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Warning: I’ve tried to keep it clean, but discussion of mature themes to follow.

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Venus guessed. “Since you two have…been together?”

Ross paused, hand hovering over the electric kettle. “A bit,” he admitted.

She offered him a slow nod, glancing down at the edge of the counter space, where there was a stash of pens and a flip-pad scribbled with future meal notes. “Well, sex shouldn’t be the most important thing in a relationship.”

He shook his head as he filled the kettle with water. “I know that-”

“But it is important,” she said, and here Ross raised his head in quiet surprise.

I’ve never shied away from sexual situations in my stories. I don’t consider a sex scene in and of itself pornographic, though it can certainly be used for that purpose. In most of my stories (as in life), sex is a way for two people to communicate beyond the use of words; the intense intimacy forged by being sexual with another person creates all sorts of interesting conflicts and realizations.

Venus, here, is stating my own opinion: Sex should not be the most important aspect of a relationship. But it is important.

Sexual compatibility can mean different things for different people. A couple with low libidos may have sex once a month…and it will be wonderful every single time. A couple with strong libidos may have sex once a day…and that can be beautiful every single time, too. Relationships are as unique as the people in them, and it’s the part of stories I really enjoy examining.

I like a sex scene to mean something, though. A conflict of interests. A learning experience. A personal enlightenment. Even a casual or detached sex scene can have important meaning for a character, at that moment in the story. I like using all of these approaches to sex in my stories.

What I’ve been enjoying with this latest endeavor, though, is the fade-to-black, or glossing, technique. Sex for its own sake doesn’t do anything for a story; I’ve always agreed with that. But sex also doesn’t have to happen “on-screen” for it to be worthwhile to a character’s or relationship’s development.

For Fearless, let’s say there are four sex scenes that are important for the development of the plot. Does that mean the characters have sex only four times in the story? Hell, no! But, I can show in a paragraph – or a sentence – what’s happening between them, without going into detail. I know what’s going on; the reader knows what’s going on. And I can get to the really important part – the ramifications or repercussions of that sex scene – that much more quickly, than if I delved into the detail.

Some writers and readers don’t like sex in their stories. That’s fine. I do like sex, though, when it means something. Just like in real life.

How do you feel about sex in stories?