This was supposed to go up yesterday, but I'm a giant slacker and I slept in until 2 p.m. and then kinda forgot about it. So, without further ado... -M.R.
I have, in the past, likened romnovs to a sort of politely packaged erotica. The truth is that there appears to be a sliding scale of sexiness (someone please draw a picture of this for me) depending on the category, but I'm not yet sufficiently familiar with the genre to make sweeping generalizations about what falls where.
That's not going to stop me making some other generalizations, though! That is, once again we're going to be talking about the contemporary-type romance novels.
Sex in the romance novels I've read so far (excepting the extremely fabulous In the Flesh) has been, well, very strange.
In my personal life I'm torn between trying to be sex positive while also being a pretty private person. I do have a pretty clearly defined idea of what makes good sex, though, which is to say that it's about both (all?!) partners having a good time. Romnov sex, however, is concentrated primarily on the female, and it's never very realistic. The female partner never really has to do anything except have an explosive orgasm, whereas the male partner concentrates all of his attention on her, and yet it's still the best sex he's ever had. I think I've mentioned this before, but they almost always come at the same time.
For once, though, I'm not going to pick on romnovs. Sex is weirdly portrayed just about everywhere you look. I have eight thousand half-formed ideas about this, such as whether or not it really needs to be depicted at all in some cases, how realistic those depictions should be, and so on ad nauseam.
We're not, by the way, going to talk about my extreme discomfort writing sex scenes. I feel like a huge creeper about it and also I think they're repetitive and awful and are going to need a depressing amount of revision.
I think the toughest thing about the place where sex and art intersect is that reading or looking at something is never going to give you the exact sensations of the act itself. I'm speaking in the most basic sense, here, ignoring things you, erm, might do in order to bridge the gap. Sex in the real world isn't perfect, but the times that you elbow your partner in the head, or one of you gets a leg cramp, don't usually overshadow the experience because mostly everything else still feels good. What I'm clumsily trying to say here is that while I'm fairly certain that it (always) looks ridiculous, it seldom feels that way. And it seems like that translates into these incredibly inaccurate representations, in an effort to capture the spirit of the thing rather than the reality.
I think this post is going to make it seem like sex in the media is the only thing I ever think about, but that's not really the case. It only really enters my thoughts after I've awkwardly watched a sex scene with a bunch of my friends.
Also, am I the only person who thinks that "making love" is the most horrible euphemism of all?