Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Who's Up For Some Bad Sex?

Steamy, lip quivering, back arching, earth shaking, mind blowing, dirty, hot sex.

Some books are full of it. Some genres (I'm looking at you Romance) are centered around it. And why shouldn't they be. Great sex is, well...great!

But when's the last time you read about bad sex?

I'm not talking about morally bad or socially unacceptable sex. I'm talking about awkward, bump your teeth, bend things the wrong way, uncomfortable, poor quality sex. It happens to everyone. It's part of life. So why don't we see more of it in fiction?

For example, take the "Earth's Children" series (perhaps more popularly known as the "Clan of the Cave Bear" series) by Jean M. Auel. For those of you that don't know it, the story is set about 18,000 years ago and is centered around a human girl who grows up in the care of Neanderthals and her subsequent travels and adventures in prehistoric times.

I loved the first two books in the series but Auel lost me by the third book for two reasons. First, she get's WAY too descriptive with her scenery. I'm talking about three pages to describe a meadow that the characters spend an afternoon in. Seriously. The second reason is the sheer quantity of mind blowing cave man sex. It's ridiculous. Plus all the euphemisms for male genitalia. That didn't work for me either.

I'm not saying there isn't bad sex in fiction but I feel like usually it's between a main character and a secondary character or between young inexperienced (virginal) main characters (mainly in Young Adult). Rarely, if ever, have I read about poor quality sex involving the main character and the main love interest.

At this point you might be asking, "Yeah, why would you want to?".

As writers we strive to bring our characters to life to the greatest extent possible. Perfect lusty sex every single time is two-dimensional. Adding some awkward lovin' brings depth, humanity, and humility to a character. It's something that the audience can sympathize with or maybe even relate to.

I promise, the next sex scene I write is going to be bad (the sex, hopefully not the scene). How about you?


  1. I haven't written a good sex scene yet, let alone a bad one. But I agree with what you are saying. An awkward or embarrasing moment during sex can bring some fun humor into the scene, and how the characters deal with that awkwardness, speaks volumes about who they are and their relationship to each other.

    Great post.

    1. Good point about character relationships. This kind of scene could be a real "show don't tell" kind of opportunity.

  2. I with you on this one through and through, Adam! There's such a huge potential for characterization and conflict, not to mention humor and pure fun to watch the embarrassment, it's really a wonder there's not more of it!

    1. Yeah, perhaps writers are concerned it won't be well received by the audience. I don't know.

  3. Perfect picture for the post, dude. And good points.


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