How Explicit is too Explicit?

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When it comes to writing erotica, explicit sex scenes are to be expected. If the novel revolves more around romance, sex scenes are less obligatory. However, I’ve found there is some debate among romance writers as to how explicit the sex scenes should be.

When I first set out to write my queer romance novel, I had intended it to be a fun, sexy, erotic romp between my two main characters. As the plot began to develop, it became more of a romance novel than erotica, although I still wanted to include explicit scenes. It’s one of my favorite ways to portray the intimacy between my main characters.

Sex isn’t the only way to portray intimacy, and do I portray it in other ways as well, through casual touches and simple closeness. I happen to love showing sexual intimacy as well, especially between two male characters. Personally, I find it to be a beautiful way to express emotions.

I could have explored the scenes through euphemism, which many romance novels do. However, I find the use of euphemisms for sex scenes almost laughable. I know writers use them for many reasons. Some may be too embarrassed or ashamed to write an explicit sex scene. Others may be working with publishers who refuse to print a romance with explicit sex. Regardless of the reason, many romance novels are soft-core at best when it comes to portraying these scenes.

I see nothing wrong with romance novels that filled with interesting plots, also including explicit scenes of sex. The old formulas of what constitutes a romance versus erotica are far too predictable these days and the lines are becoming blurred between the romance and erotica genres. I see this as a positive thing. We need to stop being so ashamed in our enjoyment of all things sexual. As long as it’s consensual, there is nothing shameful about sex. Nothing. Sex is a beautiful act of intimacy between people.

So, writers, be as explicit as you want when writing intimate scenes between your characters.

Written by

Transgender writer and author. Posting weekly on a variety of LGBTQ and health related topics.

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