Indecent Exposure

It seems fitting that my first post should be about sex. Despite all the taboos, the stigmas (stigmae?), the hidden meanings, we’re all here because two people “did it.”

When I got the first call from my agent, she asked me to make some significant revisions. The biggest one — for me — was adding a sex scene. I’d never written one before, but if you’re a fledgling writer like myself, you know what you say when there’s an agent on the phone: anything she wants to hear.
Every word I put on paper is extremely personal. If a woman is sad, I feel her sorrow. If a man is enraged, I feel his fury. There’s a quote by Robert Frost that goes something like, “No tears for the writer, no tears for the reader.” I’ve cried while writing scenes. You can’t put emotion in a scene if you’re not feeling it yourself.
Sex is no different.
We all crave sexual contact at some point or another. We all long to feel the touch of another human being. It’s biology. It’s human nature. Intellectually, the thought of feeling a man on top of you, trapping you with his body, the thought can feel confining. But in a sexual situation, some women crave a man’s weight, his power, his strength. Acknowledging your partner’s control can be extremely liberating. There’s a claiming aspect to sex, regardless of your gender or orientation.
Because when you offer your body to someone else, you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable. There’s an opportunity for rejection, for pain, for sorrow. I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman. Sex equals exposure. To put a sex scene on paper (and later, to add two more), it’s a bit like baring that kind of vulnerability.
My husband accuses me of “giving away his secrets.” In a way, he’s right. I can’t write something I haven’t at least imagined doing, and I can’t write something sensual without it being something I would personally enjoy. So every touch, every stroke, every hot breath meeting damp skin is intensely personal for me. I had to acknowledge the vulnerability before I could make the scene emotionally correct.
And once I allowed myself to be exposed, the words flowed onto the page.

3 thoughts on “Indecent Exposure

  1. I sobbed during the final scene I wrote in Practically Forever… sat here at my computer and wept like a baby. It was the only way I knew how to write it. Maybe that’s why I lean toward YA: I’m not ready for the exposure of writing sex scenes yet. But, Miss Brigid, you wrote them juuust fine.

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