Do You Skim Over The "Sexy" Parts of A Novel?

I sometimes do, unless that part is written really well. It’s not because I have become asexual in my “old age”, but because so few writers have mastered the art of erotica.

The late Henry Miller had the “touch” (Sexus, Nexus), as did the early Harold (The Carpetbaggers) Robbins.

So when I realize things are about to get steamy in a mystery or horror novel, I say to myself, “Whoops! They’re gonna do the nasty!” leaf,leaf,leaf. Ahhh, back to the action!

Do y’all do this, too? :wink:



Actually, I read them very VERY carefully. The ONLY reason for this is, of course, that I want to be sure that the action described is anatomically possible. Some authors get the, ummm…, participants tangled up in contortions that seem more like Twister than lovemaking. Just doing my part to fight ignorance. Snort, snicker, guffaw.

No-Definitely not. I just love badly written sex scenes. The Bad Sex Prize is a real hoot. I never knew I was carrying around my “essence” until I started to read those deliciouly awful passages. I agree that horror novels are a prime source - James Herbert was a real reliable.


Then again, a favorite sciencefiction/mystery writer of min (JD Robb) started in romance…the main chars have sex at least once a book…and on the 8th or 9th book it’s a tad dull.

Same with Jean Auel- I like the other sex, but yawn at the interludes.

Essentailyy, if I want graphic sex, I’ll read a romance- or XXXenophile :smiley:

Absolutely–the crap “pioneering, enlightened” authors have given us is to cry over. Chapter 10 of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover for instance:

“Turgid,” indeed.

Lolita (the acme of shocking sex novels) is actually better at it while being less explicit (and horrifying too):

Not sure what the problem is–maybe the clinical details aren’t what I want.

crap. Here’s a working link.

No, no, no! I occassionally read Nora Roberts (and only Nora Roberts) romance novels just for the great sex scenes. I mean, it’s almost never like that in real life (unless I’m doing something very, very wrong). But that’s part of the fun, I guess. Most of it is so lukewarm anyway - but I like it. I never turn down a cheap, innocent thrill. I mean, I check the book out knowing that there’s going to be a few kickass sex scenes.

Now…as for the absolute best, most realistic, honest and lovely sex scene ever: Sarah Stonich’s These Granite Islands. It’s not the sort of book you expect to have a sex scene, but this one is so beautiful and touching. It just fits perfectly with the rest of the story and cements your understanding of the depth of the relationship between Isobel and Victor. It’s hands-down the loveliest sex scene I’ve ever read. It actually made me cry when I first read it.

I’ll usually skim over the sexy scenes again, and again, and again.

I really enjoy reading bad sex scenes too. Especially the ones that are trying to be hardcore (as much as one can be in a mainstream novel) but is just cliched.

Why no, I never skip the sex scenes! It seems to me, whether poorly written or not, the author should have a good reason for including such a scene. Of course, I do realize many authors include gratutious sex scenes. But in most books I read, every element should further or enhance the plot. And besides, why deny myself a cheap thrill? :wink:

It’s interesting to me that several here have equated bad sex scenes with those that anatomically impossible. I suggest that they are not only compatible, but sometimes necessary, when we are dealing with erotica. I’ve only read a couple books that proclaim themselves to BE erotica, so my sample size might not be quite large enough (heh-heh). But what I’ve read are a couple of the Sleeping Beauty books by Anne Rice, mainly to see how good she was at it, since the vampire tales have a definite sexuality, though only infrequently does actual sex take place.

Well in the Sleeping Beauty books, the sex and situations are completely impossible and in all ways inconceivable. :wink: People are frequently in all sorts of contortions no mortal could ever achieve. Interestingly, they are also subjected to pain beyond human endurance (and I personally found these portions to be a barely readable; I like my sex happy). Anyway, somewhere I read that she penned these fantasies to be read out loud, as foreplay. It doesn’t have to make sense. And I think that distinguishes erotica from mere sex scenes in an otherwise non-sexual book.

Yes. Especially if it’s Stephen King. Example: IT. The ending, with the little kids in the sewer—was the really necessary?

Heh. I do that too. ~_^

Urk. I copyedit romance novels—maybe half a dozen a year. I prefer to get through those parts as quickly as possible, because they’re SO bad. Allow me to review some of the tired old phrases these authors keep regurgitating:

dusky peaks (nipples)
he gazed into her emerald depths
alabaster skin
he said huskily
she tumbled into the bottomless pool
any reference to the universe or stars, usually plummeting or soaring.
any heroine who is sent to instant orgasm by a mere touch on a nonsexual part of her anatomy
the center of her pleasure

Please. I’ve read so many of these things, and it’s such a dumb formula. Girl meets boy, girl hates boy but find him strangely attractive, girl is forced to interact with boy through contrived plot device, boy seduces girl, girl pushes boy away, contrived plot climax/denouement proves to boy and girl that they are really soulmates. Girl finds that she’s pregnant. Joy ensues at this proof of their love. There may or may not be a wedding scene, which is the pinnacle of girl’s life.

Barfola. The only reason I read these things is because they pay me to.

Scarlett, you’ve {b]never** read or copyeditedread a decent sex scene in a novel???


I love Nora Roberts. What a great guilty pleasure. Have you read any of the Stanislaski series?


(blushes and runs away)

I used to read the obligatory sex scenes, but in the last few years I find myself skipping over them. I’m not sure why, maybe I want to let the characters have their privacy.

The books I’m talking about are usually detective novels or murder mysteries.


I must admit, I skim over sexy bits as well. When it was younger, it was because I didn’t quite understand what was going on. Now, it’s partly out of habit and partly because so few authors write good sex scenes.

I like Jean Auel’s books, and I’ve read them over and over. They’re interesting every time I reread them. However, I start skipping the sex scenes after the halfway point of The Valley of Horses. Once Ayla and Jondalar can communicate and start doing it on a regular basis, it’s the same damn thing over and over again in the same order. They go down on each other, the he brings her to mind-blowing orgasm and she talks a little about the abuse she suffered from Broud back with the Clan. He consoles her and they reflect on how they couldn’t live if they lost each other.

Then, we have 50 pages of fascinating paleolithic epic before they spend four pages doing it all over again. :rolleyes: I hope they manage to mix it up a little for The Shelters of Stone.

Before a long road trip my wife bought me a fantasy novel by Chris Bunch called ‘The Seer King’. I don’t care for most fantasy, being a SF guy myself, but this one was turning into one of the kind of fantasy novels I like - gritty and dark, well thought-out worldbuilding, a different take on magic…and then I got to the first sex scene. Wow. The novel has several extremely explicit and well-written sex scenes, pretty hardcore stuff. I didn’t skim over them, hell, I read them again aloud to my wife, she was shocked.

That’s what I meant in the OP. If it’s well-written erotica, fine. But if it’s just the “obligatory sex scene”, forget about it. If it’s done right, you’re in it before you realize it. But if the writer feels like, “Hey time for the sex scene”, I can usually smell it coming pages away.

Man! I can remember dog-earing and underlining the hell out of Robbins’ The Carpetbaggers when I was a teen!