Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pelvic Power for Core Stabilization

Yes, Grandma, I write about sex. I write detailed descriptions of people having sex.

No, I can't and won't simply "fade to black."

Why, you ask, must I write that smut?

#1) Because it's plot-relevant. What happens between the sheets changes what happens on the streets, and vice versa. If the sex doesn't forward the story, I don't write it (nor do I want to read it).

#2) Because sex is integral to the developing relationship between the hero and heroine. Intercourse of all kinds is a power game (especially in a new relationship). Intimate details about who is on top and how he or she got there let us see (once again) how power games in the public arenas of our characters' lives will play out.

#3) Because sex is fun. Unlike, say, golf or shuffleboard, almost everybody does it, sooner or later. People read for pleasure. Sex is (or should be) pleasure. Eating, for the same reason, is also featured in most books. Put the two together? That's a recipe for sex-cess!

#4) Because nobody talks about sex. Sure, we read the how-to books. We joke with our friends. We even might confide in a doctor or girlfriend if we think something is wrong. Unlike with eating, however, "good" people aren't allowed to go look up new and different recipes. Except--we want to. And we do. And just as a learning a new spice opens up a whole new approach to the same old bread and cheese, reading about a new approach to lovemaking can (and does) spice up our sex lives.

What do I call pornography? Any sexual activity in which the participants are unwilling or unable to make a rational choice to participate (rape, as opposed to dominance; pedophilia). Those things, Grandma, you won't see celebrated in any books I write, nor those on my shelves.

But down-and-dirty, sheet-soaking, wall-crawling, primal-screaming sex?

Sigh. Yes, you can borrow a book. Just let me leave the room first.

(BTW--the title of this post came from an e-mail I got this morning about Pilates).


  1. Loved that! Now if I could only get to that point ... I'm still at the fade to black, although I love to read what others have written ... It's like a barrier I have to get over. I write it, get all heated up, then delete it. sigh. Someday. With your guidance, Master Keri.
    - Grasshopper

  2. Awesome post. My mom still thinks I write porn. Not that she's read any of my books. BTW, love the title of your post LOL. Awesome. For some reason, it made me think of Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. Wow, that man was so sexy in that role...

  3. Thank you for puttin' it out there, Mistress Keri. Romance & Erotica are important to broadening our minds and our willingness to explore between our own sheets. Men: if you're gettin' bored in bed, buy your girl (or guy) a couple of steamy plot-driven stories and reap the rewards of a re-invigorated imagination!

  4. I agree. I read something on the Ellora's Cave website awhile back that impressed me -- something about how their authors, who are probably ALL women, write about women and sex BECAUSE THEY CAN. And because a lot of us read it.

    Why should that be reason enough? Because women in other countries are still being executed for being the victims of rape. Because thousands and thousands of women still have their genitals mutilated because their societies don't want women to enjoy sex. Because our great-grandmothers were held to standards of conformity that none of us would put up with. Because our sisters and daughters and their daughters deserve the freedom to discover their sexuality and rejoice in it. It's a part of our nature that's been imprisoned for too long.

    I'm not supporting promiscuity or pornography. There's a difference between reading and writing about sex and being indiscriminate in your behavior, or abusing sexual power. But erotica is not porn, although I know there are others who would argue the point, and I support their freedom not to read it.

    When I first got my nerve up to attempt writing fiction, I was pretty sure I'd have to go to fireworks exploding, ocean waves receding and couples waking up hours after doing the deed. I'm 57, after all. I've been married since I was 19 -- I figured I wasn't in a position to write those scenes.

    But -- hello? I've been reading romance since I was in my early twenties. Before that, if you count Dorothy Eden, Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. My daughter and I were discussing marriage once and she jokingly quoted that Ann Taintor magnet that says, "I like imaginary men the best." Well, I wouldn't go that far, but I have read a LOT of romance in the nearly 40 years I've been married. Almost a book a day. And when you consider that I fall a little in love with all those heroes I read about, it does seem to show the value of a vivid imagination.

    A lot of women my age love to read romance. We're not new to sex, and it seems forced and awkward NOT to include it in a love story. At least that's true for me. I like my stories hot and emotional and with a happy ending. That's how I want to write them, too.

  5. Sorry for being so long-winded, Keri -- obviously, you hit a "hot spot!"

  6. Might I ask for a part two of this blog? Now that you have established the "why" one writes about sex, could you talk a little bit about how? I find sex scenes, without exception, the hardest part of any manuscript to get right - so to speak. Any tips?

  7. Virginia Kantra has blogged about writing sex. Here's a couple links:



    Here's another good one. These aren't all about how to write sex, but they offer related tips:


  8. I love talking to parents whose daughter writes erotica. They have such a hard time describing the writing and turn red.
    I don't write sex scenes b/c that isn't my voice. Once I tried and holding hands was as far as I got:)

  9. Wow . . . I go drive the Mom shuttle and come back to some great and helpful comments. I love learning from all of you!

    Genevieve, I can only think that if you're deleting the sex, the problem might not be with the sex itself, but the sex in the story. Are you embarrassed by it? Or does it just seem out of place or out of character. I have to remember that I am not the one having the sex--my characters are. So while I draw (ahem) on my own experience, the challenge for me is in making it theirs.

    Liane--I could have addressed this blog to my mother as well. You should have been there the day I told her I was belly dancing!

    KAK--I not-so-secretly hope that when my boys are of age, they start reading my friends' and colleagues' books. I want happy daughters-in-law!

    Becke--You can come tell it on my mountain any time! And thank you for the links (I think Kantra's Sea Witch cover is the hottest one ever, BTW--and not a man in sight!)

  10. Tonya,

    Just because sex is everywhere, doesn't mean everything is sex, does it? (Unless you're talking to my husband about 20 years ago, that is). It's good to know your own voice and know whether your story needs the extra spice or not.

  11. I started sharing some of the books I was reading (Susan Johnson, Bertrice Small, Elizabeth Lowell) with some women in my office a few years ago, women who didn't read anything regularly. They started asking me for more books and then we all started talking a bit more frankly about sex...one woman patched up her marriage, another finally left an abusive relationship and a young divorcee decided to give loave a chance one more time and married the handsome Marine from the mall. Credit romance novels? Credit the sex they discovered and then talked about for changing their lives? Not entirely, but it certainly was an impetus for talking, sharing and changing. More sex in novels, I say! LOL
    Now, for a difficult sex scene...try writing in the first person as in, my dating adventures after turning 50! The ones that didn't work are much easier than the ones that did!

  12. To write a good sex scene, you have to reach beyond the physical to the emotions that drive the characters. While I want to know how it feels physically, a truly good sex scene serves to emphasize the want, desire, and inability to resist the emotional attraction between the couple.

    We've all seen good and bad sex scenes in the movies, based on wether there is any spark between the actors. (While I love Viggo Mortenson, I don't see him as a romantic lead. There is always a stiffness between he and his co-star that shows. With the possible exception of the movie where he did the awesome 6/9 position with Diane Ladd? He was the the mafia dude that ran a diner.)

    And the truth is, I have been more turned on in some novels by a kiss than an entire sex scene that relies on touch this, smack this, or insert this.

    So sex, like anything else, all boils down to characterization. If you are not comofrtable writing it, don't, it will show in your work. If it makes you happy, then go for it, but explore the act, delve into the sensuality of the experience, sight, smell, taste and touch. Work the need, leave them unfulfilled so they have to wait, come back and beg for more. As Spock said. "...having is not as great a thing as wanting--illogical, but true."

    Gia Dawn

  13. Deborah,
    I'm with you. I can't think of a single problem I have solved or situation that has improved through lack of communication. Is there such a thing as TMI? Absolutely--but I'd rather err on the side of info and knowledge.

    Gia--excellent instruction! And you brought up Viggo (which, I am sad to say, I must agree with you. He's hot, but cold.) And yes, the longing makes the consummation sweeter.

  14. "What happens between the sheets changes what happens on the streets, and vice versa."

    Love that.

    Good post. Love it. And let me just say that those *ahem* scenes have broken down many a walls in my sex life.

  15. Thanks Crystal,
    I too have found real life imitating fiction--and all to the better!

  16. Gail, I took an online class with Nicole North that was extremely helpful, ironically because it let me back off a little. Every encounter between the hero and heroine doesn't have to end in sheet-tearing ecstasy (partly because of demands of plot and character), but they have feelings and reactions to these parts, too. Part of what makes it hot is their ongoing physical awareness of each other.

  17. That's an excellent post, Keri. Sex is a part of (most people's) everyday lives; for most situations, if sex isn't involved in someway, be it tension or the actual act, then to me it's not believable. We all think about it. We all at least WANT to do it. It's like breathing or eating or any of that. Makes sense that we write about it.