Discussion → “Women’s sex lives are often a struggle, a disappointment, an archipelago of regret,” she said.

  • Tux.thumb
    Gary Percesepe
    Jun 17, 07:17am

    OK, Class--

    This quotation from today's NY Times, from a sex researcher, regarding a new drug for women, comparable to Viagra fro women:

    “Women’s sex lives are often a struggle, a disappointment, an archipelago of regret,” she said. “Is there a small group of women who could benefit from medical intervention — probably.”

    So, our question today:

    How do you write your women characters, and their sex lives?

    And a bonus question: how do/did your women characters feel about sex when they were young (teens, early 20s) and how does their thinking evolve, over time?

  • S._tepper--nov--lighter.thumb
    Susan Tepper
    Jun 17, 08:41am

    Ha! ha ha ha ha ha.
    OK, now that I'm done laughing:
    Women don't change over time about sex! The men change. The men want younger and younger women.
    There is your "arhchipelago of regret..." Frankly it pisses women off. It turns women off to men. It makes us "wary."
    Now if men could keep it zipped, stay monogamous, or if not then just get the hell out-- well everyone would be better off.
    OK, enough with my journalistic response to the NY Times.
    Now to the BIG question: how do I write my female characters and their sex lives:
    Every which way. Like I write my male characters sex lives. There are the prim ladies, the once-in-a-while cheaters, groupies, the sex crazed gals, the disappointed women. Same as the men characters I write.
    First I get under the skin of my characters, just slip under like you are putting on a close-fitting garment. Then the character "reveals" her/himself and there ain't much I, as the writer, can do about it. The character always makes their own choices. I am just the hands that move along the keyboard

  • S._tepper--nov--lighter.thumb
    Susan Tepper
    Jun 17, 08:53am

    Part Deux:
    This is a provocative subject you've presented, Gary, and now you've got me going.
    Why is younger better? Why is a perfectly smooth unlined face and body preferable to a face and body that have seen some life and taken it into the skin?
    I don't think young is better.
    Men conceptualize young as better because young = life.
    A younger woman staves off a man's impending death.
    And guess what: it's an illusion.
    Because nobody gets off this earth alive

  • S._tepper--nov--lighter.thumb
    Susan Tepper
    Jun 17, 09:06am

    Part Trois:
    Why am I using French numbering system? I guess because the French are so dramatic about sex and love.
    But to continue (I can hear you out there saying shut her up!), but to continue:
    There is that other awful scenario, that of the serial sex addict. (think famous pro golfer). He has probably one of the most gorgeous wives a man could have, and yet he had sex with hordes of other women (some atrocious looking, too). Go figure. I wonder how it's going to affect the mind set of his beautiful young wife as she moves into her later years? Not that good, I suspect.
    Women don't need a facsimile of Viagra. They need to feel safe as they move around in what still is "the world of men"

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    Ann Bogle
    Jun 17, 11:30am

    Gary, interesting topic, Susan fascinating replies each deserving our consideration. Your perception that men stave off death seeking ever younger women seems possible in those men. There are other men who seek out women their age. I write these things as they occur to me on a sort of ad hoc basis. I wouldn't think of writing my ideal of male beauty, yet last night I saw it in a face, a young man speaking French and talking of his poetry. Someone as beautiful as he has a difficult time until his face roughens a bit; to look at him was inspiring not titillating.

    One thing I've noticed in real or born fiction writers is their uncanny ability to ask questions of people they meet, quickly, as if they are always conducting mini interviews on the street that will then go into a crate, sometimes literally a box of notes. It's an amazing thing to be able to ask frank questions of others without getting involved intimately oneself, with the purpose of writing it as fiction.

    Last night, I was drinking in the rain with a group of students of mixed ages, and one of the young women (paid in her position, not aggressive or bitter) said, "I was going to say, 'I haven't peed on anyone.'" The rain was coming straight down on my face, dousing my cigarette, sprinkling my martini. I said to her, "Not yet," and one of the other young women, also paid in her post and not aggressive or bitter, gasped in embarrassment then laughed and giggled like a kid on the staircase at Christmas. That was our "writing a sex scene" in the rain.

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    Phoebe Wilcox
    Jun 17, 12:13pm

    I'm afraid to get involved in this discussion! It's too open and I'd rather just write a story about what I'm thinking than actually fess up to it! --And the story would have to be really metaphorical so that no one would know exactly what I meant anyway. That being said, my vote is with: women DO change over time and it's mainly the media that tells us what is beautiful and how to feel about each other. But when it comes right down to it, it hasn't been that successful with me because I've never cared a hoot for the Brad Pitt's of the world. I haven't written enough on this subject to really say I have a strategy but I think we all are such mixtures of this and that. What is identity anyway but a daily choice of Cheerios over frosted flakes?

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    FM Le
    Jun 20, 04:01am

    Sex lives always contain a beast and a master - I always have a hard time deciding if the woman character is the beast or the master, - generally - I think I lean more towards the sex life being the master - considering the emotion, the placement, and the way one's sex life sometimes can smother.

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    Elizabeth Hegwood
    Jul 19, 05:43pm

    Interestingly, my husband is much better at writing sex from a woman's POV than I am. But then one of his greatest interests (as a writer) is that tension between sex & intimacy.

    I do say I find it a little odd that the NYT said women's sex lives are generally crappy. This is news to me. I mean, ya with me here, girls? Am I the only one who thinks... otherwise? Occasional disappointments aside?

    I also say I find it a little odd that Gary assumes we've been following our characters' sex lives from the time they're 15 to 50. lol. Do you mean this as something seperate than maturity and experience? Maybe I'm being dense.

    The only way I really know how to answer this is based on my own experience. And if I'm gonna do THAT, I might as well go write an essay, huh?

  • Me2.thumb
    Elizabeth Hegwood
    Jul 19, 11:50pm

    "archipelago of regret"

    And, dude, archipelagos totally look like flaccid penises.

    Just sayin'.

    But maybe that was the point.

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