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Thread: Tips for a virgin writing sex scenes

  1. #1
    figuring it all out
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    Tips for a virgin writing sex scenes

    Sorry if something like this has been posted already.

    A bit of background: I'm still a virgin. I have, however, read numerous erotic stories and articles/editorials about writing sex scenes. I'm still not very confident in myself though, hence this post. I'm writing literary fiction, not erotica, but there will still be several sex scenes. Most are M/F, but my (male) MC is bi, so there will be at least one scene of him with his male lover. With that out of the way, what are some tips/advice you guys might have for writing sex scenes? In general?

  2. #2
    Oops I just swallowed a feather SwallowFeather's Avatar
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    Best tips I've ever read came from some random magazine article-- well, it wasn't really random, I just picked it up randomly... And you can take this with a grain of salt if you want, because I've never written a sex scene, but the tips rang really true to me.

    1. Desire is sexier than fulfillment. (At least on the page!) Spend more page time on the lead-up and especially the moments of desire that make the people decide to get into it, than you do on the moments of fulfillment.

    2. Don't focus too much on Tab A and Slot B. I mean there are other reasons people leave that out (reasons which may, like me, not really belong in this subforum), but even if you are going for something really explicit, this writer makes this point: say "sex" and people get images of genitals in their mind. You don't have to explain that bit! People already know what's going on-- it's the smaller details of this particular encounter that would give it specificity and reality.

    There were others in the article but those are the ones I remember. Hope one of them helps!
    Flame in the Night: a novel of WWII France

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW Noizchild's Avatar
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    Do plenty of research.
    "You ask me what I thought about
    Before we were lovers.
    The answer is easy.
    Before I met you
    I didn't have anything to think about."

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Some Lonely Scorpio View Post
    Sorry if something like this has been posted already.

    A bit of background: I'm still a virgin. I have, however, read numerous erotic stories and articles/editorials about writing sex scenes. I'm still not very confident in myself though, hence this post. I'm writing literary fiction, not erotica, but there will still be several sex scenes. Most are M/F, but my (male) MC is bi, so there will be at least one scene of him with his male lover. With that out of the way, what are some tips/advice you guys might have for writing sex scenes? In general?
    This thread helped me a lot...https://absolutewrite.com/forums/sho...ite-sex-scenes

    I think implication is better than a blatant sex scene in a novel. If you are having trouble figuring out the bi thing (it sounds like you are), maybe watch a movie with a scene in it? The only movie I can think of offhand is Brokeback Mountain. I remember that the scenes were strongly implied and interesting. I'm sure others can suggest something else as well.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I will second the other suggestions - suggestion rather than specifics.
    A problem with specifics is that what might seem sexy and exciting to you, may appear perverse and offputting to some of your potential readers.
    A friend wrote a novel some time ago and the sex scenes ruined the book for me. He had an interest in body fluids that I didn't share. It affected my enjoyment of the book. The sex scenes without detailed descriptions of spurts and ejaculations read fine.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Noizchild's Avatar
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    Also, write for yourself.
    "You ask me what I thought about
    Before we were lovers.
    The answer is easy.
    Before I met you
    I didn't have anything to think about."

  7. #7
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    My advice would be that to be a sex scene of any length you do need to know what the bodies involved are doing, fortunately you have a body you can practice on.
    ZOMBIE lost & found https://my.w.tt/39V7zgONRU

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW stephenf's Avatar
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    I belive it will be hard to write the story your suggesting. Sex can be much the same regardless of gender. But often men's motivations can be different and even repulsive to others that don't' have any knowledge of it. Married men often just what more sex. It is easier and less risky to have sex with other men, with no emotional content, than involve themselves with a woman. For a man to have a male and a female lover is more unusual. But if your character is in that position, the love would be much the same for both. but still difficult to write if you have no knowledge of the situation.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Bacchus's Avatar
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    Dig deep into your own desires and feelings, dig deep into those of your characters. How do they feel? What do they want?

    I'm not a hobbit but I enjoy writing sf/f.

  10. #10
    professional dilettante Lakey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    My advice would be that to be a sex scene of any length you do need to know what the bodies involved are doing, fortunately you have a body you can practice on.
    I might say the opposite - what the bodies are doing is the least important element, far less important than the emotions and thoughts of the characters during the scene. There is such a wide range of emotions a person can feel during sex - joy, release, guilt, disgust, fear, power, confidence, self-consciousness, and on and on. Focus on what your characters are feeling, what they are thinking - on how your scene advances story and characterization - because those things matter far more than where body parts are in relation to one another.
    There is no way of writing well and also of writing easily. --Anthony Trollope



  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW stephenf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post

    I'm not a hobbit but I enjoy writing sf/f.
    Hobbits are fictional, no one can say if your discription is wrong . Bi men do actuly exist. If you know nothing about them , I will notice .

  12. #12
    Retired Illuminatus dangerousbill's Avatar
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    Erotica is easy to write and tough to write. Easy erotica is simple tab A into slot B stuff. "I met her in a restaurant. We went to her apartment. We fucked. I went home." Stories like these are too numerous to count, but they can still be made attractive if the characters are well developed. The sex scenes don't have to be complex.

    Tough erotica is different. It involves the delicate dance of courtship and tentative approaches before the final scene, and it can also involve the sometimes awkward, sometimes joyful afterparty where the couple is joined forever at the soul. This is tough for virgins and many nonvirgins, too, because the pre- and post-coital dance is far more subtle than the actual sex act.

    Tough erotica can also be extremely boring unless it's combined with another plotline. For example, in my first published novel, my hero becomes entangled with the drug culture on an Indian reservation, which is entwined with the hero's developing relationship with his female boss at the reservation clinic. In my second, the hero has a fully developed sexual relationship with an older friend of his family, but is being slowly drawn into a (so far nonsexual) relationship with a fellow college student.

    My advice is: (a) read a lot of erotica, remembering there are several subgenres, (b) try to get some of that experience (it doesn't even have to reach a conclusion), and (c) keep writing in some genre, whether you feel comfortable with it or not.
    Last edited by dangerousbill; 07-22-2018 at 01:06 AM.
    Dangerous Bill

    'Lessons for a Dominant Woman' - A woman's journey, breaking out of the abused wife trap to enslaving her college professor. Romantic realistic femdom. https://www.amazon.com/Lessons-At-Ed...438814&sr=8-14
    A prequel to 'Lessons at the Edge' https://www.amazon.com/Lessons-Domin...1439378&sr=8-1 CAUTION: Explicit, 18+

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Noizchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerousbill View Post
    Erotica is easy to write and tough to write. Easy erotica is simple tab A into slot B stuff. "I met her in a restaurant. We went to her apartment. We fucked. I went home." Stories like these are too numerous to count, but they can still be made attractive if the characters are well developed. The sex scenes don't have to be complex.

    Tough erotica is different. It involves the delicate dance of courtship and tentative approaches before the final scene, and it can also involve the sometimes awkward, sometimes joyful afterparty where the couple is joined forever at the soul. This is tough for virgins and many nonvirgins, too, because the pre- and post-coital dance is far more subtle than the actual sex act.

    Tough erotica can also be extremely boring unless it's combined with another plotline. For example, in my first published novel, my hero becomes entangled with the drug culture on an Indian reservation, which is entwined with the hero's developing relationship with his female boss at the reservation clinic. In my second, the hero has a fully developed sexual relationship with an older friend of his family, but is being slowly drawn into a (so far nonsexual) relationship with a fellow college student.

    My advice is: (a) read a lot of erotica, remembering there are several subgenres, (b) try to get some of that experience (it doesn't even have to reach a conclusion), and (c) keep writing in some genre, whether you feel comfortable with it or not.
    It's about the quality, isn't it?
    "You ask me what I thought about
    Before we were lovers.
    The answer is easy.
    Before I met you
    I didn't have anything to think about."

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Some good advice here, maybe what I can add would be of my own experience: don't let your virginity get in your head. I've read some extremely hot stories from self-confessed virgins that were so spot on you would have thought they were in the bedroom with you. What makes a written sex scene good isn't the mechanics of the act, it's the emotion, the drive and the motivations of the characters that lead them to passion. That's what writing brings that a picture or a video can't. Fortunately, you don't need to have had sex to understand passion, desire, and the emotion that goes into an erotic scene. I've written as both a virgin and a non-virgin: in both cases, I relied more on research than personal experience. Just me, though.

  15. #15
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    A few thoughts on the subject

    Let me start of by explaining my "credentials" regarding this:
    I'm somebody that has studied biology, psychology, anatomy, and most medical disciplines that involve both the human mind and human body. And no, I don't have a degree in any of 'em, just a half-century or so of amateur study. I certainly don't claim to be any kind of expert in any of them.
    The reason for all this studying is that I got involved in martial arts quite early in life, and I liked to draw and paint a little. Usually people/figures.
    Both of those things require a pretty extensive knowledge of how we humans are put together.
    The drawing and painting require it so you can construct a figure that looks like it should. The martial arts require it because it's a helluva lot easier to take something apart when you know how it's put together.
    The psychological stuff comes in handy for knowing how a person is likely going to react to certain stimulus, either physical or mental.
    You can make a person behave any way you want if you understand what you need to do in order to get the desired results.
    Play on their mind, you'll likely screw up what they and do with their body. Play on their body, their mind likely won't work properly.
    Got it?
    Okay, now here's a weird fact for you... You cannot induce most psychological reactions through strictly physical means. You can't make a person afraid through pain alone. It's the emotional reaction to the thoughts of that pain that cause the brain to overload and shut down the body... at least until physical shock sets in. Proof of this is the number of people who had horrendous wounds but kept functioning right up to the point that all physical resources were exhausted.

    Sex, on the other hand, can cause changes in the mind simply by physical stimulation that at least at first, has no emotional impact at all. Chemicals cause the whole system to respond. And the same is true of mental stimulation... it sets off the physical chain.

    So, unlike writing a fight scene, where you can separate out the mental and physical fairly easily, you'll have a near-impossible time doing that with a sex scene and make it believable. You just can't separate the mind and body with sex the same way you can most other physical activities. Well, not with "normal" people anyway... but that gets into a whole 'nother subject.

    In the end, when you start writing about a sexual encounter, you're going to have a lot more there that you can and need to describe or dissect than you will with say, a sword fight or a bar room brawl. Even though some times one looks very much like the other, at least on the surface.

    I hope this helps and makes sense, and I apologize if it only muddied the water and made things worse. I understand this stuff much better than I can explain or describe it... which is why I've always been a good student but a poor teacher.

    If you have any questions, ask, and I'll try to do a better job than I have this first time 'round.
    Last edited by OldHat63; 08-22-2018 at 02:35 AM.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW Noizchild's Avatar
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    I will have to come back to this.
    "You ask me what I thought about
    Before we were lovers.
    The answer is easy.
    Before I met you
    I didn't have anything to think about."

  17. #17
    Patron Saint of Sarcasm plunderpuss's Avatar
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    One of the hottest sex scenes i ever read was written by a virgin! Honestly, i don't even think being a virgin is relevant to erotica except if it feels that way to you. If you're self-conscious/anxious and you need it to stop, just write what you like, then get someone who has experience with the kind of sex you're writing to take a peek and let you know if they spot anything that gave them pause.

    (Possibly TMI: I am unvirgin in almost every way possible and i still do this!)



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by plunderpuss View Post
    (Possibly TMI: I am unvirgin in almost every way possible and i still do this!)
    Given that we're all pretty much screwed the minute we're born, I'm fairly sure the whole "virgin" thing is just a myth any way....

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW Noizchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHat63 View Post
    Given that we're all pretty much screwed the minute we're born, I'm fairly sure the whole "virgin" thing is just a myth any way....
    I heard a podcast about it.
    "You ask me what I thought about
    Before we were lovers.
    The answer is easy.
    Before I met you
    I didn't have anything to think about."

  20. #20
    It's Cool, Miss Pop if You're Nasty cool pop's Avatar
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    I just finished writing a story with a virginal heroine. Go figure. An important thing to remember is no experience is universal. For example, women are always told it's gonna hurt when we have sex but I didn't hurt at all my first time. Maybe I was lucky but I had no pain. I did bleed but no pain. I don't know if that's abnormal or not but that's how it was. It's funny because thinking of how painful it would be is what made me so scared of sex. I think that's why many females are scared about the first time, we hear over and over how awful the experience is. For me it was one of those times when what you think is gonna happen is way worse than what's going to happen. So remember that you don't have to stick to some universal belief of what sex is like for a female virgin and remember that the experience is different for everyone.

    Also, one thing I'd say is to make the scene as realistic as possible though. Please, please don't have the guy ram inside the woman. I read a book where the man just rammed himself inside a virgin. Nope, not happening. If a woman is a virgin nine times out of ten a man is not going to be able to "ram" himself inside her without causing himself immense pain. During the scene they were moaning and groaning like it was the best sex in the world. I doubt any female would be doing anything but crying and screaming from pain if she lost her virginity in this same fashion. I shook my head at that book as well as cringed.

    Also, I started writing when I was a virgin. I started writing professionally right out of high school but I could write good love stories. I didn't find anything lacking. If you have ever masturbated then you know how sex feels. Go with that.
    Last edited by cool pop; 09-05-2018 at 01:00 AM.

  21. #21
    It's Cool, Miss Pop if You're Nasty cool pop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lakey View Post
    I might say the opposite - what the bodies are doing is the least important element, far less important than the emotions and thoughts of the characters during the scene. There is such a wide range of emotions a person can feel during sex - joy, release, guilt, disgust, fear, power, confidence, self-consciousness, and on and on. Focus on what your characters are feeling, what they are thinking - on how your scene advances story and characterization - because those things matter far more than where body parts are in relation to one another.
    I agree. Even in erotica you need more than just the "wham bam thank you ma'am". The emotions can go a long way to the point where you don't even have to focus much on the physical act.

    I don't know about guys but I'd wager that most women feel self-conscious every time she has sex no matter how many times she's done it. It might get better if you're with a long time partner but when you are getting ready to have sex with someone for the first time (I don't care how old the woman is or how many times she's had sex), there is just this anxiety and self-consciousness regarding sex most women can't shake. I think it comes from society banging it in our heads that women should be ashamed to embrace our sexuality and desires. Sad.
    Last edited by cool pop; 09-05-2018 at 01:05 AM.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW triceretops's Avatar
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    Got an author's copy of my new romance book today.--pretty little thing, I have to say, but it's not only my first romance, but it is my first flaming hot and very graphic tome. I'm a virgin male author barging in on this popular genre. An Internet GF (which I sought out) contributed to the physical and emotional aspects between the lead characters, and we really ripped the seams open. And that was because we both researched the "how to of it" and read several romance and erotica books before we even started. I had never even read a romance book of any kind in 27 years.

    We both emailed each other over and over again, laying down the dreams and fantasies of our personal desires, with an obvious main focus on true love with an HEA ending. I was really frightened of love scenes, and turned fifty shades of pink during this process. My knees went limp thinking about what my female agent would say about this after she read it. I thought that I might be seen as a dirty, filthy pig.


    I'll admit that we both got rather worked up over this topic for months, and this fevered pitch really added to the excitement and discovery in the story-line. Hell, I think erotica is 75% foreplay before anything happens, and there is a way to write a sexy narrative tease so that you have your reader panting and white-knuckling their fists—aching and anticipating some kind of volcanic release (which they know is there but can’t see), until it starts to tear them apart. If they end up cussing and ripping pages, you’ve done your job.

    Speaking from a male perspective, I knew that I was going to need more than a little help--a straight leg-up opinion and advice from the female side. And THAT was a huge, huge highway to discovery for me—oh, did I ever learn a ton about the female mindset—feelings of intimacy and passion. Although my book is not a straight erotica, it is rated four out of five flames.


    Just saying, I got lucky, went to bat and got a good hit. I’ll find out if it is out of the park when it finally comes out.


    Partner up, if you’d like

    Research—read these books
    Don’t be afraid
    Experiment and have a blast.

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW triceretops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lakey View Post
    I might say the opposite - what the bodies are doing is the least important element, far less important than the emotions and thoughts of the characters during the scene. There is such a wide range of emotions a person can feel during sex - joy, release, guilt, disgust, fear, power, confidence, self-consciousness, and on and on. Focus on what your characters are feeling, what they are thinking - on how your scene advances story and characterization - because those things matter far more than where body parts are in relation to one another.
    This is pretty dead on. I love the word advancing. Sexual love does bring out deep characterization, even from a cultural and spiritual side.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW Noizchild's Avatar
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    Like sacred sexuality?
    "You ask me what I thought about
    Before we were lovers.
    The answer is easy.
    Before I met you
    I didn't have anything to think about."

  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I wouldn't say not to write about the sex but if it' a literary fiction why not just fade to black or keep the actual description of the sex down to a
    minimum. This is an erotica section so I'm not downing sex but sex doesn't necessarily have to be included to convey the connection or attraction the characters have for each other. In a literary fiction, most readers will give you a pass if your sex scene isn't graphic as long as you stay true to the character.

    That being saiid (or rather written lol), if you feel a graphic sex scene is needed to push your story forward, my advice is to write it a you feel and then have a non-virgin beta reader to review it to offer you pointers on areas you're a bit fuzzy.

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