You’re reading a nice short story, doesn’t matter what genre – romance, Sci-Fi, horror, mystery, etc. – and suddenly some woman is unzipping some man’s pants. That’s known as gratuitous sex. I reached that point in a story recently – a fairly interesting story up to that point – and skipped down a paragraph and another and another and another. Finally, the couple had finished, so I continued reading.
Now, I am not a prude. Anything but. What I am is the kind of person who wants the sex to fit into the story. In Hammil Valley Rising, formerly a standalone novel and now part one of Freelan: The Dawning, I have my two MCs getting together at the end of their dealings (that’s not a spoiler since it’s not a surprise by then), but it fits the flow of the story, and I keep the description at a PG-13 level. Why? Because that’s not the focus of the story. If I were writing erotica, then a more expansive description that went on for several paragraphs and possibly several pages would be appropriate. They would also co-mingle sooner in the book and more often.
And that’s the point. If you want to include sex in your book, be sure it fits. Otherwise, your reader will be going down a pathway and suddenly come upon a couple going at it hot and heavy. Depending on their reaction, you could lose that reader for that story or novel as well as others. For example, after my experience with that nice short story I was reading, I am now reluctant to read any more by that author.
Time for a snack! Gotta keep the brain fueled.
Please check out my works in progress (WIPs). And thanks for reading.
I am also now posting longer articles about writing on Substack and Medium and hope you will check them out. They are free.