You Can Never (ever!) Have Too Much Adult Sex

Yes, you can.

Two writer friends and I were discussing my reasons for excluding “The Worst Faery in New York”, Pre-Chaos and “Touched through Blood and Dust” from the Blooming Howls collection.

“There was just too much adult sex,” I told them.

Before I could explain what I meant, one of them yelled (I was so taken by her outrage; everyone should feel this strongly about sex). Anyhoo, she yelled, “You can never (ever!) have too much adult sex.”

“That might be true for inside my head,” I said. “But for an individual tale that is part of a collection? Yes, you can.”


I removed the stories, my Wicked Luvs, because the tone and intensity of the sex didn’t fit. The same was true for the kind of violence and humor. The themes of the tales in Blooming Howls go from ominous to reflective. There is implied sex (both healthy and terrible)… But what happens between adults, in the stories I took out, is explicit enough to make it too much for a collection that includes teenagers and parents fighting bad guys together. Does that make any sense?

Lum, Darlene and the ladies from “Touched through Blood and Dust(not together *cough*) need their own book-space to be as ruthless and sexual as they like. What about Pre-Chaos, you might be asking? After revising and re-revising the 51,000+ words of the novella, I decided to stop fighting it: this novella has been wanting to be a novel for some time now, and who am I to oppose that kind of desire? And yes, the desire is high, raw and vibrant in Pre-Chaos, New York. 

At one point during the process, I found myself trying to dilute the sex and the killings in order to make the stories fit together. After my Muse recovered from her disgust—and I apologized until my throat hurt, for almost altering the plot to fit my needs—we decided to bring you part of what you missed; sometime around the Winter Solstice, methinks. I’m not sure about Pre-Chaos just now. I enjoy publishing shorts stories on my own, but I’m yet to figure out if I feel the same way when it comes to full-length novels. We’ll see…

Are you bothered by collections where the stories lack harmony of sex and violence between each other? And for those of you who have read Blooming Howls, can you see why explicit sex (and Darlene’s ways) would have been a disaster for the collection? By the way, I giggled after rereading the phrase “harmony of sex and violence.” So go ahead, roar; you know you want to.

Too Much Johnson has nothing to do with this post. I was just searching for an image that illustrated the concept of “too much.” When I saw this poster, I nearly died laughing. I had to share it.

33 comments:

  1. I've never much cared for sex scenes in movies or books because they usually have very little to do with the plot, it just seems like superfluous stuff that adults are kinda compelled to put in their books 'cause hormones and stuff.

    Mostly in my own storytelling I just leave it out. I don't think I could write anything convincing or meaningful about it anyhow.

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    1. I understand avoiding something you don't believe you can manage in a story. When we write something we don't understand, it reads false and out of place.

      I do not avoid sex that goes with the plot, though. I think that would be as bad as writing it in when it doesn't belong. I treat sex scenes the same way I treat fighting scene, they will be there if they need to be... and in a way that will further the plot.

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  2. The thing that bugs me more than un-harmonic adult sex (as a bloke I bend to the nine second rule!) is the way publishers, literary agents and Joe Public, like their works of fictions conveniently bagged, tagged and shelved under specific categories. I think Alan Moore had it right when he said the best works of fiction are romance cowboy horror Sci-Fi's with bits of erotica chucked in if we are lucky. Good post. Thanks.

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    1. Stories should follow their natural patterns. If a cowboy has a crush on an alien who is into a kink or three, then it should be written that way. It might be hard to sell, but it would be an honest tale. And it would be hysterical, too!

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  3. You know how I feel about the Anita Blake series (ad nauseam). I like sex in stories if it advances the story and/or fits the characters, not for the sake of itself.

    By the way, I try to make myself uncomfortable at least once a year, and for next year I have planned to venture into erotic romance writing, if I have the time... ^^

    BB
    Diandra

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    1. I just had a, If it fits, sticking it in, thought. Now I can't stop giggling.

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    2. I reread my own comment and giggled again. I might have a problem.

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  4. I have to preface my comment by saying that I'm pretty peculiar and not in the least bit a reliable barometer of popular opinion. This is completely subjective, but I think there can be too much sex. I'm afraid I've never liked the genres of romance or erotica. Literary sex and/or romance is fine, but I prefer it to be a condiment rather than the main course. See, told ya I was odd. ;)

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    1. I think our reading tastes is very similar. One of the things I tend to ask myself when I encounter certain 10-page long scene in a book is, "If a fighting scene doesn't last forever, why would a sex scene do so?" I know the genre is loved by many, but when the scenes go on and on and on, I find myself skipping parts.

      I don't think you are odd at all. Condiment is good.

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  5. Decades ago, there was no decent erotica out their in the mainstream, especially none aimed at the female audience. I seriously thought about writing "Little Stories to Read in the Bath before Playtime." (Did not know how to find a publisher for that) Now every romance novel has sex scenes, especially the genre of paranormal romance. They go on too long, or are poorly written and I find myself skipping through them, too.I have read some good books with great sex in them, "Outlander" series comes to mind. I, also, like the "Merry Gentry" series. There is a time and a place in writing for sex and violence written well. I have no doubt, Magaly,you know exactly where to put it. *cough, cough* I trust your instincts where your collections are concerned. Now, I can hardly wait for Solstice! You did that on purpose, you naughty girl, you!

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  6. Merry Gentry and Ben's and Rhissanna's Mable Bunt are two examples of plots that depend a lot on sex. And explicit, too. Those stories I enjoy a lot: the ones were the sex is as natur as eating.

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    1. OMG! How could I forget "Mabel Blunt"! Yes, indeed! As natural as eating!

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    2. Even better, how the heck did I misspell her name! I hope Ben and Rhissanna don't kill me. *runs in shame*

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    3. Do you know how much that costs, Magaly? Mabel is a good example. The sex in the first chapter is important. And not because it's a page turner. It sets up everything Mabel does from that point on. To treat it lightly would have been wrong in both writer's responsibility and tone. I'm actually working on Mabel as I write this. She says "G'morn"

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    4. Without the sex, there would be no Mabel. Period.

      So glad you are working on her. Um... no pun intended. -_-

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    5. We're both working on her and she's very appreciative, although she charges extra for that kind of thing. The original, uncut version of Mabel was very raw and mostly about the sex; what we have now is sex that fits into plot. Less blow-by-blow (yeah, I went there...) and more about the feels.

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    6. She deserves to be worked hard on.

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  7. This is actually a subject that has been coming up frequently around me. Another writer posted an open question on sex and violence in a story, and I had the topic handed to me recently as well. I agree with what you said. The tone of the book does effect how much you can and can't show. As a writer you're building the road your readers walk upon. If you sharply change the direction of the road, they're likely to lose their way. My answer to this is always, "The Story Decides". However, if the story's tone allows, the writer has a responsibility to be brave and with it, the freedom, to be as graphic with sex and violence as they please. Oliver, for all the murder and sex, is a pretty tame novel. The tone is comedic. Not graphic. So the sex and murder is... light? Had the story been darker, so would have the pools of blood. As you can see, this is something I feel strongly about. Writers worry, with good reason, where the lines in the sand are. We're not always in control of what we're writing. So we have to make our own map. The Story decides. If the tone isn't right, I use lighter shades, when I paint graphic scenes. If the story tells me to, however, nothing is forbidden. And that's what makes writing the addiction it is... A great blog post.

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  8. Two things will make me react to the amount of sex in the books I read;
    Middle-aged (or older) men who have sex with "young things" (usually in crime novels) and it's all about how these "things" throw themselves at the old geezer, and his view of their bodies, their lips, their hair (firm, full, very long).
    And when I've accidentally picked up something from a female fantasy author :)

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    1. Wait...what did I write here..? I meant: "And when I've UNKNOWINGLY picked up something from a female fantasy author". Sometimes my Swedish gets in the way.

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    2. I was starting to wonder about your comment, Ms Misantropia. Now I get it. I feel the same way. When the sex sounds like a choreographed dance where everyone looks and sounds made up, I just get annoyed.

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  9. I'd like more adult sex with characters that aren't caricatures of underwear models.

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    1. Agreed! Especially when only the woman is, and the man is allowed to be normal/anyone/old etc.

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    2. I can't wait for you guys to meet Darlene!

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    3. I'm the other way. I can't deal with the 2D male mannequins in women's romance novels (are there men's romance novels? Why not?). The smooth, flawless, standard height, standard size, no personality, blow-up men are the main reason I can't read romance novels without throwing them. Who would want a man like that? Who would want to be one? It's as unfair a standard to hold men to, as anything in a girly magazine. Why does it get a pass?

      50 Shades? Anastasia Steele is the most unpleasant and controlling character I've ever come across, and that's saying something, as romance novels routinely produce some real bitches. (With the standard green/violet eyes and the over-wide smile and the ability to eat anything but just stay the right side of cute). But if you can stomach a romance novel, there needs to be sex, because, c'mon, even your Granny is reading them for the sex.

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    4. Rhissanna, I've always red romance novels for the great libraries and the awesome beds with naked people in... oh, damn!

      In all seriousness, I agree. Too many romance novels lack believability. But I've always attributed that to me not being the audience for them. As soon as I see a sex scene where everything is clean and perfect after the deed is done, I stop believing everything else.

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  10. My first exposure to sex in a novel was reading The Rowan by Anne McCaffery when I was very young, and it was extremely lightly and subtly implied, but still obvious. I believe I remember something along the lines of "...was soon expressed in another fashion, extremely satisfying to both." and it was left at that. All of Anne McCafferey's novels are like that. The first truly graphic sex scene I remember reading was in one of Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance novels. I don't remember which one; there's a lot, and to this day I have not gotten to finish the whole series. ARGH! *ahem* Anyway... the graphic one was built around character relationship development and exploration of cultural differences between humans and felinoid aliens. I also remember feeling like I'd somehow picked up some contraband. Lol.

    In both cases, the scenes (or implied scene) fit the tone of the novel. I enjoyed both. I've seen movies and read some books where the sex was disappointing... like in the second Matrix movie. Yeah, it was kinda cool with the back and forth between the cavern rave and Neo and Trinity (dear Gods those two actors had NO chemistry and I hated it!) but there was no real reason for that scene to be in the movie. At all. It seemed an afterthought, pandering to the hormonal portion of the intended audience. In Wheel of Time, I wished there could have been depiction of a little more extended romance between Rand and his three lovers.... for a man whose very existence is so anguished, I wanted to see more of the little bit of sanctuary he had in their arms. I got the sense that Jordan was uncomfortable with writing graphic sex, and disappointed that his personal difficulties with it appeared to come through his writing...

    It all depends on the story. And all writers know.... our stories write themselves. :D

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    1. I was a tad upset about how things went between Rand and anyone he had sex with. I mean, there needs to be some balance. The fighting scenes and the magic (even the dice games!) lasted a few pages. But when it came to sex it was in and out. So sad.

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  11. I don't know, I am up and down about the sex. That doesn't sound right? LOL! Watching True Blood, it seemed that all there was, was sex. Not saying that it was bad sex! LOL! I guess it all depends ;o) Hugs ;o)

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    1. Sometimes there is just too much sex and little action. That gets old after a while.

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