I’m going to tackle this one right off the bat. There’s a reason that this weighs heavy on my mind with War of Nytefall: Ravenous. Actually, it’s a few reasons:
- Desirae Duvall’s main business hub is a brothel.
- Desirae Duvall is a very sexually open character.
- She seduces and it is implied that she sleeps with several established characters.
- She tends to steal a scene, so people will notice the upping of sex.
Of course, there isn’t any actual sex in my books. For anyone who paid attention in Legends of Windemere, I don’t go the erotica route. There isn’t a point in it for my stories because the sex isn’t a focal point. The emotions leading up to and the ones that linger after are of interest to me. Events leading up to it and the repercussions are where the plot thrives in my mind. So, I’ll have innuendo, kissing, embracing, lustful looks, pillow talk, and the usual stuff that can happen after sex. Once we get to the point where hands and mouths will touch certain parts of the anatomy, I fade to black. I mean, a reader can fill in that blank on their own. I’d probably be giggling and blushing too much to get through it. Sex scenes can come off fairly ridiculous too, especially when you’re trying to name the parts. Half of them sound clinical and the others are either crude or silly. I mean, I’ve seen authors use pastry names . . . I think I’m losing the point of this post.
All that being said, Desirae brings a higher level of sex by having blatant innuendo. I don’t even think I can call it that. She openly tells characters to go to her room because she needs to have fun. She talks about spending the night with others and there’s one scene that is clearly the morning after an orgy. Again, you don’t see any of those events happen, but you know that they did. It’s part of her character being a seductress and it’s very much like a less inhibited Chastity. This means that readers who are very sensitive to sex are going to feel like they’ve been hit by a sledgehammer. I considered making it more subtle, but Desirae lost a lot from doing that. She isn’t timid in this arena and the way she talks and acts needs to show that. Still, do you really think people will be concerned after seeing Chastity flirt, hear Mab talk about Chastity’s promiscuity, and see the heavy make-out session between Mab and Clyde in Rivalry?
From past experience, I can guarantee that there will be some people who will be shocked and appalled at this turn. I’ve learned over the years that readers can miss the subtle and tame stuff pretty easily. Then, they hit a blatant mention of sex and they act like they’ve just been subjected to porn. I remember when people complained about all the sex in a mid-book of Legends of Windemere. There wasn’t an actual sex scene, but I believe an early chapter had Luke Callindor and Sari naked in bed. It was after sex and they were talking. This came after we already knew they were sleeping together, multiple kissing scenes, one really heavy make-out scene, and multiple scenes with stated nudity. It was this that sent some readers into a tizzy. Keep in mind that I don’t mention the naughty bits and don’t harp on the nudity. I point it out to set the scene or use it for comedic effect, but that’s it. So, you never know when a sexy scene will stir the sensitivities of a reader, which is another reason I’m bringing this up.
Personally, I don’t think I upped the sex in Ravenous to a point that makes it erotica or horribly corruptive of delicate morality. Desirae doesn’t talk dirty or greedily lust after people like a wild animal. She seduces and is clearly the one in charge of any sexual encounter that she initiates. I stuck to my guns with not having actual sex scenes and leaving the genitalia descriptions to the imagination. I’d like to think this is enough to keep things clean-ish, but I know better. With any luck, people will find the character to be a breath of fresh air since everyone else tends to be rather stuffy and nervous in this arena. As always, I enjoy hearing that people like my characters. They are the ones who carry the plot, so I try very hard to make them enjoyable or, in one case, impactful to some extent. Desirae is no exception. I want people to walk away from Ravenous remembering her for everything she does and not only the sexuality. It’s another reason I don’t do sex scenes, I guess. Those are what people may remember the character for instead of their personalities.
So, what do you think? Not even sure about the topic I’m asking about here anymore.