How Explicit is too Explicit?

Intimacy between two men. Not explicit sex.

When it comes to writing purely erotic romance novels, explicit sex scenes are to be expected. However, if the novel revolves more around romance, sex scenes less obligatory. However, I’ve found there is some debate among romance writers as to how explicit the sex scenes should be.

When I first set out to write Coffee-to-Go, I had intended it to be a fun, sexy, erotic romp between my two main characters. As the plot began to develop,  it became more of a romance novel than erotica. I still wanted to include explicit scenes. It’s one of my favorite ways to portray the intimacy between the main characters.

Sex isn’t the only way to portray intimacy, and I portray it in other ways as well (often with the touch of hands, as portrayed in the cover art for the novel). I just love showing sexual intimacy, especially between two male characters. Personally, I find it to be a beautiful way to express emotions between my characters.

I could have just explored the scenes through euphemism, which traditionally many romance novels do. However, I find the use of euphemisms for sex scenes almost laughable. I know writers use them for many reasons. Some may be too embarrassed or ashamed to write an explicit sex scene. Others may be working with publishers who refuse to print a romance with explicit sex. Regardless of the reason, many romance novels are soft-core at best when it comes to portraying these scenes.

I see nothing wrong with romance novels, filled with interesting plots, also including explicit scenes of sex. The old formulas of what constitutes a romance versus erotica are far too predictable these days. The lines are becoming blurred between the romance and erotica genres. I see this as a positive thing. We need to stop being so ashamed in our enjoyment of sexual things. As long as it’s consensual, there is nothing shameful about sex. Nothing. Sex is a beautiful act of intimacy between people.

So, writers, be as explicit as you want when writing intimate scenes between your characters.

Grayson Bell has been writing gay erotic romance stories since 2015. He identifies as a transgender man and is very invested in incorporating LGBTQ+ characters into his writing, and he loves exploring the love, romance, and intimacy that can occur between two men.

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Cristian Mihai

writes one short story every week

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