Friday, August 17, 2007

Writing about Sex

I have a list of things I want to blog about someday. I write them down--the ones I can remember long enough to write down--so I don't forget them. For instance, I do want to write about the TIME Magazine article "Who killed the love story?" But not today.

And the son, who is home from university this week, found my list and wrote on it: Monkeys in Outer Space bent on destroying zuwieroiyushamnn At least that's what I think he wrote on it. And I may write a blog about monkeys in outer space bent on destroying...whatever... But not today.

Today, I'm going to blog about sex. Specifically, about writing about sex in novels. See, I got a note on my Shelfari Shelf from a friend who said that she was "unimpressed" by the One Rose books because she didn't like books that "focus so completely around sex."

Which took me totally aback, because I certainly didn't think the books at all focused so completely around sex. I've read books that focus completely around sex, and believe me, they have a LOT more sex than the Rose books do.

The Compass Rose
has only three fully consummated love scenes in it. It has a few more "sex by magic" (sorta like phone sex, only without the phone) scenes, and the characters talk about sex a lot. Because the books are about men and women who care about each other, who have a relationship--who are married to each other, to be more exact--and who have different understandings from each other about relationships and about sex and how the world works. And I firmly believe that to put people in that kind of situation and NOT address the sex issue would have been nothing less than a flat out lie.

(The Barbed Rose has more sex, as does The Eternal Rose, because in those books, the relationships are on-going and more fully developed. By the time The Eternal Rose begins, seven years have passed since the beginning of The Compass Rose. The characters have been married for that long. Sex is going to be a part of those relationships.)

All those books that have men and women traveling together on a quest for months to retrieve the Magic Hoohah and save the world--and the characters Never Even Think About Sex--are just plain lying, IMO.

People think about sex. They have sex. They screw up their lives because they try to ignore sex and they can't. Or they screw up their lives because they have sex with anything that moves and never figure out why they're lonely. Sex is a part of life. It's a huge part of life, and I think that novelists--in whatever genre they write--should address it, if they're comfortable with it.

In speculative fiction, like fantasy and science fiction, it's possible to explore a greater range of "what ifs" than in novels set in contemporary or historical times, and exploration is a good thing, I think. If I'm ever able to write more books set in the One Rose universe, I can see Kallista's children complaining that it's hard enough to find one person willing to put up with your faults--

I do understand that sex is a private part of life and that some people are uncomfortable with a discussion, or even a portrayal of something so intensely private and intimate. I understand that some people have moral issues with reading about sex. Personal opinions are just that. Personal opinions. And everyone's entitled to have them. Which is why I left the note up on my Shelfari page and didn't delete it. Tanis has every right to not like books with much sex in them, and every right to express her opinion.

But I did want to explain why I wrote the books the way I did, and why I write about sex, and there's not a way to respond to a note on one's own page, and I didn't want to stick a note on her page without any context, so I came here to share my philosophy of writing about sex with the world--or at least as much of the world as comes by to read my blog.

I'm still waiting for my copies of The Eternal Rose... Sigh.

8 comments:

Catie said...

I didn't think any of those books were about sex. o.O Also, for some reason I thought this was Robin Owens' blog (I mis-clicked, apparently, and she used to use this layout) and I was really confused as to why she was writing so passionately about the sex in the One Rose trilogy. :)

-Catie

Nikki said...

Personally, I didn't think the books ever had that much sex in them. I think it is perfectly healthy considering varying persons had MAJOR hang-ups about about sex and the relationships and feelings associated. I thought it was handled well. I also firmly believe that there is no way people on long journeys don't engage in some kind of sexual relationship, even if it is a group of men on a quest.

I am also waiting for The Eternal Rose. In fact leaning towards the irritated with the publisher and ready to send rude e-mails. But, I will continue to practice patience for now. :)

Natasha said...

I've never understood why people complain about sex in books, but murder seems to be perfectly acceptable.

April said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
April said...

Just want you to know, I am definitely going on a quest "to retrieve the Magic Hoohah and save the world."

I want to have the conversation, "What's that?" "It's my Magic Hoohah."

Crazy Me said...

LOL! Sorry, April made me laugh.

Gail Dayton said...

She frequently makes me laugh. She's my kid. :)

Lynn said...

I enjoy sex. I mean in books. Well, otherwise, too. I'd better stop now. I just want to read the new one.