Sex: Is it sexier in the light or in the dark? Seriously folks?

image obtained from

image obtained from

I have come upon a place that might warrant a sex scene.  I am not even certain if I want a sex scene in this novel.  Then again, I am thinking maybe there has to be, needs to be a sex scene.

I am a very visually oriented person.  My writing reflects that.  I love the sense of sight and the visuals of motion, but writing a sex scene is most often dominated by other senses, touch, smell, sounds, hearing.

So what do you think?  Can we have a romantic, sexy sex scene in the light, or do we need to find a more intimate, more discrete manner in the dark or with candles lit…somewhere, somehow?

The personality of the characters in this scene probably wouldn’t mind either way, but as a reader, what do you think?

And, do we really HAVE to HAVE a sex scene?

41 thoughts on “Sex: Is it sexier in the light or in the dark? Seriously folks?

  1. The storyline and plot do not require sex. It is not like the male is cavalier. It is not like the woman is …I don’t know, what is the word I am looking for? The opposite of prudish. it just seems that everybody thinks there has to be sex in adult fiction and drama.

    • Definitely not required in adult drama. Not that he is everyone’s idle but look at Stephen King, when I was younger I was kind of addicted to him (does that make him non adult fiction?) even though he would usually make some descriptive reference to woman’s body parts, there was actually rarely sex scenes. But if it enhance the story or the characters then great, but I don’t think it’s a requirement… just my two cents.

  2. well since I am writing a romance I am kind of obligated to having the sex scene. I have chosen to keep them short so far in 16000 words I have had two sex scenes, one was one sentence in length and the other is a paragraph in length. I will be approaching my third sex scene and it is an important one in the story, but I am still mapping that out in my mind. Which reminds me I’ve got to get back to writing that story it’s been almost a week since my last installment…

    • You are most likely much more adept at this than I. I don’t read romance novels and don’t write romance, but my last novel required sex scenes. I have four in there actually. I will admit that I was not all that comfortable writing them and when i read them (in anybody’s work) I tend to skim through them. I am not uncomfortable with sex, as much as the romance part. I have a hard time being mushy. If it come to that. In my last novel Sybil had a romantic and fairly vividly described first time. the next time, I barely brushed it. the next time it was only implied, and the final time it was just a necessary testimony to an unfavorable circumstance and the details offered were only enough to explain that. I stumbled over setting the stage.

    • I am seriously interested in your opinion as a romance writer, on the light dark thing. Can you have a deeply meaningful romantic scene in the light, or do you need to set the stage with the whole candlelight thing?

      • I think it depends on the type of relationship you want the characters to have, if they are only going to be best friends in the bathroom of a seedy bar for five minutes then lights on and graphic, if you want your characters to have a meaningful relationship then some sort of romance is necessary or an explanation as to why it is absent it also matters what sex means to the characters. But I would argue that outside the genres of romance and erotica sex is not necessary in telling a story and can usually be implied with greater effect.

        • I am coming to terms with this. i want the characters to have a meaningful relationship. it is a daylight scene that i am coming upon. I think I am going to have them kiss and her kick off her shoes, and then cut to the next scene of them being flirtatious at the office the next day….or something along that line. This doesn’t have to be graphic to go deep.

          • if the relationship is a meaningful one then it is the emotions that are the important things to fix in on not the physical expression of those feelings but how they stir in each of the characters. Setting can be a good vehicle for this too, a beach at sunset, for example (though cliché) can make the lights being on a good thing

            • I appreciate your thoughts on this one. I am thinking I can get meaningful and still have, as Papi put it, “sassy”. Maybe even working in some humor, or at least the allusion of humor. This could be accomplished with the lights on. We may end up in the dark down the road, but this seems to work for now. I may get your email address for more advice when we get there. LOL…seriously!

    • Thanks for the input. That would actually work in this novel, because it is not a romance and this is not a particularly necessary thing to have occur. it is not a requirement like it was in my last novel.

  3. Personally, I don’t like reading sex scenes (I tend to skip them) and I hated writing the one I put in Cannibal Hearts. I think the plot really did require it, but I tried all kinds of ways to avoid it.

    So my recommendation is to write the two of them flirting and getting close to each other, and then cut to the next morning.

  4. Ooh, sounds sassy! Are the characters ready to do the forbidden dance? If so, then let them get their sassy on. If not, then it wouldn’t fit within the story. Either way, I can’t wait to read it! 😀

    • Thanks for your confidence. I am thinking I might imply a level of sassiness. It isn’t a romance novel, it is a crime drama, but they are developing a deeper relationship…these two characters. Sassy is good and doesn’t necessarily have to go graphic. Sassy is also a good way to describe their relationship. (Can I borrow that word? Sassy, I like! I had a connemara pony once named Sassy Lassie….and she was.)

  5. You answered it for yourself. You say it’s not necessary to have a sex scene. That’s the simple answer. If you are adding one to please more readers, you’re doing it for the wrong reason. I hate movies that have pointless sex scenes. I want to cut that portion out and resume the story. Not every sandwich tastes better with a spicy pepper on it.

    But, if the scene WAS necessary, I’d take the first comment’s advice and try writing it both in the dark and light. Just because it’s in the dark doesn’t mean it can’t be visual.

    • I WAS being lured by the notion that sex sells. the more feedback I get, the more I realise that a forced or contrived sex scene in a place where it isn’t necessary might actually be counterproductive. It is a crime drama. It can have some sassy flirtatiousness and allude to sex without necessarily being graphic….or even to very romantic. We will see what happens later…it is early yet. Thanks for the comments. well put!

      • I think this is amazing. So many comments without having read the book/story to know the context. What is it about you or the topic of sex that draws such a response?

        Now that you mention crime drama, have you ever read any of Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries (the P.I. Kinsey Millhone series)? They seem to have their own misplaced sex scenes in most cases. Namely book A and G. Though she describes the “smells” of sexual attraction well, the placement of the scenes makes me think she was just “starving” while writing.

        • If you have noticed other posts I usually have quite a few comments…not so much on poetry but other things.That is what I love most about the wordpress experience. People are warm and friendly, ready to help when you get in a crunch or need an opinion. I love my WordPress family and friends. they are engaging and sincere. I was surprised that many of the men I know commented. I really felt like the women would bring this home tonight. I haven’t read Sue Graftin but my husband has, She is one he has read a lot of. He reads two or three crime novels each week. I like reading the humorous ones or the psycho thrillers like silence of the lambs. I also like Randy Wayne White and Carl Hiaasen because they write about Florida.

          • I think your astrology brings you popularity. But, yes, I am surprised by a few comments I recently received. I don’t know if this place is anymore special than my last/other blog hangout. It has yet to inspire me as much.

            Well, a whole family bucket and a side order of friends. Aren’t you special:P

            Grafton. He has? Well, that’s even more unusual. Isn’t it? The husband reading a female detective series while his wife is contemplating sex in her own writing?:P Something not being communicated perhaps.

            I just finished G and H, actually, myself. Sue’s books do have moments of humor I like. But, the first few in the series, she is obsessed with white wine. I nearly pulled my hair out from that.

            Silence of the Lambs?? Pass. Not my cup of tea.

            Blah. I don’t care so much for books too close to home. I like that Sue at least gave her California town a different name. Writing about your home town is too much like non-fiction to me. Although, many say, “Write what you know.” I find it hard writing about places I’ve never been. But, I don’t want to write about my “hole”, either.

  6. Yup, sex in context is good (or I guess). I think it is important for your character’s to be themselves so if it feels like they would have sex, then they should have sex. Me personally I don’t care to read about it in my stories but it has its’ time and place.

    To answer your question whether light or dark, I have no idea. If I ever get the chance to try both, I’ll let you know, lol. I also think this would be a character thing, maybe do some research in the psychological profile of people who prefer one over the other? See what fits the character?

    • Lol….when you get the chance to try both haha! I am feeling less and less like these characters need the sex scene, maybe the allusion to it for the plot line. I had so much psychology and psychiatry in Nursing that it would perhaps drive me crazy to have to heavily research for the character profiles. Light or dark, is it sexier? But now I am thinking it might be sexier to not actually have the sex.

  7. Pingback: Is There A Right Place To Have Sex? | Sticky Fingers

  8. Heck. And, if you want an/my honest opinion on which is sexier, it depends on the setting. Daylight sex in a public place surrounded by witnesses wouldn’t be too hot to me. But, daylight sex on a secluded section of beach? Heck yeah. I can’t imagine walking a beach in the dark without a lantern and trying to do it then. If there’s light in the bedroom, I prefer candlelight, Chinese paper lanterns or a thunderstorm brewing outside. Or, a rainy/snowy day where the elements provide a curtain over the windows still illuminated by daylight.

    • I am finding the women really don’t want the details, they would just as soon have the sexual tension build up in a romantic way and have the illusion of actually having sex. Have their imagination take care of the details. Sexier maybe in the dark. But acceptably romantic in the flirtatious light of day. Thanks for your input, I was a bit worried not hearing from the women out here.!

  9. I say it depends on the book, and what you’ve promised. As a reader, I don’t think sex scenes are necessary just to have one, but if it seems logical as part of the story/character development or is necessary for the plot, it will seem strange if you don’t do it. And if there’s a lot od built-up sexual tension and you just skip from a kiss to “and then they put their clothes back on,” I will not be pleased. 😉

    As to lights on or off, again, depends on the story, and different readers like different things. I prefer an approach that addresses the emotions of what’s happening as well as the sensations and sights, but I’ll read anything that fits into the flow of the story. Random graphic sex that just seems thrown in there for the heck of it always strikes me as odd, though.

    • I am seeing your points. These characters have been building with the sexual tension…so it would be unfortunate for them not to accept their fate and not do it.I have decided to leave out the graphic sex for sex’s sake. I don’t know about the illusion to sex, being a crime drama…I might get away with that here without it seeming too cold or aloof. If it were a more deeply provocative story…that would not be fitting…like you say.

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