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Reading and Writing about Sex

Reading and Writing about Sex

Author: William Johnson

October 6, 2013

Sex is supposed to fun, but writing about it can pose its own set of literary perils.

In this week’s New York Times, a cadre of novelists, memoirists and poets are queried about the challenges of writing about sex and the various sensual texts that have inspired them. The assorted writers, including Jacqueline WoodsonEdmund White, D.A. Powell, and Alison Bechdel, expound on everything from reading Kate Millet for the first time, the problem with the “obscuring metaphor,” and what they want from a well written sex scene.

Edmund White had this to say about writing blue:

Most middlebrow or highbrow writers avoid sex scenes as somehow tacky or distracting or beyond their powers. I myself like to write them, whether heterosexual or male homosexual, because they strike me as among life’s peak experiences, along with dying and death, one’s first “Ring” cycle and a first gondola ride through Venice. It’s a shocking lacuna to skip them, and the results can be highly entertaining[…]

Read the complete article here.

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About: William Johnson

William Johnson is the former Deputy Director of Lambda Literary.

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