When does it become lewd?

My latest story has something I've never put in a book before: a sex scene. And I'm not really sure how that should effect the age rating. I didn't make it graphic. Basically, I just say "she took her clothes off, pressed against him, kissed him, fade to black." Does that qualify as mature content? Is there, like, a rule that it has to go into some degree of detail before it's considered lewd, or is the fact that they had sex enough to make it a mature story in and of itself?

The second I get my grubby mitts on it! Hurr-hurr-hurr!

As I see it, it starts getting lewd when you start mentioning intimate body parts and what is happening to them. Even if you try to cover it with flowery and humorous metaphor, the moment you start specifying things is where you cross the line. Different people are going to react with a different degree of sensitivity, but by and large, I'd say that's where the cut off is.

I can't speak to site-specific rules, but I think what you wrote is fine. Maybe put a warning note if you really think mentioning someone is naked is enough of an issue to raise flags. "Non-graphic intimacy" or something.

Here are some examples.

Before he could react, she grabbed his shirt and tore it open, throwing buttons all over the floor, and pulled it off of him. She reached out to caress his muscled chest, but he stepped back.

"Kio, you don't understand!" he exclaimed. His heart was pounding like a drum and a cold sweat had broken out across his body. "We can't!"

"Why not?" she asked with a coy smile as she began to unbutton her own shirt. "We're married, aren't we?"

Kulgan gulped as he watched her shirt open up down the middle, exposing more of her chocolate skin by the second. He wanted her just as much as she wanted him, but...


He kept his eyes closed, waiting for her to say something. Any second now, she'd kick him back into the kitchen. There was no way she really wanted to be with him, not now that he'd thrown his shame right in her face. He listened for her disgusted, scornful words, but instead all he heard was a zzzip followed by the rustle of clothing. His eyes snapped back open, and he saw his wife toss her pants into the corner and stand before him completely bare.

His mouth fell open.

"So you have an ugly rock on your neck." she said, stalking toward him with an inviting sway of her hips. "So what?"

He ran his eyes up and down her, taking in everything. D'yargo, he'd forgotten how beautiful she was. It had been four years since he'd last seen her like this. Four years since they'd...


She stepped up so that their bodies were touching again, her naked torso pressed up against his own. "Being a Twister doesn't mean you're not still human. The problem is in here." She poked his chest, right above his heart.

Oh, yeah, you're fine, dude. And this scene appears to be important to establishing and developing their relationship as a couple, not just some silly fan-service for titillation. Assuming there isn't much more graphic stuff in the [...] parts, I wouldn't even worry about it. Just put up a "non-graphic intimacy" warning if you really feel you need to.

Ok cool. Thanks. And nah, I actually put the [...]s so I could skip to the most graphic parts, haha.

the thing is, also, LEWD is crude sexuality. You can have a fully described xxx scene and not ever be lewd, but be erotic instead.

Eh, whatever terminology you wanna use. Lewd. Erotic. Graphic. Pornographic. All essentially euphemisms for the same thing.

I think it's really more a matter of "grittiness" than anything. Putting a great deal of attention focused and drawing out details emphasizes what the story is supposed to be about.

Compare Silence of the Lambs to Saw.

One is a psychological suspense/horror movie where torture occurs. The other... is torture porn. With the only actual psychological horror to be found in knowing it was successful enough to produce *multiple* sequels.

Same deal for sex scenes. If the sex is a primary focus of the story, then it's a sexual story *regardless* of lurid detail. If it's something that happens because it's part of the plot, and the plot acknowledges it and moves on to the next scene at earliest convenience, then it's not.

Terminator had a sex scene in it, but most people were too busy paying attention to all the awesome to notice.

For that matter... The Shawshank Redemption had prison rape in it. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, no less.

I've never heard anybody accuse these movies of being sexual. There's enough wackjobs in the world that I'm sure somebody has, but I haven't witnessed any examples.

As opposed to Wild Things... which in theory has a plot... but that's not why it was so popular on late night cable.

Sounds like a PG13 to me

What is considered lewd is up to the reader. Some might consider the very mention of sex as being over the line, while others may need you to go to an as of yet unexplored SUPER kink before they consider it lewd. The question I would ask is "what kind of reader do I want?". If you have a proclivity or an itch to write sexual material now and then, it might be best to not worry about it and be happy that your are turning away the readers who do not fit.

Yeah, that's not lewd right there. You're clear. And no, I'm not going to include any of that stuff with that French lesbian as a counter-example. Je t'aime ma puce.

As far as what's considered lewd, that is a problem. Some people have extremely low tolerance for anything like that due to culture and upbringing. You'll never please them anyway, though, so don't worry. The interesting to think about is how many things are considered lewd for regular people just because of culture. That was something I took away after seeing something called the Century Project. But enough about nude photos of women from ages 0 to 100. I think TanaNari's distinction works pretty well. If it's a porn-type of situation with the plot stopping to allow for random sex or a plot engineered to bring about sex scenes, then you're likely lewd. If it just happens because people happen to have sex when they like each other, that's a horse of a different color.