I’m not talking about real live, obviously. In the real world, I think everyone agrees that you can’t ever get enough of a good thing (and sex is certainly a good thing – if you’re doing it right). No, I’m talking about sex in fiction. Is it possible to have too much sex in a novel.
The reason I’m thinking about this is that recently, in a few things I’ve read, I’ve found myself scanning over, or even skipping, the sex scenes in order to get back to the story. Let me try and explain.
At the start of this year I made a conscious decision to add to my reading list some of the much loved ‘epic’ stories that are about in the ‘free’ erotica community. I mentioned this earlier this year on this blog. I’m talking about the likes of BlueDragon’s Ordinary Sex Life series and his John Billionaire series. Wizard’s Trailer Park series is another.
And, of course, any exploration of ‘epic’ stories on SOL wouldn’t be complete without Frank Downey’s Dance of a Lifetime, which is excellent, by the way. Yes, Frank’s style is a little too sickly sweet sometimes, and he has the habit of doing things with his prose that really annoy me (not least of which is using bold for emphasis – and using emphasis far too often), but boy this guy can spin a good yarn. If you haven’t already wasted the many, many hours it takes to read this, then you really should. You won’t be disappointed.
The latest series I’m tackling is Nick Scipio’s Summer Camp.
Now, Ordinary Sex Life, Trailer Park and Summer Camp are all “coming of age” stories. They are told by a first person narrator – a teenage boy – and cover that period in his life when he grows from a boy to a man and discovers all about girls and the fun things you can do with them. Dance of a Lifetime could be called “coming of age” if you stretch the definition but it’s more of a “star crossed lovers” tale.
Because OSL, TP and SC are about a young man discovering sex, there is a lot of sex in them. With many multiple partners – often at the same time. But as I’ve read each of them, I’ve found myself scanning the sex scenes rather than reading every word. I’m looking to see if the scene in question is significant to the story, or just there for the sake of having a sex scene.
Don’t get me wrong, all three series have the elements of good fiction – good, interesting plots, lots of conflict and characters that develop as the story unfolds – but sometimes the sex seems to have been ‘tacked on’ to the story, possibly because author feels it’s been a while since we had a sex scene and this is a sex story, after all. But sometimes, the sex scene is essential to the story, because it contains a crucial plot point or character development, and those are the scenes I’m looking for when I scan. Those are the sex scenes I want to read because they progress the story.
For me, too often, the sex is getting in the way and, honestly, I’d rather just read the story.
I’m not doing these stories down. They are all very good, very enjoyable and I’d recommend them to anyone (okay, maybe not anyone but you know what I mean). That’s why I’ve included the links. I’m just trying to illustrate my point that it is possible to have too much sex.
Too much sex is something I’ve tried to avoid in my last two novels. Or rather, sex for the sake of sex is something I’ve tried to avoid. Instead, I’ve tried only to include the sex scenes that I think are relevant to the plot and character development.
Kissed by a Rose is ninety thousand words and fifty three chapters long yet it contains only thirteen distinct sex scenes. It alludes to a lot more, but only thirteen are described in any detail. That’s because the reader only needed to see what went on in those thirteen scenes. All the other times that Adam and Chloe had sex, it was not as important to the plot or their individual development.
Eternally & Evermore is also around the ninety thousand word mark, and is fifty-two chapters long. But in this one (due to be released by Phaze Book next summer) the first sex scene doesn’t happen until chapter chapter twelve – almost twenty thousand words into the book. The next sex scene doesn’t happen until chapter twenty-three (and that’s only a dream). In fact, there’s only six explicitly described sex scenes in the whole of the book, each one of them serving a purpose to the story and none of them there just for the sake of having the characters screwing.
So, to answer my own title – yes, there is such a thing as too much sex. Or rather, for my tastes there is. But what do you think? Have you ever thought about it? Feel free to let me know what you think.