Enjoy today’s guest post by Mysti Parker.
My Philosophy on Sex Scenes in Fiction
“…love scenes that were described with creatively written clean taste that left you with all kinds of erotic visions to imagine.”
“…way too much explicit sex in this book.”
Above are two conflicting statements from two different readers concerning the love scenes in my first book, A Ranger’s Tale. As with every aspect of fiction, love scenes are subjective for both author and reader. Opinions and preferences vary widely. From no mention of physical affection to no holds barred, writers and readers reside all along the spectrum.
Readers are generous with their opinions of sex in literature. Yet, I haven’t heard much from the author’s side of things. So, let’s explore this topic with a question I was once asked:
How can you, as a Christian woman, justify writing graphic love scenes?
I have it on good authority, being a mother of three, that Christian people have sex. They have sex both in wedlock and outside of wedlock. Sometimes they have good and healthy sexual relationships. Sometimes they don’t. Sex (whether it’s good, bad or non-existent) is an important aspect in an adult’s life, whether they’re Christian or not. And I see no reason to gloss over it.
Most Christians will agree that God ordained sex as a beautiful thing in the Bible. And many of them will argue that it’s meant to be left a private and holy thing between man and wife, and therefore should not be mentioned in books. Quite honestly, an all-out omission of sex in adult literature seems as forced as the archaic traditions of chastity belts.
Even the Bible doesn’t shy away from vivid descriptions of sex, and one of the most famous books of the Bible was written by a king who didn’t stick with one woman for life. A few years ago, during a study of sex and all the symbolic, though quite erotic, references from Song of Songs, I had to wonder which of Solomon’s 700 wives and 300 concubines he was writing about. His story wasn’t exactly the best example of a monogamous relationship.
Elsewhere in the Bible are depictions of sex in both lovely and manipulative situations. And I’m left with the impression that although God did mean sex to be a special, beautiful thing, we as humans often screw that up (forgive the pun). The compilers of the holy text left both the good and bad encounters intact. Look up the story of Lot and his daughters if you’re not convinced.
So, why not include sex in fiction? If we’re diving deep into the psyche of adult characters, into their deepest desires and inner conflicts, why not include their sexual relationships?
I do have my personal limits. I don’t write a story solely to titillate a reader, rushing through the plot to get to the sex. Instead, it’s part of how they interact. Sometimes it’s joyous and wonderful, sometimes it’s not very pretty—just like real life. My heroes and heroines are flawed, passionate about many things, and face consequences when they make bad decisions. Even though they might not be human, you’ll find their struggles both in and out of the bedroom to be very real, though I try to write their intimate scenes with only as much detail as needed to get the idea across.
My series is written for adults who understand sex and the joys and consequences it can bring. They are complex stories with heavy themes, and if you’re not seeing past the lovemaking, you’re missing the boat. The Hunger Games, for instance, isn’t just a story about kids killing each other for a sick TV show, but if you only look on the surface, that’s what you’ll see. There are real messages in there of unconditional love, sacrifice, and standing up for what’s right. I hope readers walk away with similar messages when they close one of my books.
Your personal preference as a reader or writer may vary greatly from mine. But, however you like your romance, or don’t, I hope that at least this author’s philosophy has been enlightening. And, if and when you read your next romance novel, I hope you’ll walk away with something more than the need for a cold shower.
Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she’s no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she’s endured small-town gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she’s ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world and her heart, are turned upside down.
Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe.
When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property at the edge of town, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in Summerwind may die.
Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil, and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they’ve always dreamed of.
Mysti Parker is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Talewas published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and is the first in a fantasy romance series. Mysti reviews speculative fiction for SQ Magazine and is the proud writer of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award.
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