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mark211The good, the bad, and the downright ugly: sex and romance in SFF?2018-03-31 23:59:20
mark211After a long hiatus, I have been reading my way through the excellent submissions made to QM over the last 8 months or so (and many thanks to all those who submitted). But one thing I seemed to have noticed was an increase in references to sex, love, changing forms of relationships and so on. And so that made me wonder the following ... 2018-04-01 00:07:13
mark211... as writers (or indeed as readers), how do you feel about representations of sex and sexuality in SFF? Even in a more liberated age, it's a question fraught with difficulties to my mind. Certainly, it is something that is difficult to do effectively. So what has been your experience here? Has it been easy or difficult to write? What kind of problems have you had and what kind of solutions have you tried?2018-04-01 00:09:59
mark211To give an example from my own 'sketch book', I have been toying on and off for almost two years now with the very simple and age old story concept of a (desirable) man appearing amongst a community of virginal women who have all been bred in artificial wombs and so have never encountered a man even though they know of their existence. A problem I have not really been able to resolve is the 'cringe' factor - by which I mean it seems reasonable to portray many of the women in this community as being thunderstruck at a deep and visceral level (racing heartbeat, dry mouth, knees going weak etc.) on encountering this man naked for the first time. But whenever I write it, it just seems to come out cheesy and more than a bit stereotypical and therefore implausible. 2018-04-01 00:18:05
mark211So guys, what about you?2018-04-01 00:18:14
dandrew72Like many, my first encounters with sex/romance/love/lust in the realm of sci-fi or fantasy were in movies. There were barely dressed ladies in Flash Gordon. When Princess Leia was a captive of Jabba she wasn't exactly covered head to toe either. Then there was a really great sci-fi movie (the name eludes me but it had to do with crime at a mining outpost in space) with some rather graphic sexual scenes. I was "coming of age" at the time so these depictions fed into my mind which was rejecting cooties and wondering about the opposite sex. As writers, our challenge is similar. Can we write sex/love/romance/lust into our work without coming across as cheap and dirty? Do we know what to do with the language and the storyline to make it a memorable read and not an awkward passage or paragraph that's over way too quick? To date I've not had a lot of luck incorporating these things into my writing but am willing to keep trying. 2018-04-02 15:41:07
Ironspider@dandrew72 - you're probably referring to 'Outland' with Sean Connery. There's a scene in a brothel where Steven Berkoff - as a drugged-up miner - is trashing the room of a prostitute. It was an 18-rated film in the UK, and at the time exposed female flesh seemed to be a requirement, relevant or not! Funny, that scene had also occurred to me as an example of the ugly side of sex in SFF - film rather than book, but a valid example. I must admit that I can't really think of a good example of romance, as it's not something I focus on. Perhaps Aragorn and Arwen in Lord of the Rings; a chaste relationship that ends happily. So far I've avoided sex and/or romance in my own work, beyond a few minor suggestions. Which suits me fine and serves the stories I've written.2018-04-04 04:57:19
rtMost often I hint at it or slightly expand, though generally I leave the actual scene up to the readers own mind and own personal experience to embellish, enhance and conger. There are enough raw sites on cable or porn that will fill in the gaps for those who require a more graphic examples and technical demonstrations.

That said, at times, detail is necessary. Generally, I find it better in a good well made video (Body Heat, UNFAITHFUL two non SCIFI examples or novel/short story as in Delta of Venus).

But the bottom line, SEX SELLS! Want a cigarette?

2018-04-04 18:48:59
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Qbabe2Robert Silverberg did an excellent job of Human to Alien sexual encounters in his Majipoor Chronicles. It is funny to see how much it can be meaningful in totally different ways, with alien thinking. Much of the encounters is simply what emotions or memories are stirred up, sex is 85% mental.2018-10-17 08:56:30





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