There’s a line in a song by Nickelback that says “sex is always the answer, it’s never a question”. The theme of “how much sex is too much sex in a novel?” has been done and redone, and I’ll stay away from it. Instead, I’d like to talk about how much I love sex in fantasy stories.
Sex is everything. The capacity to have erotic experiences and responses based on the attraction one character will feel for another, or the lack thereof, will determine the evolution of a behavior and a state of mind to reach a particular outcome. Sexuality is shaped by many factors such as biology, social environment, or education. I love when my fantasy female MC is a temptress. She lures men to her hideout and reveals her secrets one by one, but never does she show her true colors to anyone because she has trust issues after an ex-boyfriend broke her heart. My ideal fantasy male MC enjoys a lot of attention. He’s witty and cool, an outcast with a hint of genius. He likes girls who will impress him, and also make him nervous. He’s afraid to fall in love because he thinks love will make him weak. But when he’ll finally get infatuated he’ll experience turmoil of emotions that will change him forever.
Many fantasy novels have achieved the perfect combination of sex and love. Take the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. Their relationship is built on survival, yet sexual attraction grows in the background. You want these two to seal the deal, and they do, but it takes a lot of violence and killing to reach that level. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Watch the love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob. Vampires are known to be extreme sexual beings, and so are werewolves. Stephanie Meyer uses sex in a YA novel with a perfect sense of moderation. Wilde’s Fire and Wilde’s Army by Krystal Wade. Katriona is young and naïve when she meets Arland. She dreamt of him so many times before, and finally he stands before her in the world of Encardia. Her sexual attraction for him is unequivocal, but she will not have a taste of him until very far in the story, after several battles against demons and evil spells. When they finally have sex, OMG… pure awesomeness!
I love when sex is sprinkled throughout the story, a little bit like hot sauce on a delicious burrito. Your taste buds will enjoy a kick every one in a while, but too much will ruin the entire meal.
Naturally, love can exist without sex and vice versa. Chemistry can turn off and on at will, as long as it makes sense with the plot. I like the wait. I like the gradation of feelings – the first crush, the deep emotions, the denial, the surrender… Fantasy male MCs look tough and courageous, while female MCs use their charm and brains to their advantage. Give me the right amount of detail and my imagination will do the rest.
I came across supernatural/fantasy novels where sex was everywhere. Very gruesome, very raw, almost pornish and done without taste. I got turned off by the whole thing. I don’t need to know what the characters are doing to each other when they sleep together. The description of a long passionate kiss is one thing, but the sexual experience still needs to remain private. I personally don’t think a crazy sex scene will add anything to the plot, but hey, it’s only my opinion. If you enjoy it, more power to you.
In brief, I love the tease. The seduction and the hunt make the whole game worthwhile. I want to feel what the characters feel. I want to be in there with them. I want to see the dirt, the blood, the wounds, the blades and the shiny armors. Sex is the final release, the cherry on top of the cake, the homerun that will make every sacrifice worthwhile.
Yes, a good fantasy story should be all about death and life in the hands of a perfect lover.