Let’s Get Wet!

I was going to put up a post about how to give good (amateur) critique, but I decided to go a different direction, because I saw this come up in my hit statistics…again:

Am I really this predictable?

Am I really this predictable?

For those of you who are sensitive to the subject of sex, you may want to steer clear of this post and come back on Saturday, when I’ll post some original fiction. For those of you brave enough to continue, though, let’s get wet!

So…did you?” Niall asked, and Ross blinked.

Did I what?”

Have a bang on the beach last night,” Niall said, and gave a distasteful waggle of his tongue.

Ross scowled. “Sex on a beach is tacky,” he said, which was true…not to mention, sand had a tendency to get everywhere, which also made it damn uncomfortable.

Every good romance has some naughtiness to it, whether it’s of the fade-to-black kind or the in-your-face variety. I’ve written both, and I’m of the opinion that each version has its merits…and demerits. No matter how you choose to write your raunch, though, there are a few practicalities to keep in mind:

1.) Sex on a beach is tacky.

Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity trailer

It’s an orgasm metaphor.

The film From Here to Eternity popularized the romantic notion of falling among the surf in your lover’s arms, enjoying the crashing rush of water around the two of you. It’s a powerful moment in the story, and it might make you want to find the nearest beach to do the same.

Let me save you the trouble: having saltwater shoot up your nose while you’re snogging your lover is not a pleasant feeling, no matter how locked your lips are. We’re not even going to talk about how crashing water will make a swimsuit move all over the place, creating uncomfortable ripples and folds more likely to cause laughter than lust, or how sand does, in fact, have a tendency to get everywhere. Even a wetsuit won’t keep that pesky stuff off your skin. Which is why you should always rinse off before you hit the sheets for a post-surf romp, unless you want to be cleaning sand out of your bed for weeks.

A beach can be a romantic place for a tryst, to be certain. Just be certain to remember what else is on a beach, too.

2.) Water is not the same as lube.


“Come on in! The temperature’s fine!”

Getting wet with a lover in a bath, shower, pool, or naturally-made body of water can provide your characters with some sexy, sultry slippery time. Clothes cling to wet bodies in all kinds of wonderful ways, and that can offer both partners a fresh view of those physical attributes which are probably the primary reason they noticed each other in the first place.

But, when it comes to sex, be aware of the surroundings, especially if it’s water. We’ve all heard the story that you can drown in even a puddle of water, but water can also counteract the benefits of personal lube. The human body produces its own lubricant, which is designed to smooth out the sometimes-rough mechanics of sex. Water, on the other hand, being the excellent cleaner it is, has a tendency to wash away that lubricant.


So, next time you think about putting that steamy sex scene in a steamy shower, keep in mind the details of such a situation. And that’s not even mentioning the aforementioned issue of rushing water in the face and up the nose….

3.) You’d never mistake a pool for a condom.

A swimming pool offers all the joy and excitement of a midnight skinny-dip without the associated danger of salt poisoning and night feeders.

Reef1372 - Flickr - NOAA Photo Library

The dating scene is full of sharks of all kinds….

But, having sex in a pool – no matter how chlorinated it is – is not a good birth control method. Now, your characters may not be worrying about that. In fact, it might be a nice, much-needed spice to their sex life, to chance some baby-making in the deep end. But don’t confuse purifying chemicals for a contraceptive flush. A woman’s chances of getting pregnant in a pool are no less than they’d be lying in a bed.

Which brings me to my last point:

4.) Lovemaking can be lovely, any place.

Don’t let me discourage you, or your characters. On the beach, underwater, in a pool, even in the rain: sex between two people brought together by love can be beautiful, in any location and under any circumstance, so long as you make it so. Even in the typical locale of a shared bed, sex can be thrilling, romantic, ecstatic, funny, relaxing, fulfilling…all this and more. It’s truly about what your characters – and your readers – feel from that love that’s important.

Just remember to think before you put them in a wet situation. 😉

Have you ever written a watery sex scene? Would you ever write one? Why, or why not?


23 thoughts on “Let’s Get Wet!

    • Thanks, Gabriela.

      Two pages? Now, that’s stamina! 😀 Just curious: did you write that for fun, or is it part of a published work? I ask because I get a lot of conflicting feedback about the use of sex in a potential manuscript. (If you don’t feel comfortable answering, that’s totally fine, too.)

      Thanks for stopping by!


      • Erm, it was actually part of my first novel which was sadly rejected by the publishers. I wrote about it on my blog, but it might have been before ‘your time’! I think it’s the post about throwing away material without a sense of failure if you’re at all interested. I got lots of feedback from the publishers, but no one said the orgasm had been a problem. I think it will always come down to the fact that sex is fine as long as it’s done well – the hard part is doing it well.


  1. I’m the kind of writer who sets the stage and then lets the reader fill in the gaps. I simply can’t write explicit sex scenes, for whatever reason. I enjoy reading them when they’re well written, but I can’t do the writing.

    If you really stop and think about the beach and how much sand you pick up just sitting there, you do realize how painful that sand could be on some very tender areas!


    • Sex is definitely one of those elements that either feels right in a story or it doesn’t, JM. Whether it’s explicit or not.

      If you’re old enough to remember the television show “Moonlighting” (or, in my case, “The X-Files”), the sexuality between the main characters was more powerful when it wasn’t directly shown or even addressed – the “will they or won’t they?” game. The same can be said for fading to black around a hinted sexual encounter.

      I’ve read a lot of young writers’ work – and I mean young, like, 16-20. And, they want to write about this stuff because they’re curious. So, I often feel the urge to counsel them with a bit of realism. Similar to asking them to consider how Captain Kirk went to the toilet: “You don’t have to show it, just remember in the back of your mind that, in your stories, you’re building real people dealing with the (more or less) real world.”

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


  2. Somehow I missed this post! Very good tips, Mayumi. I will write one explicit sex scene in a novel if it’s warranted, but no more than that because I think it’s overkill. Most of the time I allude to the sexual moments because I do like to let the reader use his/her imagination. Also, some stories don’t need the big sex scene anyway.


    • Totally true, Kate. This is similar to the “Where’s the toilet on the Enterprise?” question I ask my young writers. Just facts for them to consider when they’re setting their imaginary stages. You certainly don’t need to tell the reader everything in explicit detail, but it’s always a good idea to be aware of the surroundings.

      Thanks for stopping in!


  3. I could definitely see myself doing at least a seaside or ocean-faring sex scene (in fact, I’m working on a river-side one right now between two old favorites), but underwater is a bit trickier. Not just for all the reasons you’ve mentioned, but for one more that could positive or negative: physics. While being in or underwater can invent all kinds of new positions, even accidentally, I would imagine momentum would become an interesting foe eventually.


    • Mostly, I write posts like these to find out how much left or right of center I am. 😉

      Underwater is definitely weird. Unless you’re doing a mermaid or merman story, in which case figuring out the physics could be genuinely interesting.

      River-side, eh? That wouldn’t happen to be Samegawa, would it? 😀


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