1. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Sex during a catastrophic event...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by bluebell80, Jan 21, 2010.

    This has always been something that bugged me about action/disaster movies and books, the MC and someone else always ends up falling in love, or having sex with someone during a, or because of a tense situation. Sometimes you know the people having sex during the zombie plagues are probably going to be the next to die...other times, the MC falls in love with someone and they are so passionate about each other that that must have each other, that release to all the tension. The movie Speed is a good example. They know nothing about each other, but are making out on the runway after escaping the flaming bus. Most zombie movies have some sort of sex in them at some point. Disaster plots often have someone doing it too, just before disaster strikes, or after it has struck and are struggling to survive.

    Do you think this is necessary in a plot line of survival?

    OR is it just the sensationalistic way of our culture?

    Or is it a natural human response to catastrophic events, our whole preserve the species instincts, coming out and since we are surviving together, the closest person to us gets our lovin'?

    I'm torn as to if I should keep my MC and the man she has picked up during a zombie scenario in just a platonic relationship, or if I should have some flirting start here at some point. Both of their spouses are dead, they are dealing with trying to survive and their grief...I'm just torn.
     
  2. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I believe it's plausible in some situations, but not necessary every single time it is in a story.
     
  3. Pierce
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    Pierce Member

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    As Rei said, it's definitely plausible, but not necessary. I have always found that to be rather cliche, though. I'd definitely prefer to see either them just remaining friends or one character having feeling for the other, but the other not sharing them. Just my opinion.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It is one of many possible reactions to an adrenaline rush. Of course, if there is a physical attraction from the start, it will only be amplified by an intense situation.

    So yes, it can happen. No, it isn't inevitable, though.

    However, probably AFTER the catastrophe rather than at mid-crisis.
     
  5. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't forget the very true adage that sex sells, be it a novel or a film (adaptation). The adrenaline and raw emotion of such events could lead to the scenario you describe, but like the others I feel it all too often descends into cliché rather quickly.
     
  6. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Yeah, that's what I don't want, cliche. Like in the Matrix...what was up with the orgy scene? I didn't like it, not that I'm a prude or anything, cause I'm not. In fact, I'm all for sex, but when it feels like it was just tossed in there to sell something, then I don't like, it feels to cliche.

    I just finished Patient Zero, and of course the MC falls for the strong female Major he is working with...it just felt so, done already.

    I think I would rather kill my guy off and leave my MC alone then to have them get jiggy with it. I think I'd rather have the tension there, a deeper relationship develop through the story, and have him die at the end, without them having even kissed. Hmmm... I'll have to think on this more.
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I can't, as a zombie movie fan, think of any film like what you referred to.

    Most zombie movies (or, the good ones at least) are so bleak that sex is either not an issue, or only referred to in passing, like one of the characters in Dawn of the Dead being pregnant (there is in both versions, but I'm thinking of the original). But you never see the baby, and it's not really a big part of the story. In Night of the Living Dead there is no sex whatsoever, in Day of the Dead, there isn't either, in Land of the Dead there WAS a kiss, but it was in the out-takes. And those are the most famous zombie films really. 28 days later isn't really a 'zombie' movie, so for me it does not count.

    Anyway. Sex and Death are very closely related due to the part of us that wants to carry on the genes. They are doing just that.
     
  8. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Yes, thank you

    People really bond during a situation like that. If two girls or two guys went through it, they’d probably be good friends afterward. It’s like the tight bond that soldiers forge in the midst of combat. If a man and woman live through a zombie attack, they will feel very comfortable with each other, as if they’d gone on a hundred dates. It’s the ultimate ice breaker.

    And as stated above, chemicals will be doing things in your body as well.
     
  9. essential life
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    essential life Member

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    Have you ever read Stephen King's The Mist? That's a good example of sex during a crisis. It's a little different from the movie.
     
  10. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Dawn of the Dead (the new version) that's the one they are in the mall right? or is that Day of the Dead...I always get them confused. There was definitely a hot and heavy sex scene in that movie in the mall.

    I'm also not a strict zombie person. Dead, undead, living with a virus that makes the person basically dead, whatever. If it eats flesh, tears people apart with it's bare hands, and has no higher brain function...then it's probably a zombie. The one exception to this is I am Legend, where in the new version of that the creatures are functioning with higher brain function to some extent (like setting a trap), but also vampire like as they avoid the light. The original The Last Man on Earth...was more zombie like.

    Then there are also alien based parasites that invade the living host and turn them into flesh eaters...that new movie that I can't think of the name at the moment. And the one with Rose McGowen (sp?) where she loses a leg and they stick a machine gun on it...those were zombies...and there was sex...and it was kind of stupid and cliche, but enjoyable to some extent.
     
  11. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    One climax after another.

    No-one slept with random strangers during the First World War, at least not whilst they were marching through London; but when they heard it had finished, that was different...
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The blitz is a good example of this, they all lived in fear so there was a lot of sex during those days between strangers.
     
  13. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    Simply because people didn't know if they'd get another chance. Never underestimate the what the imminent threat of death can do in a situation. Base instincts take over, and sex between people who are little more than newly acquainted is quite likely, even when sober.
     
  14. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    ^ That's exactly my point.
     
  15. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you want them to have sex?

    You're the writer . . . I'd say you should indulge yourself. Sure, sexual tension is great for building an emotional connection with the reader, but something is lost after the deed is done. Might want to bring them close, and every time the reader expects it to happen, some obstacle interjects. Does sex add something significant to the plot? Gratuitous sex might be a turn off for the reader, while the growing relationship might lead to different conflicts during fight scenes, etc. For example, the guy sees an escape route for himself, but with his new relationship with his sex partner, he chooses to stay and fight trying to save her/him.
     
  16. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I totally agree. I've seen sooo many action-adventure movies totally lose their energy after the MCs get it on... Massively anti-climactic. Sometimes it even feels wierd and awkward to watch these people afterwards - like they've taken on new identities.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can make use of the awkwardness after such an event, too. Your characters surrendered to te moment, but there may have been solid reasons they didn't get involved before.

    Turn it into a complication, and an opportunity to show another layer or two of your characters.
     
  18. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    I'm personally not a huge fan of action-adventure movies...

    So if my husband is going to make me sit through and action number every once in a while, I would expect a steamy love scene/story line to take care of my interests as well. Particularly if the MC is say... Matt Damon in the Bourne series or something similar (mmm).

    Shallow? Of course it is... but that's entertainment and I don't watch movies for any other reason. My point is that there are plenty of people like me and I would imagine the main reason would be to 'care' for the viewers who are not totally into all action/adventure.
     
  19. JonathanMaberry
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    JonathanMaberry New Member

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    Mind if I weigh in on this?

    There are a couple of reasons sex is a factor in fiction, especially catastrophic fiction. Tension is a form of excitement and it's a pretty well documented phenomenon that some (not all) people find danger to be a turn on. The adrenaline rush does more than promote fight or flight.

    Crisis sex isn't really all that different from 'grief sex' and probably related in some way to 'make up sex'. Intense emotions, stress, and a shared experience does seem to make some folks want to get jiggy.

    As far as how this is treated in pop culture, developing a slow-burn romance is antithetical to the race-against-the-clock format of a thriller.

    The events in PATIENT ZERO took place over a period of a week. However, you mention that the main character has sex with the female major. Actually, this doesn't happen until AFTER the events of the book. When they sleep together earlier in the book it is just that -sleeping. No sex. The protagonist, Joe Ledger, doesn't want to have crisis (or drunken) sex with Major Courtland, and his motives are sound. She's in crisis and very emotional and he isn't a jackass willing to exploit that. Later on, after they've bonded and after they saved the world from zombies, they do make love.

    Their relationship is explored more deeply in the follow-up book, THE DRAGON FACTORY, which hits stores in March. In that I explore the dangers and drawbacks of a love relationship between co-workers (especially co-workers who are Special Ops).

    Best
    Jonathan Maberry
     
  20. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Resolving sexual tension has been the death of too many tv shows to count. As soon as that compelling tension is gone, the show "jumps the shark", so the expression goes. So there's that.
    On the other hand, Alfred Hitchcock had almost the opposite view, and he uses sex as a way to heighten suspense in his films almost formulaically.
    So really, it depends on the context (not just what is happening, but the tone of the book, the pace, the thematic content...what it does to the plot and characters is the least of your concerns).
     
  21. JonathanMaberry
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    JonathanMaberry New Member

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    All storytelling elements are elastic, and each is only as good as the writer who uses it.
     
  22. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    There was an orgy scene in The Matrix????
     
  23. JonathanMaberry
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    JonathanMaberry New Member

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    It was in the third film, right before battle and after Morpheus's speech in the cavern.
     
  24. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Oh I never bothered with the sequels after seeing them come out right after one another which is a bad sign that it was rushed and from peoples opinions, it was.
     
  25. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Mr. Mayberry,

    I'm honored to have the author of my new favorite book actually respond to me on a forum. I did love the book. And I realize I didn't actually state the context of the sex, being a small snippet in the Epilogue with only implied sex, not an actual sex scene.

    I did think the choice to abstain during the crisis was a good trait of Joe. It reminded me a lot of how my husband would be. In fact, Joe as a whole reminds me a lot of my husband. I totally connected with him.

    I guess I just didn't like the wrap up at the end. I almost want to say I would have preferred to read about it in the next book, which I will be buying in March. Of the entire book, that was the only thing I found bothersome, which for me, is basically nothing, because with most books I read, even if I loved them, I could probably point out 20 things I didn't like. I did like the ending with Gault still alive, I had a feeling he was going to live.

    I'm a very picky reader. That translates into being a perfectionist of a writer. So I want to get my story down right...at least right in my eyes, there will probably be 20 things in mine that people find they don't like as well. Can't please them all.

    I can tell you that I bought your book, with my limited Christmas funds, over David Moody's book (sequel to Autumn.) I'm in the habit of picking up a book and reading the first few pages...your's won out hands down, and I was not disappointed.

    I did think the sex scene with Gault and Amirah was good and necessary in establishing his relationship with her.

    There wasn't any gratuitous sex in Patient Zero, unlike some of the typical end of the world movies. It was just that little section in the Epilogue that I wish hadn't implied that they had had sex yet.

    Patient Zero is going on my "read again" shelf, with other books I have read multiple times. I just want to write a story someone else is going to put on their "read again" shelf. And I worry sex can ruin it, or lack of sex can ruin it. Such a freaking fine line between enough and not enough.
     

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