Open or closed?

Remember when Rhett carried Scarlett up that majestic staircase? Oh what a scandal! Because we knew what was going to happen behind that closed door. The actual scene, though, played out in our imaginations.

Then came a little book called Fifty Shades of Grey. And the bedroom door was thrown wide open. The reader no longer had to imagine what happened—it was right there in their face. If they didn’t like it, they could always close the book. But judging by the sales numbers, few did.

So it makes me wonder if that’s what readers are wanting these days. Do they want the bedroom door open or closed? Has a tender kiss been taken over by a tongue down the throat?  How far is too far?

Is it the language that’s sometimes used you find offensive? Not everyone likes to hear, or read, certain words describing body parts. But if that’s the way the character talks…

In my novel Wink of an Eye, the main character is a guy named Gypsy. He’s smoking’. He defines hot. But he can also be a bit of a jerk (it’s what makes him so lovable). And yes, in the novel he actively participates in a couple sex scenes. But what made these scenes difficult to write was the point of view. The story is told in first person (Gypsy’s point of view) so I, a woman, had to write these scenes from a man’s point of view. So what happened? My smokin’ hot lovable jerk is quite the gentleman before/while/after loving on the ladies. He’s actually a very thoughtful lover. On purpose or by accident? Tee-hee. I’ll never tell!

How do you like it, readers? Door open or closed?


  1. Um, explicit sex scenes did not start w/ Fifty Shades of Grey. They started w/ the romance novels of the early 80’s. I come from the romance genre and write romantic suspense. I think most of my (female) readers want to know what’s happening in the bedroom. I know that sex scenes make guys uncomfortable. You can have all the unspeakable violence you want, but sex, that’s going too far.
    Rebecca York

  2. Door ajar; give us a glimpse, not the whole enchilada. Even Hitchcock knew this: One of the sexiest movie scenes is Cary Grant gazing seductively at Grace Kelly’s dazzling diamond necklace and her decolletage in It Takes A Thief. They fall back onto the sofa in a heated kiss, the camera pans to the open window balcony, and fireworks light up the night sky. Perfect!

  3. To write a sex scene and write it well, it must be filled with emotion. Depending on the genre, mentioning body parts isn’t really necessary. A brief mention, however, can turn the scene to steamy in the minds of some who do not subscribe to regular doses of media sex. Therefore, less is more. And always … fill it with emotion.

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