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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How about "Heat-Seeking Missile," LOL.

Love James Lee Burke, btw.
"Throbbing love muscle?"
I'm talking about sex in the context of a story. Like I said, I don't need to know the details unless it's relevant to the story. That doesn't mean it has to be part of the plot, it just has to be important to the characters. And when I say important, that comes back to being relevant to the story.

But in real life, of course I have sex in the bathroom while eating my dinner on the toilet...
I had you all hooked up with a nice girl from around the corner, but I'm afraid she is a bit put off, what with all the multi-tasking going on and such...
Yes, my thought exactly. :)

Umm. This got moved. A bit embarrassing in the context of Daniel's last. What I meant was what a good idea it was to introduce a bit of sex into the discussion.
My rule for sex scenes is to not write any more than I would care to read in a mystery. And to not include them unless they're integral to the story. As a crime reader, I find long grunt-and-groan scenes distracting to the story. On the other hand, I occasionally read pornography for the sex scenes. Always the dichotomy.
I think sex can be a wonderful fictional tool when it is used correctly. The problem is, that rarely happens. Far too many writers get all hung up on trying to make the scene "sexy" instead of concentrating on using the way two characters connect (or fail to connect) as a tool to give the reader a deeper understanding of who they really are. A scene where the plot pulls over by the side of the road and two hotties get it on in a titilating series of athletic and aesthetically pleasing positions before climaxing simultaneously is a waste of pages, I'll give you that. However, a scene in which both partners are flawed, three dimentional human beings who are maybe a little selfish or self-conscious, or unsure, or angry, or fearful, or motivated by something other than desire or maybe just phoning it in can be a great way to give the reader a short hand portrait of the dynamic between two characters. Real sex is often ugly, imperfect and painfully unglamorous and if realistic characters are more interesting to read about than cliched stereotypes it stands to reason that realistic sex scenes can and should have a place in well written fiction.

Example of an author who writes good explicit sex scenes would be Vicki Hendricks. Her CRUEL POETRY is all about the complex dynamic between flawed characters and the way they express those dynamics through sex. Megan Abbott also uses sex brilliantly (though not as explicitly) in her fiction in scenes that are often violent and ugly but still very powerful, compelling and believable.
Good points, Christa, and very eloquently stated.
OMG, another Megan Abbott fan. I'm in the right place.

I use some sex in my novels, but I like to have fun with it. I'm not saying this is a good sex scene, Jude, but it's an example of what I think is fun.

Kelly’s half-wearing a green nurse’s uniform. I don’t know where she swiped the outfit, or how she got hold of the hospital I.D. badge pinned above her bare right breast, nor do I give a rat’s ass.

Not now anyway. The redhead’s nestled in beside me on the hospital bed, the weight of her pulling me close, her back blocking the hallway’s view of her exposed chest and my naked mid-section. She could have pulled the floor-to-ceiling curtain around us but said the risk of getting caught would provide extra excitement. Hard to argue with that, or anything else right this moment. See, Kelly’s giving me the sponge bath of my life, and slowly, lovingly, and finally, Kelly has brought me to the Big Finish.

“I think you’re ready,” she says.

I can only groan.

“Yes...see? Oh, my...what a load. I’m no doctor, Austin, but I’d say the accident failed to damage your doodad.”

Doodad? “Are you sure you’re not a doctor?”
LOL! Sounds like fun to me, Jack.
I attended a short talk on writing sex scenes at Bouchercon a few years ago (I wish I could remember the author's name). She said the secret to writing great sex scenes is to pretend that both of your parents are dead. She didn't have much more to add than that, but it was entertaining.


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