Quick review for a quick read. This was actually a much better book than I thought it would be going into it, particularly for the strength of Elizabeth Benedict’s expansions on each topic within the measure of writing sex in fiction, and examining a variety of relationships and intimacies while doing so.
Originally written in 1995, but updated in 2001, “The Joy of Writing Sex” was not so much a how-to book as much as it was a “things you need to be aware of while writing” book. It explores quite a bit on the measure of writing sex within fiction, from barriers that writers may face, to the dynamics of the different types of relationships and sexual encounters that people may have – first times, married couples, recreational interludes, adultery, etc. The examples given for each section are well worth looking into and even gave me some narratives for reference I’ve never read before.
This is limited in quite capacities though, because even with the revision being penned in 2001, there’s a part of it that still feels dated and it really doesn’t cover that much when it comes to specific genres or even in the considerations of writing sexual interludes that transcend boundaries (though it does touch on that with some references). I do think this is a must read for people who write in romance or erotica, or even in any genre fiction where they may write in some capacity on sex and the complexities of the dynamic relationship between their characters. For me, it defnitely got the gears turning in my head with respect to considering the relationships that I pen in fiction (I haven’t really written many in this consideration, but it’s making me want to go back to a few unfinished projects and look at them with a different eye after reading this work).
Overall score: 3.5/5 stars