Literary Sex In Mainstream Fiction…

We hear about sex scenes in erotica and erotic romances being scorned, judged, and laughed at all the time. There’s even a web site devoted to this. There’s one well known romance reviewer who has made this her part time job.

But we never hear about that ever so tasteful and oh so literary sex in mainstream fiction being judged…anywhere. This is partly because there isn’t much sex in literary/mainstream novels…unless of course it involves something dramatic like incest or rape and it sheds a negative light on sex and garners a great deal of emotional publicity for the author. And this is also because the traditional gatekeepers in publishing don’t go for sex in literary/mainstream novels. No sex for them. No fun for them. My own personal opinion is that they either don’t like sex, or they don’t have it. Maybe no one wants to have it with them. And if you ever see photos of them you’ll understand what I mean.

But the fact is that sex is a huge part of most lives. Like it or not, it’s there…even if you aren’t getting it. And if it’s done the right way, it doesn’t have to be a negative. I do think there are a few literary/mainstream novelists emerging who are getting it right. John Irving always wrote good sex scenes in his novels. But there are still the same old authors writing the same old literary sex scenes that were written years ago. And no one ever laughs at them or mentions they didn’t get it right.

Sex is also subjective. There are people who don’t like reading about sex, and that’s fine. But there are also people who read literary/mainstream novels and they wonder why a certain scene didn’t contain any sex, especially if it would have read so much better with a little sex. And if it did contain a sex scene why the hell was it so damn cheesy.

This is why I added my own little sex scene in The Virgin Billionaire: Revenge, where the main characters, Jase and Luis, have this little game they play called “Literary Sex.” Here’s an excerpt below, with examples. I’ve edited a few words and abbreviated the scenes because this is a pg rated blog. But the gist of the scene is there in full.

“Because you want my manhood right now,” Jase said.

Manhood/member is big in literary/mainstream sex.

Luis laughed. “Oh, I see. You want to have literary sex tonight.” They hadn’t had literary sex for a while, not since they’d gone to a long, drawn out literary book reading with Ben and Percy down in the East Village. When they returned home from the book reading, Luis invented a new sex game. He called it literary sex, where they talked dirty the way characters in literary novels talked when they had sex.

Another abbreviated excerpt from the same scene with one of my all time favorite literary/mainstream phrases:

Luis smiled and said, “Take me now. Do the deed, Jase. I want you to do the deed to me.”

I personally love the phrase “do the deed.” It gets me every time. I read this in a New York Times bestseller very recently and I was amazed there are still authors using it. And what amazed me even more was that no one mentioned it in any reviews and no one so much as smiled. Personally, if anyone ever asked me if I wanted to “do the deed” I’d laugh so hard the mood would be over.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post on pg rated sex scenes in romances.

2 thoughts on “Literary Sex In Mainstream Fiction…

  1. Why just Do The Deed when you can Make Love behind closed doors, under the covers, in the dark? Or the 'Husband/wife" thing as in Lisa See's books or any number of highly awkward prose that perfectly talented authors are capable of creating when it comes to the Uppy/Downie thing!great postLiz

  2. I don't get it either. But I'm glad a lot of newer authors are changing this. I honestly think the problem is with the old publishing system, where a handful of people (gatekeepers) chose the books and chose what the mainstream would be reading. This is why I'm such a huge supporter of self-published authors.

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