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is a "sex scene" necessary? (1 Viewer)

Guitar_chick133

Senior Member
I was just thinking about two characters in the story I am working on. they fall for each other, but so far I havn't had them do anything with each other, even though there are other sexual referances scattered in it, I never found it something they should do, at first, then I kind of wondered if I should. it's not that I mind writing it, I don't, it's just I don't know if it makes a difference.
 

Erik Buchanan

Senior Member
I never found it something they should do...

I think you've answered your own question there, but here's my thoughts anyway:

Sex scenes are rarely necessary (though often fun). In some pieces they represent the climax (pun intended) of the story, and in others, give us an insight into how the characters feel, or something similar. In many pieces they are just there for titillation (or amusement) value.

In a short story, you don't want anything extraneous. So, if them having sex and the audience reading about it will drive the story forward, go for it. If not, don't bother.
 

Charlie_Eleanor

Senior Member
Okay, from your title I was just going to say "Yes, a sex scene is always necessary."

But, the truth is, if you don't think it is necessary don't do it. Be confident in your own judgment. Afterall, you know your characters the best. You created them.
 

Damian_Rucci

Senior Member
I think it is up to you, the writer. Sex scenes aren't always needed but can show the true feelings for two people and how their characters are coming together.
 

Buddy Glass

Senior Member
Sex scenes are rarely necessary (though often fun). In some pieces they represent the climax (pun intended) of the story, and in others, give us an insight into how the characters feel, or something similar. In many pieces they are just there for titillation (or amusement) value.

Wait a minute. Rarely necessary? Just there for titillation?

I couldn't disagree more. Sex scenes, if present in a good work of literature, are rarely unnecessary (unless you're reading Updike). Read Ian McEwan's First Love, Last Rites, James Joyce's Ulysses, Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood - all good examples of literature that features plenty of sex and/or sex scenes. None of them, in my opinion, are unnecessary or just there for titillation.

A sex scene, because they've often been subtle, cryptic or simply neglected in literature of the past, can be very powerful if treated efficiently. Sex is not as shallow a phenomenon as people think. Rather, it provides an interesting platform for the depiction of human nature and all that it entails. I mean, come on, it's the 21st century - if you're writing about lovers they're bound to have sex so don't tap-dance around it. Sex should no longer be a taboo.
 

Rumrunner

Senior Member
Keep in mind that this thread has been posted in the scripts & plays category. In a script format, you have a limited number of pages in which to construct your story; every scene essentially must drive the story forward. There are exceptions, perhaps, when adding a scene specifically for crucial characterization, etc. But they must nevertheless add to the dramatic momentum in some way. You really can't get away with including non-essential scenes, especially if you're trying to sell something on spec.

For this reason, if you don't think a sex scene is essential, then it's better to leave it out and put the pages to better use. It can depend a little on your intended audience, of course -- if you're writing a Jessica Alba vehicle aimed mostly at 20-something men then a steamy sex scene may indeed help it sell. But I think you can err on the side of caution and leave it out; especially since so many sex scenes tend to be terribly written. Not saying yours will be, of course, but it's better not to open yourself up to potential weaknesses, especially in a spec script. If the producer / director really want one in there, they'll ask for it in revision.

Often times, too, there's a lot more intriguing drama and human nature to be explored when characters do "tap-dance around it," as Buddy Glass put it. Think of the on-screen chemistry between, say, Bogart and Becall, compared to the lack thereof of many of today's stars & starlets who just jump right in.

--Rumrunner
 

Shawn

WF Veterans
I think it is up to you, the writer. Sex scenes aren't always needed but can show the true feelings for two people and how their characters are coming together.

Or right after one another!


Really, though. If you want a sex scene... do it. If not, don't worry about it. Something as simple as a suggestive comment can do in some places. In others, it might need to be more explicit (not as in pornographic).

I really wouldn't know.
 

Damian_Rucci

Senior Member
Or right after one another!


Really, though. If you want a sex scene... do it. If not, don't worry about it. Something as simple as a suggestive comment can do in some places. In others, it might need to be more explicit (not as in pornographic).

I really wouldn't know.
exactly what I was going for! :afro:
 

Erik Buchanan

Senior Member
I couldn't disagree more. Sex scenes, if present in a good work of literature, are rarely unnecessary (unless you're reading Updike). Read Ian McEwan's First Love, Last Rites, James Joyce's Ulysses, Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood - all good examples of literature that features plenty of sex and/or sex scenes. None of them, in my opinion, are unnecessary or just there for titillation.

First off, if you are capable of reading James Joyce's Ulysses, then you are a better person than I. ;)

Second, you've given four examples, and I'm afraid I haven't read any of them but I will trust you that they are good examples. You've also said the key words: If presented in a good work of literature.

In good literature, there is nothing extraneous, including the sex. Unfortunately, good literature is hard to find. If you look at the shelves you will find far more books (Updike among them, with the possible exception of The Witches of Eastwick) where the sex is there just for the sake of adding a little erotic effect and adds little to the story.

Thanks, Rumrunner, for the reminder that this thread is under scripts and plays, which makes it an entirely different beast from a novel.

On stage, if that's what you're writing, sex rarely works. It usually looks contrived and rarely erotic or meaningful. Unless you've got very good actors, offstage sex usually works better.

On film, I give the same answer as for stories. As Rumrunner pointed out, your time is limited. Put nothing in that doesn't advance the story. Especially for a short film. If you feel the sex is important to the story, include it. If not, don't waste the precious time you've got.
 
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Guitar_chick133

Senior Member
sorry about that , i said story in that i was talking about the "story" of my project ( script) but I also write short stories as well.
 

Linton Robinson

Senior Member
You can show the progress of the relationship without steamy scenes.

Which either fit the mood of your story, or don't. You are the one who decides that.

But you don't even need smoking cigarettes. All that's required is her coming out of his bath in a robe, or him popping out in his shorts to grab her newspaper on the lawn and raising the eyebrows of the nosy old bitch next door. Etc.
 

C_K

Member
Sex scenes are cliche, although you can definitely imply it. If by scene you mean more than a few lines, then yeah it's always wasteful unless the story itself is about something or something major happens during the sex scene.

I prefer using sexual tension and innuendo, but I rarely would do a sex scene.

Just my opinion.

-CK
 

Buddy Glass

Senior Member
Sex scenes are cliche, although you can definitely imply it. If by scene you mean more than a few lines, then yeah it's always wasteful unless the story itself is about something or something major happens during the sex scene.

I prefer using sexual tension and innuendo, but I rarely would do a sex scene.

Just my opinion.

-CK

How on earth is it cliché? It's not cliché if it's written right.
 

Linton Robinson

Senior Member
Sex scenes are cliche, although you can definitely imply it. If by scene you mean more than a few lines, then yeah it's always wasteful unless the story itself is about something or something major happens during the sex scene.

It's hard to even start dissecting all the things wrong with those two seemingly simple sentences.
Best bet would be just to ignore them completely.
 

C_K

Member
Well, I guess I need to start prefacing my comments with the disclaimer: "This is my opinion."

But if you would like to continue this pseudo-debate or if you would like further explanation, you can send me a private message. One at a time, please.

-CK
 

wyf

Senior Member
Sex scenes are cliche, although you can definitely imply it. If by scene you mean more than a few lines, then yeah it's always wasteful unless the story itself is about something or something major happens during the sex scene.

im finding it difficult imagining last tango in paris without the sex scenes. Pass the butter.
 

Linton Robinson

Senior Member
You want to discuss, this is a discussion board.

It doesn't matter if you say "In my opinion" or not. Of course it's your opinion.

It's not a pseudo debate. It's not a debate.

Those sentences are just nuts and need to be ignored. Go back and READ them and see if YOU can figure out what you were trying to say.
 

C_K

Member
Well, I do admit to typing 'something' twice when I meant to say "sex" the first time, but if you can't understand the gist of those two sentences, then you aren't much of a reader.

I can dumb it down for you and do some extreme elaboration:

Sex is overused in writing, plays, movies... etc. However, since sex does happen in real life, you can bypass the drawn-out sex scene and either imply it or devote only a few lines. There is a small separation between romance novel and proving a point.

If your story is completely about sex, then what I said might not be true because, obviously, it would need to have sex in it. Or if something is accomplished during the sex that is essential to the plot, then it is (again, obviously) important to include it.

Most of the time, these things are not necessary. There is a huge chance of ruining your story and embarrassing yourself as a writer if you mess up during your sex scene, so having a sex scene just to have a sex scene seems to be an unnecessary risk.

As for Murakami's NW, I don't even know if all the sex was necessary. I believe he was writing sex to write sex. That's a good book, and I've read it plenty, but Murakami is obviously a pervert. Heh, a great writer, but a perverted, borderline-pedophile with an ear fetish. If you don't believe me, you haven't read enough of his writing.

Out of all of his scenes in that book, although you can hardly call them scenes because they were not very drawn out, I'd say only the one between Reiko and her piano student, and the first sex scene between main and Naoko were important. Midori was my favorite character, but that scene was unnecessary... the kiss scene was infinitely more powerful. Face it, sometimes people like to write sex; it doesn't make them bad writers, but the question was NECESSITY.

Anyway, this has been "Point, counterpoint, counter-counter point." So, I'll leave it at that. I felt needed to clear up that my first 'something' was supposed to be 'sex'...

It happens.

-CK
 

Buddy Glass

Senior Member
Well, I do admit to typing 'something' twice when I meant to say "sex" the first time, but if you can't understand the gist of those two sentences, then you aren't much of a reader.

Most of the time, these things are not necessary. There is a huge chance of ruining your story and embarrassing yourself as a writer if you mess up during your sex scene, so having a sex scene just to have a sex scene seems to be an unnecessary risk.
It's as if you're just going on a random rant against sex scenes, though nothing you say seems grounded in anything specific. Perhaps some examples? Of course there's a risk, they're always a risk. But that risk is just as easily applied to other human actions in literature.

As for Murakami's NW, I don't even know if all the sex was necessary. I believe he was writing sex to write sex. That's a good book, and I've read it plenty, but Murakami is obviously a pervert. Heh, a great writer, but a perverted, borderline-pedophile with an ear fetish. If you don't believe me, you haven't read enough of his writing.
A pervert? What do you have against sex? Lack of it? He's not a pervert because he writes about sex. Besides, there are writers whose work deals more obsessively and "pervertedly" with sex than Murakami's.

Anyway, this has been "Point, counterpoint, counter-counter point." So, I'll leave it at that. I felt needed to clear up that my first 'something' was supposed to be 'sex'...

It happens.

-CK
Don't get so touchy because people disagree. It happens.
 
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