So, this is an unusual one, and I’m not sure if there’s a lot of interest in this kind of post, so if you like it please let me know! I normally write about my books, interesting kink/sex topics, or about being a submissive but today I thought I’d talk about actual writing, specifically sex scenes, just for fun.
Warning there is going to be all kinds of graphic in this post.
So many people out there love to write, whether fanfiction for fun, or professional work, they find it a way to escape into worlds of their own making—and so do I. But there’s one particular thing that seems to be a stumbling block across the board and that’s writing a good sex scene. I can assure you, with absolute honesty, that even professional writers of many years can still feel awkward about trying to describe such an intimate act.
I was a professional writer for years before I finally got up the courage to stop doing fade-to-black scenes every time sex came up. It took even longer to feel like I was actually managing to say things in a way that would excite readers.
Part of it is societal, I think. We’re taught that sex is dirty and nasty, and to keep it out of sight, so pulling it apart and trying to describe it can feel, well, uncomfortable. Another part of it is the fact that while we’re having sex, we’re too busy concentrating on the feelings, the sensations, and the moment to separate ourselves from it so we can clinically assess what is happening. That means that later when you try to write it out realistically, it can all seem a bit blurry.
Plus, it’s never easy to take an overwhelmingly intense experience and apply words to it. You’re left to stumble around trying to describe something that is almost impossible to describe—on top of that the advice you get from successful writers is so conflicting!
- Never use words like penis or vagina or it sounds clinical and will ruin the mood.
- Not using real words like penis and vagina is inauthentic and insulting to your readers.
- Never use words like pussy or dick because they’re too crass and trashy and it will upset readers.
- Feel free to use words like pussy or dick, and even throw in cunt now and then, because it feels raw and some readers find that hot!
- Never use euphemisms like “rampant manhood”, or “the heart of her femininity” because those are too silly and flowery, and people will find your writing childish.
- Always use euphemisms because a lot of people don’t like graphic descriptions when they are reading.
- When using verbs stay away from fuck because that word annoys people.
- Use fuck in any way you choose because we’re all adults and fuck is the most versatile word in our vocabulary!
I took an informal poll on Facebook (feel free to follow me there for lots of exciting topics and about five metric tons of silly memes, and jokes about spanking : Kessily on Facebook ) and over fifty people replied. Guess what? None of them could agree on anything. I heard from a large section who said they love it when it’s harsh and hardcore. Throw in dicks and pussies and clits all over, the more the better! But I also heard people saying they liked very fast low-detail sex scenes that didn’t go more than one page. Some people found vagina and penis too clinical, others said that was fine but what they really hated was when the descriptive words didn’t seem to fit the time period and the characters’ personalities.
You can see where this is going to get a bit confusing. How do you know which advice is right? It’s okay, I’m going to help you sort out the mess and tell you exactly what to do. First, take all that other advice, all the helpful writing websites that tell you everything you’re doing wrong, all the books on “How to write” and just toss them in a closet. You might need them sporadically, but the only advice you have to listen to right now is what I’m about to tell you.
Are you ready?
Okay, here we go. You will never ever please all the people who will read your work. Not even if they have previously been fans of your work.
The people who made the advice points listed above are absolutely accurate and honest. Every single one of those points is true by their experience, but that’s the thing—it’s their experience, not yours. They are telling you what they’ve learned from their fanbase, from their reviews and beta readers. Those people may not be the ones who want to read your story. No one can really predict what books will skyrocket to success because there are so many factors that influence it.
There are billions of people on this planet and a lot of them read. Each of those readers has their own particular taste and their own ideas about how they want a sex scene to go, including some who want it to go right out of the book, so they don’t have to read it. If their preferences match yours then they will enjoy your writing, if not, they won’t and it’s that simple.
I can point out to you a different bestselling novelist for every one of those points above, and along with that I can point out to you some harsh reviews for each one as well. Fifty Shades, for instance, is hated by many people, especially authors, for a lot of glaring inaccuracies, style and grammar issues that occur frequently throughout the books—and yet it’s a best seller with three movies.
Popularity, like luck, is a fickle mistress who bestows good fortune wherever she fricking feels like it, and there’s literally no way of guessing if your work is going to please people or not. The single most important thing you can do as a writer is to develop your own voice. Write authentically, write what you feel inside of you and you’ll find your readers. And when it comes to sex scenes—write what turns you on. If your words arouse you then it’s guaranteed there are other people out there who will find them hot.
A funny note, and I’m not entirely sure what this means so I don’t know if you’ll find it useful or not, but over the years I’ve written under dozens of names. I literally don’t even remember all the names I’ve used, that’s how many there are. But I’ve seen people criticize me for writing in a certain style under one name, while that same person says they love how I write, when reading my work under another name—same style in both places just a different pen name.
I can only think it means that expectations must play a part in what people want in a story. If a reader is used to you writing like this:
“Oh Jack, please I need you!” she cried, pressing the warmth of her body against him.
“Do you, darlin’? Well now, could be I could do something about that,” the cowboy replied.
He took his hat off and tossed it on the bed before he turned her around and pressed her back to the wall. He caught her lips with his as he hauled up several layers of long skirts to find her bare beneath them. One eyebrow went up in surprise at the lack of undergarments and she had the grace to blush as his delving hand found the flower of her womanhood and parted the swollen petals in an intimate caress.
“Oh yes,” she groaned.
And then suddenly you present them with this:
“Delilah, I’m about to fuck you seven ways to Sunday, but before I do that, I want you to get on the bed, spread those sweet thighs of yours and show me your pussy. That’s right open it up and let me see you play with your clit like a good girl. Show me how much you want me to shove my cock deep inside of you, baby.” His voice was low, almost a growl as he swaggered closer to the bed and watched the show she was putting on.
“This what you want to see, Kurt?” she asked, licking her bottom lip as her fingers swirled around her clit. It was swollen and tight and she was so fucking turned on she thought she might die if he didn’t fuck her soon.
“That’s it, you keep doing that. Don’t stop and don’t come or you’ll regret it, little girl.” He emphasized the order with a harsh snap to the words that seemed to send a shock of pleasure right to her core.
They might reject the second, not because they don’t normally like those kinds of descriptions, but simply because it wasn’t what they were expecting from you. There is a danger in getting typecast for writers, especially since your reader-base is grown from people who’ve stuck around because they like how you write. This is why some writers use various pen names to separate the styles.
Okay, but when you know your style, you know what you want to write, and you’ve adjusted to the fact that you have a target audience who will like it, and a lot of other people who won’t—now what? How do you write a really good sex scene?
I don’t want to give you a long list of “always” and “never” because there are websites that already focus on that and they’ve put a lot of research into it. Instead, bearing in mind the advice above about finding your target readers, I’m just going to give you some suggestions based on what works for me and a few mistakes that I’ve seen other writers make that have pulled me out of the scene and ruined it for me.
So here is some semi- quick advice:
• Always remember who your readers are and keep that in mind when writing your sex scenes. If you want to try something that is a dramatic departure from your usual, you need to be prepared for the responses which may be negative.
• As writers we go out of the way to use synonyms, so things don’t sound repetitive but when it comes to sex there just aren’t that many words for some things. It’s better to accept that you’ll need to repeat from a small selection of choices and don’t stress about it, rather than stretching to words that sound weird or make the reader snort.
• And this might seem contradictory to the last point but absolutely go ahead and pull up some of the excellent sex word lists you can find on the web. Nothing wrong with expanding your vocabulary as long as you’re not grabbing desperately at anything to avoid repeating. Sadly I’ve noticed a lot of the really good ones are gone but here are a couple I’ve looked through:
• Try to wrap in as many of the senses as you can. I’ve noticed most people, myself included, tend to focus heavily on what the characters are feeling, but sex is a full-sensory experience and if you want to pull your readers in it won’t hurt to mention what they are seeing, hearing, smelling, etc.
• Some -uh- practical advice…try masturbating and pausing now and then to notice the small details. What do you feel as your orgasm is building? How is your body reacting then and while it’s actually happening? You can do this while having sex with another too, of course, though you might get some odd looks if you suddenly pause to take notes.
• Read other people’s scenes and see what stands out to you as hot, and what you don’t like, and then you’ll have an idea of where to start.
• Writers can and should write about anything they want, regardless of their experience with the topic, but lots of research is required if it’s something you aren’t familiar with and sex is no different. I’m not saying a virgin can’t write an amazing sex scene, but I am saying that it’s really hard to get a realistic take on it if you haven’t actually felt it yourself. If you don’t have the experience, you’ll find lots of articles that ask people to describe what various acts feel like for them so that would be a good place to start some researching.
• If you want to write better sex, get a writing partner and role play out some scenes together. Nothing, in my opinion, helps you get over the discomfort of writing sex like writing it with someone else, especially if you’re writing as characters you find hot. Writing role play is like interactive fan-fiction and It will help you stretch your sex writing skills in a fun way.
• Watching pornos is not really the best place to go to study sex because everything in them tends to be exaggerated for the audience.
And while we’re on the subject of exaggeration versus reality…
Here are a few sex facts. Feel free to include any or none in your work. Fiction and reality aren’t the same thing and it’s up to you how much of the real info you want to include. Some readers like realism and some don’t, so do what feels natural to you. Some do get tired of the same unrealistic scenes repeating in the romance genre though. In books it seems like every man has a ten-inch dick and every woman is multi-orgasmic and ready for rough sex as soon as he looks at her.
Why not try mixing it up and throw some real stuff in now and then; you might find your audience enjoys that because it will let them connect with their own experiences.
• Most women don’t scream during sex and many women who do so admit that they do it to stroke their partner’s ego.
• Many women don’t orgasm from penetration and require other stimulation. In fact, only 18% of woman say that penetration makes them climax without other stimulation.
• Women don’t always orgasm at all, but many still enjoy sex even without the grand finale because it still feels good and brings closeness to a relationship. Almost no women orgasm every time they have sex with a partner.
• Men need recovery time after orgasm, sometimes hours., sometimes once a day is it.
• It’s estimated that only 20% of men are circumcised yet you rarely see or read about uncut men.
• Erogenous zones don’t vary much but sensitivity and pleasure are different from person to person. For instance, not all women have much sensitivity in their nipples or find breasts being played with a turn on.
• Even when a woman wants to have sex, and is totally into it, she may not get wet enough to make penetration comfortable. Contrary to what erotica tells us, a hot partner doesn’t automatically turn us into faucets. A lot of women will always need at least some foreplay to get there, some women will need a lot of foreplay, and some will always need lube for penetration. It’s just the way it is.
As women age they tend to need outside lubrication more. Women in their thirties and up tend to produce less of their own and post-menopause it decreases significantly so if you’re writing an older character bear that in mind.
• Some women like men with large penises, and some definitely do not. As much variety as there is in penis length, there is just as much in depth in the vagina. The average vagina is 3-4 inches but can expand up to 200% when aroused. Can, but doesn’t always. For some women a guy with a 10-inch dick is always going to be more pain than pleasure. Of course, if you are writing a woman who is a masochist that could work out just fine.
• Female ejaculation (or squirting) is rare. Some women report doing it only during certain activities like fisting, or with powerful vibrators. Some women have experienced it once or twice in their life. Some women have never and will never experience it.
• Men are not pussy whisperers. There are very few men who can go down on a woman and instantly know the exact right spot to hit during oral sex. Every woman is different so even if he is experienced with oral sex it’s not going to give him a magic map. Realistic oral has a lot of “To the left, down a little. Yes, there! Don’t stop… wait damn it! Um move to the right…”
• Most women aren’t shrieking “Fuck me harder, daddy!” during sex, but giving directions is common, and so is expressing love, or hey even just conversation.
• Sex can be and often is hilarious. Between the funny squelching sounds and the slapstick that can occur when two people are all over each other—things happen. Don’t be afraid to put a little humor in your sex scenes. It won’t take away from the enjoyment of the scene and it will add a lot of realism.
So that is my writing advice. If you find it helpful, please let me know in comments, or you can contact me privately via the contact page if you’re shy! If this topic bores you, and you’d rather just see more posts about kinky stuff you can tell me that too. And feel free to ask me any questions because whether I can answer them or not, they are bound to give me ideas on things to post.