1. MarchOfMephisto
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    MarchOfMephisto Member

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    Sex scene

    Discussion in 'Erotica' started by MarchOfMephisto, Apr 23, 2011.

    Hi, I'm currently writing a book for teenagers and it includes a sex scene - the thing is, I don't have any experience in writing such things and I don't want it to end up sounding crass.

    I want it to be kind of clumsy and awkward, yet still retaining romantic features. Does anyone have any tips?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    if you can write a good fight scene it is similar. Remember all five senses, don't show more than your characters are comfortable with you sharing, show don't tell and remember to concerntrate on how they feel and not what they do.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Less is very much more with sex scenes. Aside from the general rule that the reader's imagination can do a much better job of reaching them than overcomplicating your writing can, with a sex scene there is a very real danger of straying into the cringeworthy. I'd suggest that more can be said, and said better, by focusing on the before and the after, rather than the sex itself.
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's going to be awkward there will be a lot of conversation proportional to the amount of actions, and they will announce/ask every move they plan to make. Sex like in the movies where 2 people just throw themselves at each other and it all magically works isn't the same as real life, surprise surprise. :p
     
  5. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Confused.

    How does one focus on their feelings by showing, instead of telling, while not focusing on what they do? Isn't showing deeply rooted in the 'what they do,' as the 'doing' would be actions, and aren't actions best shown?
     
  6. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    popsicledeath, as per usual, has a very good point. I think "show, don't tell" is a little confusing as advice in this context.
     
  7. MarchOfMephisto
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    MarchOfMephisto Member

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    Thanks everyone :)
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    by feel i ment physical feel rather than emotional feel sorry - so what did that movement do accomplish feel as it touches, bites, scratches etc As it is for a teen audience though it probably shouldn't be too graphic - a strageically placed bowl of fruit or duvet can be useful.

    Was the touch rough, harsh, gentle where was it felt. You don't want too much thought unless it is really bad sex and she is lying there wondering when he will fix the crack in the ceiling.
     
  9. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I don't think OP is writing comedy or a picture book, so how would that work?

    And you also said "remember to concentrate on what they feel not what they do" so I'm seeing a little contradiction here, since you're now saying "touches, bites, scratches etc"
     
  10. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I agree with the advice people have given you. Since this isn't erotica, It shouldn't be too graphic...since this is YA right? Be vague with the actions...most teenagers are dirty minded, our minds will fill the gaps lol
    Also, don't compare the bodily parts to fruit, unless you can do in a way that doesn't make me laugh. I read something like this before and....just no. xD
     
  11. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    The Bad Sex Award should be a perpetual warning to writers to tread carefully on this ground.
     
  12. AltonReed
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    AltonReed Active Member

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    I wouldn't. I'd hint at it, with somthing like:

    'We were alone in the room together. It wasn't long until morning but we had a while. Just.'

    Or somthing. But that's mainly cos I have no idea how to handle somthing like that...
     
  13. dnsralg
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    dnsralg Senior Member

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    I guess you could have some awkward sex and take notes. Then you'll have experience with it AND notes.
     
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  14. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    This is the best response I've seen yet :D rofl
     
  15. Ice Queen
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    Ice Queen Senior Member

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    Uhm, my advice would be: stick to what you know. Meaning, writing a sex scene isn't a good idea unless you've actually had sex.

    I mean, teens have this idealised view of it, like they think it's gonna be what it's like in a friggin movie or something with dramatic noises and graceful movements but actually it's hilariously ungainly and awkward and painful and most of all, EMBARRASING! (at least at first) - Actually that might be a good way to write one, especially if you're doing YA. :D

    So, I say... yeah... less is often more, make sure it's realistic and not like... Titanic-style or anything. Maybe one of them should fall off the bed or the guy gets his foot stuck on a leftover jam sandwich... (not saying this happened to me or anything...)
     
  16. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Still isn't making sense to me. No biggie, though, was just curious at the craft/though process.

    I guess I just don't understand how you convey how something feels, even if it's physical feeling, through show, as those are subjective, personal sorts of judgments that occur with a combination of external action and internal interpretation. Take out the internal processing, and you're left with only actions, no interpretations (and I don't believe this is good enough in fiction, as it is on stage or in movies, as there's a reasons actors are trained and 'good' or 'bad' as they're able to convey the internal contexts that one can't really manage in fiction without pictures of facial expressions, say, which isn't a bad idea lol).

    In my experience, you just end up with meaningless external actions. Or you end up with a mime act, where one character love-bites the other, and if it's too hard and doesn't feel good, the bitee has to over-react to convey this (since subtle reactions like facial expressions aren't really as feasible in fiction) and it looks like a mime act, where the mime can't express what's really going on so instead does the balls-fists-and-turns-them-under-the-eyes to indicate it was something bad. Or perhaps the characters could go with a thumbs up or down system, so the reader knows if things are going well or not.

    Otherwise, it's just actions, which while titillating, perhaps, aren't really conveying the meaning they could.

    If I take a sip from a slurpee, for instance, I may react the same way another person does, but I may be thinking and feeling something very different. It may hurt my teeth, and I curse the dentist that refused to make me an appointment and vow revenge... whereas someone else may be remembering their first slurpee and how wonderful it was. Were it fiction, the only way to really tell the difference is to gain insight into these two characters in this situation. Showing alone doesn't seem enough.

    Okay, we get an idea, but it's only a vague notion, getting us into the general ballpark of 'slurpee experience bad', but it would take some amazing mime-work to convey what precisely is working in the mind of our slurpee sucker. How do you show 'that bastard dentist, if I can't drink a slurpee, then he shouldn't live!'

    And no offense, but I thought I'd ask some questions, as I often read 'advice' that just seems a stream of mantras and conventional wisdom, which all sound good, but then under application start to get confusing.

    I agree, though, the key is to focus on what's being felt. No two characters will feel the same way (both physically and emotionally), and being able to capture that in a sex scene (or any difficult to write scene) seems like a good idea, and a way to give a scene meaning.

    I feel kind of weird suggesting reading that contains sex scenes, so one can study the craft of them, but maybe that's not fair?
     
  17. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    The best part being the taking of notes would guarantee the awkwardness! Brilliant!
     
  18. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    The worst thing you can do is take it too seriously, trying to find words and metaphors to explain whats going on is just cringeworth. Just be frank and describe how they feel. The characters probably won't be comfortable with themselves if this isn't a long term relationship, so second guessing what each partner wants and getting into positions with tangled limbs, maybe the character worries that she left the bedside lamp on, should it be on or off?

    Question the romance? Should it be like this? Do I love this person?
     
  19. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    I don't agree. Specifically in this situation, or generally. 'Write what you know' is another mantra people toss around, but when you actually try to figure out what that means, you find it's meaningless.

    Does that mean a male author should never write from the perspective of a woman, unless they've been one? Can't write characters using drugs, unless you have? Can't ever write in a character dying, until you've died? Was Tolkien a Hobbit?

    Is the only way to 'know' something to experience it first hand? Isn't one of the points of fiction to bring readers experiences and insights they couldn't know otherwise. If it's not possible, then writers shouldn't ever write anything they don't know, which would probably be pretty boring, and then readers shouldn't ever both reading about anything they haven't already experienced, because they can't know what's going on in the novel anyways unless they have, which would also be boring.

    My personal mantra is to write about things you want to know, just as much as the things you already know, and thank Evolution/God/both for the vast imagination and ability to empathize that [some!] humans have been bestowed with, for without imagination and empathy, we'd perhaps never know much of the stuff worth knowing.
     
  20. dnsralg
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    dnsralg Senior Member

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    Just gonna put it out there that not all sex is awkward. Maybe take a scene you've read/seen elsewhere and imagine if certain things didn't go as smoothly. Humor is good, but you're still catering to an audience with an idealized view. Don't just let them down for the sake of realism. This is fiction, after all.
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As Banzai said, less is more. Sparse and suggestive always wins over tediously explicit.

    But this is an area where you REALLY need to listen to the old bromide, "Write what you know." Unfortunately, if you ignore that, and write what you don't know, it will probably be obvious as hell.
     
  22. Ice Queen
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    Ice Queen Senior Member

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    Well obviously I don't mean "write what you know" as in literally applied to EVERYTHING. I meant you have to have some idea of the reality of sex before you can write convincingly on it. Have you ever read a bad slash fanfiction... come to think of it... any bad fanfiction where the sex is so unbelievably contrived and gushy and or pornographic that you just snort and go: Well this person is obviously a virgin...

    Ya know what I mean? This isn't true for everyone of course; I'm sure Stephanie Meyer has been in a relationship before even if her portrayal of one had me laughing.

    I mean, if you're not confidant and comfortable that you know what you're talking about, don't write one, or alternatively, any scene you're really stuck with, get the opinion of a few trusted betas.
     
  23. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Could also be that the writer is embarrassed to write about sex - Meyer was raised a Mormon, if I remember correctly.
     
  24. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I've written some sex scenes and found it pretty easy. Biggest thing to avoid is stupid adjectives; I don't like reading sex scenes that are full of words like "lump," "swollen," "hole," "man-root," "cave" etc. Also, I hate seeing the word "core" in sex scenes because it makes it seem like it's the most important part of someone or like women are walking vaginas.
     
  25. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Lol. Man-root. Brilliance incarnate.
     

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