Sex and Tattoos

A few months ago I wrote a post about sex scenes for my good friend, the fantastic author Angela Addams.

As I’ve been very busy getting tattooed today, I haven’t had time to write a whole new blog, so I thought I’d re-post my thoughts on writing sex scenes.

Although a massive generalisation, it’s very quickly become apparent to me that women write better sex scenes then men. I can think of, at a push, three male writers who write excellent sex scenes in their books. I can think of at least a dozen women, right off the top of my head who do the same.

Now, of course there are women who can’t write sex scenes either, but even so, the odds are firmly in the female court.

So, it was with a little trepidation that it became apparent that my first book, Crimes Against Magic, was going to have sex in it. This was a problem for one reason. My sex scenes were dreadful. They read a little bit like an educational sex talk given by a teacher for whom the word ‘sex’ should never leave their mouth. They were dry, dull and quite frankly about as sexy as wet cardboard.

So, I tried spicing them up a bit and found a new problem. They now sounded like a porn film. All I needed to do was add a handlebar moustache and have the main character come to check on the woman’s boiler, fridge, cooker, pluming and I’d have had a career in writing truly terrible sex scenes. It’s something to think about if this whole ‘published author’ thing doesn’t work out.

So I needed to re-work it again. And this time I found some good advice. Apparently, I’m pretty good at writing action scenes. So, why not try writing a sex scene in the same way? Everyone writes action scenes in their own way, but I tend to map out where everyone is and what they’re doing, or going to be doing.

Applying it to a sex scene was actually straight forward. Instead of several people all in the same place I only had to deal with two (although, your mileage may vary). So, I wrote it as if it were an action scene, or a fight. Once I had the backbone for it, I found it much easier to go through it and make it ‘sexier’, but having that base was necessary for me.

Since that first time, I’ve found it much easier to switch into ‘sex scene mode’ for writing and can usually manage it without the need for the clinical part first. I’m never going to write the greatest sex scenes of all time, but I hope I’m no longer in the same bracket as some of the truly terrible ones.

I hope you enjoyed it. And to finish this week off, here’s a pic of my new tattoo.

It is both incredibly awesome and incredibly sore.

Posted on July 19, 2012, in Fun, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Hi Steve,

    I hope your tattoo stops hurting soon, but I have to say that the tattoo artist did a bang-up job. Congratulations, you have just increased your cool factor by 10%. 🙂

  2. Don’t forget to use Bepanthem, I did on mine and it healed very quickly. Thanks for the talk, Sex scenes for me were fade to blacks, but I suppose I’ll have to give it a proper go.

    • That’s what I use. This time the advised to use that cream and then wrap in it clingfilm for 3 days, changing it 3 times a day. So far it’s been excellent. No scabbing or itching and the swelling vanished after a few hours.

  3. Very cool tat. I’m just not brave enough myself. And then there’s the fear of things starting to sag, and images of old women with tatoos in places they never should have been. . . yeah, my mind always goes to the worse case scenario.

  4. Great job on the tat – nice intense colouration. Bet that hurt!

    Sex scenes are tricky, and it’s hard to decide what’s enough and what’s too much if the story isn’t focussed on that aspect. I’ll keep reading how other writers handle it, to do some more research in the meantime LOL.

    • It didn’t hurt that much at all. Only her thigh caused me to wince, the rest was pretty much okay. At one point, I didn’t even realise he was actually doing anything.

      Sex scenes are difficult to gauge what’s the right about of sexy and graphic for the story.

  5. I love your tattoo.. And the sex scene stuff was interesting too, I’ve never even thought about writing one.. Apart from a phase in my late 20’s where I wanted to write some sort of erotic fantasy story, which didn’t even end up with a single word on a page!

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