That Awkward Moment: When Your Family Reads Your Writings On Sex

Couple engaged in sexual intercourse on bed
Couple engaged in sexual intercourse on bed

Being a naïve, 19-year-old virgin gives me little authority on this lacy-bra-orgasmic-sigh topic, but I'm still nonetheless a writer that pens in provocative scenes when risqué characters run wild. Hints of unwinding zippers and sly smiles pepper my work, but usually those intimate paragraphs are confined to my Microsoft Word screen. Also, these rendezvous are a jumbling of vague sex buzzwords--I have as much sexual experience as a turnip so my characters act puppet-like and shallow. Although my affectionate words are false, it's still awkward when my parents read my blush-inducing work. Eyes shift, middle age wrinkles burn, and young cheeks flood with quasi-innocent blood. To tackle this touchy subject, I asked my parents how reading these sexual encounters made them feel. Uncomfortable? Old? Unequipped to handle teen angst? Controlling the small smile and cheeky redness when interviewing my parents wasn't easy--I'm their prized "baby girl," not an author of sexy time.

Folding the laundry and concentrating harder than normal on our fragrant t-shirts, my mother said reading sex passages erased the rosy picture she painted of me. Dashes of guiltless brown hair and a fair complexion were my portrait, but after my short stories, I was black as the picture of Dorian Gray. It's hard to stomach your daughter writing about "backseat blowjobs," but the sphere of sexuality comes with the writer territory. "It was like I didn't know you. I realized you were growing up," she said intently to my Target leggings. She was taken aback at my maturity--it wasn't so much awkwardness, but the shock of her baby turning into "scandalous college student" seemingly overnight. Without explicitly condoning my own sexual prowess, she said that to write piercing, memorable sex chapters, the author had to experience sex themselves [there goes all credibility of my writing]. Although porn is a cheap commodity, there's something silky--spicy--exquisite about experiencing sex through your own skin rather than the sketchy internet. However, my mom said that sex wasn't an integral part of writing; a read-between-the- lines aura was just as effective as direct, body-on-body descriptions. Despite her "fantasize without the gritty details" opinion, she was not overly comfortable with the following paragraph (which I admit is sappy and a false play at love).

"I lied. I said that nothing could distract me, but Nikita's lips, his golden hair, his checkered dress shirt rolled up to the elbows, and that dainty Jack of Hearts tattoo on his forearm put any thought of the performance artists from my mind.
Only the pounding on the door by some impatient person tore us apart.
"Look at us being so selfish," I said with a sly grin, zipping up his khaki trousers.
"What? Getting a stain out requires care and...precision." Nikita's beringed hands lingered on my inner thighs for as long as possible."
--"You Got A Fast Car",, June 2015

When I first published the short story, I secretly hoped she would skim (or skip entirely) the zesty zipper and thigh details (she didn't). She wasn't too phased, considering I was a flirting failure that still wore Star Wars socks with flip flops. Overall, my mother was laxer than I thought, accepting my Intercourse Words but seeing a few adult curls where there were baby hairs before. "Go to x-rated movies together," she chuckled when I asked how to bypass parental embarrassment. It's not a horrid idea; reading my explicit sex is akin to those trumped up movies that sexualize breathing, eyelashes, and bedsheets.

My father: he's the most clandestine, intelligent, and scatter-brained person I know, so puzzling together his thoughts was no laughable feat. Stringing together his shifty looks, disparate statements, and random interruptions about my sister's leased car created a sex dilemma--at least from my writer's perspective. He admitted reading that work was uncomfortable, but I would only understand "if I was a parent." I'm not motherly, but imagining my offspring in racy literary adventures is not pleasant. I'm an unashamed daddy's girl so a resounding NO answered my question about needing to have great sex to write a stellar sex scene. I'll always have dimples and bows to my father. He's always going to fix my broken down car. Skipping over my sex diction is only natural for a teenage coddler. Staring intently at his browned face, I asked him the best way to get over this growing-up awkwardness. "Abstain," he said, glaring under thick brows at my smirking face. He wasn't an enthusiast for this little ditty I penned:

"The seedlings of my second Indie Phase were germinating, Florence + The Machine whipping me with red hair and echoing, strengthening tones. Florence Welch's powerful voice, saddening and demure, belted out Addicted to Love (also one of my favorite songs) every morning of senior year. The student parking lot smelled of backseat blowjobs and inadequate driving skills, but it also gleamed of seven a.m. dawn and gauzy pinkness."
--"An Open Letter to my Musical Phases",, July 2016

Blowjobs and overprotective fathers will never mix.

My sister is the shoulder-touching, sensual-voice queen of flirting and is eons ahead of my clumsy lip smacking attempts at boyfriendhood. She frankly doesn't care about my sexual writings; in high school, she was the connoisseur of the hot pink sex books at the library. I appreciate her openness and breezy attitude to human biology, especially when she reads passages that blush my fingertips. However, she is the (much-needed) exception. Imagining my 80+ year old grandparents perusing literary threesomes, Victoria's Secret lingerie, and marijuana flavored condoms is pure horror. The same goes for cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. who think my baby-faced countenance will never morph into adulthood. My upcoming novel will most likely feature sex, so a plan of familial avoidance is already stewing in my brain. Use a pen name? Personally deliver them copies with arousing pages ripped out? My family is an open mess of relatives and drama, but titillating literature isn't quite in the sphere of normalcy yet.

Mae West once said "Sex is an emotion in motion." To me, this doesn't just mean the physical sensations that wet the lip and electrify the skin. It's the rhythmic heartbeat of words, undulating and drumming out a beautiful cadence of well-written sex. There's absolutely nothing awkward about that, even for a naïve 19-year-old.