From The Telegraph:
Authors are often urged to write about what they know, but does this apply to sex scenes? Should they be based on personal experience – cue sniggering from friends, family and fellow authors – or drawn from the realms of pure fantasy?
The novelist Julian Barnes claims in an article today that modern writers feel a commercial obligation to include sex scenes and then struggle to write them. Chief amongst their many fears is the assumption that readers will conclude they are in some way autobiographical.
According to Barnes: “Writing about sex contains an additional anxiety on top of all the usual ones that the writer might be giving him- or herself away, that readers may conclude, when you describe a sexual act, that it must already have happened to you in pretty much the manner described.”
. . . .
But did book clubs believe me when I told them that the entire scene was the figment of my (admittedly warped) imagination? Did they hell. And do you believe me, reading this? I doubt it, but I don’t blame you and nor can I complain. In this game, you make your bed and lie in it, as it were.
Fortunately, my immediate family had the good sense not to comment about the sex (I still cringe at the thought of my mother-in-law reading the passage), but friends gave me nothing but grief for months afterwards.
Link to the rest at The Telegraph and thanks to John for the tip.