, romance is a key component to the stories that I’ve written and hope to continue to write.  Good sex is part of good romance.  So why not write about it in a more honest way?

The next question I addressed was whether I was holding back because of who might read my work.  Sticking with the goal of being honest, I had to answer “yes.”  There are two older straight women in my life who I adore.  One is ninety-two and the other eight-four.  They are like mothers to me and I have the utmost respect and love for them.  Their support of me over the years has been unflinching, and they’ve both read my first novel, My Soldier Too.  The idea of writing a particularly graphic sex scene knowing that they will read it, made me nervous to think about.  But, here’s the thing.  I’m not writing romance for them, I’m writing it for lesbians who enjoy romance.  The truth is, I know deep down that they’ll love me even if I write something they don’t understand or are comfortable with.  They’ve already proven that to me by accepting and supporting my relationship with KC all of the many years that I’ve known them.  Maybe I wasn’t giving them credit where credit is due.

The last question I toyed with was whether my hesitation had more to do with my own prudishness than anything else.  It’s funny the things one discovers when looking into a mirror with eyes wide open.  What I saw was indeed a shy girl only willing to put a toe into the water rather than diving right in, so to speak.  The realization I came to is that whatever I write will always be better if I let it come from a place deep inside that is authentic and unrestrained.  That rule isn’t only for writing, but whatever we do in life, sex included.  Whether on the page or under the covers, the best sex is that which is honest, authentic and unrestrained.

So, I sat down, took off my shy-girl-hat, and rewrote the sex scenes in my next novel.  I let the words loose without restraint.  Phew, that was fun, and definitely better than the first draft.  I love those opportunities in life to learn something about myself that lets me live freer and more honest than before.  Peace.

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12 thoughts on “Whether on the page or under the covers, the best sex is honest, authentic and unrestrained.

  1. Excellent point, Bev. Asking the hard questions and finding the truth. But then, you stepped up and dove in head first–awesome. You are an inspiration! I hope your friends read this post as well as your new book, I’ll bet they’ll be even more proud of you.

  2. Good for you, Bev! And thanks for sharing your thinking as you were growing as person and writer. And good for your two friends for being there for you and I have no doubt they will continue to be there — sex scenes or not. For me, you got it right with saying the scenes should be honest, authentic and unrestrained. If they are all those things then they strengthen your story, your characters and your plot. And your readers will appreciate it. I know this reader will. Thanks!

  3. Oh Bev ; )
    I love this blog!
    And I agree 100% ; )
    I was interested to read of your struggles with this because I have had these same struggles and questions .
    I came to the conclusion that if the characters are unrestrained I can’t use restraint in my writing Or there is no authenticity ! I feel strongly about my characters being authentic and real to life… Whether reading about them or writing them!
    I have read many books with cocky, arrogant or just self assured main characters yet the authors hold back in the sex scenes and it feels restrained reading them and does take away from the story’s… Fade to black with a shy character makes sense but it does not make sense in the storyline of two comfortable loving, attracted and affectionante women ; )
    That’s just my opinion and I love your blogs cause they always make me think ; ) thanks

    • Thanks, Jaynes. You bring up a really good point about the sex making sense in the context of the character’s personality. I totally agree that this is something to key in on when writing a sex scene. One my characters is struggling with personal problems. I’ve decided to explore that more in her first sexual encounter with the woman she is falling in love with in the story. I’m so glad that I listened when it came to this issue about not being shy, but rather being honest. Good luck with your writing and I always appreciate your support and friendship. Take care, Bev.

  4. Another blog to love, Bev. You are always so true to yourself in your writing and life, always helping others along the way. I just can’t wait to read your new book “Un Paso al Viento” (I like how it sounds in my language) :)…and I wish I could express mayself better in my comment but I know you will understand. Have a great weekend.

    • Gracias, Maite. I like how the title sounds in your language too. I really appreciate you, you are a sweetheart. You always express yourself perfectly. Have a great weekend, Mia Amiga!

  5. Great post, Bev. I know that some people, including some of my closest lesbian friends, are uncomfortable with too much graphic sex…but some of them have recently begun to concede that again, it all depends on how “graphic” is handled. The raw anatomy narratives don’t do much for my aesthetics…but even then, I do believe there is an absolute place for the well-tendered…request, command, verbalized desire. Balance is probably everything…tarra

  6. Absolutely great bog, Bev. I can’t wait to read your new book. One thing the years have taught me is that no single generation has invented sex. Those in their eighties and nineties might not admit to their experiences, but they’lve probably experienced a bunch. From reading your first book, I know one thing about Bev Prescott – the writer. You’re going to be honest, and you’re going to deliver a book everyone will enjoy, and appreciate. Kieran

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