Writing Quality Sex ScenesbyTheEarl©
Almost every author at some point has trouble writing sex scenes. Sex is such a transcendent experience that it almost defies words. So how are you supposed to write about it then? Fear not, for I have scoured the forums to bring you the wisdom of the ages!
And by that I mean I read what Weird Harold said on the subject.
Do you really want to do this?
The biggest thing wrong with a lot of the stories on Lit is that there doesn't seem to be a reason for the character to be having sex. A brother walks in on his sister undressing and suddenly they're both fucking like rabbits. We don't get why, we don't get what either of them are thinking, they're just straight in there.
A lot of people complain about difficulties getting characters to fall into bed. They write the background easily, but their characters don't seem to want to play and in fact resist getting together. Think about why your characters are supposed to be shagging. Do they love each other, is she drunk, are they the last two people alive and it's a way to pass the time? If your characters don't have a good enough reason, then they may resist the sex scene and you'll end up with stilted or non-existent writing.
Oh my God! No! Not the egg beaters!
Never be afraid to be different. You may think that the inside of your mind is not fit to see the light of day, but trust me, there is much worse out here on the internet. Everyone has their own sick little fantasy and a lot of the readers on Lit are probably waiting for someone to write their own personal one. Never be afraid to write exactly what you're thinking about – there's probably someone out there who'll worship you for writing the story that he/she's been waiting for. I'm still waiting for someone to write the one with the credit-cards, the instant drying superglue and the small Panamanian dwarf named Tuscaloosa…
But I digress.
And here we are at the Sex World Championships. The British team is looking very good this year, don't you think Bob?
One of the more frequent mistakes that can be seen in Lit stories is the play-by-play. AFAIK, this is a Yank football term, but it fits quite well here. This is where the writer tells us exactly what the characters are doing, like he's a sports commentator giving radio coverage of the sex.
He ran his hands over the upper hemisphere of her breast and used his fingers to tease her nipple. Then he kissed her neck, his lips slowly sliding down towards her chest, licking and sucking his way down her body. She groaned and put her hands on his back. He moved his other hand onto her hips, his fingers sliding inside her knickers.
Well it's a good start for the young lad from Britain, don't you agree Bob? For those of you just coming in from work, we've just seen a beautiful bit of play to get her bra off and now, I think he's going to try and get his lips on her nipple. He's moving down her breast, beautiful mouth work there and he's found the nipple! What a good effort from Smith! Oh and you can see the crowd's excitement at that.
Play-by-plays can be identified by lots of sentences starting with he did this, she did that. Beware of this and try to spice up your work by telling us something apart from what their hands are doing.
Mmm, that feels sooo good.
The most important thing to describe is how things feel. The biggest organ in the human body is the skin and talking to your reader about how his touch sent sparks of electricity racing up your nerves as a warm flush radiated through your skin is always going to get a good reaction. People don't want to hear what your character is doing, they want to hear what it feels like.
Eg. Which would you rather read?
He ran his hand over her breast, squeezing it gently or She shuddered as his hand ran over her breast. Waves of excitement flooded through her body as he squeezed gently. She bit her lip and moaned in ecstasy.
What are you thinking about?
Make sure you tell the reader what your characters are thinking. Sometimes that's half the fun. It is a bit of a difficult skill to get inside the heads of your characters, but well worth the effort of learning. People react better to realistic characters and the best way of making your characters real is by telling us what they're thinking. Another bonus is if you can make the sex seem dirty and forbidden to your characters, then it adds to the thrill of the reader.
Where did that third hand come from?
If you're struggling with a sex scene, then it may be because you have too many hands wandering around the place. Right, so his hand is on her breast, while her hand is on his dick and his other hand is squeezing her arse while simultaneously rubbing her clit. It can be very hard to keep up with what all of your characters are doing and you may end up putting your characters into an anatomically impossible situation or writing a play-by-play to ensure that everyone knows where the hands are.
A helpful hint for getting out of this predicament is to get rid of one of the sets of hands until you get in the mood. It's easier to work with if only one of your characters is actually doing anything. Start off by having him eat her out, or by her giving him a blowjob and you'll find it a hell of a lot easier. You don't have to worry about where the hands are going until you're nicely warmed up. Other variants include having her masturbate for him or using the perennial favourite sex-toy: handcuffs.
Whose breast am I holding?
Avoid lesbian threesomes. I'm not being discriminatory here, but you will thank me for this bit of advice. If you write in third person (he, she, it) then a lesbian threesome will result in a large number of 'she's, 'her's and name repetitions.
Regard: [i]"Tessa ran her hand over Bethany's breast, stroking her nipple. Jenna watched, as Tessa's hand ran over her body. She could feel herself getting wetter as she watched the two girls caress.
"You two look so hot," she said.[/i]
I struggled to make even that small paragraph comprehensible and I still ended up with 3 her's and 3 she's. Not to be tried at home.
Hey, where did your bra go?
Never forget to undress your characters. This sounds like a stupid thing to have to remind you of, but it is very useful. Some writers just strip their characters down in one sentence, something like 'They ripped off each other's clothes,' but I find it so much more fun to undress them slowly. Think about how much fun you get from undressing someone. Now put that into your writing.
This is also a superb opportunity to add in a little description. Mention things like: 'Her lacy white bra was a sharp contrast to the dusky skin of her breasts. Harry marvelled at how such a small piece of clothing could make her look so sexy. 'I wonder what she'd look like without the bra,' he wondered. Time to find out.'
The attack of the killer adverbs.
Slowly. Gently. Softly. Roughly. Adverbs are the tool of the devil. They look pretty to start off with, decorating your sentences so nicely, clarifying exactly what you mean. But then, they start taking over until every sentence has your character doing things softly and gently and slowly. Be very careful with adverbs or they'll eat you alive.
Get on a roll.
Don't stop in the middle of a sex scene. This may sound like a bit of an impossible request for those who type one-handed, but if you can last until the end of the scene, then it'll flow a lot better… I think I'll rephrase that. Whenever you stop in the middle of a sex scene, then you'll probably come back to it in a completely different mood to when you left. This is where sudden tone jumps and stilted writing come in.
I shoved my turgid gearstick of joy into her throbbing tunnel of love.
Try not to be creative with euphemisms. This kind of sentence will elicit nothing more than a snigger from a reader and you'll cringe when you re-read it in the cold hard light of day, when your hard-on/wet patch has disappeared. Stick to the main words for dick and pussy.
Which brings us on to:
Choose your words carefully. They could be your last.
Think about the pace of your sex scene. Are you writing a hard and fast rape scene? Or a slow and sensuous seduction. Choosing the right words can make a scene flow just that little bit better. There are so many synonyms for dick and pussy that it can be difficult to choose which ones to use. Choose two or three which you think fit the pace and characters of your scene and then stick to them. If you're writing about an innocent virgin who's decided to experiment for the first time, then she'd use the words vagina, penis and breasts. If you're writing about a sadistic rapist, then he'd probably use the words cunt, dick and rack. Tailor your vocabulary to your characters.
Whatever you do, don't switch without a very good reason. If you start off with vagina and penis, don't switch to cunt and cock halfway through. It's disconcerting. Having said that, switching can create a good effect if used well. I recently wrote a story about a very undersexed woman who ate an aphrodisiac ice-cream, growing gradually hornier and hornier throughout the story as she lost her inhibitions. She started off the story with vagina and then moved onto pussy.
To paraphrase an infamous Author's Hangout saying: it's all just Tab A into Slot B in the end. Make yours different. Add something that'll make your story stand out in the crowd. Don't just have 'they meet, they shag, they fall asleep in each other's arms.' Make it that they meet and he's a criminal and she's a bounty hunter (Sorry, just been reading Janet Evanovitch). She slaps the cuffs on him and tells him she's taking him in, unless…
I've written stories about the consequences of sex with a Satyr, with an insane witch, with a girl who's been given into slavery by her husband and about masturbation with a complete stranger on an airplane. It's all just Tab A into Slot B. The skill is all in the disguise.
I hope this helps. If you want to scream abuse/thank me/propose, then as always I can be reached at the address in my profile. Don't forget to vote and don't forget to go and read all the rest of my stories :D. If you liked this one, then try having a look at The 10 Commandments (in my profile).