I bought a book this summer and was quite excited about it. It was a time travel novel taking place between modern day New York and regency-era England. Like really, does it get better than that?
In the first third of the book, it didn’t seem to. The book was interesting, the characters awesome, the plot shaping up nicely. I was quite a fan and had trouble putting it down.
The time streams of the male and female leads collided (as they should. Got to keep things interesting right?) The chemistry was fun between the characters. I was interested to see how things would unfold between them. I mean, obviously they would end up together, but they were on opposite sides of the time-traveling underworld. It was a classic forbidden love set-up in a weird Jane Austen sci-fi mash up. The author had my wrapped attention!
And then things took a terrible turn as I discovered the truth about the book.
It was *gasp* a kissing book!
I’ll be the first to admit that I love a good love story. But a love story and a romance novel are two very different things. Let’s be clear on that, And a lot of the difference has to do with the intent in which it was made and consumed and the sexual content of the piece.
Suddenly in this wonderful story, the plot was being interrupted unexpectedly with a make-out session in the woods. In the rain. I am not kidding.
There was no lead up. The characters had just met a scene before. They were both from the conservative regency-era. There was nothing in their characters to lead to steamy scene complete with “desire” and “throbbing.” It felt like it was there because the writer thought the reader wanted it. Not the characters.
There were so many specifics, that I had to skip some portions–something I’m not prone to do.
And I understand that it is for this experience that some people turn to books. I was just disappointed that such a wonderful story was traded in to give in to misplaced desire.
A great plot was sacrificed to include what other books have embraced to sell more copies. I felt cheated.
Suddenly the characters were not the people I was getting to know and care about. They were eratic caricatures of sexual organs, Their cause was no longer so important. The balance of time and space and good and evil were secondary to these sleeping habits of characters. The truth and humanity was cheapened because sex is what is selling books.
I cannot say if this choice was purely the authors or if there was pressure from the publisher, but I was saddened, I was disapointed. And I at last found the threshold between a love story and emotional porn.
I am okay with a book having sexual content even though I don’t agree with premarital sex. It’s still out there, part of lives and I don’t expect people let alone characters to adhere to my personal convictions.
It is when they use the word ‘nipple’ that I begin to feel uncomfortable. It is adding a specific. It’s makes me visualize something I don’t really wants to. Forces me into the experience mentally and emotionally.
When things are hinted at, I can easily glance over them. It does not add to or take away from the plot. It is when specificity is at the forefront that things take a turn my mind does not want to take. And this is becoming more popular among books for adult women. There used to be a difference between adult fiction (fiction for adults) and adult fiction (porn). Now adays? Not so much.
So I raise this question: Why is it so hard to escape this? Why can we not separate a love story from a sex story? And why can’t a story have sex that isn’t laid bare in gory details? And why are we satisfied with every detail when all it does is tell a lie?
I guess this post is more rant than anything else. (Sorry about that.) I just wish more for the writers of this generation. I want us to be telling stories with truth. Not stories that hold back nothing while still feeding the reader a load of shit.
Readers deserve better. And I as a reader–not a writer–am asking for better,
4 thoughts on “The Sexual Content Threshold”
This was EXACTLY why I was disappointed in The Time Traveler's Wife! Ugh. Nasty. That's all.
Thank the Lord, I thought it was just me! Everyone loves that book and I was just disturbed. Glad I'm not alone out here in creeped-out-opolis.