Before I get into the actual blog post itself, I want to preface what I’m about to say. When I talk about genre fiction, I’m referring to fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, thrillers, historical fiction, even romance and so on. I’m going to obviously exclude the genre of erotica since the entire premise of the genre is to write and read about the acts of sex.

Also, when I refer to ‘sex,’ I mean an actual scene where the reader can experience sex through the eyes of the characters.

This topic is pretty controversial among both readers and writers. Generally speaking, most individuals have strong opinions on the matter. Here are some of my thoughts:

Those who are proponents of sex scenes in their fiction make several points for their inclusion.
1. The scenes are fun! Sex scenes are like action scenes and help add excitement to the story.

2. Sex is a part of life. Pretty much everyone at some point will have sex so why not include it? Obviously, you wouldn’t have a sex scene in a children’s book. But in adult fiction, what’s the big deal? Are we to assume that the characters never have sex?

3. Sex is a great way to develop a character, both from a writer and reader’s viewpoint. Is the act mechanical or passionate? Do the people show affection to each other or treat it as a sense of duty? And so on. Many people will argue that sex is too important not to show how an individual would react to it in order to better understand that person.

Those who are against the use of sex scenes in their fiction make several points for their exclusion.
1. It makes people uncomfortable. Some people just don’t enjoy or feel comfortable reading about other people having sex whether imagined or not. Religious beliefs often play a key role here but I’ve heard several non-religious people make the same point. They argue that if they wanted to read about sex, they would just buy erotica, rather than the mystery (or other genre) they purchased.

2. Sex scenes are often written poorly and sound as though they are told through the eyes of a 13 year old deep in puberty. Some would argue that most sex scenes fail to actually resemble anything like the real thing. Therefore, why include something that comes across as ‘phony’ in your book if it serves little purpose?

3. Sex scenes are a cop-out and only used to sell books. Everything someone can learn about a character from a sex scene can also be learned through another life event. Therefore, the only reason to include the scene is to say you have one or to reach a certain type of audience.

I’m sure there are plenty more arguments for and against having sex in genre fiction but those are the ones I can immediately recall. I can see and understand both sides of the argument. However, I personally prefer not to have sex scenes in the books I read or write. As a reader, I often skim or skip over those passages (especially if they are overtly long or graphic). I know a lot of that has to do with my religious beliefs as such scenes personally make me feel uncomfortable. But, even before I committed myself to God, I remember being uninterested in and even bored by such passages. Again, they read like they were written by an overly excited teenage boy.

Now, does that mean that I think we should act like sex does not exist in fiction? No. In fact, there are two characters in my book, Rise and Fall, who have a sexual encounter. However, the actual act occurs ‘off-camera.’ The reader understands what happens since we see the events leading up to the moment and then see those characters reflect on the encounter and how they felt about what they did. I personally prefer this method of storytelling if sex is used in any capacity. We get the character development that people who want sex scenes clamor about without any of the uncomfortable feelings that comes with describing every detail.

So, what are your thoughts? Do sex scenes belong in genre fiction? Why or why not?

(If you comment, please be respectful and refrain from using any over the top language. Thanks.)


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