Some of you know me as a romance writer of LGBTQ+ romance stories. I am, and I wanted to talk in this post about writing about sex. A lot of my stories have some pretty hardcore queer sex in them. Some people may question this decision, and I wanted to address it.
First of all, I think of sex as something fairly ordinary. Not normal, as that erases ace identities, but not something terribly out of the ordinary for romantic entanglements. Sex happens. So, the question from some people is – why do you write the actual scene? Why do you not just let it fade to black?
Several reasons, actually. One of the reasons is that I want to try and normalize queer sex. The mainstream media has many many options when it comes to straight sex scenes, and often queer sex or even queer relationships are still seen as taboo. And I do understand that sometimes queer relationships are sexualized in order to keep them away from children, even though queer relationships are not necessarily sexual. But by writing queer sex scenes, I want to give queer people something that they might not have access to in mainstream media.
Another reason is for my characters, it’s important sometimes for them to actually develop their feelings for one another. And for some, the erotic is empowering and gives a person or character agency. Take this quotation from Audre Lorde for example: “Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning in our lives” (57). I write about the erotic because to be able to just be in our bodies as queer people is something that I think empowers us.
The erotic is a source of power, especially for marginalized identities such as our queer ways of existing. Now understand that the erotic does not necessarily mean sex. It means the sensual, the bodily way of existing, sensation, pleasure. That’s something that I also try and portray in my stories because it’s so important.
That’s why I write queer sex scenes. My queer erotics are for other queer people, to give them something, to show other people that we are allowed to exist in pleasure.
I hope you understand.
Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider. Crossing Press, 1984.