I'm so glad someone asked about sex in fics and that you feel comfortable talking about it. I have no experience either and I've always shied away from writing smut because I feel like I couldn't do it justice. Would you mind talking a bit about what you think is a good way to, I don't know, structure a smut scene or things that are important to think of? I know it's different for everyone but I'd guess there's also general things to look out for?
I completely understand what you mean and I would love to offer some insight.
I felt the same way initially about writing smut, and very slowly worked my way up to writing more when I was writing as someone who didn’t yet have practical experience myself. And then I was always second guessing whether I was doing things ‘right’. It of course helps to read a lot, get a general idea of how these scenes work from other people who write it well.
Honestly, porn can be useful too, because if you have zero experience or knowledge, you at least get a better sense of what is/goes where at any given time and how things progress. Though take that with a grain of salt, because porn isn’t realistic usually. And damn can it stretch things out sometimes.
So let’s start with timing. Real sex can go long or is sometimes over much faster than any porno would show you. I like to play with timing in fics, because real life depends on a lot of factors.
For example, if a man hasn’t had sex or jerked off in a few days, when he does, he’s going to finish pretty fast usually from being pent up. But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be raring to go another round right after. If he did go into a round two, it would normally take him longer to finish this time because he just had. So timing is something to consider - how long are they going to last before they come.
Two people don’t always come at the same time either, in fact they rarely do, though we tend to have things happen close together in fics because we want to maintain interest with the readers and not drag things on. That’s fine. But coming at the exact same time is often unrealistic.
As for structure overall, it’s really all about the foreplay to make a smut scene good, in my opinion, the tease, more than get person A’s X into B’s Y. Focus on kissing and touching and holding each other, depending on the tone.
Personally, my neck is very sensitive, and my ears. There are obvious places to tease, like nipples, nether regions (but specifically clitoris for women, prostate for men), touching with fingers or going down on each other, etc. to prolong the finale of sex. Let it happen naturally how someone might get caught up in the other person’s body, caught up in the moment, and eventually it builds so much that they have to move on to the main event, and you can move on to prep.
I’m assuming you’re asking more on the M/M side, since that’s my specialty. M/F can be much easier. There is no prep needed usually, because most of the time, with enough foreplay, a woman will be so wet, it’s just an easy slide home. Anal is different, because there’s less natural lubrication and less stretch and give without assistance. So always take a little prep time when writing that.
Now that being said, if this is an M/M couple who regularly has anal sex, prep time can be shorter. If someone’s body is used to it, we have muscle memory and can be ready with just a few simple stretches. But if it’s been a while, or this is a first time and the person doesn’t tend to use toys on themselves, or hasn’t had another partner recently, it’ll take several minutes of careful stretching and slowly increasing size - one finger, two. three if someone’s fingers are smaller. Maybe a toy before the main event if the person is very large.
I also find smut is easier to read and write in 3rd person limited POV, so it’s one person’s perspective, though which person doesn’t matter. I just find it easier to keep track of who’s doing what. But that’s personal preference.
And that’s the other thing, pay attention to position, what’s where, how feasible it would be for someone to reach something from whatever position they’re in. Sometimes, I honestly get up from writing and mime what I’m trying to do, get on the floor, try to reach or position myself imagining another person with me and whether something is possible. Sometimes I even grab Mr. Crimson for assistance in doing this. It’s very helpful if you’re having trouble imagining something.
Also, if you aren’t a little hot and bothered while writing your smut, other people won’t get worked up reading it either, and honestly, they should if you do it right. ;-)
And then there’s the cardinal rule. Never, ever use the word penis. Or vagina for that matter, or those types of words that would have made us giggle in health class. Coz ya know what? We still internally giggle and/or get taken out of a scene when we come across those words. I personally prefer to avoid using certain body part words at all unless necessary.
“He reached between his legs and wrapped his fingers tight.”
“He reached for his cock.”
Both are fine, but there’s something to be said about implying instead of bluntly stating sometimes.
These are the things springing to mind for me anyway, though it is very situational, like you said, different for each scene or couple.
So I’ll put it out to the world at large for anyone to add to this as a way to help educate younger writers, especially those unfamiliar with sexual activity on a personal level. It’s good to have these conversations without thinking there’s any taboo to talking sex.