Writing about sex.

When I started writing this blog I didn’t really know what direction it would take or what the main themes would be. I guess I imagined that Paganism and Witchcraft would be the dominating themes because those things are an important aspect of my life. Well, it has turned out that way to a large extent but perhaps inevitably there have been even more diary or journal type posts about my daily life. Within those I have (equally inevitably) alluded to my sex life because of course that is a big thing in it’s own right and an important aspect of what makes me tick. I’ll admit I enjoy sex as much as anybody. When I have regular (or even occasional) sex it makes me feel good and frankly it makes me feel like a more fulfilled and complete person. When I go for long periods without sex I feel frustrated and generally not so good. So either way, it is a significant factor about how I feel at any given time. And yet, you will notice I used the phrase “alluded to my sex life”. To allude to something is not the same as really talking about something; so why allude? Because I don’t feel completely comfortable about writing about sex. This is not really because I am shy. I am a bit shy and certain aspects of sex are very, very private to me, but that is not why I haven’t written about them. I haven’t written about them because I don’t really know how to.

So how do you write about sex? I have been reading around the subject and it seems to me there are four basic styles; all of which leave me fairly cold.

The first style is what I will call porn; by which I mean the type of thing you are likely to read in pornographic magazines. Now I quite like good looking bodies of either gender so I have seen my fair share of porno mags and mostly enjoyed them, at least as far as the pretty pictures are concerned. But the stories in those magazines don’t turn me on in any way and certainly don’t inspire me to write about my own sex life in that style. In a strange way I find them quite Victorian and puritanical. It’s as if they haven’t gotten over confronting taboos that seem out of date. They talk about screwing and fucking as if they are really pushing the boundaries just by using that kind of language, and they talk about body parts with a strange mixture of profanity and medical textbook definitions. The sexual acts they describe always seem to me to be like robots fucking androids. There is seldom even the hint of an emotional connection between the parties involved and orgasms never seem more than a predicable response to effective stimulation.

The second type of erotic writing I have come across is what I describe as intellectual porn. This is basically the same as normal porn but with bigger words and over thought apologies and explanations for all the action. It is a bit like watching a second rate Swedish Art-house movie interspersed with disjointed scenes from a standard porn film. It makes a pretense of having an emotional sub-plot but actually it is about as emotionally hot as a dead fish. A philosophical explanation for the moment of climax is not what most of us actually feel at the time.

The third type of writing about sex is what I will call the old school Mills & Boon type that doesn’t actually mention sex at all. It is all about flowers and romance and sometimes doesn’t even allude to physical sex at all. Emotionally it tends to be so flowery that for me it doesn’t even succeed on that level. While I am keen on love and happy endings, that is not what sex is always or even mostly about. Yes, sex does stir up a lot of emotions but the Mill& Boon type of writing only speaks about the flowery ones. Furthermore, we don’t always want to marry every person we sleep with! In fairness I have been told that some more recent Mills & Boon books have tried to explore some of the more complicated emotions and desires that accompany sex; but as far as I know they still avoid describing the actual act itself.

Finally there is the medical textbook instruction manual style of writing. This is fine and useful for learning new tricks although it is often accompanied by a lot of moralistic do’s and don’ts. Generally the language is neutral but precise. It succeeds in doing what it sets out to do; which is to inform, but it is no way to describe personal experience.

So I have looked on the internet and I have dug up some old books and magazines in a search for some inspiration on how to write about sex and frankly I have found nothing that speaks to me. Is there really such a big gap in the market? Am I the only one who feels that nobody is writing about sex in a way that connects on more than the most basic levels? I started this little thought project because I wanted to do a bit more than allude to my sex life, but in a way that didn’t come into any of the categories that I mentioned above. I want to write something that is erotic, because that is what sex is; but which is not just porn. I want to write something that marries the physical and emotional and which celebrates the act without demeaning it or the people involved (which in this case would be me).

Perhaps if I am feeling brave I will give it a try soon and try something in my own style.

3 responses to “Writing about sex.

  1. Pingback: Selfish and Independant. « Cassie Being Cassie

  2. Well, in my experience, writing about sex in general terms leaves a lot to be desired. It is fairly personal unless of course you embrace an exhibitionalist style.

    Sexual encounters often leave out what the writer is embarrassed to say. or sometimes enhanced depending on the level of brevity.

    To openly discuss ones sex life, aspirations, fantasies can turn to an illusion of what is truth. I for one can write this stuff, but ask myself “who really cares”. If you can answer that then I guess you can determine if you need to write about sex or not.

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