This Time I'm REALLY Talking About Sex

So everyone keeps talking about the five-minute sex scene, replete with blue wang, in Watchmen.  Keeping in mind that I have a refrigerator magnet that declares, “I Heart Porn,” (it is helping my Xena magnet hold up a wedding invite at the moment), this has done nothing to decrease my desire to see the film.



In the meantime, a lot of people brought up the fact that UF tends to be sexy in their comments to my post about what IS urban fantasy.  My own editor, gods bless her, called my series, “Horny.”  She wasn’t referring to my Satyr, although Caleb does sport very large horns, indeed.



I’ve also made mention of my lovely student and VOXer, Kayla Beck, who, when I told her I wrote UF, said, “Is that hor-mance, like Anita Blake?”  I nearly cried laughing.  It was the perfect appellation.  I told her to stick comic before horror and romance, and you had my book in a nutshell, sistah.  



Not all UF, of course, has the sexysexy.  That said, I gotta admit I like my UF with sex.  I’m sorry, but I do.  I don’t HAVE to have the sex, but I enjoy the sex.  Then again, I think most things in life are better when integrated with sex.  Which would make me a public nuisance if I weren’t so petty bourgeois that I am more afraid of the po-po than I am set on combining otherwise innocuous activities (Driving! Fishing!  Getting the mail!) with sex.  



Which all leads me to my question.  My book is definitely not romance.  There’s never going to be an HEA ending (in fact, I’m going to have a highly ironized HEA parody), and Jane is one tough cookie, when it comes to relationships.  She is not impressed by some big Alpha male show of dominance as love.  We’re going to see her falling for people, but never falling so hard she loses Jane.  And yet, if I’m honest, my book is very romanc-ey.  There’s dancing, and there’s sex, and there are at least two dates.  There’s even a moonlight picnic, and a gratuitous sugar daddy shopping scene (it’s really part of an investigation and it’s the only way they can get the Succubus to talk).  



So my books are sexy and romanc-ey UF.  They’re comic hor-mance!  But, speaking of Anita Blake, I’ve heard a lot of people say that all the sex ruined that series.  I don’t feel that way (see my refrigerator magnet), but I do hear it a lot.  I don’t know if that’s because of the amount of sex, period, in those books, or because of the rather dramatic change in position (ha!) regarding sex that Anita makes during the series.  In other words, I wonder whether some readers out there resent the sex?  Do you think writers, like me, who inject (ha!) sex into their series are doing a disservice to UF?  Or are we merely writing a sub-sub-genre (the sexysexy UF) of our sub-genre that is urban fantasy?  If you actually don’t mind, and read both quite happily, what’s your favorite euphemism?  Least favorite?

Comments

Chris said…
I think it's that Anita Blake went from having a plot and a bit of sex to having virtually all sex and minimal plot. Hell, there are books that only cover a few hours and 95% of those are spent in bed. Basically, it got boring. Sad, but true. :)
T.M. Thomas said…
My first exposure to books with the sex was an array of crappy westerns someone gave my dad. They tended to be Penthouse forum on horses and six gun battles, featuring improbably endowed people, etc., etc.

I know there is good erotica out there--some written by LRA types--and some good fantasy novels that explore the more graphic elements of romancey-stuff.

Yet I'm always transported back to my first exposure (heh) and how awful the gonzo-porn-masquerading-as-fiction (almost diametrically opposed to erotic fiction) tended to be and it pulls me out (heh) of the scene.

One exception (out of several occuring to me, negating my previous point) I will note, though: Stacia Kane's Demon Inside had a well-done and uberhot scene that, imho, fit the characters well.
Nicole Peeler said…
Chris: Funnily enough, I'm never bored by 95% sex. See my fridge magnet! ;-) But yeah, I can see how if you started the series without knowing the sexysexy rumors, you would be surprised by how the series ended up.

TM: Stacia is definitely the Queen du SexySexy. That scene rocked my casbah. Let us genuflect.
JSB said…
For me it totally comes down to what suits the characters, the book and the author. I dislike explicit sex for the sake of explicit sex. This is why the Anita books were destroyed for me. The changes were not true to the character personality and became sex for the sake of sex and at the expense of plot, character development and common sense. If I can cut the sex scene out of the book and it makes no difference to the plot, character development or quality of the book then I don't think it should have been there. It's fan service in some cases and author fun, sure, but doesn't do anything for me and will prolly get the book tossed on the pile for donate somewhere.

I also don't like that explicit sex is becoming so much of an expectation for adult UF. There is a LOT of good UF which has sensual and even sexual content which is not explicit. Most of what I write falls into that camp and most of what I prefer to read falls into that camp. I love strong heroes and heroines who have healthy romantic lives, but I can figure out the details of how tab B goes into slot A without being given a technical diagram.

As well I agree with what Chris said...at a certain point I'm bored with the bedroom play of my favorite characters and want to see them doing other stuff besides each other. :P

~Jana
selestial-owg said…
I agree with Chris about the demise of Anita Blake. For me it had less to do with "more sex" than it did the distinct lack of plot. I don't read a book for sex, I read it for characters and a story.

But, I don't mind sex in the books I read. A lot of times it really fits the characters, the situation, the tone, etc. In those cases, fade to black would be a disservice to the reader. There are times we don't need details, but I wouldn't go so far as to say to cut the sex. Where's the fun in that?
Thom said…
Porn hearts you too ;)

I don't think UF fans resent the sex. Sex is a major part of life so it rears it's head (no pun intended) in most of the things I like to read. Urban Fantasy has the sex in it, the Wild Cards series was full of the sex, Chuck Palahniuk has the sex in his books, Chris Moore has the sex in his books.

People like sex. Well, except for Shakers, they like furniture. But furniture making scenes are hard to pull off (no pun intended) and honestly, how much fiction do Shakers read anyway?

Comic hor-mance, best name for a genre yet.
kim wells said…
Dang. Smarter people got here before me. I loved Anita Blake, and I loved the series for a long time. I liked the mix of sexy w/detective. But then the shift into very graphic scenes happened. It wasn't so much that shift but like those folks above me said, (sounds kinda naughty!) it was that the plot suffered. The books became much more like porn films where the "not sex" scenes were just vehicles to get you into the copy room with the hot pizza delivery person. (Or pizza delivery wolf. If it's UF.) I would be fine with the sex in Anita's world if there were more story line. I kept hoping, kept reading a few of the books waiting for more plot. It wasn't that I resented the sex, I resented the lack of anything else. What happened to her zombie job? The detective work w/ the police? Doesn't she jog anymore? All I know I show she likes three-ways, now.

I thought Stacia did a good job w/ the sex, for example. I haven't gotten to read your work yet (hint hint) but I like a good bawdy scene now and then. I just want more now and less then.

Blue wang!? Are you kidding me? That's the best review I've seen of Watchmen!! NOW I can't wait 'til it comes out on DVD.
Thom said…
Since Dr. Manhattan is damn near omnipotent, I've been using the term "Glowing Blue God-wang".

mainly because it's fun to say "God-wang"
Gina said…
Count me in for resenting the sex in UF. It's one of the reasons I don't buy much UF. (I'm not a romance reader either.)

I think sex should be played lightly, and ALWAYS because it has a purpose in advancing the plot. Not gratutiously. I don't have gratuitous sex in my personal life, and I don't want to read it.

I read a couple of earlier Anita Blake books apparently, and I simply didn't get into Anita Blake enough to keep reading. Now I know not to give it another try.

In fact I was on the fence about seeing Watchmen, because I just wasn't sure about it. Now that I know there's a graphic sex scene in it, I know I'll pass.
Nicole Peeler said…
Jana: Your bringing up the term "explicit" is really interesting, and a good nuance tot he discussion. I absolutely agree that good sex in UF needs to have a purpose, and I think mine definitely does. But there's also a tone that is less explicit (besides all the vagaries of language) that I think works well in a lot of UF. That's what I think is so good about the sex in Stacia's Personal Demons. The TONE is perfect; the tone tells us so much about Greyson and Megan AND the book. So even though her scene is more explicit than a lot of stuff I'm read, in some ways, the tone never jars and it seems NATURAL rather than "explicit" with all the negative connotations of vulgarity that term carries.

Selestial OWG: That's a good point about the "fade to black." Because I found it interesting when I chose to fade to black and when I chose to write the sex scene, especially in my second novel. I had a lot fo sex scenes outlined that I ended up cutting with a fade to black, but then I had new scenes pop up. I think when I was outlining, I was like, "Oh, sex would be good here," but when I was writing, scenes either NEEDED the sex or they didn't. When it wasn't needed, I thought cutting was stronger. And where it was needed, the scenes were more interesting than what I'd envisioned, because it wasn't about having a sex scene but about throwing new light on the characters.

Thom: Please intend ALL of your puns, because I love them. And you made me snort diet mt. dew out of my nose with the god wang thing. I heart you and your god wang comment. Thank you.

Kim: I have not yet gotten to the three-ways. I am looking forward to it. Which book is that? ;-)

Gina: Thanks for the post! I think you definitely represent a contingent of readers who are confused by what can appear to be a conflation of UF with Romance, or even erotica. I hope you don't find Jane gratuitous, if you read her when she comes out. There are no blue wangs, and I think the sex scenes are relatively subtle. But they could suck, only like five people have read it. ;-)
Kat said…
I agree with Thom. Anita Blake was, at the beginning, very plot-based with an almost virginal heroine. Over time she got more in touch with her inner sexy lady... and then suddenly it was all about her inner whore. Plot was all about how many men she can add to her harem, and the 'fix' always seems to be sexual.

I have no problem when sex in the story; I love LKH's Meredith Gentry series and those are way sexual. My problem with the Anita Blake series, and why I wait for them to come to the library now rather than buying them, is that the character's behaviour changed SOOOO drastically that I am not even sure its the same woman. Anita used to be an ass-kicking woman would be more willing to solve things with a stake than anything else. Now she is more likely to whip her clothes off and settle things that way. Sex has taken over the characters and the plot, and I admit I do resent it.

On the other hand, I still buy Merry Gentry books because the character and plot has remained the same. Sure there'll be lots and lots of sex, but that is in keeping with the way the plot and characters were set out. Makes sense, and I am fine with it.

It's not the amount of sex in a book that turns me off (or on), its how it relates to the plot.
Thom said…
That would absolutely be the best blurb evar!

"I heart you and your godwang..."
-Nicole Peeler
Nicole Peeler said…
Kat: So there's lots of sex in that series, is there? *note to self: buy that series* I hear ya on the HUGE change in Anita. It didn't bother me that much because I was expecting it (and waiting for it to happen, because I'm a perv) but I can totally see that if you started with the series not knowing where it would go it would be VERY strange. Anita does change in seismic ways.

Thom: I can add that to my growing list of inappropriate blurbs. Or you can brag in the locker room, "Nicole Peeler hearts my godwang." To which people will respond, "Who the hell is Nicole Peeler?" So maybe you should just say, "Chicks dig my god wang." That would make quite the tattoo, in old english script, across a man's belly.
Gareth said…
Hey Nicole et al,
To be honest what annoyed me with the Anita Blake series is the fact that it went from an acceptable story to a sexploit with neglible plot that felt like it was only thrown in at the last minute.

With plot points being resolved at the last minute over about 10 pages. Sex in a novel isn't a problem provided it helps to "thrust" the novel forward.

With Anita you do have to wonder how long she spends in the shower and, if we're going to be brutal here, how long it takes her to clean up the mess that will be dripping everywhere.

Im not saying that sex in a novel is a bad thing, just that it seems to be a marketable commodity for a lazy author who just doesn't want to deal with plot issues. I loved Defoe's Moll Flanders (especially the Alex Kingsley adaptation.)

I look forward to your novel Nicole as it will be interesting to see how your mind works.
Kat Richardson said…
As a writer in the niche who does NOT write a lot of sex, I find the expectation that UF will be sexy frustrating. I don't disinclude sex, but my stories don't revolve around relationships, so sex is not a major thread. When it's appropriate, of course it's there, but bucking the "UF is Vampire pr0n" idea has been a major pain in my ass since day one. I don't thank Laurell K for that.
Nicole Peeler said…
Gareth: AH! That scares me. Will people be analyzing my books to find "me" in there, and what will they conclude? AAAH!

On that note, I enjoyed your use of "dripping" and "thrusting." And Moll Flanders. AMAZING book, and I know the adaptation you speak of. Gorgeous.

Kat: I have to admit, that I thought sex was integral to the genre, but I didn't pick up Anita till recently. I read Mercedes Lackey's Diane Tregarde series as a child, and that had vamp sex before UF was even called UF, I think. And Greenmantle (de Lint) had a huge impact on me, not least because it was very sexy but the sex was edged with this danger and this amorality that was pagan and fey and so interesting. I still worship that book and I think it really influenced how I "see" sex working in fiction.

And your series is a very good example of UF that doesn't need sex. I think partially because your greywalker world is so complicated and I see your books as more plot driven than character driven. I'm certainly not saying that it's plot driven at the EXPENSE of character driven (I love your character and think she's very well developed), but I was most fascinated by your world and how it worked. Whereas my books are definitely character driven, especially at the beginning of the series.
Vickie said…
I can only say 'ditto' to most all of the comments here. I like the sex, but I don't need the sex. If it is good for the plot and it is well written, it's good. I just read ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE - Jeaniene Frost....she can write the good sex. woof.....and it was definitely not at the expense of good ass-kickin' action.
I am like others here with Anita Blake series. I started with OBSIDIAN BUTTERFLY and went backwards. Loved the action and interaction. Then I went forwards from OB and the interaction got a little overwhelming and the action was underwhelming. Life is too short and there are sooo many other books to read and dig on. Like yours! I look forward to reading it one day.
Nicole Peeler said…
Thanks Vickie!!!! I hate that it's not out yet. Maybe I should just email it to everybody! JUST KIDDING EVERYONE AT ORBIT WHO JUST SHAT THEMSELVES!!!!

No, seriously, I'm so chuffed by all the interest in Tempest, although it's nervous-making as well. What if ya'll hate it?

If you do, keep it on the DL. If you love it, send me money and cabana boys. Money stuffed in cabana boys?

But seriously, Vicky, I'm totally going to look for the Frost book, now. And I sort of read the Anita series like you, althought not backwards, in that I was waiting for the LAST books to start. I kept WAITING for it to get porny. I'm like, "dude, I heard you were porny! Why you holding out on me?" So I didn't read it "normally". Not that I ever do anything normally, apparently.
silveradept said…
Mmm. Sex for sex's sake is not a great literary technique, and although I haven't read any Anita Blake, a source I trust has and she doesn't like them all that much once they went that way. So, for plot readers, sex has to be handled delicately.

A well-writ sex scene, even as a character development point, does quite well in a novel, as does the use of a fade-to-black. On one end, we seem to have Anita, who is a porno in literary form without admitting to it and getting the right publisher for it. On the other, Twilight, where spots for some appropriate extended and hot nuzzling and/or nookie are abruptly excised before they can begin.

I wonder if UF gets complaints about the large amount of sex in the genre because it's a genre where sex is usually not seen as sacred, profane, restricted to monogamous marriage-like partnering, restricted such that only the Evil has sex, and/or swept under the rug unless the plot demands it. It doesn't have to be a plot event for a character to have sex.

...Am also wondering whether the average "age" of the protagonist has something to do with it, too. Many fantasy stories are "Prepubescent and/or 'has a sweetheart' male/female discovers Grand Quest, saves world, still back in time before puberty/hormones hit."

Anyway, stopping now before rambling too long without coming to a point.
December/Stacia said…
*blush* Thanks everyone!

And I too worship the godwang and think that would make a fine tattoo.

Sex has to advance the plot or relationships, period. There's one explicit scene in PERSONAL DEMONS, which illustrates a plot point which will become very important later. There are two in DEMON INSIDE; one to provide a check-in on the characters as they are now and the other, again, to illustrate an extremely important plot point which couldn't have been illustrated any other way. There are also quite a few fade-to-black scenes in that book, because the sex in those cases wouldn't have shown us anything new and would thus have been gratuitous.

I love sex in books and given a choice will always pick a book with over a book without (provided they're the same in other areas, of course). The simple fact is--at least for me--there are simply some aspects of a character or relationship that can't be shown any other way.

Plus it's fun. :-)
JD said…
Please, do not get me started on Anita Blake. I've not even read half of them. Quite frankly, I'm unlikely to continue the series. The last book I read nearly killed me and it had nothing to do with the sex.

I was warned from other readers of the series that there's more sex the more books you read and I was ok with that. After reading 'The Killing Dance', I was over it. The sex scenes toward the end were there purely for the sake of it and did nothing for me. Maybe it was her writing, maybe it was my mood at the time of reading (I was willing to dint walls with the book by this point) but there was nothing other than frustration (oh the irony!). I just wanted to get to the climax (of the story you perves!) and be done with it.

In book 5 of the Jaz Parkes series, on the other hand... Oooh baby. Yes please.

Having had my rant, I'll get to the point: like many others' who have commented, I not a huge fan of sex for sex sake in my UF. If I want gratuitous, I'll read erotica. Well placed sexual tension, the beginnings of a moment between two characters who want to get their freak on but are thwarted or a good fade to black can (and do) work just as well as some rumpy pumpy in the right place. (OOh er missus!)

I have got to get myself a copy of 'Personal Demons'. I've been trying for a while now and everytime I go to my local independant bookshop, they've sold out, damn them. An ordering I will go, an ordering I will go, hey ho the merry-o...
Nicole Peeler said…
SilverAdept and JD: I agree on Jaz! YAY FOR JAZ AND VAYL FOR GETTING IT ON!

That said, I think that sex can be used really well to characterize. Like my character, Ryu, makes love like he does everything else - with practiced ease. That's important to his character, and we see Jane both making love HER way but also reacting to Ryu's "practiced ease." She recognizes Lothario when she sees it. ;-) After that initial scene, though, and one more where we see Jane out of her element and Ryu in his, I mostly used fade to blacks. Then, in my second book, I found that my sex scenes were serving a VERY different purpose than in first. ANYWAY. I'm saying the same things over and over again. It's so fun to talk shop though, and not freshman comp. Which makes me want to eat my own eyeballs.

Stacia: You are a genius! And I've hooked another one. I'm going to start charging commission. ;-)
-Kelly Meding said…
Nicole, how have you not read Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series? *boggles* Get thee to a bookstore, stat!

I don't mind sex in books, or in UF in particular. Sex is part of life. People have it. As long as the plot doesn't pause in order to squeeze in a quickie, write the sex. Some people have a gift with writing hot sex (Jackie's Hell on Earth series, frex). Some people do amazingly well by glossing it over and moving on (Storm Front, Greywalker).

One of the best UF sex scenes I've read in the last six months was actually in an unpubbed friend's manuscript. Sex on a countertop, while carrying on a conversation about another couple, without naming a single body part or using a euphemism. You knew what they were doing through words and actions, without having to be told. Very hot in its own, un-explicit way.

Second on my list, I think, is the aforementioned scene in Frost's ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE. Yow-zah! *fans self*

In my own books...well, I may or may not have had a hot sex scene in THREE DAYS TO DEAD that I may or may not have had a long chat with my agent about, pre-submission. And that scene may or may not have been cut and revised, due to a very good point on one of our parts. But the keeping or removing of the sex scene is an important and pivotal moment for Evy (my heroine), and it's helped me define her even more in later books.
KaylaBeck said…
I, like everyone else, cannot wait to read your books, Nicole. I also agree basically with what everyone is saying about sex in the books though. When I came up with "hor-mance" for Anita Blake, it is actually a play on words. It can also be read as "whore-mance" because it had become downright silly in the way sex was used in the books and it became a bit skanky. Not that I have anything against sex, skank or LKH in general because I love the Merry Gentry series and other raunchy books. I am of a belief that if it is tackled correctly, the way the sex is portrayed shows more about the character than some description of his/her boring job, mommy issues or an internal monologue about why their life sucks.

I'm also going to write down all of these books mentioned in these blogs and comments that I haven't read yet because you guys are really perking my interest. I have a feeling Ms. Kane is going to be next after hearing so much.
Kat Richardson said…
Nichole: I'm quite looking forward to Tempest: great cover, great concept, and I'm thrilled to see the selkies getting some time. And it sounds fantastic!

I'll stay off my soapbox about UF here--it's too long and boring.
Nicole Peeler said…
Okay, just went out and bought the Frost book. Feeling thoroughly chastised. Keep in mind, people, that I've been in a small room reading Nietzsche for the past SIX YEARS. They only JUST let me out. Which probably explains a lot.

But I do have a LOT of UF to catch up on, and I really appreciate the recommendations.

Kelly: You can always do one of those "deleted scenes" things i see in books nowadays. :)

Kayla: You get an A. Wait, I don't have you in class. I give you an A in life, then. Not least for making up hor-mance. And it's punny underbelly, the whore-mance. And you MUST read Stacia's Personal Demons. AMAZING. And Kat's Greywalker series as well. And Jen Rardin's Jaz series. Oh, hell, just read everybody on the league, dammit. It's all good.

Kat: I like your posts! They are never boring, and I can never point fingers for being long. I am exceptionally winded, to say the least. And thanks! I think you will be seeing it fairly soonish, actually. If you are so inclined.

Stacia: I've got you ANOTHER one. Where's my commision???? ;-)
Michelle Rowen said…
The problem with UF and romance/sex, is that if you add too much romancy stuff and then kill of the hero, for example, you're going to have a ton of romance crossover fans who are very angry.

I personally hope for a Hollywood ending in my reading material, no matter the genre. And to me that means an HEA for the hero and heroine. I'm a sap.
alanajoli said…
Kat: I actually find UF *without* sex in it to be refreshing. I like the sexy stuff (provided it matches a lot of the criteria listed above, re: sex in service of plot). But I get overwhelmed sometimes with sex sex sex in the UF I'm reading. I remember finishing Mark Del Franco's Unshapely Things and thinking, "Hey, that didn't even have a relationship in it! Wow, people can write books like that in this genre?" It totally made me enjoy his book more--particularly since I'd gone into that book with some really awful forced-sex focused UF. Bleah.

So, Nicole, it really depends on the type of sex, too. There are some kinds that can just completely turn me off--they don't work as sexy and they don't make me attached to the characters, they just make me want to throw the book across the room. ;) But there's other wonderfully sexy stuff going on that really does work, because it fits with the characters and makes me like them *better*. It all depends on how it's done. Heh.
Nicole Peeler said…
Michelle: I'm a little terrified of the romance reader right now. A. Little. Terrified. ;-) Luckily, I don't kill off my hero. I'd probably go into witness protection.

Alana: That's a really good point, about the "type" of sex. I've been talking about this because my nephew really wants to read my book. He's seven, which is too young. BUT i read very adult stuff very young. Another friend asked me if it would be appropriate for her daughter, who is like thirteen or fourteen. I said that I thought it absolutely was, because my heroine is a strong woman who has good sex. I don't mean just the quality, by that. I mean that she has sex for the right reasons. Because she wants to; because she enjoys it; because she trusts the person she's having it with. She also demands her own safety and her own pleausre, and her lover is happy to reciprocate. And you know Jane would kick him to the curb if he wasn't. It's not sex for stuff, or sex for power, or sex for safety . . . it's sex for SEX, with none of the trappings of domination that I sometimes see in other scenarios. I'd rather have my own niece and nephew read about good, healthy, mutually pleasurable sex than ONLY be inundated with the weird images/soundbites/Oprah stories about "lipstick" parties that they are already inundated by.
Nicole Peeler said…
Okay, seriously? Why did no one tell me about One Foot in the Grave before this???????????

Good Gracious Golly Gee . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I'm speechless. Woof, indeed.
Nicole Peeler said…
I think I might have to go jog around the neighborhood. Or take a cold shower. Or jog in a cold shower.

Good gods, people. Are you rationing this stuff out so people's heads (ha!) don't explode??????
Anonymous said…
Sorry everybody but I love Anita Blake and Merry Gentry Series. If you don't like sex or it has too much sex, don't read it! Geez!
silveradept said…
Fair enough, Anonymous reader. We always have the freedom to put the book down and choose another. I think what most of us are talking about, though, is the quality of the sex in the books. Too much gratuitous material not in service of the plot weighs some books down. For some authors and readers, the presence of sex is too much.

I'm still wondering whether the generally-older age of characters in UF lends itself toward the attitude that sex is okay.
Kat Richardson said…
Hmm... the issue for me is two-pronged: appropriateness and sufficiency. If a book is 90% sex and 10% plot/character development, I think the sex at that level is gratuitous when the book is not being marketed as erotica or porn. Once in a while a book with a LOT of sex revolves around character development which is demonstrated by the way the characters act and react in the sex scene, but the majority of those are not mainstream. The Story of O, for example or Anne Rice's Exit to Eden (the book not the horrible movie.) In both of those the sex and the specifics of it were important to the character development and ultimately to the plot.

Where the sex scenes don't demonstrate anything that couldn't be covered in a single line of exposition, I find myself mentally wandering and wondering what the point is. Even a scene that just shows how deep and abiding someone's passion is can be useful. But Yet Another Sex Scene (YASS) that does nothing that hasn't been done already? Why?

Anyone here read Nora Roberts's J.D. Robb "... in Death" series? There is always a hot love scene between Eve and her hubby. Sometimes it's a bit contrived, but there's always at least one. Because fans expect it, but also because it shows the continuing passion the characters have for each other. When they are together, they want to rip each other's clothes off. I skim the scnes, but I'm glad they are there; it makes me happy that Eve and Roarke are still in passionate love. The author doesn't have to say "yes, they were still in love after all this time." She demonstrates it. If ever there is an "... in Death" book without that scene, you can bet there is something seriously amiss in the character's lives.

I'm not sure about the older characters though. I have noticed more characters in their thirties, but there are still a lot who are in their twenties (and if you're talking YA, they are all in their upper teens and early twenties, by default.)
Nicole Peeler said…
Age is problematic in UF, isn't it, because of the supernatural stuff? Like Jane is 26 when her series begins, but she should really look a lot younger just because she's magic. Vampires are forever 21 (just like the store!). As I just read the One Foot in the Grave book (AMAZING) and you guys were talking about age, I noticed that she's about 26 (if I remember correctly) but physically she's 19 because of the vampire genes. It's definitely a genre that defies age, as characters can be in their hundreds, but it also adheres to our cultural obsession with youth, as the person in their hundreds is an ageless beauty, inevitably.

I LOVE Kate MacAlister's books, and her protags are steadily getting up there. Her last book had the woman on the cusp of forty. I'm ashamed to admit that I was like, "Wow, that's old." I'm not far off from forty, really, and I certainly don't plan on excising my sexuality at forty. And yet I'm such a victim to our agist culture that I blink at a forty year old protag.

There's also a majority (it seems) of young female protagonists (even if they ARE magic and powerful) versus young looking, but actually hundreds of years old, love interests. It's like a great big supernatural daddy fetish. And I've done it myself, so I'm pointing the finger squarely at my own chest.

SO MANY ISSUES!!!!! Which is why I'm excited to start working on fantasy as an academic. I will don my cultural studies cap and get to work.
-Kelly Meding said…
You guys are going to inspire me to write a new blog post about character age, youth obsession and UF, aren't you?

*g*
silveradept said…
Kelly:

Do eeeet!

Nicole:

Isn't it nice that you can do that sort of thing as an academic and not get looked at strangely?

I hadn't really thought that much about the "young-old-but-really-young" dynamic in UF stories. Especially with the ageless fantasy characters, who have Fae blood or vampire youth or something else that keeps them young and appealing for a while. I wonder if there are stories in the genre that deal with the passage of time from the perspective of the ageless one, and whether it's hard or not to accept the mortality of their love interests.
Nicole Peeler said…
Silveradept: A lot of the de Lint I've read over the years deals with this, as it's a common occurance in Sidhe mythology from the British Isles. Lots of Rip van Winkle type stuff with men or women running off with the fairy folk for a "few years," but returning to their old lives to discover hundreds of years have passed.

Marjorie Liu also touches on it in some of her Paranormal Romance.

But I've not read a lot of recent stuff in either genre so you'll have to tell me. ;-)

Kelly: We can talk around each others blog posts for the next few years. ;-)
Heather said…
First, Nicole - bravo on the Xena magnet!!! Although, I have to wonder why we don't see more F/F relationships in UF. I've been looking for books, and they have been close to impossible to find.

On for sex, I have to say that I enjoy sex in the books. As many have said, sex is part of life, so it belongs in any story. Pages and pages of anatomical descriptions is a bit much, but a great sex scene is a wonderful addition to the plot. To make it even better, it has to be properly tied into the story. I read the Anita series, and I agree there has been big changes in her. However, I've seen how Laurell has gotten there, and it makes sense. I LOVE the series. Anita's main hang-up about sex goes to some good old fashion religious guilt, and I'm glad to see her try to work past that. I grew up with that all around. Plus, her main partners are all people she loves and cares about. It might not be for everyone, but there are lots of choices out there. For those looking for just sex, you need a good PWP - 'Plot, what plot?'.
Nicole Peeler said…
Heather:

YAY FOR XENA! I loved that show SO MUCH. It was like every level of entertainment possible. Except the highbrow, really, but who needs all that? ;-)

I agree on the F/F front. My protag is hetero, but her best (human) friends are a lesbian couple. I think it's actually VERY strange that there's not more homosexual sex, or homoerotic scenes, in UF as most of these creatures can't be considered "male" or "female". Vamps are like the ultimate post-gender phenomenon, ya know? What's "gay" when one or both of you is undead? When the issue of procreation is moot and everyone's penetrating each other with fangs, anyway?

A huge influence on me as a kid was Misty's Valdemar series with Vanyel, and I remember CRYING (I was nine?) over the love scenes and how perfect they were. Then again, I was raised around open homosexuality and always knew it to be perfectly normal. I always just saw people falling in love. That and guys making out is HOT. Nearly died during Milk. Nearly. Died.

Where was I? Totally got distracted on that one. Anyway, I agree with you re: Anita. I think we see someone change pretty dramatically for pretty good reasons, although maybe it wasn't perfectly done from a writer's perspective. THAT SAID, I know I'll be making mistakes all over the place with my first series, and everyone who commented talked about how much they love the Merry Gentry series, which, if I undertand correctly, was her second one. All in all, I like Anita, I like the series, I LOVE the love interests in that, and I'm really looking forward to reading the Merry Gentry books.
silveradept said…
A third for Hooray and Xena together as the same sentence. I'm thinking the lack of relationships like that in these books reflects the tend in literature to not have those kinds of relationships, lest it be pigeonholed as LGBT literature and deprived of a larger audience.

Nicole: I was thinking more a book written from the perspective of the Fae that takes the humans and plays with them and then sends them back - do they run into relationship troubles?
Kiyote said…
sex in UF is great BUT it cant take over the series. LKH dropped any attempt at a plot when she started the SEX - you should be able to have both.

Oh and her second series - which has always had sex - is good except she broke her own rules when she brought frost back. he should have had to stay the white buck for 100 years...and she didnt stick to that. you cant break your own magic rules for sex "love".
Nicole Peeler said…
Silveradept: I can't think of any offhand, but I'm a bad person to ask as I really haven't been reading, after a long hiatus, in the genre until recently. As far as Celtic mythology (and I can't think of any Norse/Icelandic exceptions), the people kidnapped usually have their stories end after they return back to the mortal world. But they never go into how they would have suffered comparing their mortal lovers and mortal lives to their immortal ones. And as for Selkie mythology, there's two major strains as far as female selkies mating with mortal men. The one is like the one I posted on my website, where men trick a seal woman into giving up her skin, or steal it knowing what will happen. That usually ends with the seal woman returning not only to the sea but also to her sea-husband. So it's a double whammy for the mortal: she not only leaves him, but leaves him for another man whom she loves more. The second has a more innocent mortal, who accidentally picks up a skin or otherwise comes across a skin. He's usually just left for the sea, and not another husband, as well. But in any case, the mortal men in either tale are ruined for mortal women. Once you go seal you can ne'er for mortals feel. Or something along those lines. ;-)

And it's similar with the selkie men who seduce women (these are never love stories, only seduction stories). The mortal women find it very hard to accept a mortal lover after having the sex with a fey-man.

Kiyote: That's a good way of articulating what seems to be a common thread in these comments regarding sex in UF. It shouldn't "take over the series." Then, I suppose, it's romance, yes? So not a bad thing, and certainly possible within another genre's expectations, but not so much in UF. Sex should enhance character, or plot, but not BE the plot. Thank you!
-Kelly Meding said…
But in any case, the mortal men in either tale are ruined for mortal women. Once you go seal you can ne'er for mortals feel. Or something along those lines. ;-)

There's a line in the Night Huntress books (Halfway to the Grave, I think), that goes something like "Once you go dead, no one's better in bed." Re: vampires. Hehe.

*still working on that UF & Age post*
silveradept said…
Nicole: I don't think I'm being all that clear, then. I'm not interested in the mortals who get their lives ruined and otherwise wrecked by messing with the Fae. I'm thinking about the Fae themselves that either go seducing or get captured. Since they're definitely the longer-lived ones, I wonder whether they have issues with their human lovers as they age and die, while their Fae selves stay young and beautiful.

The mortals, well, we usually see what happens to them when they have to go back to mortal realms and deal with mortal lovers.
Bridget Locke said…
So I'm late to this, but I had to answer. For me, UF is not necessarily going to have sex in it, but the thing I HATE more than anything is to have a romance come along, show all the build-up and then have either off the page or barely hinted at. That pisses me off.

I'm not published, but I am a writer and when it comes to the book I'm writing, sex is definitely in the picture. That being said, I think there can be too much sex in a book. Anita Blake is one example. Sex is important to books, but it's not the defining nature of the book. I think a lot of times that gets forgotten.

I know the demand for sex in most romance is what causes the sex to overtake everything else. IMHO there should definitely be a happy medium. :)
Bridget Locke said…
PS. That sentence should say "then have the SEX either off the page or barely hinted at."

Sorry, it's late and I'm a smidge braindead tonight. :P
Nicole Peeler said…
I know, Bridget, I also totally want to see it if it's been built up! The one big exception I have for that was Vayl and Jaz . . . I don't know how Jen did it, but I totally got that Jaz just wouldn't let us see that.

But yeah, usually when there's loads of heavy petting and then all of a sudden there's nada pinata, I'm all, "Dude, quit yer teasin'!"
Nicole Peeler said…
Silveradept: OHHH, sorry, I think I was the obtuse one, there. And actually, my book deals with that issue! It's not the major philosophical focus but it's there.
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, web design , web design , web design , web design , web design , web design , web design , 天狼星廣告設計 , 天狼星廣告設計 , 天狼星廣告設計 , 天狼星廣告設計 , 天狼星廣告設計 , 天狼星廣告設計 , 天狼星廣告設計 , 天狼星廣告設計 , 天狼星廣告設計 , 平面設計 , 平面設計 , 平面設計 , 平面設計 , 平面設計 , 平面設計 , 平面設計 , 平面設計 , 平面設計 , CIS設計 , CIS設計 , CIS設計 , CIS設計 , CIS設計 , CIS設計 , CIS設計 , CIS設計 , CIS設計 , 虛擬主機 , 虛擬主機 , 虛擬主機 , 虛擬主機 , 虛擬主機 , 虛擬主機 , 虛擬主機 , 虛擬主機 , 虛擬主機 , 廣告設計 , 廣告設計 , 廣告設計 , 廣告設計 , 廣告設計 , 廣告設計 , 廣告設計 , 廣告設計 , 廣告設計 , seo , seo , seo , seo , seo , seo , seo , seo , seo , 網站優化 , 網站優化 , 網站優化 , 網站優化 , 網站優化 , 網站優化 , 網站優化 , 網站優化 , 網站優化 , 網站排名優化 , 網站排名優化 , 網站排名優化 , 網站排名優化 , 網站排名優化 , 網站排名優化 , 網站排名優化 , 網站排名優化 , 網站排名優化 , 關鍵字行銷 , 關鍵字行銷 , 關鍵字行銷 , 關鍵字行銷 , 關鍵字行銷 , 關鍵字行銷 , 關鍵字行銷 , 關鍵字行銷 , 關鍵字行銷
艾葳酒店經紀提供專業的酒店經紀,酒店上班,酒店打工、兼職、酒店相關知識等酒店相關產業服務,想加入這行業的水水們請找專業又有保障的艾葳酒店經紀公司!
艾葳酒店經紀是合法的公司、我們是不會跟水水簽任何的合約 ( 請放心 ),我們是不會強押水水辛苦工作的薪水,我們絕對不會對任何人公開水水的資料、工作環境高雅時尚,無業績壓力,無脫秀無喝酒壓力,高層次會員制客源,工作輕鬆。
一般的酒店經紀只會在水水們第一次上班和領薪水時出現而已,對水水們的上班安全一點保障都沒有!艾葳酒店經紀公司的水水們上班時全程媽咪作陪,不需擔心!只提供最優質的酒店上班環境、上班條件給水水們。

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