How do you guys feel about sex scenes in crime fiction? Honestly, I avoid them because, well, I don't feel I'm very good at them. Most of the sex scenes I come across in published books aren't very good either, IMHO.

Are there any authors out there who write good ones? Is there any such thing as a good one?

Let's see examples!

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"Female authors like to show the male as a sensitive, considerate, and very grateful partner. ...
My guess is that a lot of that sort of thing is influenced by the author's view of how things should be. (Hence the heavy emphasis on romantic foreplay in women's fiction)."

Well, as a female reader, I would prefer to read the male version. I guess it's why I don't like romance novels. I prefer my sex sweaty and down to earth :o)

And I agree with Eric further down in this thread. I'd rather have the sex than the food descriptions. But all these things only work if it fits with the book. I don't like gratuitous ANYTHING - sex, food,embroidery...
I would have to agree with not liking gratuitous. On the other hand, I have a fairly liberal concept of what is, and isn't, gratuitous. I don't, for instance, think that every element in a book needs to push the plot forward. Especially in a series book, where you need to take into consideration the coming episodes, characater development is essential, even when it doesn't have anything in particular to do with the plot of that individual book.

Then again, the "hero" in my books is an expatriate American male in Asia, and from my own and others' experience as such, sex figures significantly into the milieu I am writing about.

Not to mention my longstanding ambition to write a highly regarded "literary" one-hander. Moby Dick with hot steamy sex scenes.
A good, explicit, honest sex scene can certainly tell you as much about a character as all those lavish descriptions of meals that we get. No one ever seems to make a fuss if the action stops in a book so that a character can cook dinner and we practically get a recipe. Why is sex any less important than that? A character's reaction to sex, how it makes them feel, even just the plain old details of how they do it and what their relationship is to the person they're doing it with, can tell you a lot about a character. And, character development is a significant part of plot development - especially in a series. I like writing explicit sex scenes. They are part of making my readers better understand - intimately understand, so to speak - my characters.
It's often getting there that's the most fun. I mean, let's face it, the actual act is pretty well-known to most adults and variation sometimes prove to be off-putting, clunky or hysterical. But what brings two people to the bed, the anticipation and what they take away from it can be pretty thrilling, revealing and sexy.
Interesting topic. I've never attempted a sex scene - far too nervous. It's too easy to stuff up and it can too easily sound ridiculous. The most disappointing sex scene I've ever read was in the Janet Evanovich series of Stephanie Plum books. She'd built this sexual tention up between Stephanie and Ranger over quite a number of books and then when they finally got down to it, the sex scene was two paragraphs of wham-bam-thank-you-maam. Not much pay-off for the URST! Dorothy Porter's sex scenes are usually pretty good. Maybe writing verse makes things seem sexier?
You are so right about Evanovich! I'd been waiting for that scene for ages and it was all over before I'd even realised it started!??! Was it on purpose, or had she just run out of ideas??
The perfect story... Crime, Suspense and Romance. Sex as needed - in the story.

Truthfully, sometimes I think authors get carried away just describing the scenery, the kitchen whatever. I skim through it and get to the next part. I skim so I don't miss a clue. But I could do without the lengthy description. As romance goes... Well, some of my favorite stories are Romantic Suspense. You've the mystery, the crime and the romance all rolled into one. After a while they seem similar, but if you give it a break read something else, and come back its still just as thrilling. Some of the stories are excellent despite being in the romance genre.

Deirdre
Interesting, in my current wip thriller, Chapter one begins with a bullet whistling toward a detective's head, the killer raising back to his alibi---a restaurant where he connects with the waitress. The sex scene that ends the chapter shows this cold blooded killer as a gentle caring individual. In my case, I use the sex scene to swing reader opinion on the antagonist.

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