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  • Dana Ellington

Sex with Strangers



I admire those who can have sex without intimacy. I'm talking about all the males I know and or have had, um...relations with. They seem to revel in the act of getting their rocks off without having to know anything more about the other person than their name. (ok, not ALL, and quite a few of them grew out of it and settled down into long term relationships, but good grief could most of em just hop in and out of bed without a moment's hesitation or look back when they left).


There was a time in my life when I made casual sex the benchmark of independence. I was the epitome of self-empowered because I called the shots - I chose to have sex when I wanted, with whomever I desired (providing they were down with such shenanigans). Mind you, when I sobered up after the act (and after that whole 10-year period of my life), there were no amount of hot showers or self-loving affirmations and mantras could stop me from feeling like a used condom that had been tossed on to someone's dirty bathroom floor. Yeah.


All of this leads to why I don't write "erotica" anymore - lol. For real, the two are related. Let me explain.


Porn, as its written most often is like the one-night stands in my past, it's sex without intimacy. Sex between strangers where, regardless of the "premise" under which the two bodies came together (no pun intended), is just about the act in and of itself. No plot, no character development, just the simplest reason for people to get naked and get their rocks off. Erotica, on the other hand, is sex with some amount of intimacy. The bodies involved may not be "in love" but thanks to the story around the act, providing the author has any semblance of skill, there is that sense of intimacy. The writer elevates the carnal encounter to something...more.


I'm pretty sure I don't posses the skill to write an intimate love scene. I can write the hell out of some sex (or so I think - I managed to sell almost 100 copies of the first book I ever wrote; a collection of sex based stories I'd cobbled together with the idea that erotica would be easy to write and sell). In other words, I can write porn. What I don't think I do well, are "love" scenes. If there's the remotest level of intimacy / love between characters, words fail me.


Case in point, I openly labeled a section in a short story collection as Gratuitous Sex Scene. I knew going in that these two characters were going to, if you'll pardon my expression, just #@$^. There was no love or built up intimacy between them. In another book, I had two characters in a rather obvious, superficial relationship. The first time they bump uglies, I was able to put the encounter onto the page with no issues. But then later in the story, when two characters who are, as equally obvious, IN LOVE and embarking on a deeper relationship...their first time together left me struggling to find ways to describe it. In fact, I gloss over their night together like a screen writer in the 1940's working on a big-budget Hollywood romance.



Point of reference: once upon a time in Hollywood, you couldn't show couples engaging in any major displays of affection. Feet had to be on the floor at all times and any bedroom scenes had to show the couples in separate beds. Click HERE to learn more about this rule.


I realize this as being a shortcoming when it comes to my writing. I want to be able to write those really good, toe curling, sensual aspects of meaningful relationships with the same ease I can pump out (giggle) smut. Wonder if there's anyone on Skill Share offering a "how to write a really good sex scene" class?




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