March 2nd, 2005


How do we keep the sex scenes interesting?

I posted this on the X-Slash community, but thought I'd put it here, too (still trying to get the hang of this whole livejournal thing):

I've been writing X-Men slash for a long time now, mostly Scott/Logan. I never write PWPs; I think of my fiction as character-driven and the sex as necessary to the story and illuminating something about character and relationships. Still, there's a whole lot of explicit sex in my fiction. And I want the sex scenes to be interesting to the reader as well as necessary to the story. I worry about it getting stale, or boring, particularly since as a reader, I've seen that happen in other people's fiction. Truth be told, I sometimes write the story and put in a placeholder for the sex (e.g. "Scott blows Logan. Try to make it sound interesting. Hot, if possible.").

So, I've been thinking about sex in stories and how to make it feel compelling and not repetitive. I started by saying to myself - well, sex irl doesn't get boring. What is it about sex that makes it infinitely interesting and how can I tap into that for fiction? But then I thought some more and realized that people often do get bored with sex irl, particularly people in long term relatonships. So that brings me back to the question - what do people do when they're bored with sex? How can I use what I know about this to make the sex I write not get boring. I mused on this a while and here's what I came up with. I think people bored with their sex lives do a variety of things:

* Experiment with different kinds of sex (and I'd include kink in there, but I don't think it's limited to kink)

* Have affairs

* Read slash (or porn or other stuff - I think slashers have all sorts of reasons for reading slash but spicing up one's sex life comes up again and again as one of them)

* Stop having sex

* Deliberately work with one's lover to make it more interesting.

There are probably others, but that's what I thought of. Some of those are healthy and some aren't - for the individual and the relationship. I guess, since I have a long term relationship with slash :-) and with my readers, I'm trying for the healthy approach to staving off boredom in my fiction. I'm trying to make the sex scenes varied enough and
interesting enough that they won't be boring.

Sometimes that means doing things you haven't before, and at certain points I've said - "Hmmm, I've never written about rimming. That's something I think S and L would do. I should write it." Sometimes I've considered something new (like threesomes) and decided it doesn't really fit their characters or their relationship as I've developed them, even if it would be interesting to write. But mostly, I've just tweaked, not gone with new acts (of which there aren't that many, anyway): sex in different places, under different circumstances, saying different things, thinking different things. A little eroticization of scars here, a little role reversal there.

I'd love to hear others' thoughts on any or all of this...