Stuart Jeffries: Julian Barnes claims that British novelists feel obligated to write love scenes and so make a hash of it, replacing euphemisms with cliches. So what is so tricky about literary sex?
...Why is sex so hard to write well? Perhaps, the most lovely passages of sex in fiction are those that concern the moments before or immediately after rather than in what highbrow critics call mid-rumpypumpydom.
"Recreating the mood, the magic of the performance, may be possible; but it's exhausting and not necessarily the best way to spend your time. You could be on the phone, live, with a caller! Or finally getting around to that marketing you've been putting off. But, before you delete that recording and begin again, see if you can clean-up the audio file by removing the background noise."
"I've been exploring my sexuality since I was a six year old girl, when I first stumbled upon my father's Playboys. The first thing I did when I got the internet was start looking up pornography - specifically hentai, since I loved Sailor Moon at the time. I also read a lot - fiction and non-fiction - that focused frequently on taboo topics. I was fascinated by the sex trade, sexual slavery, rape, incest, and sexual deviance as a whole.
These three actions shaped my sexual development more than I could possibly know."