Monday, July 14, 2008

The First Time

Sex--and all it entails--is one of the things in life that every person must learn about on their own. Parents can teach morality and the technical details, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty, each one of us learns the first hand details by personal experience. It is a profound, deeply individual lesson regardless of age or gender. Every single person remembers their "first time" and the circumstances whether it was the back seat of a car, the honeymoon suite, or tragically at the hands of a rapist.

Interestingly enough, very few people are comfortable actually talking about their personal experience, though they will freely talk about sex in general or the sex life of someone else. I believe that our personal individual experiences are the last taboo. We're too close to them, too uncomfortable with our own desires and needs to share them with anyone other than another partner. Heck, most of us can't even share our fantasies. They're simply too, too personal.

In that case, I find reading books with sexual encounters interesting in that frequently an author will use a similar scenario repeatedly. No, I'm not talking about sex by the numbers. But I am talking about the attitudes the characters have toward each other and how they feel about their own emotions and desires. I have noticed that for some authors there is a tendency for sex that is a little more untamed. For others, it is so drawn out, so leisurely that you wonder if the couple will ever get around to completion. I've read scenes where there are pages of description of what he does to her... but basically from what you read between the lines, she's so aroused as to be comatose...just stretched out for his delectation and enjoyment. For all the participation on her part, she could be a blow-up doll.

Because I'm a curious woman, I wonder how much of ourselves we put in our books. Again, I'm not talking about how kinky or weird positions, but how much of the emotional investment, the portrayal of those emotions has a personal corollary in the authors emotions. I suspect that our underlying desires are part and parcel of what we write. Whether we want tenderness, humor, or out of control wildness, I think a lot of it seeps into our writing. And never more so than when we are portraying the first time--the first encounter between the lovers.


As part of the celebrations for our new releases, Amarinda and I are launching The Amarinda and Anny Contest

What could be better than kicking back with a good book? Winning two books - one from Amarinda Jones – Knock Three Times and one from Anny Cook – Kama Sutra Lovers. Fantastic. You want more? Be the envy of all with two hand made hair piks to adorn your locks. But wait – there’s even more! How about munching on a delicious care pack of Aussie treats? One lucky reader will win all of this.

How do you win this fantastic prize? Go to and and answer an easy question -

If trapped on a deserted island what two things could Anny and Amarinda not live without? The answers can be found on the websites. As soon as you have them email with your answers – there will be 4 in all.

The contest starts 18th July and closes midnight 23rd July 2008 (USA EST). The first correct entry drawn at random will win the prize. Good luck.


  1. As you said, it's the last taboo so we're not talking.

  2. Very interesting observation.

    I think every author brings a certain amount of their own bias to their writing, but most try and transcend it and let the characters be who they are and do what they need to do. At least that's what I do.

  3. I've often thought the same, Anny. I think we write what we *want* not necessarily what we experience. As women--and most of us *are* women--we want the fairy tale. And if in real life, our romantic encounters with our partner are more often marred by thoughts of to-do lists and "technical difficulties" than would be ideal, well then, we can always write it the way it was supposed to be.

    This is *especially* true of first times. Real life first times are awkward, embarrassing, fumbling, fast, etc. Romance novel first times are extended, affirming, confident, assured, and looooonnngggg. He always knows exactly where to touch her for maximum effect; she always does something she's never done before (usually oral) perfectly, "despite her inexperience." No one ever accidentally hits the other person's ticklish spot. It's downright miraculous.

    It's the fairy tale.

  4. Yes, I agree with Elyssa on this. First time "real" experiences are often clumsy and it takes awhile for a committed couple to figure out what best triggers a response in the other. In books, it's all about the fantasy. Every encounter leads to explosive orgasm and we all know that doesn't normally happen in real life. There are lots of hits and misses.

  5. I'm gonna have to disagree with you Anny. I think personal experiences are just personal. We keep them close to the chest because they mean something to us whether that be good or bad. We can discuss sex in general because we aren't personally invested in the discussion. But sex is private, intimate, and it loses intimacy with the retelling of a specific encounter.

    As to characters, without giving TMI, I find that my characters dictate their own styles. I've had more than a few stories which WON'T be persuaded by what I think should happen because it doesn't fit the character's personality. Like Jason in Beloved Brother who wouldn't invest in more than a physical getting off of his partner until she could emotionally invest in him. It's clear he isn't willing to open himself up that way. And to Captive Heart, not out yet, where the heroine puts the breaks on more than once because she IS more timid but then when he's tied up, takes full advantage of her curiosity to see what arousal is all about.

    Sure we have to write the words, but if you are character driven, you lose the believability of the act if the reader says, "No, that doesn't fit his/her personality."