Cover image for The joy of writing sex
The joy of writing sex
Benedict, Elizabeth.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cincinnati, Ohio : Story Press, [1996]

Physical Description:
150 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN3355 .B38 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Offers writers advice on handling human sexuality in their fiction, tells how to write about specific situations, and shares examples of good writing.

Author Notes

Elizabeth Benedict is the author of four novels, including Slow Dancing, which was a finalist for the American Book Award. Her short story Feasting was chosen for Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. She has taught fiction writing at Princeton University, the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, the New School for Social Research, and Swarthmore College. She lives in New York City.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Novelist Benedict (Slow Dancing [1985]) offers valuable advice on writing about sex in the context of good fiction. Much of her text is taken up with the words of other writers--John Updike, Robertson Davies, and Dorothy Allison, among them--who provide their own takes on how to use explicit sex in literature. The largely commonsensical advice isn't likely to make the earth move for too many fledgling writers, but that doesn't mean it won't be good for them: "Sex is nice but character is destiny" ; "A good sex scene is always about sex and something else." Along with pure how-to advice, Benedict supplies some thought-provoking literary criticism on sex in the modern novel, and, yes, there are plenty of X-rated examples for those whose interest is as much recreational as professional. (As Benedict notes, "It's OK to be aroused by what you write." ) Despite its sense of fun, this volume is far more substantive than most how-to-write manuals and is certain to be of interest to aspiring writers of literary fiction. --Ilene Cooper

Library Journal Review

Novelist Benedict (Safe Conduct, Farrar, 1993), currently on the faculty of Princeton University's Creative Writing Program, has written a book for fiction writers who would like to write better sex scenes. She is not concerned with pornography but with using sex as an element of plot to carry the story forward. The author quotes from many writers whom she interviewed to illustrate her points, from Sandra Cisneros on the young girl who lost her virginity at 12 in Woman Hollering Creek to Carol Shields on sex between long-married couples in Stone Diaries to Allen Barnett in a chapter on sex in the age of AIDS. Benedict's focus is on writing good sex scenes, which don't rely on clinical sex but rather on character, dialog, and plot. Well done; recommended for writing collections.‘Lisa J. Cihlar, Winfield P.L., Ill. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.