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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A #Guest Post about writing Sex! By Neil Plakcy

Howdy Divettes! Welcome back to the Divas site. We have a very special guest with us today, Neil Plakcy, here to talk to us about, what else, Sex! Particularly, writing sex and how it affects books in different genres. So what do you all think about writing sex?

Take it away Neil....

Do You Get Taken Seriously If You Write About Sex?

The other day I suffered from coitus interruptus.

Not the way you’re thinking about it – I was in the middle of writing a sex scene and I had to stop what I was doing to hurry to a meeting of my writers’ group. We are a group of five mystery writers (well, I span the gap between mystery and romance) – four women and one guy, me.
That day, as it happened, we were critiquing a chapter in which one of the women (let’s call her S) had written her first sex scene. It was very impressionistic – short phrases piled on top of each other, without specific references to genitalia or to tab A being inserted into slot B. Since I already had sex on my mind, we got into a discussion of the ways we write about sex. S was writing a mainstream suspense book, and though part of the plot involves a romance developing between two characters who don’t know that they’re related, she didn’t want to get into too much detail.
Another woman, K, began her career in romance, where she was required to pull back that curtain and show what goes on in the bedroom. She got tired of that, and in her current career as an Edgar-winning mystery author, she has cut way back on the explicit sex.Would she have won that Edgar (the highest award in the mystery world) if her detective got randy in every book? Probably not.
Another woman, M, has written four books in a series and only at the very end of book four did she allow her heroine to finally get naked with her handsome, sexy lover. Well, I can’t say that she does get naked, though I sure hope so, because the book ends with said lover waiting outside her remote house in the Everglades complete with a banner congratulating the heroine on her 40th birthday. I’m guessing they didn’t go inside to eat cake.
The final member of our quintet, C, has avoided romantic entanglements completely in the work she has submitted for our critique. Her current work is set in the early 1900s, so the characters receive genteel kisses and the occasional clasped hand.
These women all seem to believe that adding explicit sex to their works will somehow shift their books into the realm of romance, and lead to disdain from the literary establishment.
I gave up on the literary establishment a long time ago in favor of writing the books I wanted to read. I like throwing a bunch of good, old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon words like dick and cock into my books. My characters never “fade to black” after they embrace. And I wouldn’t have them any other way.
In my newest romance, Love on Stage, my protagonist was kind of a himbo – a really good looking guy who had sex all over the place. But since it was a romance, after all, I had to pull out some of those scenes with other guys and focus on the developing romance between the hero and his love interest.
I write mystery, romance and erotica, and each of those books has the same elements, although in different proportions. It’s great fun to write down and dirty sex scenes—and I hope my readers enjoy them as much as I do!

Well, there you have it, folks. Writing dirty sex! And what it means for different authors.... 

Neil Plakcy’s newest M/M romance is Love on Stage, second in a series about young gay men on South Beach looking for love and career success. More about his work at www.mahubooks.com. http://www.loose-id.com/love-on-stage.html

Thanks so much for coming by, Neil! It was great to have you. 


  1. I've always shied away from writing sex scenes despite several friends suggesting I throw caution to the wind and do it anyway. For one, it never served the story and it doesn't serve the story, then it doesn't belong there. Now, I'm getting more comfortable writing towards having a sex scene in a book or short story, but it will only happen if there's a reason for it to.

    That's the logic I attribute to it anyway.

  2. I only include sex scenes when the storyline absolutely demands it, as in the case of my book about a former Army Ranger who'd lost his penis in a grenade attack. More to the point, when I do write a sex scene, they're fairly brief and not described in too much detail.

    If the book is well-written, it shouldn't be necessary to follow the characters into the bedroom.

  3. I write erotic romance (lots of different pairings and menages) Do my people do the horizontal bop? Absolutely. Have I had lots of people stare down their nose at what I write? Absolutely on that front too.

  4. I have no question that my LGBT mysteries (Skyler Foxe Mysteries) don't get any respect in the mystery community because of the explicit sex (and Neil outta know because he edits them!) I no longer even try to get them reviewed from the standard mystery reviewers. I just go with the M/M community blogs for reviews. I'm not sure why that happens, that a well-written book seems to lose respect once the bedroom door opens. Put it down to our Puritan ancestry, but that's how it rolls. I've even cut back on the sex and considered trying to rework the earlier books in the series, but I think that ship has sailed. Would I write explicit sex again if I had another similar series? The answer would be no.

    1. It's a shame the "mainstream" mystery reviewers won't review your books, Jeri, but I say thank goodness for the M/M blogs. They are wonderfully supportive as are so many of the erotic romance blogs.

  5. It’s odd, isn’t it, the puritan attitude of a lot of literary snobs to sex. After all, we live in a world where almost everything is sexualised. (My 14 year old daughter yesterday, and with considerable glee, showed me the video to Anaconda on her phone, followed by the lyrics to make sure I had the full experience... When did the subtext in pop songs cross over so completely into the text???) And no one thinks any the less of a film if it has a love scene. Books, though, appear to have a different set of standards.
    I think there’s a certain amount of disdain for anything that might be seen as pandering to the masses. Which is doubly odd, seeing as we’re all in it to sell books!

  6. I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one who feels this way! Thank you all for stopping by and for commenting. And thank you, Divas, for having me visit.

  7. Hey Neil, love this post! My books contain explicit sex as well and, well, quite a bit of it. To me, it's just fascinating to see and show how two or more people relate in the bedroom (or shower, or 'playroom') because it can be different to how they relate in other spaces. Sexuality is a huge part of people's lives and to NOT show that aspect of a character, to me seems more unusual. And, I admit to enjoying the power I have to 'move' a reader. Is it weird that I'm proud that people read my books to get off? I will say that they are also well written and not your standard MM romances. But I see nothing wrong with writing explicit sex and it can become an art form, although one that will probably never garner the respect it deserves. :)

  8. This post couldn't come at a better time for me as I am in the middle of writing a sex scene, LOL! I understand not every type of book calls for explicit sex, and not everyone cares to read it. But it makes me sad that some readers/bloggers look down their noses at stories that include it. Thanks so much for your insight, Neil! I look forward to reading your new release!



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