Friday, March 4, 2011

Sex in Novels

Sex sells.
I've been in the business of writing novels for a little over a year, but I discovered sex sells early in my career. List a novel or a short story in one of the several categories provided by the web publishers such as romance, fantasy, science fiction, etc. and sure, you'll get a few downloads; but list it as erotic or adult content, and the sales will double.
Sex sells.
But why does sex sell?
Could it be because at any given moment, nearly half the world's population is engaged in the pleasurable act of making babies?
Half. – over three billion people.
Maybe more than half, if you count those people making love in the daytime.
So, why hold back on the one aspect of life that prevents the extinction of the human race?
In the U.S. We have a very skewed outlook on sex. This is a country in which a three letter word, describing the act of killing people, is considered heroic and brave, but a four letter word describing the act of making babies is considered obscene. Is that rational or sane?
So I put sex in my works. I don't do it to sell, I do it because it belongs there. Sex is an essential part of human life. It's grand and sometimes glorious if it includes love. There's nothing nasty, obscene or degrading about it. It's about the closest you'll come to experiencing heaven in this life. The French call orgasm the little death. They've got a point. If a good orgasm never stopped, I think I would die.
Check any novel, novella, or short story ever written and you’ll find sex ranging from either blatant sex or sex hidden somewhere between the pages. Even Harry Potter has sex in it and that's supposed to be a kids book. Lord of the Rings has the romance between Arwen and Strider, and between Sam and the barmaid. Sex is the natural outcome of romance. Everyone knows it, it hovers in the back of their minds and that's what makes romance work.
I studied psychology in college and learned about Adlerian Psychology. Alder felt there were two types of love. One, he termed agape and the other, Eros (from the Greek words). Eros is the love found in romance novels; grasping, jealous, heart pounding, sweaty, physical love, the really fun stuff. Agape is the distant, worship from afar, love of God, in other words, boring and unfulfilled. The old Jane Austin novels are like that. When you read these romances, you have to wonder how the human race survived. Surely someone, somewhere during the Victorian era just wanted to hop in bed and fuck, didn't they? Every happy-ever-after love story that ends with the heroine bouncing a new baby on her knee means the couple jumped in bed and screwed their lights out. It takes a lot more than one session to make a baby unless you're really, really lucky – or unlucky as the case may be.
I look at it this way, if two people fall in love, then sooner or later they'll have sex, make love, or in other less acceptable words, fuck. It's as inevitable as sunrise. So, if the end is a glorious, loving sex scene, then why not write about it?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Doug,
    I'm not on Facebook, so hope you don't mind me contacting you here. Would love to talk books and writing with you, you made some points I really agree with when you wrote to me. Could you contact me by email so we can have a conversation? (email addy is on my blog). I've just downloaded your book to read and yes, have to say I agree with this blog post as well. It's just plain human nature to think about sex, isn't it!
    Thanks, Kate Genet