“Where most beginning writers screw up (you should pardon the expression) is in thinking that sex scenes are about sex. A good sex scene is about the exchange of emotions, not bodily fluids.” (Diana Gabaldon, Chatelaine Magazine, Feb. 2012, p. 160)
When it comes to writing great sex scenes, Diana Gabaldon is considered a master. Her article in Chatelaine makes the writing of ‘the steamy stuff’ seem do-able. Armed with my mighty, yellow highlighting pen I reviewed every detail and came up with what I call Diana’s Big Sexy 7:
- “A good sex scene is about the exchange of emotions, not bodily fluids.”
- It, “… can encompass any emotion.”
- Lust gets boring. It’s not an emotion.
- Show the emotion through dialogue, expression or action.
- Dialogue is, “the most flexible and powerful tool…What people say reveals the essence of their character.”
- “Anchor” the scene with physical details. Choose sensual not overtly sexual ones.
- Use metaphor and lyricism, if possible.
“In essence, a good sex scene is usually dialogue with physical details.”
Gabaldon has sold over 19 million books worldwide and is well known for her Outlander series. She makes writing sex sound easy, but it’s not.
Deconstructing a moment in time that is so intensely personal, and powerful is difficult. I want it to change my characters’ lives, but that’s easier said than done. For me, it’s about making love.
Got any tips to add to Diana’s Big Sexy 7?
*(Depicts lovers from Dante’s Divine Comedy condemned to wander Hell for eternity. http://www.musee-rodin.fr/en/collections/sculptures/kiss-0)