All About Sex

If there’s no sex, it ain’t LesFic

Eliza Andrews

 

I’m Back.

After finishing up my literature class, I’ve finally gotten time to read and write about the things I like again. Sorry about the hiatus.

I recently read a blog by an author of lesbian fiction in which she talked about the “requirement” to have sex scenes in LesFic. (Okay, it was Eliza Andrews, hence the quote above) She said that she, and other authors she knows, generally dislike writing these scenes, but if they are not included the readers complain and it negatively effects their sales. The most recent book of hers I read was a fantasy novel about an eighteen-year-old girl who was the daughter of the emperor in a made-up land. Although there was some romance in the story, it was not the focus. I thought the book was extremely well written with a complex and compelling story. With a teen-age heroine coming of age and learning to take control of her destiny, this would have been a good book to recommend to girls in their early teens –  except in the first few chapters there was a lot of explicit sex between the heroine and her seventeen year-old lady-in-waiting. The implication of a sexual relationship was necessary for the story-line, but the level of detail and made it inappropriate for an audience that could have learned from it.

Another of my favorite authors wrote a book about a woman whose practical joker of a brother set her up on a date with a lesbian friend of his. The two women decided to pretend they were falling for each other to teach him a lesson, and of course they did fall for each other. It was a nice little tale with the requisite HEA. Nobody got laid because the story didn’t call for it. It was a story about a woman slowly falling in love with another woman and coming to terms with her sexual orientation. A sex scene would have been completely gratuitous and would have distracted from the story line. On her website, the author said that she had gotten complaints from her readers about this. So much so that she wrote a sequel novella that was entirely about the women consummating their relationship. To me, it detracted the original story. The two protagonists were both shy, private people and I felt like a voyeur peeping into their bedroom.

When I first started reading Romance novels I found that most of them contained one or two sex scenes, which generally start with the heroine losing her virginity. While there are a few authors who make sex a major theme in their books, such as Stephanie Laurens, and Harlequin has a couple of categories where sex (mainly BDSM) substitutes for actual stories, for most writers of straight romance it is simply a small part of the relationship between the main characters. With just a few exceptions, the frequency and level of detail in LesFic is notably greater. Are lesbians that much more sexually oriented than straight women? There’s a question a straight guy like me will probably never have answered – and I’m not sure I really need, or want, to know.

Generally I will just skim these scenes to make sure something relevant to the plot isn’t snuck, in, but for the most part I find them vaguely embarrassing, both in lesbian and straight romances. Admittedly, sometimes the stories call for a sex scene or two, and I have written some. But not every story calls for its leading characters to get naked and give each other orgasms while we watch. Jae’s “Just Physical,” which I wrote about in my last blog, required explicit sex as it was integral to the central point of the plot. The same is true of some of Mary Ballogh’s Regency romances, such as “Simply Love.” The story would have been incomplete and incomprehensible if we had not experienced what the characters experienced. On the other hand, British author Natasha West has written several excellent LesFic romances where she has kept the bedroom door firmly closed.

I once posted on an All About Romance message board that mothers should require their adolescent sons read a few romance novels for educational purposes. They are written by women describing their ideal sexual experiences – what their perfect lovers would do – and the young men would get a true idea of what a woman wanted. I suppose the same is probably true for mothers of lesbian teens. I pointed out to the mothers that their daughters-in-law would love them for it.

And now in the spirit of full disclosure: in the past I have written a number of erotic short stories. In my defense, I’ve always tried to write about the characters having sex rather than about the sex itself, but the bottom line is that there are a lot of orgasms in them.

Novel Report: It now stands at 61,160 words. Not much progress I know, but I’ve been busy putting together some of my short stories with the aim of publishing them on Amazon. And yes, they are erotic stories.

 

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