What Starts Yer Engines?
The question is: What gets your smexy on in novels – no matter how badly it’s written.
Easy answer. Nothing. And everything. Yes, another two part answer. My issue is that I love and admire skillfully written sex scenes. If you’re good at what you do, I don’t care what a hero and heroine do to one another. I have a very low minimum bar. Everyone must be consenting. Nonconsensual sex is not sexy, I don’t care how brilliant an author may be. Everyone should survive the encounter. Note that I’m not demanding that anyone be emotionally whole at the end of the sex scene. In fact, props if the sex scene exposes all of the juicy, soft, underbelly emotions.
Any poorly written sex scene destroys the scene for me. Painfully, unintentionally funny just kills the whole turn on, you know? Sure, humor can be killer sexy. But as Danica noted earlier in the week, it’s all about subtly and finesse. A light touch. Very few people like a ham-handed lover. I definitely can’t get into sex scenes that are handled poorly. my fascination is with the dance a set of lovers engages in prior to actually getting down doing whatever they’re going to do. It’s the power play, the give and take – verbally, mentally, emotionally. It’s a stand in, sort of a foreshadowing of what the actual sex will be. That can be some tough stuff to capture. But when it’s done well, the lovers (no matter how many) can do anything and I’ll go along for the ride. So to speak.
A friend of mine, Jeffe Kennedy, writes BDSM erotica as well as fantasy. I’m not into BDSM. Pain isn’t remotely sexy to me in real life. Yet, Jeffe handles the scenes and the characters so deftly that I really enjoy her stories. Act ’em out? Hell, no. Enjoy reading? Oh, yes.
My “No” answer is simple – if something is written poorly, then by definition, it can’t pull me into the story or into the sex scene. ‘Written poorly’ is like that scene in COOL HAND LUKE: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” That failure to communicate 9which is deadly to relationships for reals) means that a story and it’s sex scenes keep me at such a distance that I cannot possibly appreciate them.
On the other hand, write it well and I’ll follow your characters into sexual hell. So long as they get to heaven at some point.