Thursday, February 3, 2011
Writing Sex as Therapy
When it comes to writing sex scenes I have very little difficulty with it. I enjoy it, in fact - in some ways, they are the easiest scenes for me to write. For a few brief pages, my characters don't have to focus on anything except each other and what is (hopefully) a pleasant experience...and one that will add to the story, or help drive things forward.
I fall in the middle, I think, as far as explicitness goes. I can go either way without any real discomfort, but I choose not to most of the time. I like describing the mechanics of the act, but I don't need a camera up on the woman's cervix, if that makes any sense. If I write the scene in first person, I tend to focus on the sensations of the moment and less about the details - i.e. the hardness of the man's cock, for example, or how wet she might be. I'm sort of the opinion that if the sex is good, the average person probably isn't concentrating on those details so much as getting on with the business at hand.
At any rate, I don't generally write the harder stuff - BDSM, for example. Not because I can't, (and it does intrigue me at times) but because for the most part I don't enjoy the concept of associating pain with sex. And yes, I realize that's a rather sweeping statement and there's so much more to it than that, but here's the general explanation as to why (and here's the TMI):
Since I was 19, I've suffered from something called Vulvar Vestibulitis. It has other names - atrophic vestibulodynia seems to be the latest variation, but it's all the same. You can click on the link if you want the medical explanation, but the best way I can describe it is to imagine having sex with someone who is wearing a condom made of sandpaper. And then go sit on a blowtorch immediately afterwards. For at least a day. There is no cure and I have tried everything short of surgery with little success. I also suffer from Interstitial Cystitis. In short, the plumbing downstairs is a mess.
In twenty years, I've pretty much never had sex without some form of pain. I suspect I always will. Now, there are times when it's better than others and certainly I'm not going to get into more detail than that about my personal life, but I cope with it as best I can. Even though it's an awkward thing to talk about or admit to having, I do so freely because it often takes women years before getting a diagnosis, since many doctors don't know that it exists or try to convince the woman it's all in her head. I tend to spread the word when I can, in the off chance that someone stumbles across it and maybe has a chance at finding some sort of treatment.
In my case, there is absolutely no real choice in the matter, short of not having sex at all. So, if my characters tend to fall into bed with each other a little faster than they should, it's probably more of a reflection on my own desire to experience that level of intimacy without any of the negatives.