How Much Sex is Too Much?

The world has grown up a lot over my lifetime. Attitudes have changed, and continue to do so almost as quickly as technology does. This includes our ability to discuss sex. However, I still have to wonder–as I’m sure many authors do–just how much sex is enough to include in my work? You’ll notice in my profile, I call myself an “author of gay fiction”–not a “gay pornographer.”

Don’t get me wrong, I think pornography has its place and it definitely has a market, but it’s not the niche I’m hoping to attract. So, while I have an idea as to how far I’d like to go, I would certainly like to get a sense of what readers consider to be adequate.

Should a scene of lovemaking (gay or straight) be suggestive: just a tease or hint of what’s happening? Should it be descriptive enough to be realistic? Or should it go all the way, so to speak, and leave nothing to the imagination?

To me, the last option would be explicit and pornographic, which I find very difficult to write. This is particularly the case for the type of story I’m currently writing, which is about two men trying to build a family together. One has been married (to a woman) and widowed and has two natural children. So I really feel graphic sex between them would jolt the reader from the premise of the story. If it was too steamy, it would be like black against white: far too much contrast and very jarring. Just my thoughts.

Here’s a sample of what I’ve written as the first night Ethan and Taylor spend together:

Taylor noticed then, that Ethan had found footing and stood on the bottom of the pool with water up to his chin and he had stopped drifting away. Taylor gently dove under the water and swam over to the man tempting him and as he came up, he wrapped his arms firmly around Ethan’s waist as he found solid ground himself.

Ethan smiled at the touch of Taylor’s hands pulling him closer. His own hands reached out of the pool, taking Taylor’s head and pulling it to his, their lips meeting. Taylor sighed and his lips parted, admitting Ethan’s probing tongue, he returned the kiss with matched passion.

Ethan’s hands moved down to Taylor’s shoulders, feeling the powerful mass of muscle beneath the skin, then gliding around to the back, pulling the mass of strength tight so that their chests pressed firmly against each other. Ethan felt like he was high on some kind of new drug. To hold someone in an embrace, to kiss him, to share his very being, made him feel light and giddy and whole again. Up until this moment, he had been lost, wandering through life without purpose, feeling there could be none without Kevin. Now, he found a new resolve and he intended to pursue it with every fibre of himself. If it went nowhere, it would not be because he didn’t try – not this time.

Taylor’s hands slid further south, parking themselves on Ethan’s firm butt, squeezing gently and pulling their hips together. The strong arms holding him, the hard body pressing against his, the power of Ethan’s breathing, were all re-discovered territory. He had long forgotten the occasional experimentations of high school and college, and sex with Nancy, while good, was not as evocative of emotion as this initial contact was. He would be, forever, grateful to her for her blessing to seek his truth. He knew now that he had found it.

A sudden and simultaneous need for air caused them both to sigh, breaking the kiss. Pulling back and relaxing their grips a little, they smiled at each other, both very aware of their mutual desire for more, as well as the male hardness pressing between them. They smiled at each other and their eyes met, sharing a silent communication, each knowing that this moment confirmed the beginning of a new path they both wanted to travel on a road that might well be riddled with potholes.

[Exerpt from “Pride’s Children” Copyright © 2014 – Evan T. Konnor]

Please bear in mind that the foregoing sample is first draft material and hasn’t been visited yet by an editor. Given my brief description of the overall premise of the novel, do you, as a reader, feel that this is: 1. perfect for the story 2. a little bit overboard or 3. far too steamy?

As I said in one of my first posts, I really respect what readers feel, so I look forward to comments and input.

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2 thoughts on “How Much Sex is Too Much?

  1. personally, I enjoy erotic writing that can move seamlessly between literary and near-pornographic. SO, for example, I really enjoy well writer, plot driven stories, but where the sex, when it arrives, is quite explicit

  2. I’m not a fiction reader in general, so I’m not that well place to overly critique.

    I would say it’s a good piece of writing, not out of place in any modern book, it wasn’t graphic, it was explanatory given the context and easy to read.

    In the rare occasion I do read a novel it would be fine.

    I hope that helped

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