10 Contemporary Sex Scenes that Will Make You Believe In Love

Ah, sex, that mysterious act so notoriously difficult to write. Many cringeworthy sex scenes have passed for literature, but that's not the stuff we're talking about here. Not only did these contemporary authors write meaningful and moving sex scenes, what's on the page here will actually make you believe in the power of true love all over again.

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'Forever' by Pete Hamill

Cormac, the protagonist of Hamill’s sweeping tale, is a 300-year-old man who has been trapped on the island of Manhattan for centuries. He is seeking a way to die, and Delfina is his key. Delfina, so scarred by life that she tattooed herself to scare men away, feels hopeless when she learns the truth about who Cormac is. Sounds like the plot of a cheesy romance novel, right? However, by taking us on the ride of Cormac’s experiences, Hamill deepens him into a relatable character. Cormac and Delfina have sex in a cave in Inwood Hill Park, both of their lives change forever, and Hamill’s raw description of sex captures the intense emotion of the moment. You’ve got chills just reading about that, don’t you?

'A Game of Thrones' by George R. R. Martin

Danaerys dreads sex with her new husband, Khal Drogo, and is always left feeling like one of his horses. She decides to take her sex life into her own hands, and in a scandalous scene that manages to be tender and intimate, Danaerys leads Khal Drogo outside, in full view of their tribe, and rides him on top. Sex becomes meaningful for her when she can look into his eyes, and her initiation builds a respect between the two of them that grows into a love readers can’t help but root for.

'The God of Small Things' by Arundhati Roy

Velutha and Ammu’s sexual encounter is alluded to throughout the entire narrative. Readers view the consequences of their illicit love, but it isn’t until the final chapter of the novel that we witness the lovers in action. Ammu and Velutha share a stolen moment under the trees by a river. Roy brings us into the moment through tender details as they discover each other’s bodies, and fervent emotion as they find meaning through love. After this scene, their tragic tale will be imprinted on your heart.

'Atonement' by Ian McEwan

As we read through great sex scenes, a surprising amount of sex takes place outside, according to literature. McEwan reminds us that great sex can still be had indoors. Robbie and Cecelia do it in the library. The consequences of their act reverberate throughout the novel, but in this sex scene, McEwan draws readers into their intimacy and ardent love, rendering Briony’s suspicions and subsequent guilt even more harsh and brutal.

'Americanah' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Even though they lose touch, Ifemelu and Obinze never fall out of love. And while readers are treated to a very honest first time sex scene near the beginning of the novel, it’s the sex scene near the end that really stands out. Ifemelu, recently returned to their home country of Nigeria from America, carries the baggage of several intense, failed relationships. Obinze is married with a daughter. But they’ve never found anyone they love quite like each other, and their sex scene shows it. Filled with all their old memories as well as the ways they have changed, sex reflects the feelings they have harbored for one another during their long estrangement.

'Shantaram' by Gregory David Roberts

Lin is captivated by Karla from the moment they meet, and as he is a man who makes things happen, sex between the two seems inevitable. When it finally happens, however, Lin experiences incredible spiritual meaning, turning sex into an event of cosmic proportions. In this still moment in the midst of their tumultuous, complex lives, readers can see that they truly love each other.

'Someone Knows My Name' by Lawrence Hill

Aminata and Chekura married secretly as slaves, but then were separated for years by vengeful slave owners. Their poignant sex scene happens after they are reunited. At first, Aminata will not let Chekura make love to her, afraid of her feelings if they are torn apart again. After they spend the night together, however, Aminata relents, and orgasms three times before Chekura comes. Through sex, they reveal the endurance of their love.

'Quicksilver' by Neal Stephenson

At first, Jack views Eliza as nothing more than a pretty face, despite her demonstrated cleverness and fearlessness. After they team up to escape from the siege of Vienna, they learn each other’s stories and secrets, including the tidbit that Jack’s nickname is Half-Cocked Jack, and he won’t be satisfying Eliza in a certain way anytime soon. So readers write off a sex scene between the two, but we’ve all forgotten that Eliza is trained in the ways of the Books of India, and she decides to take Jack’s surliness into her own hands — literally. While their scene is shocking, with all the potential to be disgusting, the beauty of it all is revealed in the instant change that comes over Jack. His curiosity towards Eliza deepens into respect and protectiveness, and this scene marks a turning point in their relationship.

'Girl in Translation' by Jean Kwok

Kimberly and Matt, both Chinese immigrants struggling to make a life for themselves in America, have known each other since they were children working in the same sweatshop. Their friendship transitioned to mutual attraction in high school, but convinced the other was not right for them, they dallied with other people. All that changes one rainy afternoon. Matt’s mother dies, and he realizes that Kimberly is the only person he can turn to. Soaked and eager, they take to Kimberly’s mattress, and their sensitive scene reveals their innocence (Kimberly insists that they use two condoms to be safe) and passion.

'For Whom the Bell Tolls' by Ernest Hemingway

Okay, so Hemingway didn’t exactly write yesterday… but he wrote an earth shattering sex scene, so he’s going on this list, because I said so. When Robert and Maria go at it in a field of heather, they both feel the “earth move out and away from under them.” Hemingway manages to transform what would have been a trite sentiment in the hands of most other writers into a scene both mystical and startlingly real. Alone in the Spanish mountains one afternoon, Robert and Maria realize their love is different from loves they have previously encountered. From now on, we can all ask, “Did the earth move?” to judge truly great sex.