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Thread: Sex scenes in fantasy

  1. #1
    Learning to tie my shoelaces sargeorge's Avatar
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    Sex scenes in fantasy

    I'm betting this question has been asked before. How explicit should I go?
    The majority of Fantasy books i've read only show hints of whats going on. My novel has several such scenes already. Those were both casual.

    I am about to write another which is more integral to the plot. I am thinking a bit more detail here will not go amiss.

    Don't get me wrong I by no means want my book R rated but I do think many Fantasy books do lack in this regard.

    Is this because this is prefered by the majority of readers?
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  2. #2
    Moon Safari owlish's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the novel's target audience, what you're comfortable with writing, and the importance of the scene (does it need to be explicit?). As far as fantasy goes, I've read work bordering on erotica, straight-up erotic fantasy, and fade-to-black scenes with just enough to let the reader know that the characters are going to have sex off page.

    I don't think there's a set standard for this--perhaps the majority of readers are more comfortable with minimal description, but I'm not one of those people. Whatever works for the world of the story works for me. Honestly? I'd rather have more than less. But I'm sort of a voyeur in that regard.

    As a reference point, in the novel I'm currently writing, there will be at least a couple sex scenes, LGBT-themed ones at that. I don't want it to be explicit, but I'm not going to shy away from it; the first person narrative insists that I include something that isn't a simple fade. If/when I land an agent, I'm sure he or she will be able to verify if the choice I've made makes sense in the world of the story. Until then, I'll write the scenes how I best feel they should be presented.


  3. #3
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    It crops up a fair bit (both the sex AND the discussion )

    Basically there's a whole range from no one even has a sexy thought to to all out full tab a into slot b action (ASOIAF seems to do okay....) If your story needs it, then add it in.




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  4. #4
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    There are best-selling fantasy books full or sex, and best-selling fantasy book with no sex. Explicitness alone is not a key variable.

  5. #5
    Benefactor Member Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    There was a really long thread about this a while back, but I think the consensus was reached is that there's no approach that is representative of fantasy as a whole or that will please all readers. Some people are completely uninterested in sex (or even romance) in stories, while others really like to see that sort of thing.

    Veinglory is right that there is plenty of sex in fantasy and that it varies a lot in how explicit it is.

    I think Owlish has expressed one approach very well. If you think it adds something to the story you're writing, go for it. Your beta readers may provide some feedback, and eventually, if you get an agent and or publisher, they may have some suggestions.
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  6. #6
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
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    Well, there was a whole lot of sex in medieval times or we would never have survived the plagues...
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  7. #7
    He had lucid moments. dbock's Avatar
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    I'd check out the Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre. She does a fantastic job of riding the line between making you squirm without making you look away. She does it quite well. I've also never been able to put the series down which is why I'm reading a chapter a week of the final book (End Game) as I'm sad to see it go, lol.

  8. #8
    Learning to tie my shoelaces sargeorge's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone.

    I have written my integral sex scene with a tad more detail than my previous ones. I am quite proud of it. You never know it could even get lengthened on my second draft.
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  9. #9
    Writing Anarchist DeleyanLee's Avatar
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    Just remember that a sex scene is still a scene--there still has to be conflict and it has to move the story along in some way. Sex for the sake of sex is boring and starts the reader skimming for something more interesting. When a reader starts doing that, it's not a good thing. And that's regardless of what genre the book is.
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  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW RobertEvert's Avatar
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    All good advice....

    For me, being sexually repressed as I am... I prefer the fade to black sex scenes of the 1940s. They kiss...look into each others eyes...and then.....

    Leave it for the imagination!
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  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW victoriakmartin's Avatar
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    My two favourite fantasy series both have sex scenes in them, though they take different approaches to them. Sex plays a BIG role in Kushiel's Legacy and so most of those scenes are fairly explicit, to about the extent you would expect from a romance novel, with some scenes bordering on erotica.

    The scenes in the Sevenwaters books are much tamer, a bit more so than a romance book, though they don't shy away from it either.

    So basically, don't be afraid to show it (which you don't seem to be, considering you have re-written it) because there is definitely a fair amount of sex in fantasy, to varying levels of explicitness.
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  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW rwm4768's Avatar
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    I generally don't write sex scenes in my fantasy, largely because I don't think it would work very well considering I have no experience in that area. In my current WIP, I do a fade to black scene where I hint at sex, but that's it. I'm debating about actually putting sex in the second book in the series.

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