Got your attention, didn’t I?
Like many women, I read romantic fiction, some of it very explicit. All too often I come across a sex scene that reads like it was written by a teenager with an overblown imagination and no sense of anatomy. In reading such passages, I find myself tilting my head and wondering things like: Do people really bend that way? Surely, it can’t be that long? To do that, he needs about six hands. Nope, I remember that and it didn’t feel anything like what this author describes.
I visualize what I read and what I write. When my characters can’t keep their hands off each other, I try to write so that what they’re doing doesn’t require an acrobat or contortionist. One could reason that if there’s a possible way for two people to have sex, then there’s a porn site that will show it. I’m not advocating that every writer who includes a sex scene in his or her story immerse him- or herself in pornography–you’d never erase the images from your brain–but perhaps it’s wise to go beyond the flowery euphemisms and dirty talk and focus on the relationship and shared touch. There’s more to a good sex scene than “insert tab A into slot B.”
Sure, all romance is fantasy to some point. But in the spirit of realism, the scene shouldn’t knock you out of the story because it’s so difficult to imagine what’s going on.