Q: I’m writing a gay sex scene and of course they have to have anal sex. I haven’t had any experience with anal sex personally so I don’t know what it would feel like. Any advice for writing the scene?
A: It is my belief that the way a particular person experiences a specific sexual act is incredibly individual. So much shapes it: context, emotional experience, interpretation of what it means, what’s going on with your body at that moment, expectations, past experience, whether part of the experience is your own body dysphoria and/or gender dysphoria, how you interpret the act in terms of your own gender and sexual identities…And then there is the specific person or people you are doing it with, what kind of sexual context it takes place in, what kind of relationship dynamic exists between the parties, what other kinds of sex are also taking place and where this particular act fits within them, what each person knows about how the others understood the act and what it means to them. Then there is how you build up to it, how it goes, what kinds of fumbling and challenges come up and how everyone deals with that, how much, how intense and how rapidly sensations change throughout the experience, how the sexual interaction ends. All of those things go into how it feels in the moment and how someone feels after the fact about what happened.
I think we often make the mistake of thinking that there is a sexual script for these things that we need to follow, that there is one way things should or will feel. Characters can and likely will make that mistake, but we as writers are deeply limited when we do so. Particularly when writing queer sex, we have the opportunity to widen and challenge those preconceptions, as there are less stringent and well-established scripts about queer sex. (For example, a recent study shows that anal sex is not always central or required between gay men.)
When I have written gay anal sex (and I have written quite a bit of it), it has looked and felt quite different for each character. I took a look at about a dozen stories that I have written that include anal sex and found very few things in common between those scenes.
I would encourage you to think about the characters and context and interpretations of the sex before you write, and other than familiarizing yourself with the anatomic basics and 101 advice like using lube (for a good book, I recommend Anal Pleasure and Health by Jack Morin, a classic for a reason), to focus more of your energy on what it might be like for these specific people, and consider what might be shaping their experience of it.
*Part of NaNoWriMo experience is participating in the forums. This post is a reworking of one of my responses there. I thought it might be useful to make it more accessible to folks.