Every Tuesday at 9, you’ll find me glued to either the computer or my phone, enjoying live Twitter chat with fellow writers. (You should join us if you’re on Twitter. Just search for and use the hashtag #writestuff.) Each week, we have a challenge. This week’s is to honor our writing space (the physical place in which we write). Last week’s, which is the one I want to share, was to write from a part of our body. No, not writing from the point of view of that part—drawing on its energy and using that to write. Similar, but not identical.
Which is where the hoo ha comes in.
Let me start by saying that I don’t care for romance novels or really smutty stories. Probably not for the reasons you think, though. I have the same issue with romance novels as a genre that I do with porn: unrealistic, objectifying, and unsafe sex. And it honestly doesn’t matter whether the sex is graphic, because it can be just as bad even if the writer doesn’t describe anyone’s throbbing member or heaving bosom. But I have no problem with stories that include intimacy, especially when done well.
My problem was entirely in writing intimacy. I can accept that other people write it, some better than others. But I couldn’t do it. I could not type words on a page that implied or outright stated that a couple were physically acting on the love the have for each other. I suppose that’s a holdover from some of the negativity about sex within the church, combined with my own personal worries that I couldn’t make it come out right. Whatever the reason, I just felt embarrassed.
So I took the challenge to write from a body part.
I realized that there were elements I wanted when writing intimacy:
- Steam rather than smut
- Love and Trust
I suppose that’s because those are the predominant things I feel (and apparently my hoo ha feels) during sex. I’ve written before about how sex is not a magical unicorn. Realistically, it’s awkward, messy, and sometimes funny. But it’s also (under the best circumstances) a giving over of our bodies and hearts to another person. That’s what I wanted to capture.
So I drew on that energy, concentrating less on how it feels physically and more on the emotions. And there it was, a fairly good result. No, I’m not going to post it here, for those of you who are wondering. There are people who would feel uncomfortable. I’m sure just reading this makes some people squirm, and others probably think that I’m at Hell’s doorstep for writing overt sexuality. I also have some young people reading this whose parents would not thank me to expose their children to something like that. Besides, this was more about my comfort than about what I usually write (I’m still pretty tame).
If you’re a writer, here’s my challenge to you: Try writing sex. Even if you never show it to anyone, and even if it’s not your genre, and even if you use yourself and your significant other as the characters. Put it down on paper. Type it into whatever program you use. You can burn it or delete it when you’re done, it’s okay. Draw on your own energy, using whatever body part you feel is appropriate for such a thing.
If you’re not a writer, here’s your challenge: Use your imagination. Before you and your significant other are intimate, imagine yourself drawing on the energy of your body. Consider all the things you feel when you’re together. Consider what the other person is feeling in his or her body. Then use that energy to physically love and enjoy the other person. If you feel uncomfortable, or worried that this might be “lust” in some way, it’s not. If you’re doing this exercise with your spouse, you have nothing to worry about. (Writers can do this too, we just have the added bonus of being able to put words to it and type it on a page.)
Just do me a favor. Please don’t describe how it turns out in the comments section.
*Yes, I really did just use that as the title of this blog post.