General, Reading

I (Don’t) Want Your Sex

I’m not even close to being an uptight prude, but really I could do without graphic sex scenes in books. And no, I’m not talking about 50 shades of erotica. I’m talking about otherwise good books with too many gory details.

I’ve been married for over fifteen years and have two biological children, so I’m hardly a veiled virgin. I’m fine with sex scenes if they serve a purpose even if they’re not within the confines of what I consider moral. However, it doesn’t mean I want a recap of sex education with or without anatomical slang.

What are my boundaries? Like I mentioned, sometimes things need to happen. Not long ago I read a Christian novel where an unmarried believer had a sexual encounter outside of marriage. I had one of those “oh no they didn’t” moments, but it was so perfect. It was a well-played plot twist that showed how God can redeem sin. While there was no question of what transpired between these two, it wasn’t described in graphic detail. Edgy in inspirational circles but tame by most people’s standards.

On the other end of my spectrum is the Song of Fire and Ice series (the books that the HBO series “Game of Thrones” is based upon). I’m a huge fan, but the author can make me blush. I would say his scenes are the absolute edge of my tolerance and sometimes cross over to cringe-worthy in description. I’ve been listening to this series on audiobook, which makes it more noticeable since I would skim from the words “untied his breeches” to “retrieved his small clothes” (these aren’t direct quotes, but you get the picture). Listening you don’t have that luxury. Although the 15-second forward feature can be well-employed here.

One book that had me muttering, “TMI” was The Time Traveler’s Wife. I’m a sucker for any book related to time travel, but that’s a blog post unto itself. I just finished listening to the audiobook version. The story had so many things that I loved about it: The idea that Henry’s time travels are a genetic condition. The non-linear storyline. Clare is not much older than me, so I related to her timeline. In one scene, Clare and Henry attend a Violent Femmes concert about the time I was listening to them in my dorm room.

That said, while I like rock and roll, I could do without so much sex and drugs. Especially the former. When the characters describe their experience in so much detail, that I feel the need to wash my hands, it’s too much.

I appreciate when an author can bring you into a scene. That’s great when you want to know what the hero thinks about a piece of music or the sensation of time travel. But when it’s a play-by-play of what happens between the sheets, I’m fine with glossing over what happens from “unzipped my pants” to “put my shirt back on” (again not direct quotes).

What about you? Is it a line in the sand? Do you only read “clean”? Or is it that “I know it when I read it” feeling?

4 thoughts on “I (Don’t) Want Your Sex”

  1. I guess the last option? I don’t want details but I don’t mind implied-type stuff depending on the book and situation. I recall Graceling being too much for me but the sequel Fire didn’t bother me. Ah – here’s a good example: Breaking Dawn the book – very well handled. Breaking Dawn the movie – um, way TMI!!!! 😉

    I do like Christian books that aren’t so chaste as to be unrealistic. I remember reading one with a marriage of convenience so, of course, half the plot was them sleeping separately while they unknowingly fall in love. Then all of a sudden she was pregnant & I had no idea they’d even come close to that boundary yet!

  2. I know exactly what you are saying here. I love a book that takes me deep into the characters POV, but I don’t want too many bedroom details. I don’t mind knowing that something happened, but I don’t want the details! I have read a few books that left me blushing (not Christian fiction). 😉 I think that’s taking it too far as a writer, but I like the previous comment said.. the character shouldn’t end up pregnant and the reader is left to wonder, “how did that happen??”

  3. Exactly. Stacey.
    Well, except I just finished Replication by Jill Williamson. There’s a cloned teenage boy who doesn’t know how a woman gets pregnant. It was played for humor and quite funny.

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