Why not? It could be fun.
Except when he is around. Freud just makes things weird. He isn’t invited to this conversation. Never mind that he would have a lot of fun with my mind because of the contents of the Nightly-Edition, but no, Dr. Freud cannot come to my party.
You guys are invited, though.
So, let us talk about that thing no one wants to talk about except in whispers or on television. Or in a Facebook chat. Or in a stern conversation holding a much loved VHS copy of that one awesome chick with the huge boobs and that guy with the really big…
Today we’re going to talk about sex and how it pertains to writing. And maybe real life. I’m not an authority either, I’m just offering up my opinions on the subject.
50 Shades was a phenomenon. Much like Twilight, it had no real reason for being what it was, but it happened and now the rest of the rational world has to deal with it. Swarmed with hordes of screaming fans as we might be. From then on it was as if the erotica section of WH Smith and Waterstone’s doubled in size. With 50 Shades as the headliner, suddenly I was seeing the same sort of books a friend of mine keeps on her shelf. The sort of drippy melodramatic romance novels that are so formulaic it’s almost painful. Right beside them were erotica novels that I had never heard of, some that I had, and others that looked questionable to say the least.
Why the sudden shift in reading? And screw the Time Magazine writer that touted to the world that 50 Shades was what women wanted in the bedroom. I’m all for S&M don’t get me wrong, but there was something seriously wrong with Christian Grey (or whatever the hell his name was) that had no business associating itself with sex. In any form.
Maybe there was a grain of truth in the matter. Maybe some women do want to be dominated in the bedroom, not for me to judge, but again; something seriously wrong with the underlying themes in 50 Shades.
I return back to my original question. Why? Is it because the mere idea of sex has been so pulverised by our Puritan ancestors that we’re suddenly making up for years of mental oppression with grainy camera feed and $15.99 hardbacks?
I like to think so.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with sex. It’s enjoyable. And, if you do it right, can be a lot of fun for both parties. Great sleep aid. Better than any medication out there. Relieves depression. The only downside is the whole pregnancy bit. And that’s only if you’re female. And it can be mitigated.
50 Shades opened up a world of writing that has been around quite possibly as long as the craft itself. And it really shouldn’t have. Another, more well crafted book should have been the gateway, but what are you going to do? From a writing standpoint, erotica opens up an avenue to be explored. I have an erotica novel planned with the same guy I’m writing Untitled with. It’s going to be awesome and totally screw up one of the best loved Disney movies of all time. And that’s half the fun.
But how much is too much? Is there a limit on erotica? A line that can’t be crossed? A lot of the self-publishing websites out there will not touch a book that speaks of rape with a ten foot pole. ‘No sir,’ they say ‘it’s got to be edited.’ But what if it’s crucial to the story you’re trying to write?
What if the rape scene *has* to be described because without the description, the scene loses its importance to the overall story and a plot point is missed?
Like with anything in this world, sex has a dark side. Hollywood would have masses believe that sex is all about love and happy feelings and omigod is he going to sleep with her? because he totally should! As if sex=love. As if it can be so black and white.
It’s not about love. Well, all right. In the occasion of a healthy relationship; sex is the ultimate expression of love. It isn’t the basis of the relationship, but an extension of it. We are the only species on this earth-other than dolphins-that have sex for fun. Or use sex for domination (dolphins not included). Women have been using it to get what they want since the Middle Ages.
And still use it for their own gains today. Men too. Sex can be very good or turn very ugly. It is so intrinsically tied with our emotions that one bad experience can potentially screw us up for the rest of our lives. I’m not speaking just about women. Men can be hurt by sex. You just don’t hear about it as often because of our society’s stereotypes of men.
The Nightly-Edition scared the hell out of me when I was writing it. No joke. I scared myself. There were moments when I was going back over what I had written in order to refresh my memory for the next chapter, stopped with wide eyes and stared at the screen, not believing what I had written. I have an attempted rape in the book. I also have a complex antagonist that has some serious issues. Which manifested itself into split personalities with a tendency to use a strap-on. She, Tabitha, keeps a ‘pet’ of her own. Someone that is simply used for sex.
End of discussion.
Man or woman, doesn’t matter.
Also in Tabitha’s repertoire is the little girl that was molested by someone very close to her, who keeps reliving the moment. Again and again and again.
Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t go back into the therapist’s chair and have a long talk about what the inner workings of my deviated little mind really mean.
And then I tell myself ‘I’m a writer. I don’t owe anyone a goddamned explanation’.
Least of all myself. Because I’m not sure I want to hear my reasons.
As it stands now, the draft features thoroughly described sex scenes. Not necessarily between consenting adults, because that isn’t what the story is about. The Nightly-Edition is about escape, not who wants to boff whom and the feelings behind it.
Perhaps the editing process will see some of these scenes tamed. Or, maybe the first tale in the Timepiece series will see Steampunk cross over into erotica. And not the good kind of erotica that someone who sleeps with someone else ends up ‘happily ever after’. The kind of erotica that’s akin to a train wreck. You desperately want to look away but can’t. stop. staring.
If it hasn’t been done before already, I might just be the first. I’m not sure how the world will take it, but we’ll see.
So, what about you guys? What are your thoughts? Is there or isn’t there a line in the sand when it comes to sex and writing? Would you cross it if there was?
Readers: how far do your tastes go? Is sex a draw to the book or a turn off? How far down the rabbit hole are you willing to go?
If anyone is interested: