1. MarchOfMephisto
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    MarchOfMephisto Member

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    Awkward question :/

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MarchOfMephisto, Sep 30, 2009.

    Kind of awkward for me to ask this :S having no experience and all

    Two of my characters: Edward and Charlie (yes, they are both male) have been dating for around 3/4 years and are 16/17 years old. We know when your around that age, you have thoughts so obviously they're going to do things.
    Just wondering, having no experience at all, how am I supposed to write a sort of sex scene? I don't want to write anything graphic, I don't even have to write it but just kind of get it started and leave the rest to the reader. Any one got any ideas?
     
  2. Eddyz Aquila
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    Eddyz Aquila Member

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    Sex scenes unless they are really well pulled off in most of the cases they simply annoy the reader and make him think "What's with this obscene thing over here?". It's not a good idea to put it in the beginning either, he will think the two are perverts from the beginning.

    If you really must, don't overly describe or the reader will think what's in the author's mind. If you can, avoid it. Better to play it safe. :)

    Hope it helps.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Sigh...
    There's really nothing wrong with having sex in a novel. It doesn't make your novel pornographic. You should write it exactly the same way as you would write anything else. And if you can't do that, honestly, leave it out altogether. Your awkwardness as a writer will show through. So my advice: just grow up and deal with it, its only sex. :)
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Quoted for lulz.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you have no experience in that area, leave it out. This is really one area where "write what you know" should not be ignored!
     
  6. Eddyz Aquila
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    Eddyz Aquila Member

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    There's nothing wrong with including sex scenes, it's just that if it's going to be written akwardly, you are better off not including it. :)
     
  7. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    haha

    I once wrote a sex scene. More like a sex paragraph...

    "And as Cindy unbuttoned her shirt, Jack looked up at the moon and thought, "This is going to be he best night ever."'

    End of chapter
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    listen to cog!... he's right!!!
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yup, and let me tell you why I agree with Dave.

    First, I am also gay.

    I have read (and written) my fair share of erotica directed at boys who like boys (I have a soft spot for boys who like alien boys stories). ;)

    I'm a grown man, so I am not squeamish about such things. I don't have this don't include sex in your story attitude. Sex is a part of human nature and I think it's pretty silly to prude up and pretend that the beast with two backs does not exist.

    What I don't like is when a boy on boy sex scene is written by someone who has never had this experience. It becomes obvious when this happens because there is always something off about the dynamic of the scene. Either the sex is unaccountably violent, or there is the ridiculous set up of the passive and the active participant. There's just always something not right, something artificial, like someone's imagining of what it would be which has little to do with I personally know it to be. It rarely takes the same form, but... still it is there.

    Don't get me wrong. I applaud and thank you for wanting to include diversity.
     
  10. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    I absolutely hate reading a novel and knowing how badly the author got it wrong. I imagine it would be like an actual crime scene investigator watching a crime drama. Nevertheless, I am also a strict opponent to the idea that you cannot speak about a topic unless you have experienced it. In that case then no one who has never had children should then have them...

    If nothing else, go find some people who are willing to talk about it. Asking writers how to write a gay sex scene is like asking the writers of Dexter what it's like to be a serial killer. Sure, they may have ideas, they may even know all there is to know about the process, but you can only learn the superficial things from them. Instead, go out and research it.

    The only other advice I can give is, if you don't want to do all that nasty research, mask the sex scene with another event. I wrote a short story once where an explosion, for whatever reason, went off. I had seen explosions before, of course, but I had never honestly felt or been around one. So instead I described it as an orchestra playing Bach's Violin Concerto No.1 in a Minor. I originally got the idea from Yukio Mishima, one of my favorite writers.

    Either way, good luck... oh, and don't research this by watching porn.
     
  11. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    You can easily allude to the fact that they're going to have sex, and break the chapter off right there. It's been done a million times, for various reasons.

    One thing you probably can write convincingly (and I mean no offence by this!) is the awkward fumbling beforehand. Until they actually do the deed, I assume you're in the same boat with them.

    I think the biggest challenge you'll face is in depicting their relationship after the fact. . . Sex tends to quickly change a relationship, and that's not something you can gloss over. You'll probably have to research it, though I'm not sure what to suggest. . .

    Okay, others might laugh, but I've found self-help books to be extremely useful on occasion--not for the solutions they offer, (which are often crap) but for the issues they highlight. The one thing they usually do get right is the problem. Any guide to making a relationship work will almost certainly cover all the common issues that couples face, and maybe some not-so-common. Just be sure to find a book that actually applies to the situation in question. (and trust me, there's a self-help book for everyting)

    They're useful because you'll need to understand the issues in order to write realistic conflicts. If you actually do go that route, just don't copy and paste problems. . . Use the knowledge to gain understanding from which you can invent your own drama.

    Apart from that, you'll obviously want to talk to some gay people, if you can. . .
     
  12. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Basically, if you are worried about writing it, don't write it. If the sex scene is half-right, it isn't half as hot. Or half as good. The scene drops into the negative numbers and is actually worse than not having it at all.

    Three pieces of advice:

    First, don't hide it. If it's going to be in there, don't look away; if you're giving us a sex scene, don't fade to black after it's started. Get used to writing dirty words- for god's sake, don't use words like "copulate" or "phallus" when you mean "f*ck" and "c*ck." It makes things clinical; using the word copulate brings up images of intensely unsexy biologists and mildly sexy white latex gloves. And don't use cute language to disguise things. No-one thinks the term "vertical meat pistol" is a good alternative to "d*ck."

    Second, don't purplize it. Sex scenes are not the time for extended metaphors about how it felt like an exploratory kitten making its tender way through a rolled-up blanket. Because, first of all, it probably doesn't (not that I'd know); second of all, it isn't sexy. Sex scenes are about the sex. They're about turning on the reader. If you don't get aroused reading the scene, then your reader almost definitely won't. And that's the worst thing that can happen. Unless, of course, that was the point; if the object was to emphasize how creepy the sex was, or how akward it was, then carry on.

    Third, for god's sake give us some foreplay. As much as I wish this were untrue, people don't just drop their clothes and start humping in the middle of the road. Start the scene a few clothing articles early; put the emphasis on the feelings, on the touches, on the brushing of the lips over sensitive skin, on the chill of the air and warmth of the other, on the early gasps and sighs.

    The main thing is, though, show it to your most honest- not your nicest- friend, and ask them what they think. Be proud of your work. If you're not willing to do that, then rewrite it until you are. If you can't show your most honest friend, then showing anyone else- say, publishers- starts to stray further and further out of the question.
     
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  13. MarchOfMephisto
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    MarchOfMephisto Member

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    arron89 = the awkwardness comes from having no experience. I have no problem writing about it :)

    Cogito = :S The only thing is, the book includes many other things to do with growing up and going through changes.

    I know. That's why I'm asking for advice from people who know what they're talking about, because when it comes to this, I have no clue whatsoever. These two characters are my favourites out of the book, and I don't want it to "ruin them" by me writing something completely ridiculous that is nothing like real life. The only thing I know about it, is that I want it to be romantic.

    LOL, don't worry, I won't watch porn.
    Also, what do you mean by "mask" it?

    I don't know any gay people...well, I know two, but as far as I know they are both virgins. Also, thank you for pointing out what I highlighted in bold. I had completely forgotten about that :)

    Thank you, that really helped :) The third point especially.

    Thank you whoever else has replied who I didn't quote :)
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The thing is, the physical act is not what you should be writing about. It's the feelings that the characters have about it, and how it affects them, that matter. Tje private awkwardnesses, the intimacy, the little betrayals. even the humiliations that enter into it,that contribute to the story.

    It's hard enough to write sex scenes convincingly if you have plenty of life experience to back it up. Trying to communicate the ambience of an act you have only limited and secondhand knowledge of is nothing short of gross.
     
  15. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I have to disagree a little bit...while certainly the emtional side of sex is important, I don't think its worth neglecting the physical act over. The rules of showing and telling apply just as much here as they do anywhere else in your writing, and its generally the way that the physical act is described tha is most rvelatory about the scene, the characters, and the writer,not the descriptions of the things that go along with it. Compare, for instance, the sex scenes of Anais Nin, Bret Easton Ellis and Vladimir Nabokov...they all remain focussed almost solely on the physical act and yet the emotons and associations that are drawn fom their descriptions by the reader are markedly different.
    So I agree insofar as that you need to be aware of the emotinal performances of your characters during sex, but the physical act and your description of it should be the main focus of the writing.
     
  16. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    Writing a sex scene is... difficult, which is why I think so many authors avoid it, unless they're writing a romance novel, which kind of needs them. Along those lines, you'll have to ask yourself, "Do I really need it?" and, "What does my story stand to gain or lose by including it?" Both of those are questions that only you, the author, can honestly answer. I'll give you my two cents though.

    First of all, I don't believe you have to necessarily write what you know, as long as you can write it well enough that your readers won't be able to tell. How many of us have written a scene in which a character has been killed in front of another? How many of us have actually witnessed something like that? Or seen aliens? Or encountered a unicorn? Point is, we can still write about all those things and try our best to make it legit. It's a little different when it comes to something that a good portion of your readers probably have experienced, but you can still compensate.

    For instance, you're doing the right thing by asking people for their own experiences. If you can get someone to tell you about sex in the level of detail that you need, good, but remember that sex is going to be different for everyone. You can also gain a little insight by watching love scenes from movies or something, but remember that these are often romanticized, and account for that if you plan to go into a lot of detail about sex between real people. As for porn, it'll only help you grasp the physics of it. Average men don't have... "parts" that big, most women don't go full Brazilian, and the element of love and respect is missing, which is critical if you're trying to write a real sex scene.

    Tying into that, I think the biggest thing your story has to gain by including a fairly-graphic sex scene is the illustration of two people's love for each other. Someone was saying that it's the feelings that the characters have about sex and how it affects them that matters, and I agree with that, but I think there's an element of love that can only be captured by the physical expression of it. If you feel it's vital that you capture that essence, I say include a well-done sex scene filled with more than just bestial passion, otherwise I would say just avoid it. If you do write it, avoid cliches, avoid clinical language, avoid awkward similies and metaphors, and avoid keeping the final product if people who know what they're talking about tell you that you didn't do it justice. A bad sex scene will hurt any story way more than no sex scene.

    Good luck! ;)
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's no accident that the term intercourse also means a conversation. Sex scenes are like dialogue. What isn't said is often (usually?) more important than what is written.

    The explicit depiction of the sex act is rarely relevant or revealing. It's naught but prurient voyeurism most of the time.

    WARNING: SOME EXPLICIT LANGUAGE FOLLOWS.

    I'm not saying details are unimportant. A hand cupped over a breast as they lay together afterward can convey intimacy and comfort with each other. The same can be conveyed by him falling out of her when she laughs afterward while they are talking. Pumping and humping and grunting only reveals more interest BY THE AUTHOR in tha act than in the actors.

    Unless you're writing a how-to book, there is no need to give every detail of tab A goes into slot B, and what gets nailed or screwed or banged.

    Focus on the characters, not the plumbing. That's my opinion, and I'll stand by it.
     
  18. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    And an artfully-put opinion it is. If you're writing porn, then focus on phallic rigidity and mammarial wobbling. If you're writing anything else, it's way more important to know what they're feeling and why they're doing what they're doing.
     
  19. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    I fully agree with Cogito.

    As for what I said earlier about masking it, I meant if you were not fully convinced you could accurately detail, whether emotionally or physically, sex between two men that you may want to consider describing it as something else and alluding to the act. You're masking the event with another. It's kind of a cheap way to get through it, though. Either way, good luck.
     
  20. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    I concur with avoiding any "tab A goes into slot B" language, as there really isn't any feeling behind that. I think the real meat of the emotion in a sex scene is more in the before and after, which is why most stories can pretty effectively skip over the graphic stuff without losing anything, but sometimes the in-between can be important too. Even then, less can definitely be more. Allusions for the win. :-D
     
  21. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I still disagree, though I understand where you're coming from...writing a sex scene is no different to writing any other part of your novel, so you should treat it as such. If you change your writing style in a sex scene, you're going to call even more attention to it. So if up until that point yu've been raw and realistic, that's ow you shuld treat the sex scene. If until that point you've been wry or humourous, that's how you should treat the sex scene. If its supposed to be romantic, write it that way; if its supposed to be intense write it that way. Pretending that all sex is nice and romantic is a little naive, as is writing all sex as though it is. As far as I'm concerned, the only wrong way to write a sex scene is writing it differently to how you would writ eanything else.

    Edit: also, the idea that if you are graphically describing the act then you are writing porn is ridiculous. Assume a little maturity on the part of your readers and trust that they can distinguish between a realistic, honest description of sex and pornography. Obviously not all sex scenes will call for all the details, but if the scene should be written in explicit detail, then there's no reason not to include it.
     
  22. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I have to agree with aaron89 here. The lines between sexy, erotic, and pornographic are as varied as the people who might give you an opinion on the subject.

    To the OP: This forum is a rather youngish web forum, the members are likely to have more conservative views on the subject. There are, without a doubt, many web forums devoted to the craft of writing both the tenderly entrancing, the straight up hard core, and all steamy points in between. I would have a gander at these forums for ideas on the subject if I were you. In these forums, the members are, by definition, going to have an open mind about the writing of sex.

    If you happen across a member at any of these forums by the name Wreybies, say hello! I'm Wreybies everywhere I go.
     
  23. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    Admittedly, I have a very open mind... mostly 'cause I'm gay. If I hadn't an open mind, life would kind of suck. I do agree with Wreybies though, that and I find his name ADORABLE.
     
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  24. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Had to make sure it matched the rest of me. ;):D
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Anyway, this is getting off track. Whether a sex scene is high-def explicit or not, if the writer is not experienced in that aspect of life, the nuances are not going to come across convincingly, particularly the emotional aspects.

    Don't think you can learn enough about this area of behavior from just reading a lot, either. Normally I am in favor of learning that way, but so much of what has been written is ludicrous, and a lot of the better writing still won't mean much if you haven't been there. You'll see what is going on, but you'll miss what is important.

    And don't just run off andf get experienced so you can complete the writing. It takes the perspective of looking back and seeing how it has changed you, and it takes time to see yourself clearly enough.

    You might feel pressure to put in the sex scene. You might feel you aren't a writer until you can write sex scenes. Many fine novels have been written with no sex scenes, or with only discrete allusions to sexual encounters. Stick to those for now. Don;t let anyone, including yourself, pressure you into jamming a sex scene you aren't ready to write into your story. Don't let yielding to that pressure ruin a good story.
     

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