25 Things You Should Know About Writing Sex

1. Fifty Shades Of Splayed-Out Sex-Play

Sex is big again. Or it’s “okay” again. Or something. With 50 Shades of Grey out and appeasing desperate housewives the world around with its pseudo-kinky faux-S&M vibe, sex is suddenly a seller again. It’s like a switch got flipped — “We’re tired of repressed teenage lust with glittery vampire-types, bring on the penetrations.” Is it back to stay awhile? Not sure. But right now: sex sells.

2. But Also, We’re A Nation Of Puritanical Shitbirds

To write sex in America, you have to understand America’s problem with sex. Which is to say, we’re a nation of Puritanical douche-swabs who feign shock and horror any time we see something resembling a nipple, yet can giddly chomp on a bucket of Fiddle Faddle as we watch dudes blow other dudes (wait for it) apart with their chattering machine guns. We love violence, and fear sex. And yet we don’t really fear sex at all, we just pretend we do because — well, I don’t know why. Because we don’t want the neighbor to know we own a flavored lubricant? Because we’re afraid our bosses will find out we like to dress up as ponies with requisite pony-tail butt-plug? Utah is perhaps the best example of this conundrum: they’re constantly making laws against sex and perversion and yet they remain the biggest purveyor of Internet porn in the nation.

3. We’re All Riding The Sexual Train

And yet, sex links us all. We all do it — it’s human nature. And everybody got here somehow, which is to say, our parents slapped their genitals together until sexual fluids commingled together and resulted in — oops — us. (Sorry if that insults any of you secret clones out there. You’re just going to have to cope. YOU MONSTERS.) Sex is part of the common experience along with birth and death. We have to write about it. Most people will never shoot or stab another human, but most of us will insert Tab-A into Slot-B (or mash Slot-B against Slot-B or swordfight with both Tab-As). This is in part why we need to write about sex. This is our urge. This is our collective human experience. Being a prude doesn’t change who we are, how we got here, or how we want to swim in one another’s love-puddles all day long.

4. The Smashing-Two-Action-Figures-Together Approach

One approach to writing sex is to spell it all out. It’s action like any other and so you take the two characters and put them together — on a bed, on a train, in a treehouse, rolling around in the warm doughy colon of an ancient beast — and you show the act of these two people rubbing nubbins. Squish-squish-squish. It’s an act of clarity, of definition, of writing sex-as-action.

5. The Drop-Acid-And-Feel-The-Soul-of-Sex Approach

Or, you instead embrace what sex feels like –half of our sexual experience is the feeling of the act in addition to the act of the act. There we are, in the dark (literal or figurative), all our pleasure pistons firing at once — everything is probing fingers and tickled nerve endings. It’s sweat and little moans and then big moans and somewhere, a donkey brays? Sex written in this way can be disorienting, as this approach ignores the physical beat-by-beat action in favor of the physical abstractions and emotional impact.

6. Hybridize That Mofo

Personal opinion: good sex writing does both. It tells me what’s going on and who’s got their index finger where, but it also lets me feel the experience from the perspective of our POV character. I’m not just a little boat bobbing on a sea of sensation, nor am I watching two stick figures jab their dark marker lines into one another. So: do both! (Sidenote: “Hybridize That Mofo” is the command I’ll give on the bridge of my own starship when I want that motherfucker to enter warp speed. Please update your records.)

7. The Danger Of Throbbing, Purple Prose

Sex seems to lend itself to clumsy writing. It seems very easy to fall into the pattern of overdescribing or using words that would require Magnum-sized condoms to fit over them — “His turgid tumescence pressed into the dewy folds of her efflorescent humectation.” Part of this, I assume, springs again from our Puritanical origins: we’re squicky about sex, so we hide it under the robes of our own overwrought language. This “poetry” (not really poetry) seems to give us distance but what it also does is sound fucking awful. Cardinal rule of writing sex: put down that thesaurus.

8. The Danger Of Overly-Clinical, Gynecological Prose

Swinging too far the other way, you’ll end up with a Dick-And-Jane-sian VCR manual of sex: “Tony puts his penis inside Maria’s vagina. Maria massages Tony’s perineum. Tony ejaculates. Maria yawns.” This is probably better than the throbbing purple prose, but not by much. The big takeaway here is, just as you should never use “tumescent,” don’t call it a “penis,” either. If you were sexting to somebody, would you refer them to your penis? OMG MY PENIS IS HUNGRY FOR YOUR CLITORIS. LOL. Probably (er, hopefully) not. Find that balance: a poetic touch with clear descriptions. (Good writing advice in general.)

9. Take A Boat Trip On The Sex Ark!

That sounds like some kind of boat where Noah brings two of every race and nation and then they get aboard and bang like rabid lemurs while the world drowns. Then they repopulate the world with their beautiful little mocha babies but that’s not at all what I mean — rather, what I mean is, sex is itself a story. And, the general arc of a story matches the sexual arc — the way two people meet and flirt and tension builds, then the gravity becomes irresistible and then it’s foreplay and conflict and will she will I ow my hamstring ooh that feels good and — climax! It’s called climax in both modes, both in sex and in story. Then there’s the denouement of laying there in a mussed-up bed-tangle and one person falls asleep while the other feels shame or dissatisfaction or bliss. Sex is a story. And stories are like sex. Cool.

10. Implicit Instead Of Explicit

You can write sex without writing sex. Use negative space to create shape. You can write about all the elements surrounding sex, like the looks beforehand, the dizzy post-coital haze afterward, the puddles of clothes on the floor, the awkward looks from the cat — all of this showing the fact sex happened without having to devote word count toward the actual act itself.

11. Writing Fucking Is Like Writing Fighting

Learn how to write a fight scene, you gain clues as to how to write a sex scene. Two characters crash together in a very big physical and emotional way. One is violent. The other is (likely) not. But they share space just the same, and one can help inform the other.

12. Do Not Watch Porn, I Repeat, Do Not Watch Porn

Er, rather, do not watch it for inspiration. You can watch as much porn as you like. But mining it for your fiction is a grade-A dog-fuck of an idea because porn is to sex what McDonald’s is to food. Porn — rather, most porn — captures nothing of actual sex and everything about some overblown false fantasy of sex. Boobs that look like over-inflated kickballs. Dicks that look like leprechaun shillelaghs. Botox faces and needless zitty closeups of genitals cramming into orifices. No character, no emotion, no story. Just human inflatable dolls pawing at each other and performing acrobatic sex acts that are a surefire way to slip a disc.

13. Sexual Archaeology, Ooooh Yeah

Don’t look to porn for inspiration: look to (gasp) actual human contact. You’ve had sex, right? Use that. You can turn the dial up on the sexiness or aspire instead to capture the overall goofiness of the act, but look to your own sex-life — feelings, sensations, something someone did, the way the Hello Kitty dildo tasted (“It tasted like burnt plastic. Like cat milk and bourbon. It tasted like love”).

14. The Sex Isn’t Just The Sex

Sex isn’t just about the act. It’s about the ramp up. The before. The foreplay. The after. The snack. The nap. The toweling off. It’s all these little weird details — setting and mood and time and event. The Roma character in Glengarry Glen Ross has a great speech that keys into this: “I don’t know. For me, I’m saying, what it is, it’s probably not the orgasm. Some broad’s forearm on your neck, something her eyes did. There was a sound she made…or, me, lying, in the, I’ll tell you: me lying in bed; the next day she brought me café au lait. She gives me a cigarette, my balls feel like concrete.” I love that line.

15. “I Think I Maybe Just Jizzed On Your Alarm Clock”

Sex can be really awkward. Fiction doesn’t usually show this approach (bonus points to HBO’s Girls for showing exactly that), but sex in storytelling is usually, well, sexy. And it doesn’t have to be, not at all — sex can be goofy and funny and awkward as all hell, limbs flailing and heads cracking headboards. Wrestling with condoms and cats on the bed. Hell, it can even be boring (though, be aware: the sex can be boring but the scene shouldn’t ever be). Sex can in fact be so many things besides and beyond sexy — why not go there?

16. The Definition Of “Gratuitous”

Sex for the sake of sex — and in spite of story — is gratuitous. (To mention HBO again, the sex in Game of Thrones tends to fall into the “gratuitous” column — it feels like the scripts often have AND NOW BOOBS AND FUCKERY BUT NO DICKS NO SIR inked hastily between scenes.) This doesn’t make it bad, per se, but it does disconnect it from character and story and is just as gratuitous as inserting a scene of violence for the sake of showing violence. Better perhaps to let it be organic and natural in the storytelling.

17. Exposing Character

Not “exposing” as in, WOO HERE’S MY JUNK but rather, as in how a character exposes her very characterness — persona, psyche, wants, fears — in bed. Sex doesn’t stop a character being who that character is. It reveals it. Selfish. Selfless. Nervous. Anxious. Afraid. Angry. Griefstruck. How characters, erm, “do the sex” says a helluva lot about them. They’re not automatons. Sex is raw, abrasive, illustrative. Sex tears away our barriers, our armor. Show that!

18. Fucking Is Never Just Fucking (AKA, The Sweet Subtext Of Fuckery)

(AKA, “Sub-Fuckery?” I dunno. Shut up, you.) Subtext is the distance between what we say and what we mean — and here, the subtext is between what happens in the bedroom and who we really are. What motivates the act? What lurks not just beneath the sheets but beneath the skin? Is the sexual act an act of revenge? Of distraction? Mutual commiseration and a refutation of shared sadness? Between two people (or, hell, whole orgy of motherfuckers) lurks all these invisible threads in the relationship — it’s not just about who the characters are but also who they are to one another. Sex exposes all that.

19. Ass To Ass — Er, I Mean, Tone To Tone

Any sex scene in your story should carry the tone of that story. If your story is one of melancholia, a porny happy goofy sex scene may feel entirely out of sorts.

20. Sexy Tension, Lusty Conflict, Libidinous Mystery

Sexual tension is just another version of narrative tension — there exists a question of will they won’t they — who will come, who won’t, what’s really going on, what does this scene say, what does it reveal, who put the goat in the corner, what’s that smell? Conflict lives in two characters furiously trying to reach a sense of fruition (which is how I refer to orgasms now: “Dearest, my plans are presently poised to achieve fruition — NNGH”). Whether the sex is frenzied and violent or slow and sad, it presents mysteries and conflict.

21. One Conflict: Sex Changes Everything

In real life — and thus, in most fiction — sex is a bunker buster bomb dropped on a relationship. People do the rumpy-pumpy and think it won’t change anything and ha ha ha you stupid fools, it most certainly will. Fiction thrives on conflict and change and the audience knows that sex is both of those things. It changes the game. It ups the stakes. Sex offers your story a lusty sex-slick pivot: use it to turn your story heel-to-toe.

22. Your Squicky Seat-Shifting Discomfort Shows

If sex makes you uncomfortable, don’t write it. We’ll know. It’ll rise off your words like a hot, funky miasma from a jock-strap left in the sun for days. Back away slowly from the sex scene. Or we’ll mock you.

23. Genre Can Dictate Sex

This is an “it is what it is” kinda thing, but some genres will demand sex in certain fashion — romance, for instance, has rules and sub-laws about what works and what doesn’t. I don’t write like that and I’m not sure that’s great for storytelling, but certain genres demand certain things and it’s a muddy uphill marathon to change that. Maybe a worthy battle to fight? That’s on you.

24. A Sad But Necessary Digression On The Subject Of Rape

Rape is a tough, troubling issue that fiction can explore; it should not be a cheap plot device an author exploits. Exploration over exploitation. Handle it with aplomb; don’t bash at it with a hammer.

25. Treat Sex Like It Isn’t Sex?

That’s weird advice, innit? But a sex scene is just a scene — it has a rise and a fall, it shares the same tone and tension of the story, it’s about character and not plot, and yet something must also happen (the best scenes do double-duty and operate as multi-taskers, after all). The sex part is — well, not incidental, it’s not merely a throwaway, but in the deeper treatment of the thing a scene is a scene is a scene. Maybe that’s the best way to look at a sex scene — not as a preening peacock operating under its own laws but rather, a scene like any other. Except, this scene involves, y’know, sweaty genitals. Which is the worst ice cream flavor ever.


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66 comments

  • Interesting list Mr. Wendig, it makes me want to try my hand at writing a sex scene (my protagonists thus far having been remarkably unburdened in that regard).

    2) THANK YOU for recognizing the faux-SM of 50 Shades. It seems I never stop hearing about how kinky and hardcore those novels are but all I can think is “Is that it? Come to a real play party sometime.” (I saw an excellent blog post about the books the other day that I desperately wish I could link to.) Still on some level it is good to see sex and even the vaguest notion of kink out in the open again.

    3) You have no idea when it comes to Utah. Not only do we consume more online porn than anyone else, we also have a whole mess of hardcore insane subcultures going wild just under the surface. (Leather, Punk, hardcore meth heads). I guess suppression just makes the rebels fight back harder or something.

    4) In regards to point 3 of your list. Not all of us do ride the sex train. A chunk of the population (admittedly small at only 1%) falls under the spectrum of asexuality.

    5) The implicit vs explicit thing reminded me of The Great Gatsby. There is a peculiar narrative gap at one point involving jumbled prose and an elevator that at first seems like nonsense but I heard a wonderful argument that it was actually a hidden gay sex scene involving our curious narrator.

    Again, wonderful list. Point twenty five is particularly clever. Now to go buy your new book.

  • #15 is my personal favorite. I felt personally…shafted (pun not intended) when I “came of age” and discovered that real sex =/= fiction sex. Nothing I had ever read in a book or seen on TV had ever prepared me for the reality of sex. The inappropriately wandering thoughts (…”did I feed the cat?), the uncomfortableness of sweaty bodies smooshing together, the off-topic conversations that interrupt the act. The way it doesn’t always follow predictable patterns.

    I always feel kind of honor-bound to make sex realistic. I like my sex scenes awkward and uncomfortable and I like my violence unexpected and brutal. No glorification here, kids. At least sometimes, anyway.

  • Chuck do I want to know HOW YOU KNOW the taste of cat milk and bourbon?

    T.L., any time you want to write a sex scene where someone wonders whether they have fed the cat, I’m right there. Still giggling…

    Sparky, with regard to erotica and kink, 50 Shades of Grey neither pioneered it, nor did it particularly well. I KNOW at least half a dozen erotica writers who do it so much better and so much more economically. Check out Ellora’s Cave (for a start) and find out what you’ve been missing

  • Interesting to note the comparative lack of comments on this topic…!

    Most posts get a range of responses. This one? Are people so afraid of talking about sex that they won’t even comment on an article talking about talking about sex? Everyone’s got an opinion and almost everyone has some experience in this arena.

    Excellent list, Mr W. I’m still waiting for the Hollywood scene where the couple has to hunt for the kleenex to mop up and then argues over who gets to lie in the wet patch.

  • AND NOW BOOBS AND FUCKERY BUT NO DICKS NO SIR
    HAHAHAHA!! So true!

    My editor once commented that she was never going to get a sex scene out of me in my Blood Lines series. Made me crazy that she thought the books needed it for the story. Not so much. IMHO, she was trying to force them into paranormal romance when they are not. You make a great point that even though sex sells, if it’s not an integral part of the narrative, it doesn’t belong.

  • Lot of good stuff here but I have to respectfully disagree with 21 because that particular trope is one I’m absolutely sick to death of. I would love, just for once that casual sex be treated as such, I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only person in the world who’s ever woken up next to someone unexpected and had nothing change except maybe it’s a bit awkward for a few days. Why the hell isn’t that allowed to happen in fiction land?

    • @Aiwevanya,

      My feeling is, if the sex is casual and without consequence, it probably doesn’t belong in fiction. In life, sure, but in fiction, not so much. And that’s true of anything — a fight scene, a conversation, whatever, should have consequence and meaning within the story.

      – c.

  • Another good 25 Chucko.
    Less is sometimes more (only a guy would say that…)
    Writing sex is like writing horror.
    I can never scare you more than your own brain can, and neither can my words be as sexy as what you imagine… it’s my job to tickle your brain and tease it into imagining your own personal little sleazetopia.

    Personally, I like the simplicity of Anais Nin for erotica, Charles Willeford’s use of sex to define character. But that’s just me. Lawrence Block writes kink with delightful, detached amusement, and Christa Faust’s Butch Fatale: Dyke Dick! Detective stories are a fine balance of explicit erotica that isn’t at the expense of story or character.

  • @Imelda Evans: believe me, I know 50 Shades is not the first, nor is it even a good example of erotica. I mean I have read the Story of O and a few short story collections (and the very non-erotic Marquis de Sade). It’s just that the 50 Shades trilogy is the thing on the public mind right now, and for good or ill that is how some folk are seeing kink. What other erotica authors would you recommend? I do need to build my library after all.

  • I never write anything dirty, at least when I’m not on twitter. Well, almost never . . .

    If I am going to write me up some sex, I try to tap my inner teenager. Not the senseless hormonal chimp version, but the 15 year old with his nose up against the window of the libidinal candy store, the kid for whom everything was desired and nothing was experienced. I try to remember that ache, that longing, that sense of wonder and mystery and tumescent expectation. Because, in real life, you only get to pop that balloon once. There really is only one first time, for better or worse. So I ask myself what is first about this scene for these characters – how will this be new, how will this inform them and the story, what will they feel that they had not, or feel more deeply? Because, in real life sex can become something you never dreamed possible when you were that kid – it can beco,me just another thing you did that day. (Not all the time certainly, not even most of the time, but it can take on a pedistrian predictability such that one time blends into the time before and it’s a little like having another cookie. Tasty and all, but you’ve had a lot of cookies.)

    But fiction is fiction, not real life. Fiction should be real life write large – just the important bits. Everything should matter. So, if your character’s gonna dip a wick or get their pipes cleaned, then there should be a reason it matters. And if it’s going to matter, then the earth ought to move at least a little.

    Dan

  • hat sounds like some kind of boat where Noah brings two of every race and nation and then they get onboard and bang like rabid lemurs while the world drowns. Then they repopulate the world with their beautiful little mocha babies

    I would read that book.

    As for sex, my rule for writing it is: if it does not move the story forward, leave it out. I like writing sex scenes. I’ve been told I’m good at it. I like writing sexual tension better, but then you have to write the pay off. I just think there has to be a reason for the characters to get naked in the first place, and if that isn’t established, I find I don’t really care if they fuck or not.

  • Another awesome set of rules, but I think #25 is the most important. I’ve written everything from fade-to-black to moderately graphic, and my choice of how much to show is totally dependent on how the act of sex serves the story. Is this a significant event in the character’s life (e.g. first sex with significant other), or an everyday occurrence that’s included for verisimilitude?

    If you describe every sex act in a similar level of detail, it becomes like one of those epic fantasy novels where every meal is a seven-course banquet. Sometimes you just want to grab a sandwich*…

    * Not. A. Euphemism.

  • Excellent advice, from one who is always sweating about writing the sex scenes–how not to be too graphic, how not to be too boring, how not to use repeat terminology… how to make it REAL and MEANINGFUL. When I read sex scenes that are too physical I get turned off and skim through them until the inner and outer dialogues start up again. It all has to be intertwined for me. And I’m all right with a euphemism or metaphor here and there, but not 10 in one scene…

    Oh, and … I could do without the dripping or gushing bits.

  • Despite being technically under-aged for this article, I would say this was…useful, informative, and interesting. Interesting enough to add to my blog’s round-up, despite Mom wanting to become a follower any day now. Maybe I’ll think about it a little more.

    On #24, the subject was brought up a few days ago at the writer’s forum I’m at. We were discussing how to write a “strong female character” (there was a lot of debate) and a couple of members discussed how rape is a trigger issue that isn’t to be thrown in for the sake of it.

    Also, #11. Maybe that’s why Fifty Shades of Gray is popular. Interplay of Sex and Violence? :p

  • Being a noir guy I have to go with the tone of the story. My historical series is set in the early 1960s before sex was invented so it’s tough to go too crazy/

  • Ha ha, about halfway though Nano, hitting my daily 2000 words became a game of: I don’t know what to write, I’m running out of time, I’ll just throw in another sex scene. My female protag has two equal male love interests, who know about each other, continue to work together, and kill neither each other, nor her– that should really get the squicky ones going.

    It’s a fun way to explore character and did get me to my 50,000 words.

  • Yes. This. LOL! When I write my books (erotica) most of the time, I write up to the sex scene and then put in a placeholder to go back later and finish that scene. Unless I’m in the mood to write it then.

    Another point is that if a guy is writing for women, remember that women don’t fixate on their own boobies, and they are very much mental and emotional, not just visual/tactile in what they want to see. If you can’t write about loving a man’s penis, you shouldn’t be writing erotica for women. LOL That’s why so many women write m/m erotica. There’s more for them to love. LOL It’s also why demographically, most women do not read f/f or f/f/m, even though men love to write those. Most women (het women, at least) want to read about the peen, not the vag. LOL

  • Oh, and ditto the “50 Shades” stuff. I’m IN the lifestyle, and while I haven’t read “50 Shades” (can’t make it through the preview) I’ve heard a lot of feedback from people in the lifestyle who hated it.

    BDSM is NOT a sickness. It’s NOT something we want to be “cured” of. We like kinky sex. Period. Some of us like being submissive sometimes, some of us like being dominant. Some (like me) are switches and enjoy both ends of the whip, as it were.

    That’s why I write so much BDSM, because I got tired of reading books SOOO fricking unrealistic about the lifestyle. Consensual BDSM isn’t abuse. It’s not a sickness. It’s a lifestyle choice for some, a need for others.

  • Thanks for writing this Chuck! I create erotic gay comics and will be keeping your 25 rules as reference for a long time! My favorite are #15 and #13… so true!

  • 1. I will never get that image out of my head.
    2. I read the first 50 Shades book because it was supposedly good S&M, and I’ve gotta say, it’s a load of bullshit.
    3. I actually got a lot out of this list, because while I’m aware of these things, I don’t think of them when I’m writing. But sex is a basic human drive, and it figures into a lot of our interactions with each other. That should be reflected in our writing.

  • Chuck, love you in your slippery summer Cosmo dress; I think a lime-green tube top might open up the wardrobe as well.

    Good coverage on the mysteries, the moanings, the surprises and the silliness of sex. (And then there’s the challenge of WRITING about that dang weenie/kitty dance, or whichever variant you prefer.) Many good points, but #25, having the sex serve the story, aroused my keyboard the most.

  • don’t call it a “penis,” either. Oh, I don’t know, I rather like the word. Unlike other technical terms, like, erm, fallopian tubes, or vas deferens, it has a kind of naughty sexiness.

    Otherwise, an enthusiastic, “Yes, yes, yes!” to this post. :)

  • “Sometimes you just want to grab a sandwich*… * Not. A. Euphemism.”

    *Snigger* …oh.

    Definitely agree with you Anne, and with Thomas about how less can sometimes be more. Descriptions of sex, food, and horror/violence can get a little over the top if overdone every time they pop up. This risks killing the intended effect or even making the scene unintentionally funny. Especially if the writer is suffering from #22.

    I think #17 and #25 are the most important. A sex scene should show something about the characters, or serve or complement the story in some way, just like any other scene should. Then it won’t fall under #16.

    Great list! And very funny :)

  • I love this article. I like to write about goofy sex. I have one character who’s trying to pull her lover’s tie off and it snaps back and hits her in the eye. The possibilities are endless!

  • Well, I think it would be remiss of me not to mention that fingerbanging totally counts. ;)

    I write romance, so, yeah, I write sex. I write intercourse, I write oral sex, I write the odd fingerbanging scene and the not so odd fingerbanging scene, and I write the ever elusive she came from having her nipples played with scene. And masturbation scenes. The world has perhaps too much masturbation where literature has not enough.

    Sexual tension and sex play are as varied as the human imagination. They should be written as such.

  • Occasionally the natural progression from one of your articles is to incorporate that into the Flash Fiction Challenge on Friday…
    I don’t think you really want to do that.
    Although I remember that it was roughly a year ago that I discovered your site, and one of the first challenges I did involved using a sex act as the title. I wrote some very explicit porn for that, and I apologize. Here’s the link, because I’m not sorry unless you read it. The Train
    But it was pretty easy to write because–aside from blog entries–porn is easy to write for a lot reasons on your list that I chose to ignore: use cliches. Forget plot. Grab a thesaurus and see how many words there are for boobs, throbbing, and moist. As long as you don’t get sucked (–wait for it) into the trap of the glamour and easy money of writing porn that has somehow managed to escape me, it’s a good exercise for practicing some really basic writing skills, like making paragraphs, creating (ridiculous) dialogue, and grammatical yet erotic sentence structure.

  • “The world has perhaps too much masturbation where literature has not enough.”

    I guess it’s one of the last taboos – but also, being a solitary activity it’s generally lacking in conflict and therefore just not that useful in moving the story forward. I included a passing reference in the second book in my series because it felt in-character, but I can’t imagine writing a whole scene about it!

  • I love your 25 Things posts! Here are some of my thoughts on this one:

    #3) It’s not just the secret clones who didn’t get conceived through their parents having sex! IVF/surrogacy can also result in babies. :P

    #12) So true. I grew up pretty sheltered and when I finally satisfied my curiosity about porn, I was disappointed most of it was so uninteresting to me. I wanted story, emotions, characters, not just naked people trying out different positions.

    #21) I think Aiwevanya has a point. A scene in which the characters have casual sex that doesn’t significantly impact their relationship with each other can still have impact/meaning for the plot, and would therefore have a place in fiction. Like if during a one-night stand, the protag misses an important meeting, uncovers a third party’s secret, or becomes injured, it’s possible that the sex was not very meaningful for the characters’ relationship but the scene may be meaningful for plot or characterization (or for the characters’ relationships with other people). I think you could both be right.

  • Thank you for writing this list. As an erotica (and fantasy) writer, I’m damn glad that 50 Shades has at least opened the discussion of sex writing. But too bad it’s getting all the attention when there are other, much better, examples out there.

    Writing sex is *freeing* in a way that writing about other topics isn’t, and that freedom in itself can be downright scary. What I think people (writers) forget is that writing sex is still writing, and needs to follow the rules of storytelling. That’s the challenge I put to myself: to tell stories about people who happen to be fucking. So YAY on #25!

  • So I DON’T have to write a sex scene even though it’s a romance? Thank god! My friend kept reading over the scene I tried (and pretty much failed) writing and told me to stop trying. I like reading erotica (only for the romance) but hell, I’m asexual so I can’t really write it well. It just seems so…messy. It’s like asking a lesbian to write a gay sex scene.

    Thank you and hopefully I won’t have to use this.

  • Chihuahua Zero: You’re underage too . . .? I’M NOT ALONE!

    Buuuuuuuuuut yeah. Found this useful as always, Chuck! Which is kind of scary for somebody my age, but you know. I have to wonder, though, have any articles about building sexual tension? That would fit very well with this article.

    T.J., out!

  • Just finished draft one of my novel, “One of 36″, and the area where I felt most insecure was the sex scenes. Chuck to the rescue! I read parts of your blog out loud to my husband and, well, turns out it was some pretty seductive stuff. Thanks for that, too!

  • I loved this, hilarious, and entirely true.
    One random thought though. The sex scenes in the Game of Thrones show stick out like a sore thumb, but they fit much better in the book. It wasn’t just “sex because fuck you that’s why”, it usually followed what you outlined here pretty acurately. Im my opinion at least.
    But anyway, no complaints, loved it.

  • I am a young writer ( How young? 14 going on 15) Why am I wrighting about sex, BECASUE I CAN. Anyway, this list helped alot If anyone has any more tips I could use the help. ALL THE HELP I CAN GET. Thanks!

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