1. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    sex scenes

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Protar, Oct 11, 2011.

    So I recently wrote my first sex scene in my current WIP novel, my first one ever in fact. It felt a bit awkward but I don't feel I did too badly. Nonetheless I'm still looking to do a bit of refinement, so I was just wondering how you all like to do it (If you'll pardon the pun.). Do you gloss over it, go into detail or what? Apologies if anyone finds the subject matter inappropriate.
     
  2. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    A lot of times implication works well in what I have read. Either have the characters leave together, or be together in the morning.
    In my WIP I have booth for the same two characters. Once where a character sees two others leave together and she puts it together.
    Another time a chapter starts with the two characters talking in bed.
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I prefer to stay away from the mechanics and the naming of parts as much as possible. I go for the sensations and emotions and thoughts instead. I mean, we all know how and what, right? ;) The scene is about the people involved, so that's what I want to work on. And of course, I only put them in when it's really needed for the story. I hate gratuitous sex scenes just to 'liven things up'.
     
  4. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. The scene is little over a paragraph so it's not too explicit. Essentially there's a couple who might not be seeing each other for a while so they're saying goodbye to one another.
     
  5. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think outside romantic fiction sex scenes are usually excruciating and often feel gratuitous. Due to the fact that sexuality/ & desire are such subjective things, it really would be difficult to write sex well and please everyone. Like movies, you think "Oh here's the formulaic sex part". I'm not saying good sex scenes can't be written - I've read quite a few. However, I've read more unintentionally hilarious depictions.

    It's an interesting debate though. I haven't written a sex scene yet. I think when I do, I will put more emphasis on the anticipatory dimension - perhaps flirting and the lead up to sex? Like shadowwalker said, we all know what goes where don't we?! Things that might follow sex like unrequited feelings, fall out, trust, betrayal & things like sexual possessiveness are far more interesting to read about IMHO.
     
  6. Jonp
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    Jonp Senior Member

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    Yeah, I would say if you do it, skip out all the "standard" parts, and focus on what it is to your two (or three, or four...) character involved. Their thoughts and feelings and quirks which makes the scene unique the them. If that makes sense.
     
  7. The Lady Victoria
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    The Lady Victoria Member

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    I completely agree with shadowwalker, sex scenes without emotion...well, that's just porn.

    I was extremely shy when first writing sex scenes, but got braver as time went on, but not too brave. :)
     
  8. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Sex scenes are one of the most difficult scenes to write. They so easily turn into excruciating, cringeworthy porn. The advice above is good stuff; it's safer to leave the mechanics alone, and to give more attention to the emotions. The key thing I'd suggest is to avoid showing the act itself if you can. So much can be implied with the moments before and after, which can be much more suggestive and much more powerful than actual description of the sex.
     
  9. Lalli38
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    Lalli38 Member

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    Uy I'm having a hard time with this as well. I kind of feel like my book sort of demands it at one point, but I sooo want to avoid being labeled as a romance writer (not that there is anything wrong with that) My characters are first loves who go through a super long separation, reunite, go through another long separation, almost reunite but one disappears. It's more interesting than that, I swear. My femail MC is Sofia and she spends a lot of the time obsessing about the male MC Antonio. She really wants to...you know...but doesn't get the chance. Now, if I were to be true to the character I've created, she would totally have a dream of this and then go through an embarrassing day feeling embarrassed about having the embarrassing dream...you know, but that's just her. =P

    Should I write it and put it in there or not? Should I write it just for fun? ;P

    Uggh, so frustrating
     
  10. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    @Lalli - If you feel a sex scene wouldn't work with your story, you don't have to go into detail. Just hinting at it would be enough.
     
  11. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    I think I definitely need to put more emotions in it then. I've done a bit but less than necessary I think. Keep in mind I am sixteen so once I get into it I have to fight quite hard to avoid my, er natural disposition.
     
  12. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    The problem with sex scenes, I think, is that they're far too smooth or far too awkward. You really need to get into the shoes of your characters and work to figure out exactly how they have sex. Not everyone is an influential bedroom gymnast. Likewise, not everyone fumbles around in a somehow romantic way, either.
    Really, you need to be focusing more on the actions of the hands and the thoughts in their minds. Keep a good idea of the positions of legs and the movement of lips, the slither of breath in and out.

    Well, that's if you're writing it. If you're actually having sex, you should just get right on with it. c:
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i go into only as much detail as the story/plot/genre/market requires... and draw on my own rather broad personal experience for the details... i've both gone into delicious [or hideous] detail and left most to the reader's imagination, depending on what it is i'm writing... for a series of x-rated short stories, i was fairly graphic... if you'd like to see how it's done, i can send you 'beginner's luck' and 'it's greek to me' if you email me...

    love and platonic hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  14. Marranda
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    Marranda Senior Member

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    The first sex scene I ever wrote was my way of introducing my pre-op (girly parts upstairs, boy parts downstairs) transgendered character Damien-turned-Eve... it was also my way of saying goodbye to the other participant in the sex scene, Lainey, who isn't needed in my plot beyond the relationship that brings Eve forward.

    After writing that scene I canned both characters from my story. Turns out my story didn't want to be controvertially sexual. I figured if I had something that... strongly sexual... in my story it would take away from the overall plot. And besides, I have plenty enough trouble keeping my sociopathic MC, Sabby, in control without also having to struggle with a gender-bent man and his obsessive bi sexual girlfriend. Not the direction I wanted my story to go at all.

    Sorry, I tend to ramble. What I'm trying to get around to saying is if you don't want the romance aspect to detract from your overall story, then I'd suggest what everyone else suggests, and just leave things implied. But if it helps, write the scene anyways, as detailed as you want, and keep separate from your story to use as reference, or bits and pieces as a flash-back for your character if you want. It never hurts to have extra outtakes.
     
  15. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    @Marranda. I have to say that sounds like an awesome book.
     
  16. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    Leave as much to the imagination of the reader as possible, don't write too much explicit 'plumbing' or you may end up just writing erotica. Sex in a story is only good if it enhances the story, my advice would be to focus on what the characters say, feel and think, not what they're doing. But that might just my innate conservatism and embarrassment over the subject matter. If you must write an explicit sex scene keep the focus on the emotion and meaning of the act, in your story you might want to draw attention to lots of touching and physical contact, the characters aren't seeing each other for a long time after all and so would be reluctant to miss any opportunity to touch or be touched. Or you could focus on the afterglow and the impact of the act. Perhaps write the scene after the actual act is over. That's how I wrote it in my most recent story.
     
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  17. john murphy
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    john murphy Member

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    Sex scenes can be a fantastic tool for you as an author. Sex dramatically changes the relationship between two characters, more so than ordinary dialogue. It can be used, not just for the sex, itself, but how it impacts the characters, the motivations leading up to it, and the consequences of the act. Usually, sex comes with strings attached, whether it's love, or a difference in expectation in a relationship, or a demonstration of how two characters really feel about one another, someone going to prison, or motive for murder.
    I'm using it in my story about half way through, and it has significant impact toward the climax of the story. How you write it and what it means to the story depends on your genre and audience. Also, female readers will likely have a different take on it than male readers. Who do you think will be reading your book? Don't hesitate to use it, but be guided by what you, the author, are trying to use it for. It's a great way to manipulate the reader in how they view your characters. Be brave, but be careful. It's a powerful tool.
     
  18. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with both banzai and Shadowwalker. I don't get into details either, I concentrate on the emotions right before and after which I think reveals enough of what it was like. no need to go into explicit details, after all, as shadowwalker said, we all know how and what... ;) It feels a little like desperate author trying to draw attention or spice things up.
     
  19. Marranda
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    Marranda Senior Member

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    @ Protar: It would be if my MC would be a little less batty ;)

    But to add to the conversational chain here, I agree with john murphy 100%. Sex scenes (or the implication of one) are a great tool.
    For example: Say you need a character to end up in the hospital with a head injury but don't want to cliche the life out of it by putting them in a car accident, or getting mugged, simply put them in a sex scene. How does one get a head injury durin sex you ask? Ha! By being too close to the edge of the matress when their overzealous lover tries to flip them over, causing your character to be flung off the bed, their head connecting with the corner of the nightstand, and tah-dah! Head injury- your character gets to the hospital, and youre plot progresses.

    Awesome, awesome tool indeed :D
     
  20. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    @ marranda
    Oww that’s not the only way for a sex related head injury. There is accidently slamming your head into the head of the bed, use of wall fail, both falling of the mattress. Then there can be injuries to other parts of the body, be careful with handcuffs. if there is a way to injure yourself, someone has done it, and some EMT has treated it. Friday nights can be interesting for a NYC EMT.
     
  21. ShadowScribbler
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    ShadowScribbler Member

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    Sex scenes. Wow, I'm not sure exactly how much I have to say in this matter.

    I wrote my first sex scene when I was about 16 and had no freaking idea of what I was doing. Back then, it was purely sensationalist writing (not in the exaggerated context, but in that it appealed vastly to the senses of the reader), and truly needed a lot of work. I have had more and more practice writing those in the past year and I have gotten very good reviews, so if all else fails, I'll just be an erotica writer, woo! Just kidding. Maybe.

    The thing with sex scenes though, it's that in general they are very complicated. You have to first decide whether it is truly necessary in the story, because if it is not, then it'll just distract your reader. On the other hand, it also depends on the character, at least for me. I have created characters whose sex lives are the first insight into their depravity -- this is especially true in short stories. I personally don't care to read a scene where the room is trashed in the morning and the woman is bruised -- I want to know why she's bruised and what happened to the pillows. But then again, I'm not embarrassed nor do I feel awkward about reading/writing this anymore. I've read graphic stuff that is written cheaply, and then I've read stuff that has given me the chills and truly made me believe these things were happening.

    So, it's a really, really powerful tool if you know how to use it. It could also go horribly wrong (though I've never found anything wrong with gratuitious sex, tbh xD) and, supposing your character was a rather feckless philanderer -- he wouldn't be thinking of how this woman (or man) makes him feel, would he? He'd just feel. There would be no weird emotions attached to the act itself, though there could be thoughts that aren't precisely romantic or emotive. At the end of the day, it's just like a fight scene, maybe. Include as many details as are needed, and learn to recognise when there shouldn't be any at all.
     
  22. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I haven't wrote one and i think i probably won't when i get older. I feel too awkward even thinking about the topic, never mind writing it.
     
  23. Berenice
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    Berenice Member

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    Oh, I like reading and writing good sex scenes. "Good" to me includes emotions, that they are necessary to the plot, have a meaning, are true to the people having the sex, realistic instead of pornographic (my personal definition of porn is probably a bit different than that of most here) and ideally, if they turn on the participants, they also ought to turn on the readers (as long as those belong to the same sexual orientation). Seriously, I write a sad scene to engender sadness in the reader, to have him emote along with the characters and the story. So why would I write a sex scene and not want to produce at least a yearning? On the whole and quite generally I hate "blending to the afterglow." If I care enough about the characters to read about them in general, live practically inside their heads, then I sure as anything don't want to be left standing in front of their sleeping room door. Sex is part of our life, so to me it's part of the whole bundle.

    I agree that too often sex scenes are written "too perfect," as if sex in reality ever was that, especially without effort. In general I also write sex-positively, there's so much negativity about sex and sexuality out there, I sure don't want to contribute to that. If I want to show a character is depraved, sex is usually the last item coming to my mind to show this. Indeed, I just may make a depraved and otherwise brutal person multi-dimensional by turning him or her into a considerate or able lover. Plumbing, or not? I write quite descriptively and balance that with emotions. As to gratuitous - to me a sex scene is gratuitous when there is no reason at all for the participants to have sex in the first place. If they do have a reason to "do it" then the scene has a place in the story.
     
  24. Mr What
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    Mr What Member

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    Unless it's absolutely vital to the story I avoid it. Some things are best left to the imagination, and sex will always be better in the flesh or in the mind than it is on the page. Not to mention what you might find exciting might be dull to one group of people, and what you find pedestrian might well be the height of perversion to another. It's too subjective, the language tends to wind up too clinical or too silly, and too ambiguous to interpretation. Ignite the fires a bit and then leave it with the literary equivalent of panning to a fireworks display. You can always describe the emotions involved later.
     

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