I know that I will make myself (more of) a reputation for a prude and grumpy old woman, but I was discussing this subject with a couple of people on Twitter recently and realised that maybe I am not alone in my opinion.
For obvious reasons I read countless Italian (crime) books, and more than once I have cringed when reading a sex scene. Now, I have tried to identify the reasons for my reaction and I believe it is mainly because: 1) the scene is is very badly written, and/or 2) it is not necessary.
It is a truism that it’s very difficult to write a good sex scene, and the Bad Sex Awards are testimony to it. Therefore, if you not only are reading a bad scene, but it also feels it’s been ‘shoved into’ the story and has no narrative sense, it makes the reading very clunky and a bit amateurish.
In some cases you might cynically think that these scenes have been added only because ‘sex sells’. In Italy in particular (and an endless number of essays could be written on this) sex is everywhere, so much so that it has been argued people have become desensitised to it. I am not going to analyse the why and when this has happened, I am only concerned with fiction and what I enjoy as a reader.
True, good fiction should reflect life, and sex is a natural and normal part of our lives: however, so are a lot of other activities, like brushing your teeth. I would be very bored if I read a detailed description of someone brushing their teeth, unless there were very specific reasons for it.
I feel about sex scenes in a similar way: if two characters have had sex, just let me know that it happens and move the story forward.
So, what do you think? How do you think an author should deal with the issue? Do you expect a sex scene in every book? Are you not bothered, either way?