Velvet D Coolette

'Women can't write male sex scenes...'

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I recently bought the first two books of Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty trilogy. After reading for a while, I checked the Amazon reviews to see what other people thought of them. And... I came across this one, particular comment that I can't seem to track down, now.

While I think the idea that 'women can't write accurately about male sexual desire' is a generalisation and as such is surely inaccurate, I think that male and female desire are very different, if only due to different societal expectations, so perhaps there is something in the idea that women will struggle to write male sex scenes and vice versa. I'm keen to hear what both male and female authors here have to say on the idea.

For the record, I will say that I am female.

Also for the record, I will say that the writing in the Beauty trilogy is quite pretty and flowery, even when the male POV is used.

Edited by Velvet D Coolette

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It is already rather hard to get into the sociocultural and psychological aspects of the opposite sex, much less the biological ones. That much is true. However, having said that, I think that they are obstacles just like any other. A writer might not know what it's like to be a soldier or a medieval knight or a molecular biologist, but with proper research, effort and hard work, they can become so intimately familiar with such parts of humanity that the obstacles are surmounted.

A good writer will write good scenes and good characters, regardless of his or her gender. A bad writer will write bad scenes and characters, regardless of his or her gender. If I come across a poorly-written scene by a female author, my first thought is not "Women are terrible at this" but rather "this writer needs more practice and research." Which is, coincidentally, the same thought that pops up whenever I read anything poorly written.

On the other hand, I know a few people who are (or seem to me) that prejudiced, so I fear I might be a minority. Still, one shouldn't let these things affect them. There are better matters to occupy one's thoughts with.

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Knight pretty much said it all. I don't have much to add, and what I do have doesn't have much to do with the actually conversation.

My thought is on the actual comment made: If whoever it was said something about about women being unable to write male sex scenes solely based on an Anne Rice novel, then they need to expand their reading horizons. Anne Rice has a very distinct style that is, like you said, very flowery and full of detail. That's how nearly all of her books are. It's a tad unfair to all other female writers to base an opinion about all women writers from one author with such a distinct writing style.

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I must agree with Shadowknight. I'll never be a brain surgeon, but it doesn't mean I can't write a story from a surgeon's POV. I'll never be a man (unless I DO decide on that sex change operation...jk) but it doesn't mean I can't write a sex scene from a man's POV.

Though personally, I tend to write sex scenes from chick view points because I like my male characters to be mysterious. It's more fun if the reader has no idea what their thinking because they'll never know what they might do or say next!

I think I might challenge myself to write one from a male perspective now, just to see how it turns out.

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I heard quite a zinger on this topic (broadly speaking): "The current dictum, to 'write what you know,' has produced an entire generation of novels about college professors having midlife crises and affairs."

I think writing only from a perspective one is familiar with, or drawing only from one's own experiences, breeds stagnation, not creativity. Imagination (and research - gasp!) are key to finding those perspectives exterior to oneself.

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Hmm... generalisation is always an issue. Women can't write sex from a male perspective. Men can't write it from a female, etc. It's like been said before: it's about research and how well someone can write. Bad writers from both genders write shitty sex scenes and the badness is usually not limited to the opposite sex.

I'm a woman, and I can't stand Anne Rice's flowery style. I like her plots and characters, but the overly descriptive writing is so tedious and makes it impossible for me to get through and enjoy it. So, I can see why a guy would make that statement about Anne Rice's male perspective.

However, it's a generalisation not only about women but also about men. Because this person can't imagine himself thinking in flowery descriptions, he is assuming no other guy on the planet can. I'll admit to finding that hard myself, too. I'm just as much a product of a gender-biased society as he is. But I've been around long enough to know that women and men come around in various flavours and we don't all experience things the same or in the way society thinks it's appropriate for us to feel. Just because I get a high from being touched somewhere, doesn't mean all women do. If only sex was that simple. XD

I find that I struggle with sex scenes when I write no matter whose perspective I choose. I don't want it to become like a manual to the reader. I want it to be engaging and exciting, but there are only have so many words and so many ways to write something that I sometimes want to pull my hair out whilst considering what other word to use this time besides, for instance, throbbing because I already used the word twice in previous paragraphs. I don't want to become repetitive in my sex scenes, but I find I do slip into a certain routine, too. And upon noticing this, I try to take a different approach with new stories.

However, I can't pull off the flowery kind because that makes me laugh and completely spoils the mood. I read a story by an author on this site once that had vague descriptions for parts of the human body and was still a really good sex scene, but for me that author was the exception to the rule.

And I usually start to snicker when I see things like "He stroked her holier than thou, untouched, sacred place". Okay, fine, not snicker but ROFL. However, I am sure there are others out there who enjoy reading that, which is exactly why generalising about these things is an issue no matter which way (from a male or female, writer or reader's perspective) you look at it.

Or at least, that's how I see it.

Edited by Nerys Dax

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What about us women write sex scenes between two or more males? I have read a lot of m/m fiction written by women(from Dreamspinner press,Loose ID, Torquere and so on). The story I have in the archive is m/m. Do you think it changes the game since the largest target audience for these stories are women? I am sure there is a male audience, and some of my fave authors on these sites are men. But from what I have seen, guys usually hit publishers that have.. Hmmm, how to say it? More of a raw appeal to their works that the average m/m loving old lady perve like me(Well, not me personally. I like the raw stuff :spank: ) would find distasteful.

So is it a question of the authors perspective or the authors audience? Or, did that even make any sense? :blink:

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Both. The author may initially write what they think would happen and how it would feel but once they have a following they will adapt to suit their readers depending on the feedback or lack of, that they get.

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Hmm... I don't think that women can't write a male point of view regarding sex. I certain know of one professional erotic fiction writer who writes male erotic fiction that's read and enjoyed by male fans (I went to a talk on how she makes money from her work). She said it was important to research properly, and she worked to get into the mindset of her characters, who often had very different sexual desires from her own. I agree with all that, because nothing boils my piss more than in the middle of a fic I'm enjoying, to read something wholly anatomically inaccurate or that would do someone an injury. That's a mood killer.

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Please no spankings for using necromancy on this thread.

I've been writing slash for a long time now and I am female. Honestly, I don't think it's gender that's the problem but inexperience. Especially where it concerns slash writers who read yaoi/shounen-ai manga as gospel. Many of those comics are poor examples of the male perspective as well as sexuality. I think a lot of slash writers need to put down the manga, close their fanfic book marks, and do some research. There is endless amounts of info on the Internet if you look for it.

...and just an addendum for the sake of being ever so slightly snotty and pretentious: Maybe it's not a matter of women not being able to write from a male perspective. Perhaps it's just a matter of not being able to write from any perspective but their own narrow one. When I write, the gender is always secondary to the character's personality.

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There is a reason my general introduction for new faces on the SB is, "Spit, tit, or swallow?" There is no `male` experience and there is no `female` experience. There are a few, very broad, common denominators among each sex, but they quickly give way to individual encounters and situations. The only way for me to write the female sexual experience (as a male) is to ask as many women as possible and then pick and choose from their stories for whatever fits my characters at that point. As for the guys, I just get lazy and base them all on myself!

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Please no spankings for using necromancy on this thread.

I've been writing slash for a long time now and I am female. Honestly, I don't think it's gender that's the problem but inexperience. Especially where it concerns slash writers who read yaoi/shounen-ai manga as gospel. Many of those comics are poor examples of the male perspective as well as sexuality. I think a lot of slash writers need to put down the manga, close their fanfic book marks, and do some research. There is endless amounts of info on the Internet if you look for it.

...and just an addendum for the sake of being ever so slightly snotty and pretentious: Maybe it's not a matter of women not being able to write from a male perspective. Perhaps it's just a matter of not being able to write from any perspective but their own narrow one. When I write, the gender is always secondary to the character's personality.

Agreed. I did research before touching the slash realm. I've read a few yaoi mangas and to be honest, they are always pairing a man with the equivalent of a dick girl. In real sexual encounters, male and female sexuality includes several levels of foreplay, communication, and other attributes often ignored within hetero, yuri, and slash writing. It is not a case of purely poor slash authors being lazy about telling the story. The problem actually goes across the spectrum I have discovered. Men also are prone to write horrible sex scenes based upon their mind set, the same as the fluffy female perspective of guy with girl in disguise tales.

Fortunately, I know a number of gay men who were willing to discuss things with me when I asked them questions. They all had a similar view: have a deep amount of emotions when they love their partners. Be a bit cavalier when they are in a one night stand, or convenience style relationship. Men have very distinctive perspectives and expectations in sexual encounters. So to do women in most cases. Women seek acceptance/ closeness/attention/ concessions and, or pleasure. Society has a hand in the female and male sexuality roles.

To write well is not a gender specific issue. Writing well requires dedication, research, and discipline. Remaining true to a characterization that is realistic and believable is another facet to creating beautiful sex scenes. Human flaws can spice a scene so that you are drawn deeper into the connection between characters if well portrayed. The character emotions and motivations shift with every specific encounter.

I do not believe it is a lack of ability to write the opposite gender's perspectives that causes writing problems. As other posts have said, research is a key factor in producing a well written sex scene. Likewise, a strong understanding of different points of view, and staying grounded in a single character's experience can make a better reading sexual encounter. Different people have diverse emotional depths which need to be considered to design a well written scene. Syntax, character motivation, and other elements need to be considered to create a realistic, and delicious story.

Most authors who write poor male/female perspective sexuality are too lazy to do research, or write in passive voice prose is my experience with reading fan fiction, or original fiction. Action can convey many subtleties of emotion, yet the bulk of poorly written sex is hackle raising telling me what I am supposed to notice about the scene, instead of allowing me to use my intelligence while reading. Such prose becomes insulting, or empty of all emotional content which distances the reader from the characters. Having character points of view switching rapid fire between characters, especially mid paragraph, is another off putting difficulty for myself as a reader. Sorry if this came off as a rant. Bad writing drives me up the proverbial cliched wall.

Edited by Kurahieiritr

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I briefly skimmed over these answers, so forgive me if I didn't catch anyone specific.

I think that women, for the most part, are perfectly capable of writing male sexual desire scenes. You only have to look at great Fan Fiction artists like Amanuensis of the Harry Potter universe to see how true that is. She loves smut, and usually does male/male pairings. I've long loved her work, and it's very erotic.

However, one thing I believe (again, this is MY belief, and my opinion alone), is that women will never truly understand the psychology of the man during sex, or during the build-up to arousal. Yes, many men make love to their partners with an amazing amount of love and feelings. However, underneath that single emotion is a mountain of Primal Instinct, which exists in all men. The Primal Instinct involves the subconscious telling us, as men, to mark our territory. To claim it. To mark it as OURS. When a man ejaculates or orgasms, there is nothing that even comes close to anything in this world that is as powerful as placing our sperm into another person. Or onto a person (example: facial). It is Instinct at its most Primal. WE have to be the Dominant. WE have to claim our Positions. And, in my opinion, nothing says that like ejaculating. It's also why we tend to brag after sex, or about sexual experiences: beneath the bragging, we're telling the other males "this is what I did, and with whom" and "I'm dominant, don't fuck with me."

And it's not something that we can help. Again: it's Instinct. It's been this way as long as Man has walked this Earth.

And the same could most definitely be said for Women as well. We, as men, will never know what it's like to carry a child. To give birth. To nurse a baby. To experience those "Mother Instincts" that every woman has when she becomes pregnant. We'll never understand that. Only women will. And women will ALWAYS be better at writing such nurturing scenes than men ever will be.

Anyways, that's all. Just thought I would chime in on this subject. I was letting my mind wander (never a good idea, lol) and I came across this topic while cruising the forum.

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This is exactly the sort of thing that I love to hear, actually. As a woman who writes a good bit of slash, I've also done an enormous amount of research, including the physical and biological imperatives of both genders. I'm fairly sure my daft bugger wrote me off as batshit crazy quite some time ago, but he's sticking around, so I won't complain. I'm always happy to learn more, and hear from more men about the physicality of being male, so thank you! :D

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This is exactly the sort of thing that I love to hear, actually. As a woman who writes a good bit of slash, I've also done an enormous amount of research, including the physical and biological imperatives of both genders. I'm fairly sure my daft bugger wrote me off as batshit crazy quite some time ago, but he's sticking around, so I won't complain. I'm always happy to learn more, and hear from more men about the physicality of being male, so thank you! :D

I've read up more clearly on the answers here in this thread. Research, as you say, is the key to understanding how you can better write sex scenes between the sexes. For guys/males, try looking into the start of puberty, and work your way up through the teen years to about age 17. These are EXTREMELY important years of a boy's life, which will determine many things; namely his sexuality, his future sexual performance, his sexual activity as he matures, etc etc.

If I could speak on a personal note: for me, I started puberty very young; about 8, 9, or 10 years old. And I distinctly recall experiencing many things far more early than most boys probably did at my age; my first erections, first pubes, my first erotic thoughts and fantasies (VERY active for me at that age), discovering that girls were different from me in a physical sense, etc etc. These sorts of things lasted even into my Junior-High-School years, when I REALLY started paying attention to girls and trying to cop peaks down the various shirts of girls who bent over in front of me (hey, I was 14-ish),

And I think that, because I started puberty so young, that I was very...precocious and curious, and did many things that other boys (and especially girls) would only dream of (this was ages 9 to 10 for me; perhaps even younger by a year or so). These things included trying to engage the other neighborhood kids in sexual situations that I myself didn't understand at all, and urinating with friends openly in random places and laughing at the "thrill" of it (which I understand now was a sort of sexual arousal at the time).

As an adult, I look back on these times and sigh with mild embarrassment, but it's important to note such things if anyone wants to learn from these times and experiences to get into the head of boys at a young age. Again, these times (9-17 years of age) will shape a boys life forever. And understanding these times is crucially important to understanding the psychology of the Male Species.

Going back to what others in this thread have mentioned: it really all depends on the individual writing the story in how they experienced such things. Their experiences will most likely shape how they write sex scenes between guys and girls, girls and girls, or guys and guys. And understanding the broad spectrum of experiences of boys and girls is a must in order to understand the psychology of sexuality between the two, so that you can best write the appropriate scenes.

In one of my Harry Potter fan fiction stories, entitled "Cum Once, Cum Twice", I noted in the beginning of the story ("Author's Notes") that I tried to use my own sexual experiences growing up to shape how I wrote that story (it's a Harry/Ron slash; 1 chapter done so far). The fact of the matter is, that as I got deeper and deeper into the story, I found it taking the shape, not of how my own sexual experiences occurred at that age, but rather: how I wished they had occurred. In the story, I tried to show a deep affectionate emotion between Harry and Ron, that could easily be translated into a "Love" rather than just an "Affection". But again, this was based on my wishes, not necessarily my experiences. Rather, the physical aspects of the story (how Harry masturbates Ron, for example) were based on my actual experiences growing up. Not the emotional part; just the physical part. You can read the story here: http://hp.adult-fanfiction.org/story.php?no=600097862

I hope this answers some questions, or gives you some incite, into a little bit about the Male Psychology when it comes to Sexuality. If you would like to continue this with me in depth, you can email me (I'm very open about my sexuality/experiences): vladpryde@hotmail.com, or PM me here on this forum (if you can). Email works best though.

Keep in mind: I am just one guy. A broader expanse into the Male Psych should be sought if at all possible, from any viable source necessary.

Edited by vladpryde

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Having read your thoughts, VladPryde, got me to chuckling. I grew up surrounded by males instead of females so I understand your points perfectly. I'm aware of the bragging and other elements because the guys always forgot that I was a girl when I was growing up. ROFL. If anything I can scarce write from a female perspective due to the pervasive amount of time I spent around men of various ages which makes me quite the oddball. Being in a femaqle body did me little good because I never understood where the girls were coming from at all. Then again, most girls do not grow up fixing cars and tractors and heavy road construction equipment.

You made a lot of great points in your 2 posts. Watching guys having pissing contests and all the rest was a first hand experience for me over the years. The need to stake claims and prove dominance is very much a reality of the male condition. I have seen plenty of different ways in which guys go about the one upsmanship over the years. LMAO. It is a primal instinct, and you nailed it beautifully. The drive to meet the criteria of dominant male is very strong in some men also. So thanks for pointing those elements out for those who were unaware of that facet of the male psyche.

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Having read your thoughts, VladPryde, got me to chuckling. I grew up surrounded by males instead of females so I understand your points perfectly. I'm aware of the bragging and other elements because the guys always forgot that I was a girl when I was growing up. ROFL. If anything I can scarce write from a female perspective due to the pervasive amount of time I spent around men of various ages which makes me quite the oddball. Being in a femaqle body did me little good because I never understood where the girls were coming from at all. Then again, most girls do not grow up fixing cars and tractors and heavy road construction equipment.

You made a lot of great points in your 2 posts. Watching guys having pissing contests and all the rest was a first hand experience for me over the years. The need to stake claims and prove dominance is very much a reality of the male condition. I have seen plenty of different ways in which guys go about the one upsmanship over the years. LMAO. It is a primal instinct, and you nailed it beautifully. The drive to meet the criteria of dominant male is very strong in some men also. So thanks for pointing those elements out for those who were unaware of that facet of the male psyche.

Glad I could help, thank you for reading my thoughts, lol. Yep: it's all instinct. Our Primal Goal as Males is to spread our sperm. At the end of the day, the Animal Within does not care how he goes about doing it, as long as it gets done. Again: the power that a male feels during orgasm simply cannot be explained, or is very difficult to understand from a Female's POV. I can often recall (during or shortly after orgasm) wanting to run to the nearest window or door and screaming outside for all to hear, "hey, this is what I did, this is who I am, and I am the dominant!" At the end of the day, women simply cannot understand that, though many try sometimes successfully. As mentioned before: I believe it is perfectly possible for the opposite sex to write an appropriately erotic sex scene from the other's POV. You just have to get into the mind of the subject to do it, with a good understanding of the appropriate Psychology and Instincts.

I've sometimes tried to imagine writing a scene about a woman using a Female's Instinct, but I usually end up either mixing a hint of "male personality" into her character (usually in the form of aggression), or I inadvertently turn her into an absolute emotional basket-case.

I'll give you an example: a while back, I thought about writing a scene from the Anime "Jormungand" (if you haven't seen it, you won't know what I'm talking about) [In short: it is about an Arms Dealer named Koko who's bent on world domination so that she can bring about an everlasting peace through her control, and she adopts a child soldier, Jonah, as one of her bodyguards].

In this scene (played out in my head), Jonah gets seduced by Koko, and she ends up pregnant with his child. Then Jonah is kidnapped by a rival Arms-Dealer, and Koko just completely falls apart. Which is contrary to the complete and utter control that she displays in the Anime. Koko is ALWAYS in control and in a calm demeanor. Yet, when I envisioned how she would become while pregnant, I turned her into a blubbering, emotional mess.

I did this because I tried to add the added Instincts that I imagined women to develop as they become pregnant. And I have only my experiences to go on this. I watched how my sister went through her pregnancy, and listened to the stories she told me later about how she changed as she became pregnant.

So yes: the appropriate study of the various psychologies and instincts out there is crucial to understanding and writing the appropriate erotic scenes. Anyone can do it; you just have to know your stuff.

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hummm, interesting.

i have been working on a girl on girl scene, and as a guy I have no real idea of what women feel when being kissed in X ways, kissing really does nothing for me but i know that GENERALLY speaking, it can have really good effects on women.

that said, i do like kissing my wife, but its what im doing on the side that gets me ready to do things to her, yes i want to get right in there and have fun, but its only really fun when she is enjoying it too.

thanks to some women on here that i have talked to, i know of some things to watch out for when writing about women or a story to also attract women, but that does not change that i am a guy and i find my self writing in my own ways that would probably attract most guys as to women, a good example of this would be to look at porn movies, yes there cheezy as hell, but look at how they are done.

porn movies for men, there is some foreplay but it quickly gets into the hot and good stuff, you quickly test the water then do a cannonball into the pool, from what i have heard, because i dont watch, porn for women is generally more drawn out, that its more on the romantic side compared to things directed to men, or so ive heard.

i think that regardless of gender, we can each write a interesting story for the other gender to read in all aspects, but because we dont exactly feel or understand the other, we cant exactly create the same effect for each other.

example, 50 shades of gray, i have heard that some women get so hot from it they drag their husband/boyfriend right to bed so they can release what had been building up in them, i really doubt that there would be a book like that directed to men, mostly because were more about the act of the sex than the romance of it, we can have our moments, but generally speaking, our urges to kill, slaughter, fuck and eat have limited the ability to be romantic. ;)

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Hmmmm, if you want to write from the opposite sex's perspective, go find one and talk. That's what I did, I wanted to know what a woman would think about a certain topic so I asked. Someone once asked me why all my female characters are bi, well all my close female friends are bi; including my girlfriend. I know straight women, but aren't close enough friends with them to talk about such a personal matter.

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There is a reason my general introduction for new faces on the SB is, "Spit, tit, or swallow?" There is no `male` experience and there is no `female` experience. There are a few, very broad, common denominators among each sex, but they quickly give way to individual encounters and situations. The only way for me to write the female sexual experience (as a male) is to ask as many women as possible and then pick and choose from their stories for whatever fits my characters at that point. As for the guys, I just get lazy and base them all on myself!

That is, actually, how foe and I met. He asked, I answered. :D

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Women can't write male sex scenes? WTF have I been doing all this time then?

Foe and I met that same way, lol.

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Please no spankings for using necromancy on this thread.

post-167-0-26402800-1401928376_thumb.jpg

In other words, I probably should go back to using that as an intro.

Edited by foeofthelance

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It was definitely unique and better than 90% of the lines I've heard in my many years. :D

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I enjoy writing sex scenes. As much as I want to make the scenes real, I end up making it fiction as well. For instance, "Long John Lovers". A commenter said "it wasn't a realistic sex scene", in a way. But, it's a fictional story. I may have experience, I'm just not gonna be right 100% of the time, on an actual sex scene.

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