I can’t perform in the sexual department.

There. I’ve said it. Before I’m sent loads of porn-site links to
“better” myself can I add that I’m talking about writing sex scenes? 

I find it
very hard to write a sex scene and almost always have my characters kissing one
minute then lighting a cigarette the next! 

My scenes seem silly when I read them back, and I end up giggling hysterically at them. When I’ve recovered enough I
reread only, this time, I’m cringing with embarrassment!

I stink at writing sex scenes.

There is a
sex scene in
A Proper
 but I wrote that mainly for laughs not just for romance. Romance and sex
is so hard to get right. 

Eden is more romantic, and I admit I cut the sex scenes
because they just didn’t seem right. There are only so many ways you can write
about kissing, caressing and getting naked!

With The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch, therefore I am  I have many cut sex scenes on my, er, hard drive that didn’t make the final book. Some were too explicit (for a chick lit), others felt plain daft while some ended up so bizarre I think I’d have been carted off for treatment with a sex therapist!

Suggestive sexy scenes are bloody hard to write! Writers (me anyway) fall into the trap of using cliques and inappropriate
names for body parts (cue a list of inappropriate names for parts of the body):

  • Special flower
  • Pussy
  • Love cave
  • Fanny
  • Front bottom
  • Kebab
  • Coochie
  • Lady garden
  • Silken/velvet nest/folds
  • Gash
  • Bearded clam
  • C*** (can’t even bring myself to type it!)

  • Third leg
  • Junior and
    his twin brothers
  • prick
  • Hard
  • Fun stick
  • One eyed monster
  • Dick
  • Dong
  • Love pump/stick/handle
  • Cock
  • Willy (that one has me giggling every time!)
Euphemisms are OK but get it right for goodness sake! What’s acceptable are usually words that can be read without laughing (or flinching) ie member, shaft, manhood. For a woman it’s: folds, core, heat etc. 

But that’s my opinion as a reader, as a writer of erotic fiction I’m certainly no expert!

The fact
is, I want to include a bit of how’s-your-father in my books. I want to learn
how to write sexy novels! And I’m jealous of those who can!

To write juicy scenes I’m told it’s best to delve outside of what you already experience as the norm. People read for escapism, so we must use our creative brain cells to dig deep: break taboos and recreate sexual fantasies that we’d otherwise be too shy to ask our partner about. 

So what are your thoughts on the subject? Can sex scenes in books be well written? 

9 thoughts on “I can’t perform in the sexual department.

  1. Prior to writing my first sex scene I watched a video on utube that was entitled “how to write a sex scene.” It was really good and the main point that was made is the scene is totally character driven. If you have an aggressive character that would curse, then that language would fit and make it believeable. If that language isn't a characteristic of that person use something milder. I had trouble until I went with the character. In my novel Somewhere After Seduction, Drake Taylor is a very confident lover, so his actions matched his character. In the video I watched this woman explained this has nothing to do with your experience or sexual fantasy it is totally character driven. There is also an excellent book on Amazon titled “How to Write a Sex Scene” that is very good and you can usually pick it up used and in good shape. You can do it….hugs..Nancy


  2. I see what you mean – I laughed out loud at the names you listed. I think it depends on what sort of book you're writing. Using strong words like – forgive me here – cock is appropriate for Erotica. Not so much for romantic comedy.

    Romantic comedy offers up the advantage of using Chesticles, man-berries and the like. I don't ever suggest plagiarism, but I would read novels in the genre you're writing in. See how it's done well.

    I found it challenging when I added sex scenes to my latest novel, but so far I'm getting 5 star reviews, so my sex scenes must have been A-okay.

    Good luck!


  3. I think it's because men are more procedural and women, for want of a better word, whimsical.

    We all prefer the starter and dessert rather than the dinner! That's how I look at it anyway. Not saying all women are like this, of course, but my research is so far showing that when it comes to women writing erotica we're not that brilliant. Romance we stomp ahead, but the actual deed is a little more difficult.


  4. I don't follow why women supposedly would find it more difficult to write a sex scene than a man. By 'power' in the earlier comment, I meant it as an insight into relationship between the two protagonists. Maybe it's a more male willingness to probe this element of power than a female one which might favour trying to get behind the moment of the act instead that leads to the view women can't write sex. But I remain to be convinced.

    I had a (male) friend who always planned to write a novel made up entirely of sex scenes, through which the reader would be able to find out everything about the relationship of the two people involved. Sort of what Henry Miller did!

    marc nash


  5. I can't write sex scenes either. Until I tried, I thought I'd be able to – I'm not particularly shy and had conducted some research, but I discovered they're very difficult to get right.


  6. I've been doing lot of research and found various sites where it says women cannot write sex scenes, and I'm beginning to wonder if this is true. I'm not talking romance, but the nitty gritty of sex.

    And you've said some things that have been advised for female writers to try.


  7. I'm coming from it from a different angle, ie I'm not writing romance, but I find by concentrating on who has the power (even if it's genuinely shared at points) it allows me to track a sexual encounter. Actors during rehearsals do what are called status exercises, where each is given a number between 1 and 10 of the status they hold at that moment and have to act accordingly with a partner who has a different status number. Then the numbers for each are changed and they have to switch. For me writing a sex scene is a bit like that. Then you can refer to parts of the body that aren't necessarily the genitalia, but maybe if one of the partners is trying to manoeuvre so they're head is over the edge of the bed, but the other won't let them – not in any real brawn way, but just in how they two of the are moving together.

    I wrote a whole post-coital scene which contained no sticking bits in other anatomical things, but I hope contains an incredible amount of sexual tension as the woman won't let the man speak and bars his mouth with fingers. It's all about maintaining the sexual power over the other. I've filmed a version of it, but it's not ready to upload yet.

    marc nash


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