From Goethe to D.H. Lawrence to Anaïs Nin to Henry Miller to Erica Jong, authors have written about passionate lovemaking for centuries. Some classics, such as Jong’s Fear of Flying will forever be linked with the subject, while others, such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, are notable no longer for their once-shockingly explicit treatment of sex, but for other literary strengths. Recently we asked Red Room members to cite their favorite sex scenes in literature.
In one of Red Room’s most popular blog posts, writing teacher and fiction author Jessica Barksdale Inclán instructs would-be writers on the finer points of crafting a relatable—and memorable—scene. (She’s even taught a university course on the subject.) We asked Jessica to be our guest judge for this blog challenge, and here's what she had to say about her choices for stand-out entries this week:
- "Member Jennifer Pierce's choice of a scene from Ursula Hegi's Stones from the River really highlighted for me the best in a sex scene. We learn more about character and plot, and Pierce shows how Hegi focuses on the delicate details to make the sex scene more intimacy than anything else."
- "I'm not sure if member Michael Murray was kidding or not, but he sure channeled Charles Bukowski. I will never think about bald-headed men or drinking in the same light.
- "In 'Miss Adventures,' member Zenaida Recidoro presents writing about sex as a revolutionary act, something important and freeing."
These three bloggers will receive books by Red Room authors:
- Ericka Lutz's satirical and bountiful The Edge of Maybe is a novel of possibility that encompasses both the sheer bigness and smallness—food, yoga, drinking, cooking, sex, self-cutting, parenting, motel-life, and finally going for broke—of middle class life at the edge of the 21st Century."
- "One may need to pluck at a daisy chain to keep tabs on YC and Martin and their countless escapades growing up during the time of free love and rock and roll" in Nancy Ballard's debut novel of San Francisco in the 1960s and '70s, Invited Guests. Against this backdrop, Martin and YC "parallel dialogues as their lives intertwine in ever changing, often separate and unusual directions." But will their paths bring them together?
- Columnist, therapits, and author Isadora Alman's Bluebirds of Impossible Paradises takes us to a similar time and place. Her novel "is the story of one woman's search for love, good sex, and happiness with a series of often bisexual or gay men. For some this will be a fantasy, for others a look back at a piece of their own history."
Jessica shared some thoughts on two other entries:
- "Member Madeline Sharples described a new-for-me title, Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor, one that seems present sex scenes in character-driven ways."
- "And Red Room team member Jennifer Gibbons details a sex scene I've always thought of more as a procreation act than a sex act, but it was certainly 'seminal' to the book! :)"
Thank you so much to Jessica for her expert judging of this week's entries! You can see all of them here; I hope you'll read each one, find your favorites, and let the bloggers know in the comments what you liked about their choices. All of Red Room's past blog topics are listed here. Thanks as always for blogging!
–Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room