The Literary Birds & Bees

10781463If you’ve read my book, Dragon Bloode: Covet, then you know I have sex in it. I have a lovely little 18+ warning at the beginning, but it’s not exclusively for the enthusiastic fun time in bed. It has violence, and some swearing, as well as the sex. Why did I include it? I get asked that a lot. I’m going to have to point to a quote of George R.R. Martin:

“I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off. To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it’s madness. Ultimately, in the history of [the] world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure; axes entering skulls, well, not so much.”

I’m inclined to agree. I’m not going to argue whether or not sex should be included in a story. That’s up to the writer and it’s a very personal decision. Is my own novel an erotica? No. It’s a high fantasy with sex in it. It has violence in it. And swearing. And other adult themes. It’s an adult book, but not in the pornographic sense. Although I’m sure some would argue that even though sex takes up a few thousand words of my 130k+ novel, it’s a sex book.

Do I think there’s anything wrong with eroticas? Nope! They’re a genre just like any other. Write what you want has always been my motto. If that’s a smutty smut smut go for it! But back to the point, today’s blog isn’t going to be an argument in favor of adding sex to your book. It’s like I said above, it’s the writer’s decision. For whatever reason don’t be afraid to add it or use it if it’s something you think can contribute to the story. Instead I’m going to offer suggestions for implementing sex into your own story with a focus on novels that aren’t erotica.

Don’t Just Throw It In There

Speaking of novels that aren’t erotica, don’t throw it in for the sake of titillation. Make sure the sex has a purpose. Ensure it does something to move along either a relationship or a plot point. Or if you do throw it in for the sake of having it there, don’t do it too much. In an erotica every excuse to throw in the sheet shuffle is accepted. In a regular story or depiction it can cheapen things. What I mean is throwing in a lot of unnecessary sex into a story that’s not supposed to motivate the reader with titillation takes away from the rest of, and more important points of, the story.

There Are Still Basic Rules To Follow

The simplest way to put it is this: If it’s illegal to do it, you shouldn’t include it. In other words, even though graphic sex in novels is more widely accepted you still have basic rules to follow. Don’t include rape titillation or sex with minors. You can include those elements in your story if they’re a part of the plot, but don’t include terminology that would drive the reader to titillation. This also includes incest, animals, and anything else that might come across as taboo. Like I said, if it’s illegal to do it, don’t include it.

Don’t Use Hilarious Terms

So this is definitely my opinion, but if you’re going to include the horizontal dance in your novel, commit. Unless you’re going for a comedic affect I wouldn’t use the terminology of “sword” and “rod” and “garden” and “globes of pleasure” for example. You’re not dancing around the topic or fooling anyone by using silly terms. If anything the terminology can take your reader out of the moment. If you can describe the detail of a sword withdrawing from a man’s body with entrails coming out, sex shouldn’t be different. You don’t have to be incredibly graphic, but don’t use terms that would make the reader giggle through what otherwise could be a dramatic moment.

Cut It Down

Edit the sex like you would any other sequence. Does it feel too long and drawn out? Cut out some passive verbs or unnecessary actions. Don’t use it as filler either. You also don’t always have to include every step. You can open a scene when they’re finishing up or end a scene where they begin. Too much titillation can numb the reader and not have as much affect. Make it as long or short as it needs to be like any other action.

Different Folks, Different Strokes

There are different types of sex. It can be affected by the relationship, personalities, and circumstances. Some people make love, others hate…wrestle. XD Do the people like each other? Do they love each other? Is it pure lust? Would they be willing to cater to the other’s needs? Or is it take/take? Are their lives in danger? Did they just reunite after years of separation? Not to mention any fetishes they may have. A friendly reminder: fetishes aren’t necessarily taboo. A fetish can be something as simple as wearing socks.

Until Next Time…

If you don’t want sex in your book, don’t have it. It’s simple. This isn’t about pressuring you to do something you don’t want to, only suggesting guidance if you’re looking to include it. Until next time! Keep on keeping on!

Dragon Bloode: Covet is out everywhere ebooks are sold.