Getting comfortable with writing sex

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Written By: Julie Midnight

Hello, everyone! I'm Julie Midnight and I've been writing erotic romance on Wattpad for two years. WPAfterDark recently asked if I'd chip in with an article for their How to Mature book and so here I am, stoked to share my tips on writing a hot fucking scene.

GENERAL PHILOSOPHY

Writing sex is no big deal. A lot of new writers seem embarrassed or defensive about having characters fuck, as if it'll reflect poorly on them to have erotic elements in their work. I won't sugarcoat things: it's true that you'll find some people sneering at sex scenes and claiming they cheapen a story, but that small-sighted attitude is their problem, not yours. The reality is that an erotic experience between characters serves the same function as a fight, a job interview, an argument, or any other interaction.

How? Because writing sex is about way more than describing the base fucking. By nature, an erotic scene is supposed to captivate, thrill, entice. But like every other part of a story, it also helps build a character or show how they're changing.

Think about it. If an entire scene can be plucked out without affecting the plot, character, or overall story, then it's undeveloped, and this is as true for sex as for anything.

After all, nothing's as satisfying as people giving into their lust and breaking a bed together after chapters of resisting the temptation. Or two strangers who fuck and then feel compelled to keep seeing each other even though it could ruin their lives. It's because you know who they are and what's at stake for them. You want to find out what this actually means to them. And this is how good sex scenes become seamless parts of a story while sticking to their core purpose of being hotter than hellfire.

WRITING A SEX SCENE

Everyone has their methods, their personal styles, and their likes and dislikes, but if you're totally unsure of how to actually write a sex scene that's passionate instead of mechanical or cringeworthy, then here are my main points of advice:

RISING AND FALLING TENSION. Basically, you're structuring the scene to mimic an orgasm. Many writers who are new to sex scenes simply describe what the characters are doing, often falling into repetitive sentences along the way. That's a bad move because it drains away any sense of passion from the act and instead reduces it to monotonous descriptions.

Fucking is a very biological thing, even goofy when you're not the one doing it and reaping all the hormonal highs, so you've got to take that extra step to evoke something exhilarating for your readers. It's not about writing an instruction manual of how to fuck; it's about structuring a scene so that it becomes captivating as the characters fuck. You have to ramp up the tension as they approach their climaxes. How is that achieved? Well, that leads right into my next point...

SUGGESTING FEELINGS THROUGH ACTIONS. Get that emotional hook in right away! Half the satisfaction of a sex scene is seeing what happens when the characters give in to their base desires, so match what they're feeling with what they're doing.

For example, who starts off in control? Do they stay in control or lose it? Whatever the answer is, show it. Maybe they change positions, unconsciously reflecting who has the upper hand at that moment. Maybe one of them is tender as if they can't help themselves. Someone running their thumb over their partner's mouth can mean a thousand different things depending on who's doing it.

How would readers expect your characters to act? What would surprise them if they got a deeper look into things? Show those answers in how your characters act and react with each other. In this way, you can sprinkle clues of how they're feeling and what they're revealing about themselves that they might never show otherwise.

USING DESCRIPTION FOR MAXIMUM EFFECT. How explicit do you want your sex scene to be? Sensual yet restrained? Filthy as hell? Somewhere in between? Whatever the answer, tailor your descriptions accordingly.

A good rule of thumb I like to follow is to imply instead of describe when writing a sex scene that isn't mature-only. Explicit sex rolls around in spilled fluids and detailed acts and frank terms. A non-explicit scene sinks into the haziness of the characters' emotions and thoughts.

Every writer has their own comfort level, and you'll find yours with each new scene. Which leads right into the final part of my rambling:

BUILDING YOUR CONFIDENCE

If you want to be an erotica author or include erotic scenes in your work, then be prepared to become the cockroach writer. People will use your stories as the lowest level reading/writing can fall to, dismiss you as someone who writes trash, and constantly make fun of what you do. It sucks, but it happens. You're the easy joke, the convenient punching bag, but you know what? That's not your problem. People will look down on you because they've got so much baggage over sex, and sneering at erotica makes them feel better about themselves.

You're not the lowest of the low. You're not a weirdo for adding some spice to your story. You're not pathetic or perverted. As a writer, sex is just another tool in your toolbox and there's nothing wrong with wanting to use it. It's right there with making someone a meal, or crying into their arms, or bitching over having a shitty family, or throwing something at the wall.

Because in the end, sex is another form of human expression. It's a way to connect with someone, a way that people cope with the things that words can't always fix. It's a way of dealing with emotions that you might not even realize are in you, and that's what makes it so compelling in stories. Hell, that's why I started writing erotica; it helped me through some awful times in my life and now I love writing stories that can offer that same type of escapism, comfort, and expression to others.

In the end, it really doesn't matter whether your main character is riding a motorbike or riding a cock. What matters is that they're getting through life and all its hurdles, and readers will relate to that.

So fuck it, BE that cockroach writer! Be as honest and ugly and weird as you want with your erotic scenes. Write what gets you hot, write what's near and dear to your heart, and don't deny that it's important. You don't have to hang your head in shame, or go on the defensive and act like a gynecologist in a sitcom where everything is wink-wink and nothing is meaningful. Embarrassment and detached irony are poisonous to honest expression because you're not letting yourself be vulnerable. And fuck, what is sex about if not being vulnerable with another person?

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