11/6 & 11/13 LwL Workshop: Bad at Sex: Writing Awkward, Messy, and Comedic Desire




Bad at Sex: Writing Awkward, Messy, and Comedic Desire

2 Mondays November 6 & November 13, 2023

7:00 – 9:00pm Eastern both dates (two 2 hour sessions)



Sex can be a fundamental aspect of our relationships with others and an act of affirmation for queer and trans identities, but writing about sex often leads writers down a path towards the transcendental. While this is all well and good, it can be a slippery slope towards cliche and overly metaphorical. We also miss out on what sex often is: hilarious, messy, awkward, fun.
This open-genre workshop will focus on the awkward, the messy, and the humorous aspects of sex and desire. We will explore some of the craft fundamentals of sex writing, including erotic tension, balancing gestural vs. metaphorical, and sensory details. We will also discuss cultural components of sex, including kink and why it is fundamental for disentangling and defying normative aspects of sex and desire. Ultimately, sex and romantic attraction are acts of communication and we will explore how communication is a necessary component in expressing desire.

This is an open-genre workshop and will include both fiction and poetry as short in-class readings, as well as further reading between classes. Generative, in-class activities will help build on lessons through this workshop. Readings will include work from Melissa Febos, Brontez Purnell, Danez Smith, and Meredith Talusan.

Learning objectives

Participants will gain an understanding of:

  • Fundamentals of sex writing (erotic tension, sensory details, communication, gestural v. metaphorical, balancing action v. scene, interiority v. exteriority)
  • Kink and why it is relevant for disentangling and defying normative aspects of sex and desire
  • Stakes and why they are helpful for short-circuiting communication


Hannah Gregory is a trans, queer writer and educator based in Western Massachusetts. She was a 2022 Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction, an alum of Tin House Summer Workshop and CRIT, and is currently a fiction reader at Guernica. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions and has appeared in Taco Bell Quarterly, The Normal School, Passages North, and elsewhere.