Sex revisited still again …

briefs

Okay, so it isn’t exactly like I didn’t give a hint of what might happen in the next chapter. I mean, it looks like all the ingredients are there. Tommy seems to be in the mood and is being egged on by his two closest friends. A mysterious stranger seems to be attracted to him. Would it really be all that surprising if something happened? Probably not. But then again sometimes the most interesting thing about a sex scene is not what happens in it but what doesn’t happen.

Now as some of you know, I am kind of ambivalent when it comes to sex in a story. On the one hand, the characters in this story are gay and they’re pretty young and we know young men are generally interested in sex just a bit. So it seems like I can’t really just ignore all of that, pretend Tommy and the rest of them are like Ray. It doesn’t seem like it would be fair to them as characters. But writing about sex just isn’t that easy for me and I don’t think I do it very well either. So that’s one problem and I’ll come back to that shortly.

And then the other thing that’s become apparent from the comments and the e-mails I’ve received is that a lot of you would like something good to happen to Tommy for a change; and I can’t really blame you for that either. The kid doesn’t complain a lot, but he hasn’t exactly lived the greatest life in the world. So it would be terrific if Prince Charming came riding to the rescue; no doubt about it.

But, like Tommy himself would say, how realistic is that? When was the last time you ran into Prince Charming? You have to be practical about things. Just because Tommy deserves a break doesn’t necessarily mean he is going to catch one. I mean, what do we know about this dude at the bar after all? Nothing. We don’t really know anything about him at all. So yeah, sure, I suppose he could be Prince Charming. But he could be an axe murderer too. Or maybe just someone who has his own problems and is less than perfect himself.

In any event, if you haven’t already done so (or even perhaps if you have), you may want to review some of my earlier postings on sex like this one and this one. Just don’t fill out the poll because we’ve pretty much given up on polls given how shy most people seem to be 🙂

Now the reason I want you to review those postings is so that you can think about how they might apply to Tommy and then try to help me out. I mean, we we hadn’t actually met Tommy back when I wrote those postings originally. So what do we know about Tommy and how might that affect any portrayal of sex involving him?

We know he is now older than Nolan and Josh were when they first had sex back in Vermont. While we can’t be certain, it’s also probably likely that Tommy is a lot more sexually experienced than either of them. We know that he likes sex a lot, but has been kind of frustrated with his sex life; and we know he considers himself a top. So is there anything we can infer from all of that? I think one thing we can probably infer is that sex for Tommy is unlikely to be the kind of sweet and innocent experience it was for Nolan and Josh. In fact, it’s likely to be a little more raw, coarse, direct, and to the point.

And while I can’t really be entirely sure, it’s probably also true that Tommy is going to be much more interested in satisfying himself than his partner. Never having really experienced much love or caring in his life, Tommy doesn’t have a very good understanding of those things and is probably a little selfish to be perfectly honest about it. So all of that will probably color what any sexual encounter looks like for Tommy; and if you don’t like that kind of sex, you may want to take a pass on the next chapter. You’ll probably miss some things I think are important, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Now like I mentioned before, I need to remind you again that I don’t write sex very well. I mean, I read other stories on Nifty and I think I have some idea of what good sex reads like, at least for me, and I admire those who can write it even if their stories might otherwise be a little thin when it comes to the non-sexual story line. The truth is that I would be in a lot of trouble if I had to rely on sex to make the case for my story. That’s why I’ve tried to develop some story lines that I hope the reader will find interesting (and why I’ll try to connect them together into a coherent whole in the not too distant future).

But I also realize I need to get better at writing sex if my characters are going to be gay and I’m trying to work on that. Part of working on it is understanding why I’m not very good at it right now and that’s where you come in. Because I think I understand what some of the problems are; but I’m not really sure I understand all of them. I mean, for one thing, I tend to get a little embarrassed when I am writing about sex, especially knowing some of those reading this blog are younger. I don’t want to warp their filthy little minds after all 🙂

But it goes beyond that. For example, I think that I have a tendency to rush scenes involving sex. Some of the writers who do sex well seem to have the capacity to take something very minor and linger over it in a way that is both provocative and arousing. I’m not real good at that.

And then another problem is that the sex scenes I do are often not really about sex after all. Take that scene back in the hotel room between Tommy and his customer in Chapter 27. On the face of it, it was about sex even if the sex actually turned out to be kind of nasty. But the truth is that the scene was more about power than sex; at least I think it was. It was about how the customer had the money and how money translates into power, and about how Tommy was largely powerless because he needed money and thus needed to make the customer happy no matter what.

It was really that sense of powerlessness that made Tommy so angry that evening. And based on what he’s told us, it looks like he has spent much of the past five years trying to turn that around (and successfully I might add). So Tommy is no longer powerless. He knows that others are attracted to him because of his looks; and he has learned how to use that to his advantage. But the truth is that Tommy is not a very happy young man. Successful, yes; but not happy. And the question really is whether he’s hopeless as a character. Has the life he lived, both back in Vermont and for the last five years as a hustler in Washington, so permanently damaged him emotionally and psychologically that he is incapable of ever experiencing genuine happiness?

Now I know how I am suppose to answer that question as an author. All of us like happy endings. But a lot of damage has been done for a lot of years; and Tommy doesn’t exactly strike me as the kind of young man who is going to meet someone and fall head over heals in love. And then too, as I mentioned, it may be a little unrealistic to expect some Prince Charming to come galloping along on his noble steed and come to the rescue. Because, you know, the truth is Prince Charmings often have some problems themselves. Prince Charming is human, after all, and being human means being imperfect. Or at least that’s the way I see it.

In any event, I rushed to finish this post up so a friend could post it for me and I’m not entirely sure what I’m trying to say. I guess one point is not to take anything for granted when I write about sex; and if you can help me to write better sex for my characters, maybe the chances for a happy ending to this story would improve a great deal as well 🙂

So there it is, I’ve given you a job if you think you can help: to tell me what I am doing well or badly when it comes to writing sex, and to offer any suggestions you have for how to improve. Of course, you may want to do that by e-mail rather than in the comments. We need to try to keep the comments clean and I would probably be embarrassed to death to talk about sex in the comments 🙂

4 thoughts on “Sex revisited still again …

  1. I just read your blog. I do understand the differences of the experiences of Tommy compared to Josh and Nolan. I agree that with Tommy, have sex is for the mere physical satisfaction. That has always been his experience since he was in Vermont. He never really experienced Love until he met Danny in Washington.

    I personally scroll over the sex scenes. I leave that for some readers who are into it. I follow a story for the interesting plots it has.

  2. Thanks for commenting, AGG. Nolan and Josh are wonderful characters and I love them a bunch. But I just find writing the happy stories less challenging and interesting in many ways than stories about characters who face serious issues. Tommy may not be as likeable as Nolan and Josh. He may not be as intelligent. But he has had a much harder life and he struggles on. There is something to admire in that although it appears some readers don’t.

  3. That’s an interesting view point: “writing the happy stories” – at the surface you could argue that Nolan’s and Josh’s story would probably follow that cliche. While none was out the closet you may argue that their life would probably be much easier than Tommy’s. No disagreement from my side. But does this make them happy? Is it that easy? And talking about being “out”, what does this mean? Is it a prerequisite for living a happy life? I don’t know such thing exists, indeed. I think we’re all like matryoshka dolls. When you remove a shell, there is another one and another one and … It’s those shells that interest me in people. No I don’t expect someone to strip naked by removing their shells and exposing their inner self. This is something very special, very seldomly happening, an expressin of absolute trust, not leaving any defense line and nothing that can be enforced. But the question of happiness to me is a point in time observation how well the outer shell matches the next level of the inner “doll” and how well it is prepared for the life it is exposed to. This shell leads to the way people see and treat us. There are additional effects (society, environment, …) we we can’t control. But to a large extend this shell allows us getting hurt or not, loved or not, appearing strong or week, victim or survivor.
    Anyhow, this is just a metaphor. But while we would probably all agree that Tommy’s life is harder that what we would expect Nolan’s and Josh’s to be, this doesn’t necessarily mean he is less happy, nor does it allow for the conclusion them living in happiness.
    For our sake I hope the level of prosperity, health, … or generally speaking how well/fair life is to us doesn’t define the level of our happiness. Or 95%+ of people on earth are probably living an unhappy life.
    Anyhow, after all those grumblings I still hope hearing back about Nolan and Josh as I hope for the story not to shift exclusively to Andy now. Don’t abandon Tommy either … or please consider some spin-off stories that pick up where you’ve left them in the first place.

    1. Wow! Those are some pretty awesome comments, Iker. It’s hard to know what I should say, but that’s never stopped me before 🙂

      You’re right, of course. Nolan and Josh have not led perfect lives nor have they been completely happy all the time. Nolan had to put up with Marcus and his toadies for years and years. Josh’s father died when he was younger and his efforts to help Tommy failed, leaving him pretty unhappy. It’s only by comparison with Tommy that their lives seem happy, I suppose. Of course, the story did focus primarily on those August days when the two of them found one another and experienced what seems to have been genuine happiness at last. We know they headed off to college together, but we don’t know how things turned out in college or whether they’re even still together, let alone happy. We’ll find out eventually.

      So, yes, I guess happiness may depend on where you are and what’s happening at any given point in time. Nolan was miserable thinking about having to spend the last month of his summer vacation in Vermont. But his time in Vermont turned out to much happier than he ever imagined. On the other hand, as Tommy’s life suggests, one bad thing can lead to another. His life is harder for sure; and while he seems to have experienced a brief moment of happiness with Teddy, he admits to being moody and restless at times. There are moments when he seems contented with life. But is being contented the same as being happy?

      That last point of yours is especially interesting. Can we really be happy if we’re not healthy, for example? Perhaps we should ask someone like Stephen Hawking what he thinks. Of course, there is also a difference between not being healthy and being in pain, perhaps abject pain. It’s hard to imagine being happy when one is experiencing a lot of continuing pain. Or take money, for example. Can money buy happiness? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m pretty certain poverty can’t buy happiness either. But most people would undoubtedly prefer to be rich and unhappy rather than poor and unhappy. Why is that, Iker? Is it just because you can buy more stuff? Buy Tommy? (I confess to being a bit frustrated that I’m not seeing more love for Tommy).

      Fantastic material you’ve provided there for anyone who enjoys thinking, Iker. THANKS! You definitely deserve a reward 🙂

      So, just between you and me, we’ll probably have to spend the next two or three chapters finding out more about Andy. But after that? I suppose it wouldn’t be right to give away too much. But the story is named Connected after all. That may be something worth thinking about.

      Oh, and like Tommy said to Andy in that last chapter, don’t be a stranger, Iker 🙂

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