So You Wanna Write a Slash Sex Scene.
Have You Done Your Homework?
by Caro Dee
So there you are, writing your special fanfic, and you're coming
to the end. Everything's resolved and it's time for the sex scene
that ends the fic with a climax. Everybody knows this one, right?
In short hand, it's:
- Declaration of Love (or Hate, adjust for fandom)
- Sound of Ripping Clothes
- Fall into Bed/Couch/Floor/Alley/Mineshaft/Engine Room (adjust for fandom)
- Lube (don't forget the lube!)
- One/Two/Three Fingers
- Various Thrusts and Moans
- Simultaneous Orgasms
- Snuggle/Betrayal (again, adjust for fandom)
This is your basic, one-size-fits-all, slash sex scene. Nothing wrong with this scenario. Dressed up or down, it's the little black dress of sex scenes and can be used for any occasion. (For a truly stupendous version of this basic scenario, I invite you to check out With the Night by A. Leigh-Anne Childe. It's Skinner/Krycek of X-Files, which is not to everyone's taste, but the writing is just about the best sex I've ever seen. It's so dense and rich, you could end up reading it for days. And these guys don't even like each other.)
This is off-the-rack (especially if you haven't added your own little touches) and I have to wonder, 'Is this *good* enough for your special fic that you've labored so hard over?' As a writer, I feel my boys deserve something tailor-made for them, and I bet you do too.
"But HOW?" you ask. You are asking, right? Doesn't matter, I'm going to tell you anyway.
You do your homework.
Now, some of you may be thinking that I'm telling you to research more accurate details of the actual mechanics of sex. Absolutely not. Go ahead and do that research if you want. You'll have a good time and be able to tell your friends, "Well...actually that's *not* how it works in RL." Maybe you'll even get a few ideas. Frankly, I don't care about RL
sex; I want ficsex and that's a whole different ballgame altogether.
Repeat after me. "Caro's First Rule for Writing Slash Sex: Great sex is always in the mind, not the mechanics."
The first mind you start with is your own.
You have a unique mind with a unique perception of the universe. I can't stress this enough. You are unique! Got it? Okay!
This means you have a unique perception of your boys. No one else sees them exactly the way you do. You may think you're seeing what's on that screen, but you're not. You are picking and choosing the details you love and disregarding the rest. You love (or hate) these boys for a certain something that resonates within you. You write a certain kind of story that highlights those qualities. When your boys get together, they are going to have the kind of sex that little old unique you finds interesting
YES! Now *that's* the kind of story I want to read! *Now* I'm getting completely excited at the thought of reading your fic. Okay, Caro...calm down, honey.
Let's back up, shall we?
So how *do* you see your boys? Unique perspective, remember? Write a paragraph describing each of them and dwell lovingly on the parts you like/hate the most. That's where you're going to find all your juice.
Got it? Keep that description beside you-- if necessary tack it up on the wall-- and refer to it often. It's your bible. Check to see if your story is taking your boys OOC as you see them. That's okay, if that's what you're intending to do. But stray too far from what you love and you won't be loving your story-- and readers can tell.
Let's move on to your story, shall we? What *kind* of story is it? Is it a sweet, tender romance? Is it an established couple kink story? Is it a humorous, what else can go wrong story? Is it an angsty, unrequited, take a chance and find out it *is* requited (yay!) story? Is it an amnesia story, providing the chance to finally confess the truth or lie like the dickens? Fantasy role-playing? Is it a pissed off, now you're gonna get it, rape story? Or, perhaps, a well-plotted, almost-canon, first time story?
Please, I'm begging you, do not pair up the wrong kind of sex with your story. An angsty fic should not have humorous sex. A sweet romance should not be pulling out the handcuffs and whips. A rape story should not be ending with a tender kiss (unless it's role-playing, then it's okay). A humorous fic should not suddenly turn into a grunting porno fest. Get the picture? Match it up properly.
I'd like to take a moment to talk about foreplay, all right? Foreplay is good. Women love it. I'm not talking about your boys here. I'm talking about your readers. Ever been on a date where suddenly, at dinner perhaps, you look over and realize you're going to sleep with this person, no ifs, ands, or buts? And they look back and you realize they know it too. You will be experiencing a warm melting feeling and an adrenaline buzz. The rest of the evening is a lovely piece of foreplay all leading
to that moment when you invite them up for coffee. That's a good feeling and you can have that in your story. Whether your boys know it or not (and it's hot when they do), your reader can become aware of the little clues of attraction, the subtle flirting, pages and pages before our boys fall into bed. Your reader will be aroused early, have an enhanced sexual experience (um, you know what I mean) and really thank you for it. Just an idea.
Let's talk about First Times, shall we? These stories are enormously popular for good reason. How our heroes fell in love and got together. Aaaaaw... Gotta love it. But... let's do a little more homework now.
What are your guys' sexual histories? Have they ever done it with a guy before? Have they been straight but curious? Straight but homophobic and horrified to discover this attraction? One's gay and experienced, the other's not? Both gay (or bi)? Personally, I will admit to not enjoying the following conversation:
"By the way, I'm gay and have been for years."
"Hey, me too!"
"So, you wanna boink?"
"Thought you'd never ask."
('Lazy writer,' is what I'm thinking!) I'm sure I left something out, but you get the picture, right? Do not have your boys doing stuff they're not ready for!!!
Besides, inexperience can be sweet and touching as both awkwardly try to figure it out because they want it so much. Or when the more experienced of the two gently guides the virgin. You've got a lot to work with right there.
I always shudder at First Times where the boys are both novices at this and eagerly and easily manage anal sex and ENJOY it. Oh, yeah, right. *You* try it, honey! One of the guys *has* to be experienced or the other will never want to do this again. Ever. Ever. Ever. Your First Time fic has just become Last Time fic. Was that your intention?
Oh, all right, I *did* say ficsex was nothing like RL, didn't I? Never mind. Proceed. <grumble>
So, now that we know the boys' level of experience, how about yours? No, I don't want to know whether you've done it or not. I'm asking about your level of comfort. What kind of sex stories do you read and enjoy? What do you like to write about? Do you have a kink preference or does all this talk about 'throbbing members' make you vaguely uncomfortable?
I will go on the record as stating that there is nothing wrong with the romantic fadeout on the first passionate kiss. Nothing at all. Put that in your story and I am quite capable of imagining the continuation if I so choose. And so are the rest of slash readership, I promise you.
Soft core writing can be quite sexy. Forget the crude four letter words and go with:
"He gently prepared and entered his lover. Holding each other passionately, they moved through that age-old dance of amour. He swallowed his lover's eager cries. And as they both climaxed, he knew he had found the one he would love for the rest of his life."
Okay, that's a little OTT, but you get the idea. It was nice, wasn't it? Very romantic and loving. I assure you that you are not cheating anyone, if you decide to go this route. Just ask your beta to make sure you're not going soppy, like I just did.
If you don't particularly like hard core sex and it doesn't put you in the mood, please don't try to throw it in your story just because you think it's required or because your friends will accuse you of wimping out. Write it the way you love to read it. After all, this story is for you, first and foremost, and then for your readers. It really will be a better story that way.
"Hey!" you cry, "I like hot, stinky, sweaty sex and I want every last grunt and thrust lovingly detailed! That's what I like and that's what I write!"
Good for you. Go for it. Sex is a wonderful, intense, primal expression of physical love. We should all celebrate it! Let's pause for a moment of thankfulness. Hail, Slash! How we love you!
Just make sure your story is the kind that can carry a heavy duty fuckfest. If you've got a five page sweet, angsty piece and then seven pages of monkey love, you might be a liiiiiittle bit out of balance. Perhaps not. A really good writer can carry it off. How confident are you? Perhaps you ought to take your fantastic sex epic and make it a PWP, and then return to your first story and add a slightly less ambitious, but more in theme, sex scene? Two stories for the price of one. Just a suggestion.
So now we've reached the hard core stuff. I'm not going into the mechanics of it, because...
Remember Caro's First Rule for Writing Slash Sex? Remember that great sex is always in the mind, not the mechanics? If there's anyone who needs to remember this rule, it's the hard-core crowd. Well, IMO.
So you've written a really steamy sex scene, with detailed descriptions of every grunt and thrust, and your friends assure you it's really hot. Go back and look at it to see if you concentrated so hard on the physical details that you forgot the emotional ones. That's right, emotional.
I don't care how lost in the fantastic sex your boys are, they are feeling and thinking something, and I absolutely want to read about it. I want to know what they're thinking, how incredibly good it feels to them, how much one of them liked what the other just did and how fabulously sexy he looks when he's moaning. If you can throw vividly erotic, passionate true love in there as well, I will be a happy, happy woman.
Maybe your boys aren't too articulate right now, but you are. I want descriptions of intense emotions, as well as intense physical pleasure.Definitely don't forget the intense physical pleasure, but give me the inner experience as well, please.
Keep your steamy sex scene as the skeleton and build the passionate flesh on top of it and you will have a sex scene you can point to with pride.
Hey, are you typing? Get your hands off the keyboard. We're not done here yet. You don't just go writing a sex scene cold. You have to do your homework first. Yes, more homework. But this you're going to enjoy, I promise you.
It's time to fantasize. Try that scenario on for size. Take it for a ride. Try it from the POV of one of your boys and then re-run it from the other's perspective. Polish it lovingly. And then--when you're all warmed up and absolutely certain that this is a sexy, sexy, sex scenario--then you can start typing.
I can't wait to read it.