I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of reading some middling piece of fanfic, only to hit the sex scene and be immediately thrown out of it because, Good god, don’t you know it doesn’t work like that, have you ever even HAD sex?
The answer, it seems, is no, and there’s a reason why we snark about sex scenes written by middle school virgins — they don’t often get it right. It’s no exaggeration to say that sex (however you want to define it), or lack thereof, is a binary experience. Either you have, or you haven’t; either you know what intimacy is, or you don’t. Moreover, sex is already so fraught, bypassing the cerebral and jabbing emotional buttons that are difficult to express in words even when you do have first-hand knowledge, that attempting to write it from pure speculation seems like a doomed endeavor from the start. At best, they’ll slip by under the radar, successfully regurgitating what they’ve read in other places; at worst, they’ll embarrass themselves with their ignorance. Either way, they can’t write it honestly.
I’m certainly the last person to say that teenagers shouldn’t be allowed to write fanfic (we were all fourteen once, oh yes, and you write a million bad words before you start writing any good ones, best to get it out of your system early), but I do think they’d be well advised to hold off on the subject of sex until they know what they’re talking about.
So why, then, do we have such an easier time accepting narratives about characters who kill, from writers who have no idea what that’s like?