Anonymous: Writing sex scenes isn’t my forte. Do you have any tips?
I decided to go ahead and make this a photo post because I know there are a lot of people who have trouble writing sex scenes. Plus, this is gonna be a long one. This is a rambly doozy.
The biggest thing I hear from people after they’ve read smut is that they often wish the writer hadn’t rushed through it. People are uncomfortable with sex, it’s what our society both shames and glorifies, so obviously people can be conflicted on it. There’s this idea that literature must be of lower quality simply because there’s a sex scene, sometimes multiple, or sometimes even because it has romance. Sex scenes don’t make a story trashy just because of their presence, and they don’t make a story provocative either.
Because a lot of this conflicted feeling, a lot of writers will simply rush through smut because it makes them uncomfortable or they’re worried about how it’ll be received. Well guess what? Sometimes sex scenes are the most crucial of character interaction, and they can reveal so much about two characters all at once.
So let’s establish some basic rules :
Sex =/= Penetration
Unless you’re writing porn stars, do not model your writing after porn. Porn is, in essence, fucking for sport. That’s not what the actual act of sex is like at all. Don’t have your characters talk like porn stars, and don’t make dialogue that reads as “Oooooo” or “Ahhhh”. The occasional “Hng” or “Ugh” is alright, but no one wants to read two lines of just trailing O’s. People would honestly rather read about your character screaming about a leg cramp than read them saying “Yes, deeper, harder, deeper! Oh, baby, oh Christ, yes!” Besides, the former is more realistic.
The only time the scene should be rushed is when the act itself is rushed. The flow of your writing should reflect the pacing of the actions themselves. Slow and steady allows for more description and narrative, where fast and rushed should take a snappier, faster pace. Sentence fragments would be good to use in that case. Desire is inherently sexier than just humping. Play up that foreplay, that’s usually the biggest part in getting people off.
Practice safe sex in your writing.
Don’t focus only upon the genitals. When you talk about sex, the mind automatically switches to the naughtier bits, your job as a writer is to redirect that when appropriate.
Sex ain’t clean and flowery. It’s sticky and sweaty and messy. Even masturbation is messy. There’s no getting around it. There’s cum and there’s lube (yes, lube should almost always be present. Spit is not a viable option when you know how fast it dries.) and a whole mess of other things, usually.
Almost no woman is going to have an orgasm after two thrusts of a cock between her legs. And the same goes for men too, really. And the g-spot is much harder to find, on men and women, than most people tend to write. It’s not just “hit the magical button” and >bam< orgasm. Nope.
People think when they’re having sex, and sometimes it is about the oddest things. Card games. Other people (in a non-sexual way). Errands.
Utilize all the senses.
No funky euphemisms. It is okay to say cock and balls and prick. Most of that is a matter of taste. But manhood used more than once is obnoxious, and man meat sounds ridiculous.
In its own right, being intimate with someone, or even having just basal sex with someone, is perhaps the most vulnerable position a person can put themselves into. Your body is exposed, usually naked. Your senses are both heightened and impaired. How your character shares themself, like I said, is going to be hugely revealing of the type of person they are.
- How experienced are they? How experienced do they think they are?
- What are their kinks? Are they embarrassed by any of those kinks?
- What are their favorite positions?
- What is their level of attraction with the other part(y/ies) involved?
- What parts of their body are they nervous about, if at all?
- How much do they know about their own body? Have they ever masturbated before?
- What’s their stance on their own sexuality? How much have they actually explored that sexuality?
- How does your character define virginity?
Most everyone agrees that you just shouldn’t use the word penis or vagina. The rest is a matter of taste. Cock is, in my opinion, the best standard option. It’s not vulgar or immature like dick and it just states what it is. It also has that note of dirtiness that often comes with sex. Most people get flustered at the use of the word ‘Cunt’ but that’s also generally my go-to.
In most situations you’ll rarely have to directly refer to anything by a name. Sometimes just being vague is better than throwing in every name you can think of.
Don’t compare nipples to eraser tips or flower buds - just call them nipples. Or the peaks or tips of breasts. Or whatever. Just no similes. Ain’t no time for similes in sex scenes.
Don’t use anything like willy or private place. It makes things very uncomfortable for the reader because it sounds like something a child would say.
Arguably the most important part of a sex scene is how believable it is. There’s a lot of misconceptions that people have today about the act of sex. If your story is set in an archaic point of time, those misconceptions are going to be there. The biggest misconception? Female virgins bleed after their first time.
The tearing of the hymen is often what causes this bleeding. You see, the hymen isn’t supposed to break or tear during sex. It is also not a solid covering in the vaginal canal. In fact, by the time most females are sexually active, it’s deteriorated and so there is a good size hole in it, with a ring of it still around the walls of the vagina. The hymen stretches, just like the vagina, to accommodate a penis or a toy, with enough foreplay and preparation.
The average length of a penis, when erect, is between about 4 and 6 inches. Something like 9 inches is terrifying, honestly. And something that’s a foot long would make me scream in terror. Something that size is actually likely to make both parties uncomfortable. The man with the world’s longest penis, something around 13 inches, has said he can’t have vaginal sex, only anal, and even then it’s uncomfortable. In addition to this, he’s often light headed upon getting an erection and has passed out upon cumming. Generally speaking, the vaginal canal, when aroused and thus lengthened, can only, on average, accommodate about 4 to 5 inches of length. So unless you intend to write a male with a super schlong realistically, with all the problems it entails, keep it reasonable.
The clitoris isn’t just one small bud of nerves, it actually is much larger and occupies a great bit of the labia as well as a space above the vagina. There are many more nerves outside the vaginal canal than within it. Think on that.
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