Reader Poll: Sex in Fiction

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Margo
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Re: Sex in Fiction? Of Course!

Post by Margo » March 14th, 2011, 4:30 pm

DL_Orton wrote:"Wonderful voice, fresh story, great writing. Unfortunately, there is no audience for mainstream fiction with anything but fade-to-black sex." Really? I don't believe that.
Mainstream versus commercial genre came up A LOT in a workshop I just attended. And I concluded I didn't want to do mainstream breakout fiction. I want to write in a popular, loyal niche market (that only brings in a paltry $700 mill a year for the Big 6).

But best of luck with yours. I hope you prove them spectacularly wrong.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

siebendach
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Re: Reader Poll: Sex in Fiction

Post by siebendach » March 17th, 2011, 10:38 pm

All of my personal experience is that it's the male readers who don't like explicit sex.

I've passed my work around a lot of betas, in different critique groups. My WiPs are what appear, on the surface, to be "male friendly": a male protag who engages in gory violence, and has casual sex with many women. But it's the women who like the story more, especially the sex. The men are more critical overall --- and their comments about the sex are usually strong suggestions that I "cut the softcore porn" and replace it with "fade to black".

I've heard a few theories about this from women, mostly not very flattering to men: something about us being so obsessed with visual stimulation, particularly porn, that we're uncomfortable having to deal with anything sexual that describes input from any sense other than the visual (let alone emotions).

Is it possible that men, as readers, are actually more prudish?

Margo
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Re: Reader Poll: Sex in Fiction

Post by Margo » March 18th, 2011, 12:57 am

siebendach wrote:Is it possible that men, as readers, are actually more prudish?
That's an interesting question. The one beta I lost a few years ago was a male who didn't like the level of sexuality (not fade-to-black, but really tame) or violence in the story (including a fade-to-black mutilation). I thought it was just a personal preference for him, especially since two other male betas thought both the sex and the violence were well-done.

I was surprised, though, reading a comment from a librarian on a blog post about Laurall K Hamilton-style urban fantasy. She said her library was very near a military base, and the LKH books (which keep increasing in sexual content) were incredibly popular with the male soldiers as well as the female soldiers.

Perhaps there's more going on than just a gender preference.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

Leila
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Re: Reader Poll: Sex in Fiction

Post by Leila » March 24th, 2011, 1:10 pm

Hmmm, interesting question.

I read across genres, and like a few others have said, if it fits with the overall tone, style, flow, and feel of the story, it doesn't seem to bother me. In fact, it doesn't actually stand out if it's a natural progression in the context of the tension of the story.

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Falls Apart
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Re: Reader Poll: Sex in Fiction

Post by Falls Apart » March 24th, 2011, 4:36 pm

My biggest pet peeve: when an author is under the impression that the reader needs to be constantly reminded that, yes, two characters are sleeping together. The book I'm currently reading--which is excellent--breaks off just about every scene with these two characters with an implication that they're going to have sex. It's intrusive. My policy on sex would be just like anything else: don't include it if it's not necessary or appropriate for your audiences.

Jacky07
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Re: Reader Poll: Sex in Fiction

Post by Jacky07 » April 2nd, 2011, 2:26 am

More to the point, is it really necessary to provide the reader with a detailed narrative about the physical act of procreation itself? Of course, it's expected, and even required in erotica. Other genres are considerably more generalized, often to the point of including no explanation at all, and leaving the details to the imagination of the reader.But is it important to include a sex scene at all? Often a steamy scene focusing on the act of seduction will have a more memorable effect. Remember, also, that seduction stems from a person's mind, not in their genitalia.The actual physical act of sex is not necessarily what a reader wants to see. Describing someone standing beside the bed taking off their boots, then their socks, then their shirt, then their trousers and their boxers…. Loses momentum, doesn't it?

rosepetal720
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Re: Reader Poll: Sex in Fiction

Post by rosepetal720 » April 11th, 2011, 11:01 am

I've definitely been offended by books that have too much sex. I don't think I'm a prude -- I like it when the characters are in love and they've been building up to it the entire book -- but there are so many books that seem to be gross just for the sake of excitement, and I hate that.

Was anyone else upset about Water for Elephants? There's a strip dance that takes up pages of text, and she went into graphic details about a threesome. I eventually stopped reading.
Author of Sacred Fire, a historical fiction of the Vestal Virgins of Rome.
http://teralynpilgrim.blogspot.com/

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