Jun 20, 2008


So for the past two weeks, all the contributors to to the astonishing tome Fucking Daphne -- by the astonishing Daphne Gottlieb -- have asked each other very piercing and compelling questiones and put the answers in their journals on given days. In an act of extreme generosity towards all readers, I asked DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE ABOUT WRITING ABOUT SEX. I am hopeful that the following answers will prevent all future scenes in which mens are stroked to fulfillment and womens shatter into a million fiery pieces:

(Jamie Berger) Write first draft while inebriated.

(Hanne Blank) Having edited several books of erotica and written a lot of it, my advice is to think of the sex scene as being like a fight scene: it should be part of the throughline of the story, and help to develop both the action and the characters. Mere virtuosity will not save it from dullness, it has to have a reason to be there.

(R. Gay) The thing about advising people about writing about sex is that everyone is going to tell you something different and often times that advice is so nauseating. It sounds kind of lazy of me but either you can write about sex or you can’t and if you (not in this instance, of course) need to ask how, you just cannot learn. Having said that, the general advice I give is to think about the best fucking you’ve ever given or received, then add some embellishments so that your characters become the best fuckers they can be.

(Marlo Gayle) Don’t. The market’s too saturated. I wanna make some money. Honestly, I always try to not make THE SEX the focus of my stories.

(Caren Gussoff) I don’t write about sex. I just can’t. When I do, it either sounds really mechanical, or clad in too many twisted metaphors (I blame a childhood spent studying DH Lawrence and Henry Miller for the birds/bees for that).
The way I’ve solved that is that I steal from Hitchcock. Not to sound cowardly, but I cut away from the scene. I make sure that the reader knows sex is about to happen—I can write kissing and people embracing and falling around on the floor, rolling onto the TV remote control—and then, that sex has happened—the proverbial lighting of cigarettes, or the guy washing his dick in the sink, or the girl feeling around beneath the bed for her bra—but I tend not to try and show the actual act.
Even in my story for the anthology—there’s little sex actually depicted. The whole point is about what is happening around the sex. The funny part is that what happens around sex is probably much messier.

(Jared Jacang Maher) Writing about sex is the same as writing about instances of extreme violence. Understatement, understatement, understatement.

(Sarah Katherine Lewis) Kind of. I mean, this is what I do when I write about sex, but it may not be the direction you want to go in: I tend to concentrate on physical grotesquerie and small, revolting corporeal details. I think enough people write about sex like it's some kind of ethereal mental/emotional experience that a few of us have gotta remind the world that it's also a lot like going to the bathroom, too. Bodies are gross. They squirt and smell funny and have lumps and hairs in weird places. This is not to say that I don't have a huge amount of affection for bodies in all their permutations, and for all their appetites from earthy to profound—I do. I guess that's why I like to document the things that bodies do in painstaking detail. Sex is essentially slapstick, and the jokes just write themselves.

(Nick Mamatas) Just say cock.

(Lori Selke) I would like to read a lot more writing about sex that isn’t porn or erotica (not even “postmodern porn”), but just about sex. There’s so much to talk about that gets neglected in favor of the simple turn-on.

(Eric Spitznagel) Don’t skimp on the sexy adjectives. Here are a few juicy ones to get you started: throbbing, slippery, undulating, tattooed, swollen, sweaty, aching, muggy, puzzled, unnecessarily bulbous, prickly, itchy, needy, incongruous, moist-ish, arched, sweltering, sawed-off, turgid, and water-based. Also, keep in mind that most people read erotica for one and only one reason: to laugh. So make sure your stories are peppered with lots of punchlines. I like to write about sex as if it’s a Mexican sitcom. At some point, usually just after the orgasm, somebody should do a comic take to the audience (i.e. the “reader”) and say something adorably unexpected like, “No es bueno!” It’s funny and it’s hot.