Category Archives: Sex

Too Much Sex?

Here’s a question I’ve been pondering. Can there be too much sex in an erotic story? I almost feel silly talking about gratuitous content in a work of erotica, but there it is.

Woman of the Mountain, was criticized by one reviewer as having too much sex. I saw the reviewer’s point. Since the novel takes place in a world where sex is literally a connection to divinity, the rampant coupling potentially cheapened the sacrament. Woman went on to win an Eppie for best erotica in 2008, but if I were to rewrite it today, I might well remove a steamy page or two.

The easy answer to my question is “an erotic story should have at least as much sex as the story requires.” Many of my tales are, one way or another, about sex. The erotic scenes are central to the story so it’s easy enough to tie the heat and the plot together. In a short story, it’s easier to find the right level of sex, but novels are harder. I’m in the process right now of weaving the 52+ chapters of my blog serial, Woman of His Dreams, into a  novel, so the question has been circling around my brain as I restructure the story. On the blog, I felt like there should be at least a little sex in each chapter, but in a 57,000 word novel, the frequent fucking becomes choppy. Of course. I’m also finding other challenges turning a serial into a novel—pacing, balancing two viewpoints, and such. The process has been educational, though it’s taking longer than I had intended. I’m hoping to have it to a publisher this summer. If you want to read the raw material, with sex in every sequence, it’s all still here.

One unique facet of my chosen genre makes my question even harder to answer. Many readers of erotica read for at least two purposes. Some erotica readers read more for the stories than for prurient interest, but some readers are primarily looking for the kicks that hot, explicit scenes provide. Too little sex in a story definitely risks turning off the reader seeking wank material, while too much may annoy one who reads more for story. Of course, most readers appreciate both elements so, as long as the story justifies the sex, the balance is not too difficult to maintain. For me the ideal approach is to make the sex fit the tale but don’t hold back.

Finally, in erotica, much like horror fiction, I think the best effects are those that are created in a reader’s mind by leaving things unsaid in the prose, which makes the balance between explicitness and ellipsis even more important. Over the five years I’ve been writing, I’ve tried to strike a balance between too much and too little, but I’m sure I sometimes still get the mix wrong. I suppose if I had to condense my experience down into simple advice for a beginning erotica author, I would say, “write just as much sex into the story as you need and then add just a little more.”  

Virtual World Sex: A Matter of Time

If the media are extensions of our senses, the internet is wired directly to our genitals.

Every fetish, every desire, can be met vicariously, as voyeur or exhibitionist.  People feel free to share their most degrading fantasies with total strangers. Silicon citizens flirt, fuck, woo, cheat, and cohabit in cyberspace. Love, lust, and emotions that don’t have names are fed in chat rooms, across IM space, in Facebook messages and Twitter kisses.

So, of course, in the world of online games there are relationships too, torrid and emotionally intense as meat space.  Often, they are more visceral than chat room flirtation because the world around the partners is persistent.

So here’s something to mull.  If you divorce your husband the troll, who gets to keep the castle?  Sound insane?  Trust me, I’ve seen virtual world “divorces” end with almost as much venom and bitterness as any real world divorce.  The saving grace with the pixels?  Killing the virtual offending troll doesn’t land you on death row.  In fact, in the right game, a player can even enjoy killing an ex over and over and over again!

But peel away the layers of technology and high def graphics, online amour is ultimately all about time.  “Time jealousy” is the greatest risk in online relationships, especially within shared worlds, and also in the weird interface between virtual and real space. Even if your boyfriend is tolerant of you having make-believe sex with muscular fantasy objects, he is likely to resent the loss of your company when he wants to watch a movie or share the sofa while he watches muscular fantasy objects beat each other up on a football field.

The variety of reactions from significant others to fantasy world cybersex is endless, fascinating, and diverse. Please don’t get me wrong. It can be serious business. There have been divorces over Second Life relationships and countless engagements have been broken over World of Warcraft (WoW) addiction. Support groups exist for men and women whose partners spend hours in various on line worlds including Everquest and WoW.

But there are other reactions as well. My partner Drake used to play with a female player whose spouse was not only okay with her having steamy encounters in games, but who encouraged her because the cybersex warmed her up for real world action. Cyber ménage foreplay, as it were.  I’d like to see some marriage counselor wrap themselves around that one!

In online worlds, especially the complex, goal-driven games like WoW and Age of Conan, one of the most valuable resources for any player is a reliable playmate. Even if the idea of roleplaying sex is repugnant to a player, a dependable companion to help kill those tough dragons is essential.  Some of the content in these games requires staggering commitments of time and whole groups become interdependent on the availability of players with particular skills, such as healing.

This is where things become interesting. As everyone knows, the faceless internet tends to erode social skills rather than to encourage them, but consideration and communication, the foundation blocks of social life, are absolutely essential if one is going to have a successful online fantasy life, with or without sex.

So, how does this consideration work? What kinds of agreements, spoken and unspoken, can exist between cyber playmates?  That’s coming up next.