Sex is not written well?

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"The truth is that most of the time when writers deal with sex, they avoid writing about the act itself." (Foster 144)
Ok, I will come right out and say that I was in total disagreement with Fostser throughout this chapter. I understand that way back in the day people had to write about sex through symbols because writing about the actual deed would be scandalous. "In the victorian age, sex was nearly impossible to find in polite literature, due to rigid censorship both official and self imposed." (Foster 144). But now things are different and this man has obviously never read a romance novel. In many of the romance novels I have read sex scenes go on and on for pages at a time and they happen quite frequently throughout the book, and it doesn't just last for a minute and a half. Also, most authors don't just skip over the act itself. I will agree with him in the fact that the sexiest stuff does happen before the sex but most romance writers put everything in their books. It's also true that many writers use metaphors but they still use all of the details.
I do also agree that there is more than just the sex. Most of the books that I have read have some kind of exciting adventure going on (and most of the time I read for that), for instance in a book called Montana Sky there is a murder mystery going on while the romance plays out.
In some ways I think it would be nice if books weren't saturated in actual sex scenes and still just focused on the metaphors such as the blowing curtains. We see sex everywhere in today's society it would be nice to take a break from it.

Back to Foster



Well, just because a lot of writers of romance novels do include sex scenes doesn't necessarily mean that those novels have a lot of literary merit or that those sex scenes are the most memorable part of the book. In The Time Traveler's Wife, they do start to describe the sex, but they usually don't go on for more than a few sentences, and even then I got a little tired of the sex after a while. You make a good point about how novels can't just be about sex; the overall story has to be exciting, or it would get really boring. That's why I don't think sex scenes should be included unless they really are key in telling the story. It's important to know what kind of a relationship Henry and Clare have, so that's why you have a lot of instances that allude to or briefly depict sex. But if you took out all of the other stuff going on in The Time Traveler's Wife and left just the sex, it would really not be anywhere near as interesting.

Marie vanMaanen said:

I agree with Matt. I think that a lot of romance writers might include lengthy sex scenes, but I don't think Foster is really referencing those writers. Instead I think he's talking about the award winning authors where sex is a part of the story but not the whole story. I do agree with you though that those scenes before they start going into all of the sex details are the most interesting. I think it's because the build up and the wonder of where this might be going is more exciting than reading about sex. That's why I also agree that the sex metaphors instead of the actual sex scenes are more powerful. The sex scene is left for you to decide instead of being told what happens. It's kind of like the idea of a book being turned into a movie. If you really liked the book, the movie will never be good enough because it can't compete with what you've come up with in your imagination.

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This page contains a single entry by published on April 15, 2009 10:03 AM.

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