?

Should I add gay sex scenes to my urban fantasy novel? (both MC's)

  1. yes go for it in full action scene!

    3 vote(s)
    25.0%
  2. You can do so, but better in a narrative summary

    5 vote(s)
    41.7%
  3. Better leave the juicy details out, but it's okay to mention they have a relationship

    2 vote(s)
    16.7%
  4. other, please enlighten me

    2 vote(s)
    16.7%
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  1. Masli

    Masli Active Member

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    gay MC and sex scenes

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Masli, Sep 17, 2018.

    I'm in the final stages of writing my urban fantasy novel and I find myself in a pickle.

    Just to give you a quick introduction: My MC, (a boy in his late teens, early twenties) gets turned into a vampire by a man. (obviously centuries older, but looks like his early thirties.)

    Most vampires in my story are bisexual, which I explained is due to their near immortality. My MC is not all straight either, and slowly starts to develop feelings for his master.

    At first I was a little aprehensive about it. I have nothing against gay people, and eventhough I'm a woman, I love reading gay fiction. But, I do want my novel to sell and be attractive to as large a group as possible, and therein lies my problem. How far can I push the 'gayness' before really turning down readers. Should I leave out the sex scenes? Should I mention them, but only in narrative summary, not as active scenes? Or should I just merely hint at the relationship and leave the rest to the imagination or as say a bonus chapter on my website?

    Yes, I know, there will always be haters. From going to conventions and being part of large online communities especially in the anime scene, I know that there is quite a large group of mainly women who do like to read about gay relationships, and we, yes I'm partof them ;), always complain there just aren't enough good books out there, other than fanfiction. But even though I would like it, I can understand why some people, who have no problems with gayness in general, but who don't neccessarily like to read a gay sex scene. So what would your advice be?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  2. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Guardian-eating, tofu-reading dormivitus Supporter Contributor

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    If I were you (and I'm also writing an urban fantasy with a gay MC), I'd go the James Bond route whether the sex was straight or gay. I'm looking for mass-market appeal, so any sex that happens should (and I'd say the same thing if the character was straight) take place off camera. In the Bond movies, he walks into the room, sees the (soon to be dead) Bond girl wearing something seductive smiling at him, moves in for an embrace and a kiss, and....

    And that's where it should end, IMHO. It's one thing if you're writing erotica, but if it's the airport book rack you're aiming for, you need to keep the details to a minimum. Anne Rice got away with a lot of homoeroticism. but she was describing killing, not fucking.

    My 2 yen.
     
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  3. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    It depends on who you're trying to sell it to. If this is something you would like to see lining the shelves of your local public school, then you should probably downplay some of the hanky-panky, but if this is something you're intending for adult audiences only, then go nuts and write that full frontal, bareback, bear-filled spitroasting in as much lurid detail as you feel comfortable with.
     
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  4. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    You could either go for it keep it more minimal, as others have said, based on what you're going for with the story. I would say that if you're unsure, it's best to avoid a detailed sex scene. It's something you could easily go without but adding it could throw things off. Of course, if you want things to be graphic and mature, or you have some storytelling reason for it to be there, then it may be a good idea.
     
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  5. Mink

    Mink Contributor Contributor

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    It all really depends. Some people are fine with explicit scenes and others are not. I enjoy m/m books greatly, but I'm usually of the same mind as Iain unless I'm looking to read erotica.
     
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  6. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    "The Song of Achilles" is an award winning novel and NYT Best Seller. This book has a lot of graphic sex between Achilles and his lover, Patroclus. I'm straight, and I still consider this to be the best book I've ever read. I love this book.

    m/m sex in mainstream literature is perfectly fine.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Sex doesn't show up in 99% of what I read. At least not outside
    of Clive Barker, and then it is strange or disturbing and goes
    along with the stories narrative. Mind you Barker is a gay man
    who depicts a lot of heterosexual themes when it comes down
    to sex.

    Only real way to know if it works within your story is to have
    it read and get some feedback. That will tell you if it works
    in the story or not, as well as if you have written it in an
    effective way. Really it is just sex, mechanical pleasure, so
    I don't see any harm in it regardless of the parties involved.
    Gay, straight, doesn't matter, the human body is kinda
    designed with pleasure in mind, and doesn't care in terms
    of feeding that appetite. So have fun with it.
     
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  8. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    I'd say that if it's actually necessary then you should add it in. If it doesn't do anything at all to further the plot then you should just leave it at implication, I give the same advice for heterosexual sex as well because going into deep detail into a sex scene is really pointless unless it is an erotica. Implication is best to get the point across in my opinion.

    Not to pick a fight or anything but are you saying that the vampires in your story are bisexual because living for a long time can cause one to change their sexual orientation?
     
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  9. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say avoid being coy about sex, no matter who it's with. However, that doesn't mean go to the extreme and include graphic versions of it in every single story.

    The key is this: do the sex scenes matter to your story? If what the sex is like matters, then don't leave it out.

    It's like eating. You can say 'they ate lunch,' and move on, if the only thing that matters to the story is that they didn't skip lunch. However, if what they ate (something new, or something boring, or something they hate, or something cooked extraordinarily well or poorly) matters, then include it. If how they ate—with their fingers or using chopsticks for the first time (and the attendant difficulties with this method of transporting food from dish to mouth matters)—or who they were eating with and what occurred during the meal matters, then include the scene, in necessary detail.

    Same with something like death. You can say, 'After John's father died, John sold the house and moved to the coast.' Or you can take us to John's father's funeral, have John experience all the things that were important to him about his father, or observe the behaviour of other people who are there, and note John's reaction to them. It all depends on what is important to the story. Is it important that we know what happened at the funeral? Or is John's father's death simply a reason for John to sell the house and move on?

    If you treat your sex scenes differently from any other scene—and that goes for leaving them out, as well as including too many graphic ones—then the issue is going to look weird. It will stand apart from your story, and subtly say 'this person is scared of writing sex,' or 'this person is obsessed with writing sex.' Sex scenes should be an integral part of your story. Would leaving them out diminish the story? Or would putting them in distract from the story? That's what you need to be asking yourself. Not 'ooh, eee, will people like this?'

    It takes practice, as some of our culture is still paying unconscious attention to Victorian attitudes towards sex, but it's possible, as a writer, to begin to see sex as normal, and part of your story. It's an important part of life for many people, isn't it? So you include it in detail—same as you include anything else we do in detail—when the detail matters to the story. Otherwise it's okay to just mention it happened.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
  10. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Guardian-eating, tofu-reading dormivitus Supporter Contributor

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    An interesting question, and of course one that I can't answer for the OP's story, but I wonder, if you accept that sexuality is a spectrum (on the Kinsey Scale, for example, a zero is someone who would not, under any circumstances, be attracted to someone of the same sex, while a seven would never be attracted to someone of the opposite sex) if an extremely prolonged life might lead beings to give their sexualities a whirl, so to speak. In other words, once you've lived a few centuries, unless you were a hard zero or seven, might you not decide to at least try sexual relations with the folks you're less attracted to, and perhaps find that you're somewhat closer to the center of the spectrum than you thought?

    Just an idea.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    I accept that people can be attracted to whatever they're attracted to. I know that after years of consuming porn, I have developed or rather, learned that I had an attraction to things that I never thought I would've been attracted to and gay porn to a certain degree is a part of that attraction. But I also don't think that you can just change your sexual orientation when you're born gay, it's a different case if you were born bisexual and learn that fact later on in your life. But if you're straight or gay then it's been scientifically proven that you can't just simply change your sexual orientation on a whim unless you've always been attracted to that sex all this time and you were just confused. It's like the myth that all lesbians "just need some good dick" to turn them straight, if they also enjoy having sex with men then they've always been bisexual, not that they've been "turned straight".

    There are no studies that have proven that living for a long time can change your sexual orientation. When I say "living for a long time", I mean somebody living for 200 or 300 years. So, there's no real way of knowing if that's the case but current data deems it impossible if you were actually born gay or straight that you could change your orientation, voluntarily or involuntarily. I do agree that there is a spectrum but once you've been placed on the spectrum, I don't believe it's possible to just change it on a whim unless you've just always been attracted to that in the first place and you didn't know yet. I think the reason why I'm attracted to the things I'm attracted to is because I've always been attracted to them, I just didn't realize it yet until I was exposed to them.
     
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  12. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Guardian-eating, tofu-reading dormivitus Supporter Contributor

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    But this is my point in its entirety. I'm not talking about people changing their orientation due to living a long life, I'm talking about them learning or coming to terms with (depending on their upbringing) attractions that they might previously have been unaware of.

    Take Joe, for instance. He was born in America in 1955 and grew up when and where everyone had to be straight. He was attracted to girls, had a girlfriend, but his eyes would, seemingly of their own accord, wander in the locker room. Sometimes when he was watching an 8mm stag film featuring a guy and a girl, he'd imagine that he was in her shoes, but then redirect his attentions and attractions to where society told him to. He got married to a nice girl named Sue and they did all the things that a nice couple are supposed to do, along with a few other things that were a bit of fun. And that's where it would have ended, with him and Sue growing old together, their lusts tapering off, and an eventual trip to a shared plot, had not the Vampire Vincenzo interfered one night. After Joe turned, he tried to stay with Sue, but no matter what he did, he couldn't stop her aging and dying without turning her, and that he was not going to do. So she died one day, old and wrinkled, while Bob still had the form and appetites of a healthy thirty-five year-old man whose eyes sometimes strayed places that made him uncomfortable. But society moved on, and Bob's occasional curiosity got the better of him one night and he hooked up with another dude. A vampire, actually, who happened to be as gay as the day is long, and patient and understanding to boot, and Bob found the walk on the wild side wasn't as bad as he'd been raised to think it would be. He'd found, after ninety or a hundred years, that while his primary attraction was to women, the occasional dalliance with a man was quite a bit of fun too. (yes, I realize we've overrun the present day). Joe finally knew that he'd been bisexual all along.
     
  13. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    Right but it can't be possible that every single vampire is bisexual because that's not the case in real life, they are within an extreme minority margin in the LGB community. Unless in OP's fictional world, it works differently and that everybody can be bisexual no matter what but she hasn't made that distinction yet. So, that's why I'm asking, is OP implying that eventually everyone would be bisexual after living for so long because that's not how sexual orientations work. You're either bisexual or not, there's no leeway in between where you decide you're one thing one day and another some other day. If you find yourself being attracted to something then that attraction has always existed since you were born, it doesn't matter when or how you came to discover this revelation.
     
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  14. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think most people who are in the middle chunk of the Kinsey scale would still live their lives as straight, just because that's the societal default and monogamy is the societal default and it's just a lot EASIER to be in a monogamous relationship with an opposite-sex person. So unless there's something in your sexuality that demands exploration of non-straight options, you'd probably live straight.

    I'm straight, in thought as well as deed (probably a 1 or 2 on the Kinsey scale), but if I lived in a consequence-free world and the opportunity presented itself, I'd definitely consider sex with another woman. Why not?
     
  15. Masli

    Masli Active Member

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    hahaha, no offence taken. :) I love a good discussion and critical questions. It forces me to think more into the subject, to better formulate it so to speak. This 'world' has been in my mind for so long that it has become natural to me, and discussions like these remind me that I need to explain it, so that my readers will understand as well.

    As to your actual question, yes and no. Personally I don't really believe that people fall in only one category for life; That if you like boys you have to keep liking them forever. I believe there's a little bit of, say at least 'bi curiousity' in everyone. That said, my vampires are by nature (and experience of living long lives) far more open and honest about pretty much everything, including their sexuality. Pretty much anything goes for them. They are 'beyond' ideas of putting people in boxes and putting labels on everything, they consider such things as a simpleminded human thing. Funny to watch, but they consider themselves evolved from such things.

    There are still vampires that have a stronger incliniation to a certain gender, but they are more open minded, and it wouldn't be so strange for them to go for the same gender if that would be on hand. Also, due to there being far more male vampires than female, and having a more active libido than humans, the numbers kind of are in the favors of the ones inclined to male partners.

    And let's not forget that it is a work of fiction, so yes, I am taking some liberties with how things might be in reality. Yes, people may not change their sexual preferences. But we're talking about beings with life span that simply isn't realistic eithter. A huge theme of my book is exactly about how that changes one's perspective. There is no research about what immortaility does to the way you think. How it changes our perspective. Sexuality is just one of those points where I believe we differ from what we know and see as a norm.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
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  16. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Yeah, not really. Sexuality and attraction can be rather fluid and does change over time. That's why when we're 13 we find other 13 year olds attractive and not 40 year olds, but when we're 40, we do find other 40 year olds attractive and for the sweet love of god no longer find 13 year olds attractive. Jury's still out on how this relates to preference or even gender identity because research on this hasn't really gotten much funding up until just recently (and even then it's not much), but what evidence we do have is kinda telling us these aren't static traits.
     
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  17. Masli

    Masli Active Member

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    But it's not change on a whim when it happens over many years ;)
     
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  18. Nariac

    Nariac Contributor Contributor

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    My advice would be the following:

    1. Write the sort of book you would want to read!
    2. If you want to broaden the appeal, consider whether you need explicit sex scenes in it. Iain has suggested fade to black which is an ideal solution.
    3. If a scene neither advances the plot nor develops character it needs to somehow justify its place in the book. Sex scenes often fall into this category which is why fade to black is so often the right solution. However you might consider it important for other reasons, a change of pace, tone, a reward after high action/stress chapters, or just to add sauce. If so, you need to think about how tasteful you want to make it. The more tasteful it is, the "safer". Focusing on emotion, much more than the physical acts themselves. More focus on the physical will take it closer towards the erotica side. Also of course, consider the use of language. Certain words tend to only be found in erotica. Here, more than ever, word choice will matter a great detail.
    4. Ask your mum what she thinks.
    5. Disregard point four.
     
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  19. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    there's always gonna be an audience no matter what you write (Pokemon fanfic porn, anyone?) So it just depends on who you're trying to appeal to. Is your book primarily fantasy or primarily an m/m romance? And is it romance or erotica? I think nailing your target audience would be the first thing. You don't want as large an audience as possible per se. You want as large a portion of your target audience as possible. Eg. if your book is heavy on the m/m romance and then you cut the sex scene, you may be disappointing a good chunk of your target audience, even if it would please the conservatives who probably wouldn't touch an m/m romance in the first place.

    So what genre is your book really, and who's your target audience? Now write accordingly.

    Also, you can always write in the sex and then edit it out later. If the book works as a whole, I doubt it'd get rejected on account of a sex scene - if you get that far in the process, your agent will probably just tell you to lob the scene if she feels it'll put too many people off.

    ETA: and what's the point of the sex? If there's a plot point to it, the reader will accept a lot. If it's just gratuitous sex, unless it's supposed to be erotica, it'll put people off whether it's gay or straight sex.
     
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  20. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    If you would have sex with a woman and you've always found them attractive then you've always been attracted to women from the start.
     
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  21. Philliggi

    Philliggi Member

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    With the book based around vampires, that genre tends to appeal to the teenage reader. How does your book read? If the rest of the book reads well to a teen this wouldn't sit well, but if it's already an adult themed story, then why not if it ties up loose ends?
     
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  22. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    Finding different age groups attractive is not sexuality, it's sexual attraction which can change at any time depending on what influences you. Sexuality remains the same, sexual attraction to things can change, including objects.
     
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  23. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    Unless you are planning to alter your fictional world so that this is the case then I don't think that's how sexuality works. You are either born assuming you were straight and you realize that you also like women too, which means you've always been bisexual or you get curious and find out that you don't like women. If your vampires have learned that they are also attracted to the same gender then that means they were always attracted to that gender.

    Sexuality is not fluid, sexual attraction is.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
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  24. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    I don't think so, given the amount of time the character has been around
    and so had time to think about his options.
    I know a married lady that took the better part of about 15 years to figure
    out that she is bi, so it is not all that far fetched that the MC would create
    some form of sexual attraction to his Master built up by their close friendship.

    And yes it has already been stated that you don't change your default sexual
    preference once you open up to exploring a same sex exp. It will dominate
    your preference, and even less so that you would simply be exactly down
    the middle line and have equal sexual partners from both sides. Also like it
    has been stated, societal pressure could prevent one from acting on their
    urges to have a same sex partner. Though they would if there was not some
    form of shame or stigma around the action should they take it. Granted other
    repercussions could exist if their spouse is not too keen on letting them explore
    those desires.
    So it all falls down to personal choice, and another based upon being married to
    a spouse that either is or isn't open minded enough to overlook the whole infidelity
    thing, that prevents them from being able to explore their same sex attractions.
    Being single, why would someone not explore their sexual desires? They are not
    going to hurt anyone else, because they don't have that looming vow to another
    person standing in their way.
    Finally, in modern day you can have sex with whom ever you wish provided they
    meet the min. age requirements and have the ability to consent to the interaction.
    We are a binary species despite what Tmblr Snowflakes try to counter with.
    And I don't think bringing up that micro minority of people that want to have
    a sexual relation with their car or toaster really applies to the topic at hand.
    It isn't a mental condition to want to have sex with people regardless of gender,
    it is when you want to with inanimate objects.
     
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  25. Masli

    Masli Active Member

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    wahahaha that was hilarious!

    that's where part of my insecurity comes from, where I'm from, we don't work with agents as much, and the publishers aren't willing to take on englisg manuscripts much. Therefore I'm considering to go publish it myself as a POD.

    I'm aiming for books like Nalini Singh or Larissa Ione, both urban fantasy writers, their genre tags vary from urban fantasy, to fantasy romance. No erotica, although they do have a few sex scenes in them. So no YA.
    Sex isn't a main theme, and erotica isn't what I am going for as well. For me, it would be a way to portray their high libido, and open mindedness towards things like sex.
    I also strongly feel, maybe because I would myself, that people expect a certain amount of erotism when it comes to vampires. Not a main theme, but I feel it's strong enough to not be completely overlooked.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
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