May 14 2010
There is an issue that was prompted by a review of Charlotte Featherstone’s Sinful written by our newest addition to Dear Author, John. (He already had the J name).
A couple of readers confessed that they are skimming or skipping the sex scenes. hapaz says
I can't speak for every one, but I usually skip explicit sex scenes because I almost always find them badly done.
By which I mean they don't resonate with my own experiences, they seem to be trying too hard to be "hot", the language doesn't match the activity, and frequently I suspect them to be physically impossible.
I'm with hapax on this one. I don't find sex scenes to be anything near what I have experienced(and yes, some seem physically impossible too), so I just end up laughing or rolling my eyes. I skim them, or read them if I'm in the mood for a laugh, but I rarely find them necessary to a plot line. I guess that's why I don't read a lot of erotica.
Ridley says she skips sex scenes if they are boring or don’t further the plot/character development:
I skim the sex sometimes as well. "Insert Tab A into Slot B" is boring, and so is sex that doesn't further the plot or character development. But I skim anything like that – shameless sequel baiting, fan moments with previous books' characters, bizarre "suspense" plots in straight contemporaries – so it's not a sex-specific thing, it's a writing thing for me.
Mina Kelly points out that once you start skimming sex scenes, it can be habitual:
When I can finish a 900 page book in under two hours because I'm skimming the sex scenes, that's too many sex scenes. I mean, I read the first six or seven, but the plot hadn't even kicked off- It took a while before I could read sex scenes in other books after that, since my now Pavlovian reaction was to skim automatically. Enough bad sex scenes, or an expectation of bad sex scenes, tends to put a person off.
I really enjoy a good erotic romance and a good sex scene, but I have found myself skipping/skimming sex scenes often. What about you? Do you skip/skim? Why? What would make you stop? What are you looking for in a good sex scene? What are some good or bad examples?