Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fetid Keyboard: Let's Write About Sex

I can hardly type the word "vagina." (That actually took me six seconds.) And I can especially not write other V-related words. I wrote the C word once in my last book and it took me two days. I actually looked away the other weekend while at a women's run when the woman in front of me had a "Vagina Monologues" t-shirt on. I just don't like the word; I don't like how it sounds or the visual of the composing letters. It's really just not a good word. And neither are any of the other, worser words.

So sex scenes are tough.

I'd like to lay my issues completely at the foot of this sorry word, but I'm afeared it goes deeper. My first passes through sex scenes are always either completely pornographic or drippy with euphemistic cliches. It's a terrible thing and I often wonder if it's because I don't go in for sex talk during actual sex. Thus when I come to the page, I got nothing word wise.

What's worse is that my work-in-progress kinda has to have several earth-shattering sex scenes. So I turn to music, which sometimes, somehow bridges the porno and the romantic.

We may as well start the play list so you have something other than my blathering to get you in the mood to write whatever sort of sex scene you gotta write.

Get a playlist! Standalone player

My husband came into my lair (office) after work and I proudly played this playlist. He looked at me strangely and said, "Those songs turn you on?"

I sputtered, "Well not really turn me on, but, um, help me write about, um, being turned on, or about characters being turned on. Or off, as the scene requires."

He said, "Barry White. I know Barry White turns you on."

"It's not about that," I explained.

He said something like, "Those songs don't turn guys on."

"It's not about being turned on." My voice may have gotten shrill when I said, "It's about CHARACTERS! WRITING! ART!"

He, again, looked at me strangely, offered to refill my wine glass, and said he had a few songs to add to the list. He said something like, "You know there may be some men who write sex scenes, too."

Then he said something asinine about I Want to Kiss You All Over and Over Again being a dorky line. And I said something about Led Zeppelin never having written a sex lyric. He said, "We'll see" and got that look in his eye and ignored me as I went on about characters and writing and nuance.

His sex scene songs are mostly at the bottom of the playlist. I want to state that they do not turn me on. I need a deep male voice and a hip-groove. But this isn't personal; it's about our characters. Although my husband reminds me that now that our playlist is portable through the magic of our home network and that we can play the sex-scene playlist in the living room, and, gasp, in the bedroom.

There's a lot of different sorts of sex-scene songs here. So try writing a sex scene to the songs here that hit the undercurrents you need.

Also I want to point out that not a single word in any of these song lyrics is "vagina."

Feel free to let me know of your favorite sex scene songs. If I like them, I'll add them to the playlist.


Anonymous said...

As much as I love Marvin Gaye's songs that are explicitly about sex, "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" is the one that I'd have to add to my own list. Something about the hidden and bubbling up jealousy and desire gets me every time I hear it.

Oh! And Jeff Buckley covering Hallelujah.

(Found your blog while looking at your main website - I've been recommending your book all over the place for the past two years. I lived in Alaska up until June, and I suggest it to folks who don't want the typical 'gold and bodice ripping' Alaskan tome...)

Cindy Dyson said...


great song suggestions. Thanks for all the recommending!

Cindy Dyson said...
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