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Sexually explicit in fantasy - yay or nay?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Reilith, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. Reilith

    Reilith Sage

    Do you write sexually explicit scenes in you works? If no - why, if yes - why and to what extent? Do you think it helps the plot or is it emotional padding? Is sex a thing to avoid in fantasy altogether or something to glance over for plot relevance but not go into it and deeper?

    Share your thoughts.
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    No. Don't read it, don't write it. Sexually explicit stuff turns me right off; I either just skim past it or, in more extreme cases, put the book down. The furthest I've gone in my own writing is some cuddles before the happy couple blows out the candle and I do a scene break.
    TheCatholicCrow and buyjupiter like this.
  3. Tom

    Tom Istar

    Er, a resounding no from me. I shy away from sexual content in books, explicit or not. I don't have a problem with sex; I just don't want to read about the hero's adventures in the bedroom. If I'm writing a story that features characters who are sexually active, I do my best to imply that relationship through dialogue and actions outside the bedroom.

    Sometimes when I read books that feature a couple, I notice that sex is substituted for quality character and relationship development. The author seems to be copping out of writing an actual relationship, using the excuse of, "Well, they have awesome sex--they must love each other!" I prefer to see a romantic relationship demonstrated through emotional connection, ability to work as a team, compassion and sensitivity toward each other, and other features of a loving bond.
  4. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    I'm with Ireth on this. Explicit sex is just for erotica but this is a personal preference. The most I've done is written a couple of sentences referring to the act followed by a new scene or chapter. I have read stories in the past with a lot of sex that didn't serve any purpose and just annoyed me, so I dont like to do it.
  5. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    Ouchie. *Has written sexually explicit fantasy.*

    While it's the urban sort of fantasy, and hence not the usual style here, I think My Lovely Ghost Kana is a good case for depicting sex as part of depicting a relationship. Some of the sex could certainly have been cut, in the same sense that some of the fight scenes could have been cut from The Avengers, but the sex makes the story better and cuter, and helps to develop the couple.
  6. Xitra_Blud

    Xitra_Blud Sage

    No. There is always little to no sex in my work. I'm sure it has to do with me as the writer as I tend to think sex scenes in other people work are a waste of my time but the only time I have some sort of sexual material in my stuff is when it is really called for. Which is odd, because the vast majority of my villain are sexy, hot men. xD
  7. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

    No, I prefer to write around sex. Cut away before the act, or some time after. There are a lot of ways to screw up a written sex scene. To me, it's just not worth it.
  8. buyjupiter

    buyjupiter Maester

    I think I need more books with well written cuddle scenes!

    I have, however, written one explicit short story--just to see if I could do the actual technical writing. I am still horribly embarrassed by it and I think it's properly removed from the interwebs, but I'm sure I'll be hearing about it again.
  9. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

    I'm not averse to sexual content in fantasy, but like 90% of it is poorly written and not engaging. The (two, maybe?) sex scenes that I've liked in fantasy books focused on the characters rather than the sex they were having, and was stylistically interesting instead of being rote.

    I have written sex scenes, always to further the plot or character development in a specific way, but I don't know if you'd call them explicit. I tend to summarize rather than cutting away, but there's still a lot left to the imagination (or not to imagine, as many readers would prefer). If something goes into paragraphs of "Tab A into Slot B" and "It was so hot." and things like that, count me out.
  10. Reilith

    Reilith Sage

    As for me, I have mixed thoughts about it. I haven't written it in fantasy yet, not that I am qualmish about the subject, but I simply don't see it fit into my fantasy writing style. As for general fiction, my writing began with fan fiction and homoerotic role-plays online, so I know that I can write them. I just don't see them fitting for the occasion. Maybe I'd just skim over it in the future, write about the feelings of the act instead of general sexual terminology.
  11. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

    I have written sexually explicit scenes before and have no qualms about doing so again. All art is about self-expression to one degree or another, and a raging sex drive can provide just as much inspiration as, say, sorrow or embarrassment. It can also factor in as a character motivation, as you can discern from all those classic stories about heroic men rescuing maidens from dragons. After all, what straight man wouldn't beat up a dragon if it stood in the way of a hot chick?

    As for whether a sex scene would interrupt the flow of the story, presumably by distracting from the main plot, you could always slip it into an appendix after the main story as if it were some kind of "dessert" for your readers. Of course, even if you never write that scene yourself, there will always be fans willing to fill in that blank with their own creative talents.
  12. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

    GRRM's work has everything, including sex. So, yeah, I read it and I'm not easy to offend.

    But write it… no, not me. My seven-year-old's an avid reader, so I'll want to stick to stories and drawings I'm proud to show her.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  13. I have no desire to read sexually explicit scenes in a work of fiction, so I don't put any in my own work. Seems like I'm in good company there. :p
  14. cupiscent

    cupiscent Sage

    I've written plenty of explicit sex scenes (I put in a lot of my practice words in fanfiction, much of it explicit) but that doesn't mean every time my characters get intimate, it has to be explicit. Sometimes the details of the act are important - for instance, illustrating specific trust issues or the nature (or lack) of the bond between the characters. When you get right down to it, sex can be one of the most intense experiences two people undergo together, so it can include elements of your characters and story that should be shown. But if not, those details - like any other details - are gratuitous and probably shouldn't be included.
  15. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    I don't write it. I don't have an explanation other than that's not the type of stories I'm interested in writing, for now at least. Whether explicit sex belongs or not depends on the story. From my understanding, explicit sex should be an integral part of the story. Like anything else it should serve a purpose.

    If not, then it's just [email protected] There's nothing wrong with that, but there are stories where explicit sex plays a significant part in the whole and stories where the sex is the whole point to it.
  16. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    "Sex is difficult to write about because it's just not sexy enough. The only way to write about it is to not write much. Let the reader bring his own sexuality into the text."
    - Toni Morrison

    That pretty much sums up my feelings. As such, I'd rather start the scene at the end of the sex act, or end the scene at the beginning of the act. The rest I leave up to the reader's imagination.
    Reilith likes this.
  17. Fyle

    Fyle Inkling

    I guess you don't like a Song of Ice and Fire much? One great scene connecting Daenerys and Carl Drogo was described through sex. It can color a relationship in a unique way. Not that I enjoy or care if there is sex (I am neutral on the matter), just saying, why throw out a tool?

    When it is necessary for plot or character development, or maybe a deeper meaning (someone gets pregnant and you want to show the conception for some reason), there is no reason to cut it just because it is "sex."

    Or, of course if you are writing YA novels (but then you can skip this thread I guess because the reason you don't include sex is obvious)

    If you are an adult yourself and have sex, there is no logical reason it should "turn you off" in a story that strides for realism and immesion. If you are an adult who does not have sex, and strays away from it because sex turns you off in real life, than sure, I understand that. It's just part of life.

    I am not saying have a porn scene or be graphic, but there is no reason you can't have a few lines someplace about it if it is written in a classy and relevant manner.

    My completed WIP is 60 chapters, I have 2-3 brief sex scenes I found to be relevant. For the sake of variety, I cannot think of a reason to cut them, nor is there a need to aside from being scared they will turn people off (but the second best selling fantasy series of all time has plenty, so, I'm pretty comfortable with the few short scenes I have).
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
    Russ and Reilith like this.
  18. Clinton Seeber

    Clinton Seeber Banned

    Sure, just write Fifty Shades of Middle-Earth! On a more serious note, I don't think there is a need for sex scenes in traditional high fantasy unless it is like the rape scene in Stephen R. Donaldson's Lord Foul's Bane. That was obviously essential to the plot and story and many things that came after in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.
  19. Fyle

    Fyle Inkling

    Too be fair, the OP did say *explicit* sex scenes...

    Not sex or no sex, so, I kind of answered a different question.

    I am fine with sex, but there is no need for it to be very detailed...
  20. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    I've written Romance and Seduction scenes [not as well as I'd like but okay for now...] that have included sex.
    I've even tried writing a rape, but found that far too far outside my comfort zone.
    I've written explicit sex scenes and then wondered why... They usually aren't intrinsic to the plot, rarely add to the development of characters and just slows the action down. And very boring to read... If I want to fantasise about X character and Y character having sex... I can fantasise about that without putting it into words...

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