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Writing Sex Scenes.


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I had a look and i couldn't see this topic anywhere, and seeing as i'm having a problem i thought i'd pose this question.

 

how do you handle writing a sex scene? See i'd rather not make it explicit and i'm not entirely sure how to do that. so far i've managed to put it off because it has to be at a fairly emotional point in the story. So how do you write about it without making it 'sleazy' or just downright uncomfortable? :(

 

~Matt

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You can always do what I do, and that's cheat.... I include the lead up, and maybe the aftermath, but the actual event isn't described. I leave it to the readers to imagine what happened.

 

Otherwise, my recommendation is to keep the mechanics to a minimum. Concentrate on what the characters are feeling. The actual acts are a supporting role to the emotions involved. If the scene is supposed to show how much they love each other, then show tenderness, show caring. If it's their first time, show concern that the other person is enjoying what they're doing. You don't need to get into too much detail -- your readers will generally know how to have sex. You don't need to tell them :P What you're telling is a story, and that generally means a story about characters. It is the characters that are important, so concentrate on them, rather than what they are doing.

 

However, since I don't write sex scenes, please take everything I say with a grain of salt :) This is not one of my areas of expertise ;)

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I think that's a good question, especially because it's one of the hardest types of writing for authors to get right. Sometimes what's left unsaid is much more erotic than what is spelled out in detail. And of course, if you're uncomfortable writing sex scenes, you don't have to. You can always choose to have the sex happen "off camera".

 

If you're going to write a sex scene, some things to think about:

 

-Think about what your characters are feeling, both physically and emotionally. Think about it in context of the story. Is one character using another? Is one nervous and fumbling because it's his first time? Is it making up from a fight? Is it needy sex? Hungry, desperate sex? Casual sex? Illicit sex?

 

-Characters, just like real people, take tons of baggage to bed with them. Every insecurity or hangup, every former partner, every past experience, every moment in their lives and their relationship (or lack thereof) leading up to the moment they have sex will influence how they'll act. Think about everything you know about your characters, and let them control the scene and make the moves.

 

-Keep it at least somewhat realistic. It's okay to fantasize a bit, but nothing kills a sex scene faster than insisting that your protagonists have 11-inch cocks and can cum 15 times a night. Try to keep it within the reality context of the story, at least. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far. Besides, sometimes imperfection can be more useful to the plot and storyline than perceived perfection.

 

-Try to avoid excessive clinical terminology. There's no need to describe sex like a biology experiment. Focus on the emotions of the characters, rather than on the precise names and descriptions of body parts.

 

-Make your sex scenes count, from a plot or characterization perspective. Just as with other scenes in your story, sex scenes can reveal a lot about a character, they can move the plot forward, they can be plot devices in and of themselves. If a sex scene doesn't move the story forward or reveal something new about the characters, it's probably gratuitous and has no business being included.

 

-It's okay to draw on personal experiences. No two people are alike when it comes to sex, and writing from your own experience can make your story personal and realistic. That's not to say that you need to have experienced everything you write about. But it's okay to inject a few personal details from time to time. Your characters won't squeal on you.

 

Mostly, try to have fun with it. Even if you don't get it perfect the first time. (Hey, kind of like real sex in that regard :D )

 

Good luck!

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Hmm, you both give valid advice, i think i'll practise with it and experiment and ask a few of my, hmm more story-minded friends to give me an idea of how it goes. but i like the idea of using feeling instead detail.

 

as for emotional baggage to bed. i already have a fairly good plan for that. :funny:

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I kinda agree with what both Graeme and Cyn has said.

 

Personally, as a reader, I hate reoccurring sex scenes in the story. But when they are placed strategically at the appropriate places, they add to the story. Now, I have written only two sex scenes up until now and only one of them has been described completely. The second one was, as Graeme put it, cheated. ;)

 

Again, it is more important to concentrate on what the characters are feeling rather than what they are doing to cause that feeling. If a reader wants to know the entire process of the act, he/she can read a porn story or better, watch porn itself.

 

:)

 

BeaStKid :devil:

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Well.

 

This probably sounds corny...but I don't write sex scenes, I write love scenes. At least, that's the goal. Yes, sex happens, but it's always a metaphore. Always.

 

I'm not criticizing jo stories which, let's face it, is a lot of what "gay erotica" is (just think of Nifty, and what you have to go through to get to the kind of stories that GA tries to focus on). If jo is what you want to read (and write), they can be lots of fun and more power to you.

 

My point is though that writing a love scene is different from writing a sex scene. There's a lot more going on than describing the insertion of tab a into slot b. And you can be pretty vague about that... I generally am. (I've had some very interesting email on this...guys who want detailed descriptions of body parts, etc. I don't do that. Frankly, I find it boring.)

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I've gotten a lot better at writing classy sex scenes. In stories like Staking My Claim and My Jump Off, I wrote sex scenes for the sake of the characters having gritty, uninhibited sex and nothing more. In my most recent story, the process is described in a more eloquent manner and there's nothing graphic about it. Feelings and emotions are what count, not lusty orgasms that come over each character in groups of two or three per romp.

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Everyone's offered good advice, but I'd like to highlight this one:

 

-Try to avoid excessive clinical terminology. There's no need to describe sex like a biology experiment. Focus on the emotions of the characters, rather than on the precise names and descriptions of body parts.

 

One of the worst, most off-putting mistakes I see authors make is either being excessively vulgar or excessively 'proper' and 'clinical'...honestly I don't know which one I find more of a turn-off, but as far as I'm concerned they're both big no no's

 

I think to write a good sex scene an author should avoid making his/her reader feel as though they've just stepped into a sleazy back-ally OR like they're watching an anatomy teacher narrate.

 

So how do you walk that ever important line? I don't think it should be particularly difficult for most people. Most of us don't walk around referring to body parts and bodily functions as though we're writing medical papers nor do we typically walk around swearing like drunken sailors and prostitutes. So don't try to sound too dirty or too proper and you'll probably be okay.

 

Similarly try to avoid cheesy euphemisms. If you wouldn't normally call it "love juice", chances are many of your readers aren't going to be able to read it without giggling and/or rolling their eyes.

 

People do use some vulgarity, some clinical terms, and some euphemisms in their everyday interaction with each other, so I'm not saying they're universally bad, but try to keep them reasonable.

 

 

 

Personally speaking I don't think I include a lot of gratuitous sex in my stories, but I'm very comfortable writing a sex scene when it feels warranted. As Duncan also said, most of mine serve a specific purpose besides just the sex. For example my first chapter of Indefensible included two sex scenes and a masturbation scene, but that was to create parallelism between the story lines and highlight the different dynamics of the relationships and people involved. The next two chapters contain no sex at all (which is as far as I've written the story).

 

 

Anyway, good luck :)

Kevin

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I have to agree with everything written here. But I've noticed one thing that wasn't noted.

 

Once you do get comfortable with sexual scenes and the various ways of writing them, write them the way the story calls for it, if you are including sex in the story.

 

Personally, I'm playing with how I write sex scenes via fanfiction. It works since I also get to explore kinks. Writing one shot stories come in handy.

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I agree with Kevin. C**k and p***y are not good words to use, and the same can be said for penis and vagina. Note: While I am gay, I am not above reading about straight sex so long as the man is the main focus.

 

Figurative language is the best. It makes the flow more artistic, and it's certainly more appealing than vulgar or clinical words. I can't read much of anything on Nifty, because it's just too damn vulgar. It seems like many on there just write about meaningless casual sex. What happened to making love? There are some stories on GA that I love because of the author really brings you there and makes the scene come to life. It's something wonderful being shared by two people. In one case, there were three, but it was written in such away that it still had a similar charm. :)

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here's a few things to keep in mind when writing a sex scene:

 

1) It's unnecessary to write an insert tab a in slot b type account of sex. human beings are sexual creatures- specifically men who will be your readers. If you give the reader the basics and let their imagination fill in the blanks, you will most probably have an even more erotically charged scene than a raw "play by play" of the same action.

 

2) There is sex and there is making love and these are two different acts accomplished with the same organs. This is important in keeping characters consistent in their behavior. However- let's not forget the timid librarian that turns into a tiger in the sack. Such contrasts can be striking and are quite real.

 

3) Some people are sexually incompatible no matter how hard they try. Some love oral sex while others would rather read the paper or change the cat box. Some people like nipple torture while others would shriek and run at the mere sight of it. Others don't think sex is really sex unless it's anal sex while others are anal sex phobic because of HIV. This is REAL and is a problem faced by REAL people everyday and is a dynamic that we don't see very much of gay fiction which tends to lean towards everyone had great sex and lived happily ever after.

 

4) Different people have different levels of sophistication when it come to sex. No where is the contrast more striking among teenagers. While some 16 year olds have been having sex for years, others are complete virgins. So if 16 year old Joe Preppy from a rich, protected home meets hot 16 year old hustler Mo Dobbin, they can't possibly meet as equals in the bed.

 

5) In writing about teens, please keep age appropriateness in mind. Their life experience and sexual sophistication is going to preclude them from acting like a sailor in a Singapore cat house. Many teens are very neurotic about homosexuality and do quite a lot of rationalization/justification about sex. eg. the hustler who has all sorts of gay sex but is not gay because he is paid for it. The football jock who is not gay because he only lets his gay buddy suck his dick.

 

6) Don't underestimate the power of kink both as to a driving force to individuals and a destructive force for relationships. Some people have very definite ideas about what excites them sexually. In particular there are people who really get off when there is some danger of being caught. These guys like to do it in cars and parks and/or any semi-public places and are quite often arrested for their trouble. As you can imagine, this can cause quite the stress on a relationship when this is the only way one partner can be aroused. It's an interesting dynamic that bears exploration. Can a person who is into a specific kink have a successful relationship with someone who does not share their sexual interest.

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Well... If you take a look at my story "Nathan and David...." there is some very explicit sex going on, and for the first two chapters I was intending the sex for a very explicity purpose. I wanted to show the nuances in the sexual relationship between a couple who have been together for a while and are happy together - essentially, a couple who has kept the excitement going and probably will be together for a very long time. The second chapter I went backward in time a bit to depict the beginings of that relationship. The third chapter I'd intended to have them go the whole way... but then a different story idea smacked me and I ended up changing things a bit...

 

In any case... it was my first time writing explicit sexual content. What I struggled most with was when it came to describing the sexual acts themselves. I wanted to describe them explicitly because the way they were doing things - loving and caring - was important to me for the nature of what I was writing, but I came upon a problem. Nearly every word describing sex organs falls into one of three categories: clinical, crass, or over-the-top-cutesy. Penis has a clinical ring to it, cock is crass, and any number of eupemisms like "love-stick" would just be so out of place its ridiculous. If thats not hard enough, try coming up with something not crass, not clinical and not cutesy for balls. I think the best I thought up was "egg-shaped symbols of manhood."

 

The thing is, you're never going to please everyone. Even people who share the same values have different criteria to judge them by.

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Nearly every word describing sex organs falls into one of three categories: clinical, crass, or over-the-top-cutesy. Penis has a clinical ring to it, cock is crass, and any number of eupemisms like "love-stick" would just be so out of place its ridiculous. If thats not hard enough, try coming up with something not crass, not clinical and not cutesy for balls. I think the best I thought up was "egg-shaped symbols of manhood."

 

The thing is, you're never going to please everyone. Even people who share the same values have different criteria to judge them by.

 

Generally I agree, though if the context is such that I absolutely have to name it and can't write around it without contrivance or silliness, I will use cock on the grounds that it's the least crass, and, well, it's real. I had this whole debate (with myself) over it... but I think the few times I've used it, it works. But yeah, I generally write around it.

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I think, for me, the hardest part of writing sex scenes is the logistics of it, but I tend to over think things. I can't stand it when I'm reading and then I realize that the guy managed to get out of his pants and magically wasn't wearing any underwear, and all i can think of is... so he still has shoes and socks on? Similarly, it irritates me subconciously when the scene starts in a living room for example, and next thing you know, they're on a bed in another room, but never actually walked there. I suppose that if I'm noticing these things, that the point of the scene is being lost on me, the emotion that should be involved isn't there, and to me that's the key.

 

Emotion.

 

Like Duncan said, it's a love scene, and therefore, by definiton, requires love and emotion. Also, even if the people aren't 'in love' and it really is just a sex scene, there are still emotions present. Eagerness, horniness, relief, fear, nervousness, getting to live out some fantasy you have or something you've imagined and finding out it either does or doesn't live up to your expectations. The big part of how I connect with a story and the characters in it, is emotion and details, so I want to hear that more than I want to hear the technical aspects of the actual sex that takes place.

 

That said, there are definitely some details I refuse to add. Size is the big one, and here's why: Every guy has one, and some are bigger, and some are smaller, and some have different characterisics, but in the end, it's still just the same thing and it still works just the same way. Further, I think that unless the point of you reading the story is to get off, it doesn't matter. Besides, the more involved the reader gets to be in the story, the more satisfying an experience it is to read it, so letting them just imagine it to be as they imagine it is makes that all the more possible. Also, if you are a good storyteller, your scene can be erotic or hot or sexy without you ever having to actually tell what's happening outright.

 

The one other tip I have is this: Show the reader instead of telling them. Use action and dialogue instead of only narration.

 

Good luck!

Viv

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The thing is, you're never going to please everyone. Even people who share the same values have different criteria to judge them by.

I agree; for example I'm the one who just expressed a distaste for vulgar language during sex scenes, but I actually don't find C**K particularly vulgar.

 

I think, for me, the hardest part of writing sex scenes is the logistics of it, but I tend to over think things. I can't stand it when I'm reading and then I realize that the guy managed to get out of his pants and magically wasn't wearing any underwear, and all i can think of is... so he still has shoes and socks on? Similarly, it irritates me subconciously when the scene starts in a living room for example, and next thing you know, they're on a bed in another room, but never actually walked there. I suppose that if I'm noticing these things, that the point of the scene is being lost on me, the emotion that should be involved isn't there, and to me that's the key.

 

Emotion.

 

Like Duncan said, it's a love scene, and therefore, by definiton, requires love and emotion. Also, even if the people aren't 'in love' and it really is just a sex scene, there are still emotions present. Eagerness, horniness, relief, fear, nervousness, getting to live out some fantasy you have or something you've imagined and finding out it either does or doesn't live up to your expectations. The big part of how I connect with a story and the characters in it, is emotion and details, so I want to hear that more than I want to hear the technical aspects of the actual sex that takes place.

 

That said, there are definitely some details I refuse to add. Size is the big one, and here's why: Every guy has one, and some are bigger, and some are smaller, and some have different characterisics, but in the end, it's still just the same thing and it still works just the same way. Further, I think that unless the point of you reading the story is to get off, it doesn't matter. Besides, the more involved the reader gets to be in the story, the more satisfying an experience it is to read it, so letting them just imagine it to be as they imagine it is makes that all the more possible. Also, if you are a good storyteller, your scene can be erotic or hot or sexy without you ever having to actually tell what's happening outright.

 

The one other tip I have is this: Show the reader instead of telling them. Use action and dialogue instead of only narration.

 

Good luck!

Viv

 

 

 

Great points one and all, Viv! :great:

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  • 1 month later...

Coming from a reader's prospective, I agree with Graeme. Leading up to it and then ending it is usually what I like to to read. If the sex gets too involved, I usually just skip it and go to when its over. Unless something important comes about while they are having sex, I usually just want to get past the sex and onto the rest of the story.

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Coming from a reader's prospective, I agree with Graeme. Leading up to it and then ending it is usually what I like to to read. If the sex gets too involved, I usually just skip it and go to when its over. Unless something important comes about while they are having sex, I usually just want to get past the sex and onto the rest of the story.

 

 

Readers skip sex scenes???? After I sweat blood to make 'em sweet and hot and romantic???? You've just ruined my day, lol. (I would have predicted that it worked the other way....that readers skipped the inbetween stuff and JUST read about the sex ...)

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I think some readers skip clearly gratuitous sex scenes that don't advance the plot. Well-written ones, however, sometimes contain more "story" than any other part of the story. If an author is doing his or her job properly, then there's a reason for every scene, including the sex scenes, ergo there's a reason to read every scene.

 

(In case you haven't figured it out, I'm placing Duncan's sex scenes in the latter, non-skippable category, without a doubt.)

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*thumbs through library*

 

toni morrison can help us with this.

 

this is from sula:

 

"Ajax came sopping wet into the room and lay down on the bed to let the air dry him. They were both still for a long time until he reached out and touched her arm.

 

He liked for her to mount him so he could see her towering above him and call soft obscenities up into her face. As she rocked there, swayed there, like a Georgia pine on its knees, high above the slipping, falling smile, high above the golden eyes and the velvet helmet of hair, rocking, swaying, she focused her thoughts to bar the creeping disorder that was flooding her hips. She looked down, down from what seemed an awful height at the head of the man whose lemon-yellow gabardines had been the first sexual excitement she'd known. Letting her thoughts dwell on his face in order to confine, for just a while longer, the drift of her flesh toward the high silence of orgasm.

 

If I take a chamois and rub real hard on the bone, right on the ledge of your cheek bone, some of the black will disappear. It will flake away into the chamois and underneath there will be gold leaf. I can see it shining through the black. I know it is there...

 

How high she was over his wand-lean body, how slippery was his sliding sliding smile.

 

And if I take a nail file or even Eva's old paring knife-- that will do-- and scrape away at the gold, it will fall away and there will be alabaster. The alabaster is what gives your face its planes, its curves. That is why your mouth smiling does not reach your eyes. Alabaster is giving it a gravity that resists a total smile.

 

The height and the swaying dizzied her, so she bent down and let her breasts graze his chest.

 

Then I can take a chisel and small tap hammer and tap away at the alabaster. It will crack then like ice under the pick, and through the breaks I will see loam, fertile, free of pebbles and twigs. For it is the loam that is giving you that smell.

 

She slipped her hands under his armpits, for it seemed as though she would not be able to dam the spread of weakness she felt under her skin without holding on to something.

 

I will put my hand deep into your soil, lift it, sift it with my fingers, feel its warm surface and dewy chill below.

 

She put her head under his chin with no hope in the world of keeping anything at bay.

 

I will water your soil, keep it rich and moist. But how much? How much water to keep the loam moist? And how much loam will I need to keep my water still? And when do the two make mud?

 

He swallowed her mouth just as her thighs had swallowed his genitals, and the house was very, very quiet."

 

 

so obviously i'm not saying it HAS to be done like that, but i would call that an example of a somewhat detailed, but tasteful sex scene. i think her strongest technique here is that she doesn't see sex as something that she has to make the characters do, but rather as an opportunity to explore other sides of them and to keep things moving. it doesn't have to be like... plotplotplotSTOP,EVERYTHINGSTOPSOCHARACTERSCANSCREWplotplotplot. the sex just goes seamlessly into the story.

 

bravo toni.

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Readers skip sex scenes???? After I sweat blood to make 'em sweet and hot and romantic???? You've just ruined my day, lol. (I would have predicted that it worked the other way....that readers skipped the inbetween stuff and JUST read about the sex ...)

Sorry, but I also do the same.... Sex scenes do nothing for me unless there is some plot advancement due to it....Like a person having issues with his sexuality is being helped by having some male-male physical contact... (that is one of the type that I can remember right now as this is one of the scenes that I just read in a story...)

 

I agree with Duncan....sex scenes...Blah!....Love scenes...Yeah!

 

:)

 

BeaStKid :devil:

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Funny how Victorian ethos still infect society isn't it.

 

Newsflash... Victorians were dirty little buggers as well, they just didn't speak of it in polite society.

 

I read sex scenes, I'm not going to disrespect any author I'm reading by ignoring anything he or she has taken the time and energy to write.

 

Speaking as an Author, its kinda disheartening to hear the same clarion call over and over. "I skip over the sex part!"

 

To each their own, but more and more it sounds like people don't want to sound like a pervert by saying they read about sex. It's just sex people. Sex happens. Its fun, it can relay a deep commitment between two people. Hell in the right schema it can even lead to furthering the human race.

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I love sex scenes if they're presented well. Speaking as an author and a reader, I think sex scenes are important. I don't understand why anyone would skip sex scenes, especially if they're good ones. Some are exciting to read if you catch my drift. We don't live in a society where we have to stop being ourselves so why act like it. Sex scenes, in the proper context, can ensure that a chapter is even better. It takes time to write a sex scene, much longer than it takes to write everything else. It's an exhaustive process. That's my experience anyway.

Edited by Tiger
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