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 🙂