How did I Forget Sex? - Jo-Ann Carson

How did I Forget Sex?

The Kiss by Rodin

A couple days ago I wrote about the 6 lessons  I learned during my first year with the RWA, and I, fool that I am, left out sex. Duh!

How can I be a modern Romance writer of any sub-genre and leave out sex? The short answer is I can’t, but the longer answer is more complicated–like sex, itself.
Let’s see, here are the three big things I’ve learned about sex…I mean about writing sex, good sex, in the last year.
One – slow it down
I took a fantastic on-line course on writing sex with Mary Buckham who meticulously took us through the stages writers need to address before the big <drum roll>shall we say, climax. When she read a paragraph I wrote for my first chapter, she wisely tore it apart and told me not to go all hubba hubba too soon.
It seems the art of writing good sex is not that dissimilar from the real thing. Foreplay is not only necessary. it’s  exquisitely tempting.
Two – don’t make it read like a manual, unless of course it is
Our readers are not virgins and many  parts of the description can be imagined without explicit detail. What you leave to the imagination is important.
Three – anchor it
This I got from an article written by Diana Garibaldon (see my post  about it for more information). Sex in a romance book is about emotion, but you need to anchor it with details here and there. For example the cold brick wall she  leaned against when they were kissing felt…, and good dialogue. The sex naturally develops from the relationship between the characters.
I can’t say I’m all that comfortable yet, with writing sex scenes, but I’m going with Janet Evanovich’s cure for such an ailment: “Get over yourself.”  (taken from her book on writing)
So…yeah…I have a lot more to learn about sex. It’s a rough job:)


0 Replies to “How did I Forget Sex?”

  1. Yes, your title did cause to stop and look. Writing sex scenes is a challenge. But I like a challenge. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Why is it we can murder someone in the worse way, but when it comes to sex, we choke? Human nature at its best! (Unless you are a bold, brave pioneer like Misty and Josey) Sex is a topic we all think about, but seldom talk about. I loved your post JoAnn. You gave great advice. Keep them coming! 🙂
    Diane Kratz

  3. You are so funny, Jo-Ann. Great post. Writing about sex is definitely not the easiest part of this job. Oh, wait! Is there an easiest part? LOL

  4. Jo-Ann ~~love your topic and willingness to share your journey – you’re an inspiration for others who would love to write if they could only find the road map. Thank you also for the mention of the Sex on The Page workshop — always have fun in that class 🙂 Cheers ~~ Mary B 🙂

    1. Hi Mary
      Your welcome.
      Your “Sex on the Page” on-line workshop is awesome and I highly recommend it. Not only was the information valuable and clearly presented, but your willingness to work with each of your students, was extremely helpful (kind of like a whiff of pure oxygen for drowning newbies). I also love your crazy sense of humor. Can’t thank you enough for helping me along my way.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

    1. Rebecca
      I know what you mean. I get to liking my characters and I want them happy…but of course it can never be easy:)
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Happy Writing
      Jo-Ann

  5. Great advice, Jo-Ann.You put it in a nutshell. Now if I could just ramp up the emotion while remembering to let my heroine breathe, and make sure he’s there to catch her – when her knees give way…Obviously I need Mary Buckham’s course. Daniela

    1. Daniela
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Yes, Mary’s course is wonderful and I highly recommend it. You know how Mary always goes above and beyond to reach out to her audience when she’s giving a workshop, and she’s the same on-line….
      It must be great fun for you to write sex scenes in Regency England. All those fancy clothes, repressed emotions and taboos…ooooh…la …la.
      Happy Writing
      Jo-Ann

  6. You’re in California now – so excited for you. I’m obviously quite late reading your post, but I’m chiming in anyway to say that I found the sex scenes so easy and fun to write. My problem is letting anybody read them! So far only my husband has read them, and ladies, let me tell you, it is to your advantage to ask you spouses to give you their opinions on select passages. Don’t forget to thank them for the inspiration! They’ll like that, too. Looking fwd to Mary’s workshop – maybe then I can get the nerve up to let somebody else see those pages. Nonetheless, I don’t think I can publish until after my mother’s dead & buried!

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