1. bythegods
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    bythegods Banned

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    Embarressed to write sex scenes

    Discussion in 'Erotica' started by bythegods, Jul 21, 2014.

    I'm halfway through writing my first sex scene(s), its something I'm doing because I feel it will help me grow (not that kind) as a writer.

    The difficulty I have is that I feel a little embarrassed about writing it - what if my mother ever sees this filth?

    I am a writer who draws on personal experience to paint scenes, so in essence much of the sex scene is really based on my own life and experiences; this feels somewhat exhibitionist.

    I also use women I know in everyday life (whom I have never had sexual encounters with) as the characters in the sex scenes. I am desperately attracted to these women so I find no shortage of material to draw upon.

    In order to protect the identity of these ladies I am extra careful to make the effort to sufficiently conceal their true identity by doing some body part swapping, and name swapping too. So for instance Emily has Jennifer's legs, and Emily has Natasha's lips, and personality traits so on.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Not too sure what you're asking for here. If it's courage you need, well you need to find it somehow. As for your mom ...just keep telling yourself you wouldn't be here at all if she hadn't done what you're writing about ...a long time ago. Sex isn't 'filth'—it's part of everybody's life. Either you've done it yourself, will do it yourself, or somebody you know already did it to get you here. I suspect you were joking when you said 'filth', but if you're not...

    Just write it like you'd write any other scene. Get into your POV character's head, see what he sees, feel what he feels. And by feel, I mean more than just the sex itself. How does having sex with Jennifer's legs and Natasha's lips matter in your story? Is he nervous? Confident? Sympathetic? Uncaring? Is his partner any of those things? That's what you work from, not the A goes into B mechanics, which we all pretty much understand. It's making it personal that counts. Will there be any fallout afterwards? Will he be happy, miserable, bored? Is this the start of a relationship, the end of one, or an interlude that isn't really going to matter?

    And yes, you will need to get over 'omigod, what if somebody I know sees this.' If they do, just tell them it's fiction. And let them think what they think. I mean, if your character stole a laptop from a computer store and smuggled it out under his jacket, would you feel obliged to explain how you 'know' how to do that? Lots of authors who have never hurt a soul actually murder their characters, and create murderers in their writing.

    The only thing you have to admit to is that yes, you do think about stuff like 'that.' And why not? Getting back to your mother ...well you wouldn't be here without it, would you?

    I think this is more difficult if you are a teenager living at home, but if you're not ...just go for it. You may well be surprised that the reactions you get are not what you worry about at all.
     
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  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, sad fact is, a lot of people are repressed in their sexuality, and this translates to difficulties with talking (and writing) about sex. Luckily, it isn't essential for a writer to write sex scenes, and you can easily have a long and fulfilling career with minimal sexual themes.

    It's my personal observation that women, on a whole, are better at writing erotic scenes, simply because women are naturally more empathic, and we are raised aware of being considered sex objects, that it is up to us to please a man (as outdated as this is, it is still the strongest message girls get) so this coupled with natural empathy and ability to verbally express ourselves, translates to, on average, better ability to describe sex in a way that another will connect with the description. Women are quite inhibited at stating clearly what they need and want, actually a lot of men are too, so taking the pressure off and writing anonymously under a pen name helps.

    Men who write sex well tend to be comfortable with their feminine side, able to understand emotions and empathise, not be completely focused on their pleasure, needs and wants, etc. Otherwise, it reads completely ego-centric, slightly drooling and mechanical.

    Some people just can't do it however, no matter how hard they try, it's not a topic they are natural at diving into as authors and forcing it reads as eye-roll inducing wish fulfilment. One of my (many) favourite writers, Peter F. Hamilton, has a few issues as an author, and writing terrible sex scenes and female characters that are nothing but stereotypes and sex objects is possibly his worst offence. His writing suggests that he has serious maturity issues because his sex scenes read as if a horny teenager wrote them, where he revels in describing ridiculous, 80s whore-like outfits (his idea of sexy), or ugly and fat middle aged protagonists (like himself) indulging in relationships with all manner of incredibly hot 3d holograms, clones, androids, stupid women, prostitutes etc who are just 'begging for it'. Just awful. To me, it would be preferable for such an author to stop at fading out before the deed, or describing it in little detail.

    Sex is a normal part of our daily lives, but it's also a taboo. Yes, we are constantly bombarded by sexualised images and themes, but they are primarily used for advertising of one sort of another and are so unrealistic, doll-like, dressed-up, choreographed, emotionless versions that they represent real sex like plastic fruit represents real fruit. So this over presence of 'advertising sex', instead of breaking the taboos only reinforces them, and instead of furthering sexual liberation, is doing the opposite by communicating completely wrong information about what sex is actually like and what's it about. This especially affects young people, and young men most of all will be utterly mystified about the female experience of sex, and it is impossible writing about something you know little about.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
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  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Ok, I'm with you so far....

    As long as you see it as filth, it's not going to be good and you're not going to get the writing growth you hope to garner. Sex isn't filthy. It's not shameful. It's not bad or wrong or any of the other baggage we've loaded on to it over the centuries (thanks Western Civ., and by thanks I mean smack in the gob). It's just sex. It is, quite literally, the most natural thing in the world.

    The act of writing is always exhibitionism, regardless of content. Always. It's always a display of the writer's inner, figurative goodie-bag.

    Writers do this all the time with characters. Every character ever written by human hand has been in some way, shape or form, at some level, scaffolded upon a person or people the writer knew or knows. Be it just a phrase or gesture of hand, or a complete build. It's just a matter of degree.

    My thoughts are that you need to approach the writing as maturely as you would approach any other aspect of writing. Focus on the content and caliber of form, expression, description, narrative, dialogue, characterization, all the things you always focus on whenever you write. Stop worrying about getting caught. And if you do get caught, finish like a boss. ;) It's just sex.
     
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  5. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Never mind about "being caught". Can you write about sex without mentally cringing? If not, then it's going to show, unless all your sex scenes are about people who are terribly inhibited and have a hard time with sex.

    As for being exhibitionist, you've already accepted that you can only write by using your own experiences and feelings, so your entire book is an exercise in exhibitionism.
     
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  6. purplehershey
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    purplehershey Member

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    Honestly, spend some time reading other people's sex scene one after another. After the fourth, fifth...sixth you'll probably won't find yourself feeling self-conscious anymore. Instead, you'll be spending time sitting back going, "Ohhhh. I see what they did there...well that's a good word to describe it."

    The cringe factor is all relative, my friend.
     
  7. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    Meh. I've been running pornography in my head since I was a teen (I'm female btw). Writing out what I've already fantasized about is no biggie. For me the hot and heavy moments have little to do with penetration and the moving up and down. It's usually the foreplay, the anticipation the thought about it. The magical, or should I say disappointing moment, when it all happens is mucb less pleasurable. So focus on the build-up for a while. Just get it out then the actual sex part will come naturally.
     
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  8. bythegods
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    bythegods Banned

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    I like this idea of favouring evocation over the mechanics.
     
  9. bythegods
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    bythegods Banned

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    I am surprised it comes so naturally to you all - I find it difficult to accept the " just get on with it because its natural", or "its just sex" approach.

    Good points. I'll just have to get used to being embarrassed I guess! Never mind.
     
  10. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Just write it. If you worry too much, you will never finish it. Do what you want to do for your own joy.
     
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  11. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Not wanting to hijack a thread here but I have a question on the same topic...

    How do you write a sex scene when you have no experience with it yourself? My novels are for teenagers so I don't add sex scenes, but little to no experience in physical sexual experience probably has an impact on the love interest storyline, how can I get passed that so I can write good sexual scenes?
     
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  12. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Amanda_Geisler : Some people will disagree, but I really can't imagine writing sex without actually having it. It's just not possible to understand the sensations, the body and mind's responses, without having experienced it, and the more experienced and comfortable with it that you are, the more elaborate, interesting and varied you'll be able to write it. Other than that, the fade-out technique can be used to your advantage, dial up the heat so the reader doesn't feel like it's missing, and get out once you get to the part you can't relate to. Otherwise, keep it short and on point, and read lots of sex scenes written by others, to improve on ideas. What context is your sex scene in? Who is involved, where is it happening, every sex scene has a 'theme' to it so look for similar ones for inspiration.
     
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  13. bythegods
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    bythegods Banned

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    Two of the scenes I am writing involve older aged people and robots. I have experience with neither. What I try to do is draw upon past experiences and/or fantasies and combine the two, this has some good results but I can miss details. They say write what you know but in this case that is difficult so I do try to get to know by approximation. If I were finding it particularly difficult I'd 'experiment' with a blow up doll, for example.

    Bearing in mind that I am no expert what I would do is draw upon the way you felt at that age. Perhaps you could make the sex be immature and awkward? Ask other people, fantasise, get ideas. But I agree that this will only take you so far without having experience in what you want to write about.
     
  14. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I do use the fade-out technique for all sex scenes or I have it as a chapter ending. But I have little to no experience for all aspects of a physical relationship. I have been reading books with all kinds of sexual relationships for a variety of ages and involving human and non-human people, but I'm still not sure I get the feelings of the scene across.
     
  15. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    This will be difficult if sex is something you've never experienced. It's at once a good and a disappointing experience, can also be frustrating, embarassing etc. And until you've had it, you really can't imagine it with any degree of accuracy. The major part of it is all the emotional connections it makes in the person performing it. There's a level of anxiety there and focus and trying to be in the moment and sometimes wild abandon that you just don't get inspired to by other activities. And it's those hundreds of little emotional connections which will bring such a scene alive, no necessarily the purely sensual ones.

    My recommendation is to wait until you are more experienced to write such things. Sorry but I really can't think of a way you can be describing something you've no experience in. The poster above you, has at least experience in sex with another human to draw upon, if you don't have that....It's a bit like trying to describe what it's like to eat a pear to someone who has never tasted fruit.
     
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  16. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    @Amanda_Geisler Hmmm. I think there is merit in what @PensiveQuill and others are saying here, and also that it's probably better to have had some experience with sex if you're going to write directly about it. But as others have also pointed out, authors write about stuff they've never done all the time. I think if you do a lot of research (and I mean a LOT ...both factual and literary) you might be able to pull off a sex scene, if you need one, with some degree of realism.

    I understood the OP to mean he was simply embarrassed at writing about sex, and not that he'd never had any. However the later posts from other writers indicate that, for some of them, inexperience is something that would hamper their efforts. I agree it adds an extra layer of challenge, but I think it's still do-able.

    I think there are lots of writers out there who write about sex the way they would like to have had it themselves, rather than a rehash of what has really happened to them. Or, conversely, they write about sex the way they definitely would NOT have wanted to have it themselves. People who write a character being raped who have never been raped, etc.

    Good writing involves imagination and the ability to put yourself in the heads of your characters, no matter what they are doing. If they're describing what it's like to eat fruit, and the writer has never eaten fruit ...there are loads of websites out there about fruit, food, etc. I'm sure a writer can come up with some idea of what it would be like. If you get it slightly wrong, you might pull it off because your take on the experience comes across as 'unique.'

    Me? I have had virtually NO experiences dealing with horses. However, horses play a big role in my novel, and I've had to do LOTS of research about them, not only what they are like as animals, in a modern sense, but how they were used and treated back in the late 19th century on a western ranch. I've had several horsey people read my MS, and the consensus of opinion is that I portrayed them pretty well. Of course I take on board any horsey advice that comes my way. But I didn't let my lack of experience stop me writing about them.

    Don't let a lack of experience with sex put you off writing about it. Just do your research well. And hey, when it comes time to do it for real, yourself, you'll know EXACTLY what to do! :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
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  17. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    It's not mandatory unless you're writing an erotica or a romance novel. But even in romance novels you can hint it instead and just leave it vaguely in their imagination.
     
  18. bythegods
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    bythegods Banned

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    I think it most certainly could be done, not having experience might actually add to the feel of the scene. Conversely it may be difficult to pull off depending on the angle you are going for.

    I write from a females viewpoint often, including the sex scenes. Am I qualified to do so? Difficult to answer. I suppose in the least it may give them a good belly laugh.
     
  19. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, exactly. (I don't mean the belly laugh...!) I've had to write a couple of sex scenes from a man's perspective, and I had to work pretty hard on that—as I'm not a man. I haven't had any men say I got it 'wrong,' although perhaps my female slant on the situation comes through. (Emotion versus physical and all that?) It's just the chance you take. But you're writing fiction (I presume) so everything you're writing is 'made up.' I don't know why so many people think writing about sex is any different from writing about any other human interaction, really. Let the humanity come through, and you're winning.
     
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  20. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    If your not comfortable then you won't do as well as you can, you have to push the envelope of your comfort zone, but if you see it as filth when it should be erotic then maybe erotica isn't for you. No shame in that, writing YA books are not for me. We all have strengths and weaknesses.

    As for the ladies who you base it on, doe full on base it on them 1. for fear of their embarrassment 2. kinda bordering on creepy. I would suggest looking at what the aspects are that entice you and bundle them onto a blank canvas of a woman. Mixing them in to 2 or 3 if needed.

    And as for your Mother just don't show her it lol.

    I write erotica but would never show mine. Tho I reckon my parents never did or do it and I was found under a gooseberry bush. :p

    There is a great erotica sub section on here.
     
  21. FrodoKreuger
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    Oh it is if you're doing it right... ;)

    Seriously though, you and other make several good points. First, there is nothing to be afraid of in writing anything, including sex. No matter how "dirty" your fantasies, or "kinky" your reality, it's all fine material for writing. That said, if the OP is so alarmed by writing sex then perhaps it is not for him. Perhaps, OP, you could start writing intimacy that stopped shy of actual sex. Also, bear in mind that writing sex does not mean writing only sex (if it's a good story and not just a bit of fap fiction). I have written a lot of erotica, including rather extreme erotica, for a number of years, but the best stories are those which include sex but explore the world it exists in, the characters participating and the philosophy of the story rather than just tab-a-into-slot-b.

    Only you, OP, can decide whether this genre is right for you. I would say if your only interest in doing it is "to grow as a writer" rather than being interested in the subject to begin with then perhaps you might consider growing in other ways that interest you instead.
     
  22. Mangyhyena
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    This is just advice, nothing more. It may or not help you grow as a writer.

    Channel your characters. Talk with them in your head---daydream a bit. Ask them questions and learn about them when they start talking to you. See through their eyes, hear through their ears, smell through their nose, feel through their sense of touch, experience their emotions, and keep asking them questions. Put them in various scenes and watch what they do and listen to what they say. Find out why they like what they like, dislike what they dislike, and don't care about what they couldn't care less about. You need to know more than just what they're like when they're having sex in order to write a sex scene. You need to know as much as possible about them, personally. They should be as close or closer to you than a best friend or family member. If they aren't real to you, why should your readers feel close to them?

    Once you know your characters well, you'll be able to put them in various situations and know how they'll react. Get to that point in your relationship with your characters before you ask them to show you how it all goes down (pun intended) in the bedroom.

    Honor your character. You honor your characters by getting to know everything you can about them, honestly portraying them, not censoring their actions and/or words when they do or say something that is perfectly in keeping with who they are---especially when they shock you---, and by honestly telling their stories.

    Put your character first, honor that character, treat your characters as writing partners, and see if that doesn't reduce the embarrassment you feel about writing a sex scene.

    Practice, practice, practice writing scenes, whatever sorts of scenes you want to try. Repetition will help you get more comfortable. Read a lot of scenes that are similar to what you're trying to write. Compare your scenes to scenes from other authors' works, and really consider whether you're measuring up (damn, yet another intended pun) or not and why.

    If all that fails, take a break and maybe come (not cum) back to it at a later point.
     
  23. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Seems every body above me has covered the embarrassment angle pretty extensively. As for the other matter of using real people as fictional characters in your writings is fairly simple. No matter how accurately you describe them. Just add a disclaimer stating that any aforementioned people in your fictional setting are merely that and in no way represent any past or present person(s) in anyway. Kind of like when people write fictional retellings historical events, and state up front that it is a work of fiction and not fact, nor does it reflect the historical figures in any way. Hope this helps you a bit, or gives you something to think about. :p
     

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