Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sex or No Sex?

How much sex should you put into a novel when writing it?

If you even think about asking that question, then you're writing porn. If a sex scene is squeezed into a story, then it won't tell us something about any of the characters involved we don't know or won't find out elsewhere. In these cases, it is only there to titilate the reader, and that is one definition of pornography.

Sex scenes SHOULD be a natural part of the story, but in too many books it seems as though they have been inserted in order to prove that the writer isn't scared to tackle (pardon the pun) difficult areas. Iain (M) Banks comes to mind, as does Stephen Baxter. It could also be that they are just trying to prove how artistic they are, or another reason entirely.

And, as you may be asking, yes, I do have a bee in my bonnet about this.

I see sex scenes in films and TV shows that could be replaced with a passionate kiss and not be missed. There are pages of books that could replaced with the phrase 'and then they had sex', without destroying the story line.

There is an argument that readers and viewers demand these scenes and that is true to some extent. But which readers and viewers are doing the 'demanding' and, more importantly, why? The flip side is, should writers and performers give into these demands, or should we be more 'moral'?

Lots of questions, so few answers.

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