My journey to being a published author has been a long and colourful one and many manuscripts were consigned to the trash box along the way. Most of them consisted of stories for children, fantasy and crime fiction. None of them featured any major sex scenes and since my dreams for international novel- writing stardom mostly consisted of crime fiction, then I thought coming up with interesting and engaging sex scenes wasn’t something I was going to have to worry about. So it came as something of a surprise to me, when I finally decided on self-publishing, that my first three stories all slotted into the romance genre. And each one of them very much involves sex! Remember Me, in particular, has sex as being central to its storyline with Flynn Murphy presenting himself as bait to Annabel Smith, a woman who uses sex as a weapon. More than one friend messaged me whilst reading it to let me know how much it made them blush!
Now, don’t go getting your panties all in a twist – it’s not THAT explicit and it doesn’t flirt with Erotica or BDSM – even though I’m sure Flynn wouldn’t have minded landing a few spanks on Miss Smith’s perfect buttocks. However, it does have quite a sex scene in it – with two characters like Flynn and Annabel – how could it not and I have to admit to a blush or two when I wrote it.
This is the thing about writing sex scenes, they push you outside of your comfort zone and the problem with writing a sex scene in a post Fifty Shades Of Grey world is that the standard, run of the mill, sex scene just doesn’t cut it any more. The euphemistic Mills & Boon type scenes of throbbing excitement (erect penis) and crashing waves (female orgasm) are gone the way of the dinosaur. Just look at this for a book cover from Mills and Boon! Judging by our heroines hairstyle and sexy as all hell jumpsuit I’m guessing this was published sometime in the eighties. Our hero is, after all, showing some skin, which would have been considered somewhat avant-garde at the time.
Writers have a choice in a post FSOG world – write a sex scene and be red-cheeked or avoid the issue altogether. With sex being so crucial to the storyline of Remember Me, I felt I would be cheating my readers if I baulked at putting an authentic sexual encounter in the book.
I read a great book earlier this year where the young heroine dreamed of making love with the object of her affections, (who she ended up with in the story and they went on to live happily ever after, despite the horrific effects that war had wrought upon him). Her fantasies about the two of them being together had formed a crucial part of the storyline and yet the author never included even their first time together. I felt very much cheated and didn’t want my readers feeling the same way after reading one of my stories.
The problem was that here I was faced with crafting a sex scene in a post Fifty Shades Of Grey world. Now, I might be wrong but I feel the ante has very definitely been upped when it comes to your average sex scene. Perhaps I’ve lead something of a sheltered reading life but it’s not so long ago oral sex was a taboo subject, never mind a man performing oral sex on a woman! Shocker! Nowadays, oral sex is just part of the picture and light bondage is even entering the mainstream.
Whereas I’m not a massive fan of FSOG myself, (I have issues with it from many perspectives) it has definitely brought erotica into mainstream fiction and legitimized female sexual desire like no other piece of published work before it. There has been an explosion in erotic literature since and it seems the average female reader can’t get enough of the stuff! Which brings me back to my dilemma – when writing my story – in which the two main characters engage in sexual relations – I considered sparing my blushes and going with a standard, run of the mill sex scene. Will this keep my readers happy I wondered? Or should I introduce more risqué or even controversial aspects? Hmmmm….. what’s a girl to do I thought?
At the end of the day, with Remember Me, I let the characters decide. I just went with what I felt was right between them and appropriate for the story. Flynn might be a man intent on revenge but he’s not a tortured soul like Christian Grey and so many of the leading male characters featured in the other erotic blockbusters. And Annabel Smith certainly isn’t anything like Anastasia Steele! God only knows what she’d do to Christian Grey if he took her into The Red Room. Now there’s an enticing prospect!