I don’t blog often.
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This topic is broad, but let’s discuss it anyways.
When it comes to sex, sexuality, and sensuality in writing, I’m not a shy writer. In earlier years, most of my writing centered around these themes. These themes, still, heavily influence my characters and plots.
Each character has their own shade of sensuality, their own flavor, so to speak. Like snowflakes, not a single one is the same, each have different triggers, desires, and reactions. Some passions overlap, but motivations and reasons tend to differ. Identification terms like heterosexual, bisexual, or pansexual are not useful when actually applying these concepts since each individual’s passions are unique. The appearance of genitalia and gender identification has little to do with most character romances (unless such body parts are part of their direct desires).
To successfully portray sexuality in characters through writing include CONTEXT in the characters’ reactionary processes (emotion, logic, passion, action).
What is context? Context can be as deep or shallow as the writer makes it. It can be as in-depth as the smallest detail that will change the course of all events OR as shallow as nothing, barring the most extreme actions, will cause any change. Context takes into account the character’s surroundings, interactions, external perceptions and internal beliefs.
Particularly in regards to conveying sexuality within writing, it’s better to not conceptualize character decisions around the phrase, “they would never do that“.
To get a relationship closer to authentically portraying life, avoid these types of absolutes. But if you’re a rebel, go ahead in the opposite direction and purposefully create an intense illusion through strong absolutes in character behaviors and thoughts. Plenty of writers frequently employ both approaches unconsciously.
Alternatively, contemplate the phrase: “at what point would the character need to be at for them to do something they never thought they would“.
Let characters surprise themselves in their actions. Meanwhile, strive to know what is going on in your character’s subconscious. Write the character’s expressions, while acknowledging the context and character-reasoning involved in the background.
Contextual motivation leaks into general desires, as well. Even when not pertaining to sex or romance, the character’s perception of their own subconscious provides a great deal of information for the writer to explore. For example, a character doesn’t often contemplate why they might be attracted to an activity like jogging, but they will spend a considerable amount of mental time figuring out why they might be attracted to another person (probably while jogging).
If you, a writer, understand the natural fluidity to human sexuality and the importance of subconscious manifestations for your characters’ sensuality and romances, congratulations!
This means you have a great start to understanding who your characters are and can focus on presenting who they are, authentically, through the story.
Other traits to inform scenes, plots, character relationships, etc. are;
- Tactile attractions (what textures do they like? soft? slippery? and so on.),
- Taste attractions (do they have a savory palette? sweet?),
- Scent (do they prefer flowery scents? musky ones? spices?),
- Audio-visual (use your imagination!),
- Thermoreception (sensing internal temperature, hot/cold),
- Proprioception (sense of where body parts are located, relative to each other),
- Equilibrioception (allows for balance and sense acceleration/directional change),
- Tension sensors (that monitor muscle tension)
- Nociception (Pain sensors which comes in three styles; Cutaneous (skin), Somatic (bones & joints), and Visceral (organs)).
All of this will inform a budding romance within a story, with or without sexy scenes.
Without; Sometimes, sexy scenes – even if they occur within the story – do not need to be directly presented to the readers. Most of my current projects are without sexy scenes and I plan to keep it this way because I have little interest in writing within the romance/erotica genre. Some of the projects deal with sensual themes, but so far there’s been little need for an actual xxx-rated scene.
With; Still, erotica has been a great avenue to develop my craft and decide what it is I want to do with my writing. It is great practice for learning how to handle details and test styles. Also, it’s a great exercise to control the speed of the story’s pacing, which is an important aspect for erotica!
There’s something about the intimacy of erotica, the specific intricate little decisions that transpire between character interactions. Passion is an excellent concept that is such a strong reality in so many people’s worlds. There’s a lot of beauty to be found in human passion, but also, a lot of darkness.
The spectrum between authentically realistic and fantastical delusions is extreme and vast when it comes to sex(uality) in writing. There are many combinations and techniques to be had. Be aware of boundaries and intentions involving romances to really harness the direction of your piece.
How do you handle romance development within writing? Do you prefer to include sexy scenes or not?
Meanwhile, I tired myself out on ArchlordII. I’m back to Warframe, but they’ve been dealing with some pretty nasty hosting issues and glitches. Plus, I found out that Kubrows require frequent upkeep (which takes resources) and I am too low level to manage something like that *sigh*. There’s some other games I’ve been looking at, like ArcheAge (though it’s just closed beta atm), but I have a feeling that I’m just going to be playing Astroflux until I feel like returning to Warframe/Archlord. Though I also have Child of Light that I still need to finish…
I’ve been getting a lot of shtuff done for The Ones Above like establishing naming conventions, creating an etheric universe map/blueprint, listing character briefs on a spreadsheet, writing through the chapters and developing plot.
City of Gems has been on my mind too, but I haven’t been able to work on it since I’ve been so busy with TOA. I’d like to be able to develop some plot points for this project soon though…
– Dominika (July 31)