Choosing a best sex scene, or even a favorite sex scene, is difficult for me. First, I would categorize sex scenes into three, maybe four, main types.
The first type is the sex scene as commonly depicted in romance novels. Often the man takes the woman, willingly or unwillingly, and the scene is erotic and steamy without being too graphic in the anatomical sense but pleasure is achieved by both partners. For me, some of the best sex scenes occur in the Kathleen Woodiwiss novel, A Rose in Winter. Here the female lead is married off to pay off her father's debts, and the man she believes him to be is a scarred wreck of a man. After the "cousin" of her husband romances her and takes her to a ball, she comes home to her own bed and her husband, who wears a mask to cover his scarred face comes to her and makes love to her. He is tender in his lovemaking, taking her at a pace in which each finds pleasure, and yet she is disturbed by this feeling as though she is being disloyal to be thinking of both men.
The next type of sex scene is a purely erotic scene as depicted in books of erotica. Often the man is dominant while the woman is submissive, and yet the scene is pretty graphic in the description of the sex acts. Again, for me, one of the best sex scenes occurs in Pauline Reage's Story of O, and occurs as her lover is taking O to Roissy via a taxi. He snips off her bra, removing it. He rolls down her hose and fastens them with garters and then has O remove the rest of her undergarments while the driver watches in the rear view mirror. O is not allowed to speak and is told to listen, trust, and obey. When they turn into Roissy, O must go into the chateau alone, not knowing what is to come.
The last type of sex scene is a scene of ravishment. It is somewhat of a blend of the first type with the second type. It is both erotic as a romance novel scene and yet as graphic as pure erotica. Again, to me, the best sex scene of this genre is found in the classic novel, Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. It is the scene in which Rhett Butler in his state of drunkenness, mixed with his frustrated love for Scarlett O'Hara, wants to crush all thoughts of Ashley Wilkes from her mind, even placing his hands on either side of her skull, and then picks her up in his arms, giving her a crushing kiss, and carries her up to bed and ravishes her. For Scarlett it is both fearful, and yet glorious, and she wakes after her night with Rhett with a new attitude toward him. For Rhett, it only carries remorse, and he leaves.
I can't pick between these three sex scenes, but all of them are memorable enough to be considered some of the best...at least to me.
As for the possible fourth type, there is the power sex scene with a woman just overwhelming a man with sex for power. There is no love, just a sense of gaining the upper hand in the "relationship". One scene that stands out in my mind is from Children of Light by Rob Smith. Here Mirabella Quan lifts her skirt to show her nakedness to Blane Wallerton and claims she is always ready for sex. As they have sex standing up, she bites him to show she truly is a black widow and in control.
Disclaimer: None of the novels I named have I read in a very long time so I make no claim to be 100% accurate in the descriptions of the scenes described.
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