Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sex, Sex, Sex

"I've always felt that a happy sex life kills a person's sense of humor about himself remarkably quickly."

- Stephen McCauley

I've been thinking lately of resurrecting my trashy novel. It is November, after all - National Novel Writing Month.

And so, of course, I've been thinking about writing sex.

Elizabeth Benedict, in her book, The Joy of Writing Sex, outlines five principles to follow when writing a sex scene:
1. Sex is not an ATM withdrawal
2. Hire a decorator
3. Your characters don't have to speak to each other, but don't forget that they can
4. You need not be explicit, but you must be specific
5. Surprise me
It occurs to me that these principles apply equally well to having sex. Not that I remember sex, but I think there's a certain fungibility there. And since I'm supposed to have sex next month, I've been reading this how-to-write-sex book and thinking about how it applies to having it.

Benedict divides her book into chapters which deal with different kinds of sex:

  • losing your virginity sex
  • wedding night sex
  • married sex
  • adulterous sex
  • recreational sex
  • illicit sex
  • solo sex

But what's on my mind now is recreational sex - particularly in light of the mandate I've been given to have sex in December. On one hand, I get it. The physical closeness, the endorphin release, having a sandwich afterwards, no emotional demands to counter. It's all good. But I get all of that (minus the first) after a good session on my yoga mat. And I don't have to wash my sheets afterwards.

There's also the pizza argument. Even cold, bad pizza is still pizza. But given my rocky relationship with carbs, I can masterfully avoid pizza, unless it's REALLY GOOD pizza that I really really want at that moment.

But this is my thought... it's what might be inconvenient or deemed "unnecessary" with sex that makes it interesting. And that's exactly what is, for the most part, lost with recreational sex.

Anais Nin said it best:

Without feelings, inventions, moods, [there are] no surprises in bed. Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine.

But now that I've just typed that, it seems like an awfully tall order. And, oddly enough, makes me think of going down to Ray's to get a slice, with everything on it.

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