I've been invited to post regularly on the wonderful Women and Words blog, and I've just hit the "publish" button on my first holding-forth. Whee! I don't intend to overemphasize erotica, but this time my theme is "Sex Scenes Without Fear" (You can read it without fear--nothing X-rated. Yet. )
Here's what I posted:
Sex Scenes without Fear
Hi readers and writers, I’m Sacchi Green, and I’ve been invited to play in this literary sandbox with you. In the future I promise not to concentrate too heavily on the erotica side of the force, even though that’s where I do most of my writing and editing, with six-going-on-seven anthologies in print. The most recent ones are from Cleis Press; Girl Crazy, Lesbian Coming Out Erotica (2009), Lesbian Cowboys (2009, winner of a Lambda Literary Award), Lesbian Lust (2010), and Lesbian Cops (April of 2011). I can be found online on FaceBook (Sacchi Green), Live Journal (http://sacchig.livejournal.com/), Lesbian Fiction Forum (Sacchi, http://www.lesbianfiction.org/) and http://sacchi-green.blogspot.com .
As I said, I won’t talk all that much about erotica, but this first time I’ll start out playing here with the toys I’m most accustomed to. (Hi there, those of you with dirty minds! Glad to see you! But I won’t be talking about that sort of toy here.)
So here’s just a bit of a chapter I contributed to Fran Walker’s Lavender Ink: Writing and Selling Lesbian Fiction from Bedazzled Ink (Chapter 10), titled, obviously, “Sex Scenes”.
What is it about sex scenes in books? Our culture’s conflicted attitudes toward sex are not only reflected, but magnified, in our reactions to the very idea of writing or reading about sex. No other section of a book, except, possibly, the ending, inspires so much flipping through the pages. Some readers avidly find the “good parts” and devour them first, while others make sure they know which pages to avoid. And it’s equally true that some writers can’t wait to get working on the erotic bits, while others, pressured to include them by editors or by their own assessments of the market, avoid writing them until everything else has been done and they can’t procrastinate any longer.
I won’t try to tell you, as a writer, that whatever method you use is wrong. If you can make it work, that’s great. But I will tell you what kind of reader you should write for: one who opens herself to your characters, gets drawn into their lives and emotions, and follows wherever the story leads because it’s so compelling that she can’t bear to miss a word. Not even words she might usually avoid.