When it comes to writing, I lean toward the Mary Renault School of Sex: blink and you’ll miss it. While her sex scenes are very tastefully (and briefly) done, mine are a bit more…obvious. Still, I generally like to be restrained in writing sex scenes. With a couple exceptions, I always fade out before the pants get unzipped. I don’t want to end up being nominated for a Bad Sex in Fiction Award, after all (though I’d be in good company; a lot of great writers just suck at sex, it seems).
A while ago I got it into my head to write an erotica. About a year back I came across an erotica anthology looking for submissions; the theme was angels and demons. I passed up the call, but the idea stuck in my head. Just a couple months ago it developed fully: a kickass story about angels and demons with lots of sex. Lots of hot, man-on-man sex.
But I’ve never written erotica before. I have no idea how to do it. So I bought a gay erotica e-book from a publisher who shall remain nameless (as will the book and the author). Quite honestly, it’s been horribly disappointing. Badly written and uninteresting. But there is lots of sex, which is what I was after anyway; I need to learn.
But the sex is also…disappointing. If you’re going to write sex, even erotic sex, using ‘fuck’, ‘cock’ and ‘ass’ in every other sentence gets really old really fast. A little vulgarity might spice things up, I suppose, but not constant, pervasive swearing. Use some creativity, for your reader’s sake. Restraint is far more erotic than crudeness, or even showing everything; think about it: Bogart and Bergman kiss in Casablanca and cut away before the clothes come off = hot. Donald Sutherland’s bare ass crawling all over Julie Christie in Don’t Look Back = embarrassing. Even erotica can benefit from subtleness.
Oh, and by the way, men like the ones in this book *coughcoughgladiatorscoughcough* don’t sit around and talk about how they’ve been hurt and can’t trust anyone and are afraid to open up. Not even gay men. And it helps if the story has a plot, and your characters are stereotypes. Oh, and large blocks of exposition probably don’t need to chop up your action either.
Or maybe this is what erotica is and I’m just not cut out for it.