Sex and the Singularly Awkward Girl

I also wrote a post for Romance Divas about my sincere and abiding love for awkward sex scenes!

Somewhere around the time I started plotting Ready to Fall, the fourth book of my Lovestruck Librarians series, I realized something important about my writing: I really enjoy describing sex scenes gone wonky.

surprised young couple lying in bed

I’m not necessarily talking about bad sex. The vast majority of the time, my heroes and heroines end up very well-satisfied. But I don’t tend to write about perfect physical unions, consummated by two people who understand and fulfill each other’s desires without saying a single word.

In my books, the sex is sometimes awkward. Sometimes negotiations are involved—about turnoffs, preferences, positions, or other issues. Sometimes my characters struggle for power or intimacy through sex, while other times they banter as they bonk. And sometimes, as happens in my third Lovestruck Librarians book, Mayday, the sex actually isn’t that good. At least not at first. (I’m not spoiling too much by telling you this, because it all happens in the first chapter.)

Ready to Fall is no different. Because it’s a novella, there’s only one full-on love scene. And while that scene’s hot (I hope), it’s not effortless. Sarah, my mouthy librarian heroine, and Chris, my taciturn man-beast hero, talk to each other about what they want and what they’re feeling in bed together. And when Chris reaches for Sarah’s bedside box of condoms…

Well, I won’t reveal that bit. Let’s just say that several moments of confusion and hilarity ensue.

So I definitely don’t write seamless sex scenes. And here’s why:

1. Most of us have had bad sex. Or at the very least, mediocre sex. It happens with people we love. It happens with people who’ve satisfied us in the past. It happens with people who’ll satisfy us in the future. It’s normal. And I want to reflect that reality in my books, especially since I don’t believe occasional wonky sex and true love are mutually exclusive.

2. Most sexual partners can’t read our minds. (If you have a psychic lover, however, congratulations!) Especially at the beginning of a relationship, communication is usually necessary for good sex. Yes, a good partner will pay attention and learn what gives you pleasure, but shouldn’t you try to help in that process? Shouldn’t you express what works for you and what doesn’t?

Again, this sort of negotiation can actually build intimacy, rather than detracting from it. It can be funny, not to mention revelatory about the level of trust you have with your partner. And most of all, it can be hot. So I want it in my books.

3. I write romantic comedies, so occasional fumbling in bed is good for business. What can I say?

No doubt about it, I write on the hot end of contemporary romance. But my sex scenes aren’t smooth and effortless for the characters, and that’s a deliberate choice. One I’m glad to have made—and one I hope you’ll enjoy too, since I think it reflects the reality of sex in all its messy, bizarre, hilarious, arousing glory.

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