To celebrate her recent release, My Lord, author L. B. Shimaira has written an exclusive article about sexuality and what it’s like to be grey-ace and also write a novel with erotic scenes. It is both informative, and quite funny in places! If you haven’t already, do check out My Lord, a book ideal for readers who enjoy dark Horror with vampires against the backdrop of a medieval, Eastern European country. You can also find out more about Shimaira on her author page.
On writing sex when (grey-)asexual
Asexuality remains one of the lesser known orientations and a lot of people don’t know they are on the asexual spectrum, simply because they don’t know it exists. I was one of them. I only found out a few years ago, and even then, I had learned of the term a few years prior, yet dismissed it because of the prejudices I held.
Being asexual means someone doesn’t experience sexual attraction, or only rarely, or under specific circumstances (like after forming a close bond with someone).
That’s it. It says nothing about someone’s desire to engage in sexual acts or their libido. While there are asexuals who are sex repulsed, there are also asexuals who do enjoy the act of sex—and those who fall into the latter group are still asexual because they don’t experience sexual attraction the way allosexuals do.
I have to remind myself of the above regularly though, because I am very sex positive (yet my own stance on sex tends to fluctuate between favourable and indifferent). Yet here I am, having a published book that’s an erotic gothic horror!
I still feel very uncertain about my skills when it comes to writing sex scenes, because I’ve honestly not read that many books with sexual content (actually, I’m not sure if any of the physical books I own have sex scenes in them). Sure, I’ve consumed my fair share of fanfics as a teen and there were plenty that had sexual content—though the quality of those was rather diverse. It doesn’t really help either that I am quite romance repulsed (unless it’s part of a darker story and the romance aspect is not the main focal point).
On Wattpad, I also come across sexual content, but those too are of varied quality. Thanks to the community on Twitter, I’ve seen plenty of posts about what does and what doesn’t work in sex scenes—from words to avoid (like “moist” seems to be universally hated, haha) or what not to name certain body parts (though these things tend to come down to taste, as some people like direct words while others prefer a more poetic approach). Everyone does seem to agree on one thing: know what you are talking about. (So no; no surprise butt-sex without any prep or lube!)
Luckily for me, I’ve experimented plenty through the years and been part of the kink community with multiple friends who loved sharing their experiences too. Being sex positive has ensured that I do enjoy talking about sex with friends in the same way people can talk about their favourite series or game.
It was actually one of the bigger revelations for me when I realised I was grey-asexual: I suddenly understood why I don’t need to feel sexually attracted to someone to do anything sexual with them (there were plenty of sexual partners where I wasn’t even aesthetically attracted to them). Perhaps I might be a bit reciprosexual in that regard.
MY LORD actually started out on FetLife years ago, but I quickly learned that I was unable to write a pure erotica because I just found that boring. So, over the span of three years, the story grew and evolved into what it is today (excluding recent edits and bonus content).
I am quite the pantser and I tend to let my characters guide the plot I’ve set out. With MY LORD, it quickly became clear that certain things were just not going to happen. Lord Deminas and Meya were not going to have sex any time soon, with one of the reasons being that Meya had trauma to deal with first.
When sex scenes finally did decide to want to be written, I again let the characters guide what was going to be on paper. There were several scenes I had planned out, but when I went to write them, the characters simply refused or had other ideas in mind.
The scenes themselves were sometimes hard to write, if only because I found that I lacked the vocabulary to describe certain parts in a way that I deemed to be in good taste. I prefer direct words for certain things. You won’t catch me using ‘pleasure bud’ or referring to a vagina as some sort of flower. (Though I might consider using the term ‘meat curtains’ in a different novel in a more comedic setting, haha.) But some words just don’t sound/read nice on paper. The first time I wrote ‘clitoris’ I was feeling a bit of shame—and even more so when I posted it online and had others read those words that I had written.
I’ve also avoided referring to how big someone’s penis is, because it actually annoys me to no end how a lot of sex scenes like to make them huge monstrosities. Do people not realise that size doesn’t matter, but rather what someone does with it? (And I am saying this out of experience.) Sure, I know there are those who do enjoy huge dicks, but I fear that it being such a common thing in fiction sets unrealistic expectations for sex involving a penis.
Since I am not a good judge in regards to the quality of a sex scene, I had to rely on early readers to tell me, but no matter how many people say I’ve done a good job, there will always remain some doubt because tastes differ so much. Some people might find I included too much detail while some might find it not enough. Some might find my language use abrasive whereas others might consider it refreshing. But please, dear reader, do feel free to tell me your thoughts if you ever decide to pick up a copy of my book—and yes, you may tell this sex-positive asexual author if they’ve done a good job or not. Your feedback will either help boost my confidence, or it’ll help me improve my craft.