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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

No Shades of Grey

So "Fifty Shades of Grey" is being made into a movie.

And we're getting Facebook ads for other "Adult Romances".

The hell with that. I'm a reader as well as a writer, and I'm not going there.

As far as I'm concerned, sex is a private matter. For real people, and for characters in books and movies. Houses have walls and doors and drapes for a reason.

Beyond that, sex in fiction is entirely unnecessary. Period. Full stop. The author has control over what the characters are doing, and placing them in visible physical intimacy is simply designed to titillate. And it works.

And beyond that, sex can't realistically be portrayed, because it's a very individual experience for each couple. Most attempts to represent physical intimacy glamorize the act, setting up unrealistic expectations in people who are old enough to know better.

Or they cheapen it, making the reader feel as if a bath in methyl-ethyl-ketone would be appropriate after reading.

Yes, I know that 'arty' types will say that I'm a prudish reactionary. Yeah? So what? My wife says I'm one of the finest minds of the seventeenth century.

And other arty types will say that authors have to break barriers, push the envelope. Sure...uh, but why? What literary purpose is gained by disguised pornography?

Sure, I've read the Song of Solomon. And, frankly, parts of it are kind of embarrassing. Anyone else out there willing to admit that?

I don't think that God made a mistake when He invented sex. But I think we really messed up when we decided to put it on display.


  1. Kevin and I stand with you and Barbara. It's amazing how sacred something becomes when you stop peeking in everyone else's windows.


  2. Absolutely true, Becky.

    I think we gave up a lot when decency standards were abandoned in favor of 'free speech'. Before, authors and screenwriters had to really understand romance to be able to tell and effective story. Now, well...you get characters that you sometimes can't respect.

    What modern film can top 'Casablanca' for romance? (I'll allow that "You've Got Mail" comes close.)

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with this post. I refuse to read the Fifty Shades books and I am anything but a prude. To me, the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s has brought nothing but pain. I am a writer and my characters do make love (not have sex), but they are in committed relationships on the way to marriage. However, when I write the scenes where they make love I describe my characters' emotions more than the physical act. To me that is just more real.

  4. Amen to that! One of the best comments I ever heard was that "free love is priced right". The 60s were a disaster in that regard (and in a lot of other ways, as well).

    I think you're on the right track in describing the emotional response of your characters. It's uplifting; describing the physical act is demeaning.