How Not To Write About Sex

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Sonya Chung themillions.com

It's been said (possibly by Elvis Costello, though the attribution is murky) that "writing about music is like dancing about architecture." The same might be said for sex, and even more aptly when it comes to writing about writing about sex.

The problem here, in my opinion, is the preposition "about." Writing, talking, dancing about something puts both originator and recipient at an inert distance; the act becomes exercise; organic human experience becomes intellectualized analysis. In other words, something whole becomes atomized, and we are talking here about experiences which are greater than the sum of their parts. To give a psychotherapeutic analogy, it is much more productive, more transformative, to weep with both your emotions and your whole body than to state (accuracy and earnestness notwithstanding), "I feel so sad."

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