ACW

ACW

Monday, 3 August 2015






LETS TALK ABOUT SEX

by Catherine Anthony Boldeau

A few years ago, I was invited to write an erotic novel.  I was given the outline and brief and a potential deadline.  Although I was never going to earn the money of E L James's Fifty Shades of Grey, the project certainly had the potential to be quite lucrative and propel me into the spotlight as a writer.  However, the Biblical principle in Philippians 4:8, '...whatsoever things are pure...think on these things,' screamed in both eyes loud and clear.  There was no mistaking what the Father was saying. So I respectfully declined the opportunity with a courteous email and the matter was closed.

However, the situation made me wonder, if as a Christian, there was any time that I would be comfortable about writing a sex scene or should I even conceive that it is necessary in a short story or novel?  Does being a Christian mean that I should deny that sex exists and writing about it is wrong? Or should I, like, Solomon in the book, 'Song of Solomon' find a way to write about the sexuality so that it becomes 'holy sensuality?'

I have not been able to answer these questions in any kind of detail, because to be truthful I'm not sure where I stand on the matter.  I have made a few sexual references in my fictional writing, but these have being minor and possible even have gone unnoticed. Maybe, I'm scared of being branded as 'too worldly', or maybe, I am scared to approach a subject that might make others uncomfortable.  But should I be?

According to a BBC report in 2012, the sale of erotica fiction is 'cannibalising' the rest of the UK book market.  At the time of the report, the sales of all other genres had fallen, with crime novels done by 20%, science fiction and fantasy which was down by 25% and horror down by 30%.   And eight of the ten top selling novels in August, three years ago were works of erotica.  

So, sex sells.  It sells everything from cars to sofas, it encourages the purchase of yoghurt and accompanies perfume and aftershave ads.  It even seems to be used now to market all types of insurance. And it's often illicit sex, 'quickies', flirtations, etc and sex that does not lead to lasting relationships but disposable feelings, based more on lust that longevity.  And however, it appeals to our base senses, it promotes damages lifestyles. 

Lifestyle choices affect us in the long term and I don't want to be a part of an industry that promotes short term, takeaway relationships.  But that doesn't mean I won't ever write about sex. I will write about healthy lasting and committed relationships and will allude to sex.  I may even peep in the bedroom.  But I won't linger because such relationships don't desire the voyeur writer, they need the respectful absence of a writer who understands that sex is beautiful, special and should not be entered into 'wantonly and lightly'.  

7 comments:

  1. I think now, perhaps more than ever, Christian writers need to be portraying sex as our faith says it should be seen. We need to acknowledge it's power, celebrate its beauty and warn against its dangers - without crossing the fuzzy line into pornographic, and always in the context of good, authentic writing and believable plotting! That's a huge challenge, and perhaps not many of us will be up to it. (I'm not sure that I am - I have made something of an attempt at it, but I don't know how successful I was!). Yet it is an issue which we need to face and a challenge that must be taken up. Thank you for addressing the issue, Catherine.

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  2. Yes: see my comment on the FB site. I do face it, and the answer is, if I;m not to write too many words in this novel, I'm going to leave that out as it probably is the least necessary! Very sad to see those figures about erotica: shows how basic the reader's tastes are, hardly any thoughtfulness compared with the immediate draw of desire and giving into temptation described. I don't avoid sex scenes to make a Christian stand, or because I disapprove of sex. But, I haven't written anything like a 'sex scene' in my novels either. It's really difficult to write meaningful sex, I think, and I admire writers who can convey the depth of feelings people have for each other without having to go into the acts of sex. Much more clever than pornography! I have a favourite book, 'The Translator' by Lela Aboulela which conveys the hesitant, difficult, emotional relationship growing between two people who are possibly forbidden to each other (by culture and religion) and this is maintained over most of the book, and is breathtaking compared to them 'having sex'.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes: see my comment on the FB site. I do face it, and the answer is, if I;m not to write too many words in this novel, I'm going to leave that out as it probably is the least necessary! Very sad to see those figures about erotica: shows how basic the reader's tastes are, hardly any thoughtfulness compared with the immediate draw of desire and giving into temptation described. I don't avoid sex scenes to make a Christian stand, or because I disapprove of sex. But, I haven't written anything like a 'sex scene' in my novels either. It's really difficult to write meaningful sex, I think, and I admire writers who can convey the depth of feelings people have for each other without having to go into the acts of sex. Much more clever than pornography! I have a favourite book, 'The Translator' by Lela Aboulela which conveys the hesitant, difficult, emotional relationship growing between two people who are possibly forbidden to each other (by culture and religion) and this is maintained over most of the book, and is breathtaking compared to them 'having sex'.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes: see my comment on the FB site. I do face it, and the answer is, if I;m not to write too many words in this novel, I'm going to leave that out as it probably is the least necessary! Very sad to see those figures about erotica: shows how basic the reader's tastes are, hardly any thoughtfulness compared with the immediate draw of desire and giving into temptation described. I don't avoid sex scenes to make a Christian stand, or because I disapprove of sex. But, I haven't written anything like a 'sex scene' in my novels either. It's really difficult to write meaningful sex, I think, and I admire writers who can convey the depth of feelings people have for each other without having to go into the acts of sex. Much more clever than pornography! I have a favourite book, 'The Translator' by Lela Aboulela which conveys the hesitant, difficult, emotional relationship growing between two people who are possibly forbidden to each other (by culture and religion) and this is maintained over most of the book, and is breathtaking compared to them 'having sex'.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's not about writing meaningful sex scenes but meaningful relationships. The huge rise in the sale of erotica shows how hungry the world is for the love and meaning that is missing in their lives - it is a desperate attempt to fill the void with the quick fix high, the same as drugs and alcohol.
    The dream used to be a handsome prince and a white horse, also not very realisitic but no less popular in it's time - it has just been replaced with something much more graphic and seedy.
    Please, please write about sex but always in context of marriage, in light of God's creation and as he created it but more than that write about right relationships.
    If as Christians, we can't write about sex then I'm out of a job!
    The only reason that people go for the erotica is because they do not even know there is another way, a way of doing it differently because it's not talked about - how will they know if we don;t tell them.

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  6. In my WIP I have a scene where my not-yet-Christian protagonist has a sexual encounter with a pagan shrine prostitute. Not much detail. My wife objected; other readers would have liked it to be more explicit! I struggle. Should we refrain from describing such scenes at the risk of being holier-than-thou?

    ReplyDelete
  7. In my WIP I have a scene where my not-yet-Christian protagonist has a sexual encounter with a pagan shrine prostitute. Not much detail. My wife objected; other readers would have liked it to be more explicit! I struggle. Should we refrain from describing such scenes at the risk of being holier-than-thou?

    ReplyDelete