There’s nothing wrong with me loving you…
My Personal Feelings
by Molly Lambert
I think the reasons there aren’t more sex scenes in novels are:
1. People are afraid they will accidentally reveal something embarrassing about themselves that only they do and the readership will be turned off and disgusted by the thing they thought differentiated them as a uniquely sensual individual (this would not happen).
2. People are afraid they their sex scenes will read as wooden and rote and thus imply that they themselves are wooden and rote in bed. which is the last thing any writer wants to imply because the whole endeavor of writing a book is just a veiled attempt to make themselves sexually desirable through erotic connection with the intimate unseen areas of readers’ brains.
3. There are some things, maybe just a couple of things, that are harder to put into words than other emotions. I think things like fear and love and jealousy can really be extrapolated on endlessly. but ecstasy, sexual or religious or psychedelic, is one of those things that you can’t necessarily illustrate better with words. Think of any acid or mushroom trip anyone’s ever described to you and how utterly banal it sounded. If you’ve been lucky enough to have your own hallucinogenic experience you’ll know that it was probably pretty cool. It’s just that there aren’t good words for it, and the words there are are kind of clumsy and unindicative. I would liken it to the emotions evoked listening to music, how a particular note can inspire certain feelings.
4. People are afraid of bad sex scenes, but good sex scenes run the line towards erotica. which is a little bit like having giant pornographic cheesecake photos running through all your blog posts. once people expect to be titillated, they will be disappointed when you do not continue to titillate them, unless you write a Jacqueline Susann novel. Or a Bret Easton Ellis one.
5. Sex scenes are often much less interesting and/or sexy than scenes of extended sensual tension, as anyone who had read lolita and/or watched the x-files knows.
All that said, my novel is full of sex scenes, almost entirely bad. I find bad sex more interesting (and easier!) to write about, and it’s an easy thing to mine for humor about the disgustingness and frailty of the human body and ego (see: that elkin passage about bear sex).
Molly Lambert is this recording‘s senior contributor. She lives in Echo Park, California.
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I don’t actually think this is that strange, but what a picture: