Can we talk about sex? by SM Harding (Plus a cool giveaway!)

Check it out! Author SM Harding is here at Women and Words! Woo! Be sure and read all the way to the end, because she’s got a fabulous giveaway and all the deets are there.

Good luck!


In lesfic, that is. I was surprised when a member of my writing group, a straight woman who’d been a core member for over ten years, said she loved I Will Meet You There—except for the graphic sex. Graphic sex? Really? Then she said, “But I guess you have to put that stuff in for the genre.” The genre? Lesfic, of course. Since we were at our group’s annual Christmas dinner, I let it go. But it bothered me. It was one of those aborted conversations that replay when trying to get to sleep. I didn’t think I’d written “graphic” sex scenes; I thought I’d written one scene that pushed the story forward and one that deepened the reader’s understanding of the characters.

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I’d let it go until I received a query from a lesfic reader a couple of months later. She expressed surprise at the amount of sex (thank goodness, she didn’t say graphic) in the book and wondered if my publisher had pushed the sex scenes. Here, in part, is my response: No one from Bella Books suggested more sex, or pushed it. Do you remember your first time with a woman? For me, it was an overwhelming set of feelings that blew me away. Can you imagine if your first time was at forty-five? That you’d lived your life as a straight woman, including marriage to a man whom you loved? I wanted the reader to understand the moment that changed Sarah’s world forever.

Though I didn’t go into Win’s scene with this reader—a wee bit of bondage lite—I could’ve added that I thought carefully about her motivations before I wrote it. Win hates surrender—the word, the notion, the action—and not only can we chalk it down to her military training, but she’s let her barriers down once before with disastrous results. That she would open herself to Sarah so completely seemed to me to deserve a scene. The “why” to me was clear and I hope readers saw this scene with clarity and saw Win as a real risk-taker with her heart. And falling in love with Sarah is a risk. Win tries to warn Sarah about repercussions of their love, but she doesn’t listen. She rarely does! Instead, she shoves the feelings down, doesn’t examine them and simply plunges forward.

Now, some of my favorite lesfic authors rarely visit the boudoir of their characters and I’m sure you can think of myriad examples.  On the other hand, some stop the forward progress of the story for a sexy romp, complete with the number of digits used. In the latter example, my eyes glaze over and I tend to skip to where the story picks up again. Because I believe whatever scene we write has to serve the story—that the scene either pushes the story forward or deepens the understanding of the character/s. Granted, I write under the banner of the mystery genre, specifically police procedural and thriller, but I want fully developed characters in a plot that flows from them and their actions. If it involves relationship building and sex, so be it.

So did I change the second novel in the series, A Woman of Strong Purpose, because of these comments? Absolutely not! Though, while Sarah and Win talk about sex—after all, they are new to one another—there’s no full-blown sex scene in this novel. Why not? Because there was no need to push the story forward or to deepen the readers’ understanding of them through a sex scene. Period.

But this brings up the question of whom do I write for? Not for my publisher, nor even my readers. In my heart of hearts, I answer that I serve the characters that have tapped me on the shoulder and told me their stories. Sarah and Win are married as A Woman of Strong Purpose opens, living together and Sarah feels pushed to come out publically. Win says when straight people think about lesbian relationships, all they consider is sex. Yes, it’s part of a lesbian relationship, but not the totality of two women who are trying to build a long-term relationship. I need to feel free to explore all the aspects of their marriage, emotions, thoughts, heart and sex. What? You think women over forty-five have no libido?

Now I have some questions for you:

  1. Which subgenre of lesfic do you read the most? (You know, romance, mystery, etc.)
  2. How do you read sex scenes? As welcome titillation or an interruption of the story or something in-between? Explain, please.
  3. How much is too much? Not enough?
  4. Do you favor “fade to black” before orgasm?

Answer one of the questions and if I find your answer good and intriguing, I’ll send out a copy of A Woman of Strong Purpose or a print of the cover photo (your choice, just let me know).

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49 thoughts on “Can we talk about sex? by SM Harding (Plus a cool giveaway!)

  1. Great column! I think it goes to the core of what “lesfic” is and there’s no clear agreement about that. Some folks have asked me why I call my novel lesfic when the focus isn’t romance and sex, and others have said it definitely is lesfic, so go figure! I agree that we shouldn’t write based on what readers or publishers expect but rather, stay authentic with the characters and watch what they do.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Good comment — if you noticed, I didn’t even try to define lesfic! Let’s assume we can delineate the borders and say the protagonist/s are lesbian. Period. Otherwise, it seems to me that the genre is wide open. But I think the plot, caused by the characters’ actions, can take the form of any sub-genre/s, i.e. historical, steampunk, paranormal, police procedural, etc. I think it’s always “about” the relationship between two women.

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    2. I’ve often said that no art form can grow if the creative process is thwarted with second guessing, and lesfic is no exception. I am adamant that writers should write the stories and characters they are called to write and trust that their work will find the readers who can appreciate it, who get it. While it’s true sex sells, it’s not always necessary to drive the story.

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  2. This was a great peek behind the writing curtain. I’m always interested to find out why authors write what, and how, they do.
    I don’t read one particular sub-genre of lesfic over another. I’m attracted to gripping stories, no matter what shelf they’d be on in a bookstore. I’ve read romances that stick with me years after I’ve closed the book, and the same can be said for a post-apocalyptic novel (yet, there was romance in that one too). Honestly, a lot of sex scenes, I skip right over, because 99.9% of them aren’t there to serve the story. Most of them seem to be there because someone has decided it SHOULD BE, whether that be for the publisher or genre demands or readership. The RELATIONSHIP is what interests me, not how creative a sex scene can be. And that stands no matter the age of the characters. I’m not in my 20’s or 30’s anymore, and I find myself seeking out novels/novellas/short stories with aging characters. For me, too much is a pointless sex scene in every, single, chapter. It just reads like lesporn in print. And if that’s what I want to read in the moment, that’s one thing. But if I’m reading a novel that is not erotica, I don’t want to be skipping over sex in every chapter. Because, why did I spend $12 or whatever on a book/ebook just to skip over parts? And chances are, I won’t spend money on that author again, as sad as that is.
    As a writer, I tend to fade to black before my characters reach orgasm. Why? Because for what I write, it would serve no purpose. I’m not opposed to reading sex, if it demonstrates character development, or plot development. So no, sex scenes don’t make me chuck the book across the room. And sometimes I learn a thing or two from scenes that don’t fade to black. Entertainment AND education! Multi-purpose lesfic. Always a good thing, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jove! Wonderful post. As you know, I also write crime/mystery fiction, so the question of sex scenes is relevant to my genre. In pure mystery fiction, sex may or may not be part of the equation of the crime, usually a murder. But in crime fiction, the equation changes. Crime fiction often takes place among criminals and a criminal underworld, where mainstream morality is turned upside down, and where life is often lived on the edge, with all the heightened life-and-death emotional tension that implies. There is likely to be more sex between the rule-breaking denizens of that world. But that doesn NOT mean there are more sex scenes in a crime novel. For me what that means is that if there is a sex scene in a crime novel (and there may or may not be one: my first book had no sex scenes, though the sexual tension between the protagonist and femme fatale was deliciously palpable), it will have a different emotional implication than in a romance novel or in a more traditional mystery novel. For me, it’s the emotional implication that’s important. It drives the sex, it actually determines the action of the sex. So my sex scenes, which I keep brief, are written in emotional terms which create a picture of the physical.

    As Lesfic writers, we have to face the fact that part of our “market” demands sex scenes. Some Lesfic writers are comfortable writing to that segment of readership. Some, like me, are not willing to pretzel sex into our stories where we feel it’s not warranted. I also think the Lesfic community of readers and writers needs to have this discussion: is Lesbian Fiction its own world, with its own demands? Or is it part of the larger world of literature?

    Well, it seems my intention of adding my two cents has turned into adding my ten cents. But hey, I’m a writer! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re spot on! Especially “sex scenes are written in emotional terms which create a picture of the physical.”

      But do you really think the market “demands” sex scenes? I don’t know if I agree because I can think of a number of top lesfic authors who have little to no sex in their books. As an example, I just finished Barbara Wilson’s Salt Water and other stories (a collection of short stories). There wasn’t a sex scene in the collection, but what beautifully crafted stories of the emotional lives of lesbian women. Just a thought.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

      Like

  4. I love a good romance with some plot twists but in the end there is a happy ending. It brings me great hope that one day I might find true love. I try to imagine what the couple looks like as I read the story. I love it when the author writes a series so I can continue to read about my favorite couples.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny, but I’ve never read a lot of romance writing, lesbian or straight. But I’ve been impressed with the complexity of characters in much of lesbian romance and one of my main examples is Karin Kallmaker who is such a smart writer.

      Hang in and relax!

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  5. As a woman that hid her true self for 27 years in a conventional marriage, and at the age of 47, finally coming out to my true feelings. I love to read how the characters meet, fall in love, and grow in their relationships. I love reading the sex scenes. After reading this article I bought the book mentioned above, and can’t wait to read it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope you enjoy it! I’ve known many women who’ve come out mid-life or later and understand completely what you’re saying. It’s a new world and Sarah faces it with great desire and matching trepidation. Let me know what you think of I Will Meet You There.

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  6. This post really struck a chord for me. I read mostly mystery books and only a smattering of romance and mostly but not exclusively lesfic romance when I do read anything in the genre. I read the sex scenes in any sort of novel if I feel like they belong there but, even when they do, if the description of the act goes on for pages, I usually skip ahead to get back to the story. That may be a product of preferring mystery over the more emotional and nuanced romance category. I prefer the crime solving to the touchy-feely stuff most of the time.

    As a writer, I view sex in novels quite a bit differently than the average reader does. Since my preference for reading is mystery, I write mysteries and I started with lesfic mysteries first. The first book in my first series, the lesfic themed Morelville Mysteries, contained one fade to black sex scene between the two primary characters. I didn’t feel writing a graphic sex scene there, so early in their relationship to each other, was really helpful to move the story forward and I had an ulterior motive. I wanted to show all the awkwardness they felt around each other the next morning as they fumbled to get back to the very real business of solving the puzzle they were mixed up in. In book two, they attempt sex again but they don’t get there (no spoilers here!).

    I was taken to task by a handful of readers of one or both books who DO expect lesfic books, regardless of genre, to contain detailed sex. I was told, “That’s what makes it lesbian, after all.” I beg to differ but I bent to the will of the readers, so to speak, with book three in the series. I wrote it to develop a relationship based around a crime involving one of the leads directly from the first two books. I admit, I had a little outside help writing plausible, loving sex between my leads. Where I was on my own was making sure the sex fit within the story and moved it forward. Sex, after all, is expected in a lesfic romance novel and it’s part of the whole experience of getting to happily ever after but it’s a different animal in crime solving. It doesn’t always belong there. In a crime novel, it’s a delicate balance to write in a complicated and evolving relationship that doesn’t overtake the primary story, the crime.

    My mystery series evolved into mystery/romance series with book three and then back to mostly mystery after book five. These days, new novels in that series draw comments about how realistically I’ve depicted family and village life in my books and how my characters, especially the lesbian ones, fit into the grander scheme of things. I feel sometimes like I had to write in sex that fit the story to capture more readers with the early books but now I’ve got dozens that eagerly await the next book for the story itself. It proves that old adage that sex sells but, I contend, a good story will always win out in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen to a good story! I actually wrote a series of mysteries (never published, though I came close) with a protagonist I knew was lesbian, but she never had a lover — but that was a long time ago. For this series, I’m telling a story of a new relationship — as well as have the protagonists involved in two separate cases. So, again, I write under the general banner of “mystery” and I’m not sure I could have gotten the series published by a mainstream publisher. To be honest, I didn’t shop it with the NYC agents or any mainstream press. I went directly to Bella Books and thank the Spirit, they liked it.
      Briefly, let me say I don’t think about the sex scenes and whether there’s one or not in the manuscript — I follow what my characters’ leads.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. When I first posed the question to the author, I had by that point read so much lesfic romance and historical fiction that I might have achieved an overload of the senses. If that’s true, then I owe the author an apology and I have said as much privately but I want to be clear that the question was in no way a slight on the book or the quality of the writing. I think it’s fair to say that we live in a dominant culture that uses sex to sell everything, every commodity and product one can imagine. Is it any wonder then, that we should encounter sex in lesfic? It’ a natural part of growing the genre to include sex but I think we have evolved enough to clamor for well written fiction that encompasses every aspect of the experience of being a lesbian in the 21st century. I think I missed the mark when it came to understanding Sarah’s POV and her trajectory, not having anything like that in my own life experience ti compare it to. I may have paid too much attention to my expectations of the book to realize that I was missing a very important point. This is a good lesson for me as I strive to be a more discerning reader.

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    1. Ah, Nancy! I’m so glad you asked the question because it made me examine the whole issue anew. While I don’t want to censor my writing (I don’t think Win would let me do that — you know?). At the same time, I don’t want to be embarrassed when my straight friends read the novels. As an interesting aside, an longtime friend, a straight male, read the first novel and said I got the sex scenes exactly right and used a deft touch; he’s a writer too and has struggled in his own work with the question of what’s too much.
      the bottomline for me is building a real relationship between Sarah and Win and not to over-emphasize one aspect, especially at the cost of the other aspects.

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  8. I read romance and lawyer/mystery/crime mostly (my “no, thanks” list includes paranormal, zombie, vampire, shape-shifter, angels, pirates … ) and I think there is a reasonable balance to the number and amount (length?) of sex scenes – do the scenes show the development of the characters and/or the relationship, or is it an instruction manual? I’ve read some books with a higher proportion of sex scenes that seem to have a good, ‘natural’ flow, but also others where the four pages of ‘two fingers then three,’ etc., seems almost part of a separate book so disconnected are they from the plot/story/action. But some of that is okay with me – I read a lot of new lesfic authors and have a appreciation of the fact that writers have a learning curve like every other profession. Takes a while to be a Karin Kallmaker, a K G MacGregor, a Carsen Taite (all authors I buy almost without reading the synopsis). I think Harper Bliss might be an example of an author who has – for me as a reader – developed from ‘a bit too much’ to a very good balance. But the ‘a bit too much’ didn’t stop me from reading all of her earlier works because I think she started out as a good writer … great characters, and she has just gotten better … “Seasons of Love,” being one of her best.

    I read “I Will Meet You There” and liked it a lot. Looking forward to reading “A Woman of Strong Purpose!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you’ve hit an important point: it’s not only the frequency of sex scenes, but the duration! I recently finished a novel where one scene was a whole chapter (something like ten pages) and I skipped it because I wanted to know what was happening in the STORY! For me, it always comes back to the story.
      I most sincerely hope you like A Woman of Strong Purpose and thanks for reading the series!

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  9. Enjoyed this article, sorry I haven’t read any of your books yet. It is funny how random comments can make us question ourselves. I’m an avid lesfic reader – I enjoy all genres within that depending on my mood. I do like sex scenes and not keen on fade to black – a good sex scene adds to the emotion of the story. Some authors do overdo it sometimes, although I can’t recall skipping forward through/passsed a sex scene unless I was skipping through other pages that seemed superfluous. From what you’ve shared, stick to your guns!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      I think that sometimes I simply get bored with the sex scenes! Partly because how many different ways can a writer use to describe sex and partly because emphasis on the act itself, over and over and over, deprives the reader of the emotional content. If you get a chance to read the series, I sincerely hope you enjoy them.

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  10. I personally am a big fan of romance stories. I’ve found that a sex scene, enhances the story between the two characters. As a reader, I feel somewhat cheated when a sex scene ends in “fade to black”.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. For me the story between the two characters is the “build-up” and when the point of intimacy occurs I want to read how that interaction is fulfilled. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi, there–please do NOT consider me for the giveaway, as I’m admin and therefore do not participate. It’s all about the luv for Women and Words readers!

    Anyway! “Graphic” is in the eye of the beholder. I wonder if this straight-identified reader would say the same if the sex were heterosexual? Or would she just consider that “normal”? And therefore, not “graphic”? This is something that I’ve run across in the past, in conversations with straight-identified readers who I challenge on that. I’ll ask them to think about how they think about sex in general in a book, and if they would say the same thing about a heterosexual character who engaged in sex in a book. The majority of the times, the readers come to understand that their view of sex is skewed through the heteronormative lens, which means a book with an equal number of sex scenes with heterosexual characters is granted a pass while a book with lesbian characters engaging in sex is not. We’ve continued the discussions. So in that regard, it’s been a learning experience all around.

    Also, “too much” is in the eye of the beholder. I won’t argue that sometimes a writer maybe makes a boo-boo and puts sex into a book and it does nothing for the plot or the characters. But in some cases, one person’s “too much” is another’s “too little.” So think about it in terms of the writer: For writers, determining where and whether a sex scene between characters should be included depends on any number of factors: primarily, plot and character arcs. Also on genre. If it’s erotica, well, there you go. No holds barred. But in other genres, the plot and characters determine whether a sex scene is appropriate and whether it advances the narrative or not. Like any other aspect of writing, it needs to advance the narrative in some respect, whether it’s plot or characterization. If you think about sex in that way, as a narrative tool, then it takes some of the mystique and discomfort out of it if you’re a reader. At least, one hopes.

    As an aside, something else I’ve noticed — especially with women readers of my work — is a discomfort with the use of cursing in books. Some of my characters swear. Yes, they’re women. Women swear. My life is full of women who swear. This, too, is a gendered construct, this idea that women shouldn’t swear. I think, thus, that the act of sex is thus gendered. As women, we are taught not to take pleasure in our sexual beings, or to be at the behest of the male gaze. We aren’t allowed agency in our sexual lives, and I think that plays into reactions to sex scenes, especially reactions in which there’s a discomfort with the scene in general or a belief that it’s “too much.” So I think we also need to think about those things, in addition to whether or not the scene fit the plot and characters’ arcs when we think about sex and writing.

    Thanks, all!
    Happy weekending.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Really interesting comments, Andi — thanks!

      I think we all agree on erotica — you buy it, you’re going to get it. And yes, I enjoy reading well-written erotica. Maybe that’s one of my markers: well-written. I think I react with that glazed-over gaze when sex is presented in the same old way, without any invention. I read a novel lately (I can’t remember the title or author — I’ll blame it on my age and reading too much) that had an absolutely gorgeous sex scene which didn’t fade to black. But the emphasis the writer created was the emotional response of both characters.
      As far as the “gendered construct,” don’t get me started! Win swears like a . . . Marine! That’s her background, while Sarah’s experience is quite different. I finally found a substitute for “sonofabitch” that comes from Micah [it’s one of the phrases that blames women for being “loose” as does the word bastard]: sonofabutt. I don’t think my straight reader’s comment was based on gender norms, but rather a general squeamishness about reading sex scenes.
      Thanks for taking the time to respond.

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    2. I think – between the lines here in Andi’s comments – I realized how explicit sex scenes speak to our visibility, or invisibility, as well. I live “between the coasts” and we are not very visible here. Virginia Woolf is probably the ‘newest’/most recent lesbian in the local library, and she is probably there because they don’t know about her and Vita! I still think the inclusion of sex scenes in any genre is best driven by the plots/characters/arc of the story, but in lesfic they may serve another valuable purpose as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. but in lesfic they may STILL serve another valuable purpose as well. 😦 noticed the lack of a word as the message was ‘winging away’

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      2. I live in Indiana and I wonder if sharing sex scenes is the best way to increase our visibility? That’s an honest question, not bait, and I have no answer. If lesbian couples appear in mainstream fiction, does it make folk more comfortable to know we face mortgages and budgets just like everyone else? Will steamy sex scenes turn them off? Again, I have no answers.

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      3. I had to laugh over your response to my comment:
        “I live in Indiana and I wonder if sharing sex scenes is the best way to increase our visibility?”

        But, when I wrote the – too abbreviated – “… I realized how explicit sex scenes speak to our visibility, or invisibility, as well” I was also thinking of earlier times about which there seems to be quite a bit of confusion or uncertainty whether certain women were lesbian or whether certain relationships were ‘physical’ or only emotional attachment … I’m not sure those are the best words to describe this even … but, I have been reading two books (had not finished either one at the time I was commenting on your Women and Words post) … one, “Highsmith: A Romance of the 1950’s” by Marijane Meaker, and the other “Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady,” by Susan Quinn …
        The Quinn book is a great illustration of the visibility/invisibility issue … the finding of the letters between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok and how many people seem to question if theirs was an erotic/physical relationship … good grief, when I read even the excerpts that appear in the biographies [Quinn and, earlier, Blanche Wiesen Cook and Doris Faber] I wonder how anyone can think this was not a physical relationship?!

        I think that was the point I didn’t make very well … that the explicitness can work to provide a visibility that “tender words,” ‘’fade to black,’ and such lack.

        The Meaker/Highsmith book prompted me to take a look at what was online about Marijane Meaker. I found this article exploring Highsmith’s [writing as Claire Morgan] 1952 lesbian book “The Price of Salt” …

        http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/30/forbidden-love

        “This month, “Carol,” a film adaptation of “The Price of Salt,” directed by Todd Haynes, opens in theatres. … In a recent interview with Film Comment, Haynes said that the “indecipherability” of lesbianism at the time—the “unimagined notions of what love between women might even look like”—is the engine of Highsmith’s plot.”

        This is the relevant part to BOLD:

        “indecipherability” of lesbianism at the time—the “unimagined notions of what love between women might even look like”

        I tend to think that is why we have needed – and might continue to need – some degree of explicitness.

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  12. Because I believe whatever scene we write has to serve the story—that the scene either pushes the story forward or deepens the understanding of the character/s.

    I agree with this and appreciate how much effort goes into plotting and planning a sex scene by you writers. We readers reap the benefits often without realizing how much thought you all put into each and every scene. We just know how it makes us feel towards the couple and hopefully strengthens and bonds them to face whatever challenges you throw at them next. If the mechanics become repetitive or a love scene goes on for pages I tend to skip/fast forward my tts to get back to the what I hope is an entertaining plot. If people want to read lesbian sex scenes for the turn on there are plenty of erotica novelists in our genre to enjoy.
    I primarily read lesfic romance and mainstream thrillers, mysteries and police procedurals. I am only now getting into reading more lesfic mysteries and crime thrillers. I find lesbian mysteries/ police procedurals still have a way to go when it comes to building suspense, adding twists but are steadily improving. As I am new to this sub genre I am still discovering new to me authors every week.
    I had to look at Goodreads to see if I read your first novel I Will Meet You There and I see I not only enjoyed your first book in the series but commented that you are an author to watch in the future. Congratulations on your new release. I look forward to catching up with Win and Sarah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the good words!

      As a longtime reader of crime fiction, I suspect lesfic writers face a conundrum: keep the plot twists coming while developing a complex relationship between two women. It’s a lot to keep the balls in the air [no pun intended]. I complicated the whole business by having Sarah and Win work on separate cases which only at times overlap.
      Thanks so much for leaving a review — it’s so important for authors.

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  13. I can so see myself relating to this book! I love reading romance mostly, have since I was a teenager. The sex in a book depends entirely on the characters. If it appears out of character then it (or the lack of it) will stand out as being incorrect. I only care about fade to black if the scene is needed as part of the story. In some cases we want to see the intimate moments. In other cases it doesn’t matter, imagination is good enough. Everything depends on the characters if it’s out of character, then it will pull me out of the story. Of course, if it’s advertised as an erotic romance, I’d better not have to use my imagination too much :).

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Outside of lesfic, I read fantasy, mysteries, and literary fiction more than anything else. Within lesfic, I really just prefer a great story. That said I probably read more mystery and romance than anything else.
    The way I read sex scenes can vary on so many factors: my own mood, the piece of fiction I’m reading, and the quality of the writing (not just within that one scene.) While I don’t necessarily mind a well-written sex scene that’s meant to tittilate, I definitely prefer ones that further the story in some way.
    RE: How much is too much — I suppose this is the “what does ‘graphic’ mean to you?” question. I’d say, again, that it really does depend on the purpose of the scene. Anything that furthers the story is welcome.
    I favor a “fade to black” before orgasm if the scene wouldn’t further the story. in life, I prefer some sense of mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is such a great topic. As a reader, for me the sex has to fit seamlessly into the story, otherwise it just hangs there and seems awkward. I enjoy reading a well written sex scene, though I do prefer some left to the imagination!
    As a writer I had a similar experience with a straight reader. When we discussed my book she stated she loved it but was overwhelmed by the intensity of the relationships. ‘Are all lesbian relationships that intense?’. I was taken aback by her comments as my characters were all in there late 60’s, so there was certainly no swinging off the chandeliers! When we discussed it further, the intensity she felt was actually the intimacy that came from the relationships of my characters. We ended up talking for a few hours about this and it gave me an insight as to how so many straight women view sex. As lesbians, intimacy is at times even more important than the sexual act itself. It appears many straight women don’t often gave this need fulfilled. As a writer and a reader of lesfic, I sometimes wish there were more intimate scenes and less sexual ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I have two initial responses.
      1) I think women have such high expectations for intimacy with another woman. As we can see in our reading and our lives, sometimes the expectations are too high and one partner can’t respond to that level of intimacy. Sarah is one example because she’s not intimate with herself.
      2) The degree of vulnerability of each partner is extraordinary — and if one partner isn’t willing to be vulnerable, I think the relationship can totter because it isn’t based on a firm foundation of mutual openness.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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  16. I’m going to let comments continue until 10:00 a.m. Wednesday — then I’ll pick winners (which is going to be hard). Thank you all who’ve made the time to leave a comment!

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    1. Please me out of the drawing … I couldn’t wait! Purchased “A Woman of Strong Purpose” yesterday and am about half through … So far a great follow-up to “I will meet you there!” I like these characters very much …

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  17. I welcome sex scenes. 🙂 Especially if they are well written and explore character development. Im not a big fan of fade to black. That makes me feel a little cheated.

    I primarily read mystery and crime thrillers, and some lesbian romance.

    Best of luck with your latest. Write for you. When you don’t limit yourself or try to stick a bunch of random scenes in just to please people your story will be much more enjoyable. 😀

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    1. Would you invite people into your bedroom? Again, this is an honest question. I don’t get the idea of feeling cheated if there’s a fade to black.

      Thanks — and I always write from my characters’ lead!

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      1. Nope. LOL No bedroom invites from me for my personal bedroom, but I do write erotica so I may have inadvertantly given an invitation or 2 to my writing bedroom. 🙂

        As far as the cheated commet, it’s only “sort of” cheated. I can and do enjoy books with UST and or fade to black scenes. I just prefer a bit more. It doesn’t have to venture into erotica but I want some intimacy included. That’s just me. 😉

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  18. I love sci-fi/fantasy as my favorite genre, although I read a lot of genres. My answer to most of your questions is: It depends on the book. There are definitely some sex scenes that I really enjoy reading, some that I read and don’t think much about, some that I skim, and some I wonder why they’re even in the book. All of that depends on what kind of book it is, what kind of story is being written, and how well the author addresses the sex scene(s) in the book. There are some books that are sex heavy, and if that’s the type of book I’m reading, and the author is really good at writing a sex scene, I will read intently. But I also don’t mind a fade to black if that’s what fits the story. Sure, I might be somewhat disappointed at not getting my voyeuristic eye in on it, but seriously, I’d rather a fade to black that a poorly written sex-filled train wreck that ruins the story for me. I can give examples of just about every sex scene, good and bad, as supporting proofs. But that may just be because I’ve got sex on the brain.

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  19. Okay! I really enjoyed reading all the comments! So, the winners are: Anne Hagan, Carolynmcb, canuckeh, and Lynn. If y’all will respond here, or if you want more privacy, go to smharding.webs.com and give me a street address. OR, you can email the information to me at smharding7@comcast.net.

    Again, thanks for the comments!

    Liked by 1 person

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