Let's Talk About Sex, Baby by John R. Petrie
September 05

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby by John R. Petrie


I don’t usually write sex scenes. I find them really, really difficult. There are a lot of reasons for it, but I think mostly I just find them difficult. It’s much easier to describe how awkward someone feels when they’re confessing love to someone they’re not sure will love them back than it is to describe physical intimacy. Maybe it’s just me. It probably is.

When I was working on the first draft of The Quarterback’s Crush there was a short sex scene, which I cut out in the second draft and replaced with a conversation between Dylan and his father about sex. It involved Dylan’s father using a lot of print outs from the internet and interrupted sentences. It was heartfelt, but a bit plodding. The third draft had Tommy and Dylan talking about sex.

When I was rewriting, I realized any scene where sex is mentioned between Dylan and his dad needed to be weird and funny and incredibly awkward. It also needed to be way shorter than it had been. It needed to be an actual (but dramatically heightened) conversation between a father and his son about what sex and love mean. I couldn’t remember how my dad and I had talked about sex, so I asked him. My father laughed at me.

“We never told you kids about sex. Whatever you knew, you picked up on your own.”

So, how would I have wanted my father to talk to me about sex when I was a senior in high school? What would he have told me, if he knew I was gay? What would I have said in response? I hope my dad would have been as cool as Dylan’s. And I really hope I would have been open to it.

I doubt it, though. Anyone who finds writing sex scenes difficult probably isn’t that cool.

We could talk about my eternal gratitude to Anne, and Dawn, and everyone at Harmony Ink and Dreamspinner. Seriously. They’re so much more awesome than I am. Or we could talk about Wonder Woman. Or junk food. But, until I’m way cooler than I am, let’s talk about something besides sex.

Twitter: @johnpetriewrite
Email: johnrpetriewrites@gmail.com