How to write great sex - for every occasion
By Grace on Feb 11th, 2015
#1The Very Decent ScrewThe quick, barely detailed scenes. You know they’re having sex. You just know it, even though the author’s not giving you much assistance. They start kissing, they fall on the bed, and… It’s hardly described at all, let alone in the explicit fashion you might have been expecting. On the plus side, you’re saved from embarrassing euphemisms or endless poetic descriptions of nipple firmness, which can be a relief, even if what you get boils down to: “Yup, they’re totally boning right now. No idea how exactly it’s going down, but sex is DEFINITELY happening. See? They’re done and everyone’s happy and relaxed! Look at that! Go team!”
Good for: Parts of the book where they really ought to bone, but there’s more important stuff that we need to get back to and it’s not really a good point for the reader to get, ah.. distracted. Alternately, good for sexy times in young adult novels when you really don’t need or want the vivid details of two teenagers getting it on.
#2The Poetic CouplingIt’s finally happened. After all of this strife and heartbreak, they’ve finally come together. Made two halves into a perfect whole. Like two flowers budding from one branch. Like a pen in an inkwell, waiting to write the story of the rest of their lives. Like a fragrant sausage, nestled in a warm, toasty--wait. Did they just do it? When? HOW?
All jokes aside, there’s something really nice about all the euphemisms, when they’re done well. Especially in a novel where the main focus is feelings, not base sexual attraction, it can be quite pleasant for a sex scene to be a little hazy, like the literary equivalent of movies where the camera pans away to the curtains.
Good for: Tearjerkers, young adult novels and, most especially, period pieces. You can’t take people who speak in thees and thous and then suddenly start throwing graphic porn around like it’s going out of style (prithee, pump my maidenhood harder, my lord!). Likewise, it’s incredibly jarring when an otherwise sad or emotional novel jumps to explicit and very overt sex descriptions.
#3The Emphatic Get TogetherOh yeah, baby. Now we’re getting down and dirty. Because this guy is sex on a stick and we have been waiting FOREVER for these two to smash their happy parts together. In fact, so have they--and our heroine is over the moon about it. We get some good description of the action (cough*oral sex!*cough), and definitely some good details about how fantastic our hero looks with his shirt off, but this particular scene is more about the heroine’s reaction to it all. We’re usually treated to a lovely blend of emotion and sheer arousal. You know the type: “I was just so unsure of whether our love would really prevail, but then I stopped worrying, because I had about four of the best orgasms anyone has ever had. Allow me to tell you about them in great detail, starting with lots and lots of ‘tingling.’”
Good for: Will they/won’t they stories, any story where the guy is either kind of a flat character OR really reserved, sex scenes at the midway point of the story. These kinds of scenes are really good for quick reminders of why two characters have such good chemistry, or for explaining why our heroine is still going after a guy who, outside of the bedroom, is being an ass.
#4The Down and DirtyThis is just a whole lot of very explicit, very detailed, very fun sexy times. Just lots and lots of sex in all sorts of ways and every possible orifice. This isn’t a time for feelings: this is a time for shameless, lengthy, position-heavy description. The kind that makes you wish you’d really planned ahead, because now you’re blushing furiously and trying to hide behind your tablet lest everyone on the metro realize that you’ve just arrived at the bit where he bends her over the table and--oh thank god, this is your stop.
Good for: Wank material, fetish novels, scenes that are more about raw chemistry than plot advancement. Usually the dirtiest (best?) scenes in the book.
#5The Full MontyIt’s time. They’ve had a couple of good sex scenes--maybe even a couple of really dirty sex scenes, but this is the big one. They’ve confessed their love. The conflict is at an end, and they’re ready to bare it all and take their time doing it. It’s the whole package: Tons and tons of sexy stuff. The thoughts. The actions. The REACTIONS. It’s everything you could ask for, but it’s a whole lot of stuff--you can really only swing one of these in a book, because it takes pages upon pages, but it’s well worth it.
Good for: Pretty much anything, but you can really only swing one. It’s best at the climax or the very end of the novel--because you can’t get away with it when there’s still a bunch of plot left to resolve. But oh, man, when it’s time, it’s so worth it.
So there you are! These are our favorites--what are yours?