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Date Posted: 19:01:50 07/17/20 Fri
Author: Who4m1
Subject: And another wonderful question and discussion
In reply to: Comicality 's message, "River Acheron Question For Imagine 7/17" on 13:40:07 07/17/20 Fri

Well, this is an interesting, but also pretty wide topic.
As said, I think that it is a really genre-related issue. Or, because Genre can be a really vague word sometimes, what does the story want to tell us? What is the main thing, it is all about? Everything told in a story needs to somehow fit in naturally.
Sometimes (and I think this view is really helpful to express my feelings about the topic) I think about protagonists as a friend. Usually the protagonist is pretty much the person that tells the story.
You could just imagine, you are at the position of a really, really close and completely trusted imaginary friend (brotherlike, or maybe you are a brother xD) of the protagonist. What would he tell you?
That is pretty much, what I think should be in the story.
Since you are really close and trusted, he would talk about all the important feelings and issues he has. On the other hand, usually he can not tell you, what he does not know.
Well, and he definetely still would not tell you everything. I mean, I usually wouldn't tell in a story about my life, that I hurt my toe in the morning. This just could sometimes help emphasizing, that that day was just really crappy.

To get back to the sex topic now:
Usually the details of sex are not really that important. I mean, if I think about my best friends (that are brotherlike) I wouldn't want to hear any details of their sex life and I would probably stop them from telling and they know that, so they wouldn't tell me details.
But of course I would want to know the major informations and important things. I probably would want to know, if they did it and how he feels about it. And I think that's the status most stories are in for me - and that is from my experience more or less what you get.

But of course not for all. The most important is the protagonist. If the protagonist 40 years old, I doubt he would be the person that talks much about his sex life and his imaginary best friend would not want to know about it.
Of course it's completely different, if it's a 14yo boy, that just had his first time. That's major for him. He would want to talk about it and probably also to share some of the details. (Remember trusted friend in a safe zone that is closer than what most people have in their lifes.)
You can generalize few things there, it is all about how important it is to the protagonist and what he wants to tell.

If someone was raped, that, the first time you do it after that and how you deal with it, are always important points, that would be so relevant for the protagonist, that you could not leave them out of the story.

On the other hand we have a lot of examples of stories about love. And (at least for me) love is actually not about sex. Of course sex is usually part of it, but if I would want to tell a love story, it would be all about the feelings connected with it and while being together, that special feeling of happiness is important, not any details of the sex.

And then we have relationships, that change everything again. Because if you display a relationship of the protagonist for a long time, then sex is always an important thing in this relationship. Not the details in particular, but if they have sex at all and how often. Without the need of any specific mentioning or concrete numbers, but usually you would need to have an vague idea, if they do it regularly or not at all.

(I also recently read a autobiographical story on gayauthors. You could see really well there, which sex situations were important to the author and in which way, which scene was described in more detail and in which direction of detail.)

It's all about the relevance and importance of the facts to the protagonist and the story.
I mean, it would be really strange, if Superman suddenly would need to share details of his sex life with you. He is saving the world for god sake and that's what it is about. Who wants to hear about sex in that context?
(It actually could get important though, if the lack of sex because relationship troubles would impact him. But that would only get a mention, no details xD.)

And I feel that it is right, that many stories don't go in too deep into that, because it usually feels fitting and natural.
If you are on your quest (maybe in a fantasy land) or even more common: you have your war with somebody (nation or personal arch enemy). I honestly would not care that much about sex. Surviving or winning or ending the war is just more important then. And that's what the story is about. Of course it still needs to be mentioned, when it happens and is important, but there would be no need for detail – hello we are at war, why would you take much time to describe the flavour of your lover? (It's different, if you describe the feeling of love, because that would probably matter to you.)

And it's honestly quite the art to surprise your readers always with new ways of hinting and implying the sexual actions you need to know about without actually naming them. (Writing it directly of course has its own art, too.)

I feel like you need to listen to the personality of your protagonists and do what seems natural – in both directions. Usually that means for me no explicit sex scenes, but it's totally different if something plotrelevant happens there.
(I heard from a friend, that you couldn't understand the censored version of Game of Thrones that well, because many intrigues were made in the bedrooms ^^)
And there are also a few occasions, when I would think: „What? You behaved and seemed that horny (maybe for a specific person or just at all) for the whole time and now you did not even talk about the sex or the feelings connected with it???

But I also need to mention explicitly, that there are genres, where the sex really is important. And not only because the protagonists may be horny teenagers, but because of the relevance for both protagonist and topic.

If you read a story that is about dealing with your own gayness – maybe you are even especially interested in that, because you want to find out, how to deal with your own gayness, then I feel it is a part of it. Not for all stories, you can write books just about problems regarding family and if you should stay in the closet or come out, but (I would guess at least so, I always may be wrong) most people and therefore also most protagonists deal with issues or questions regarding sexual details at some point. I mean, before bottoming for the first time, there is not that rarely a bit of fear or at least insecurity involved, that is very relevant to the person.
(The first sexual encounters of a person in their life are usually pretty relevant in my opinion, though not necassarily the details.)
And it would just put a major hole in stories in that context if you try to eliminate all sexual descriptions.
(Same for some other stories that deal with topics more or less explicitly connected to the issue.
I could definetely name quite a few of stories by our beloved Comicality for example that would miss something without any sexual explicity – though he has also shown that some stories work great without it.)

Summary: For me it's mostly about the relation and relevance to the protagonist that determines, if sex should be in the story. For many stories and genres that means that sex should only be mentioned or hinted at, while there are stories and genres for which it is crucial to have some level of sexual explicity. It needs to fit into the naturalness of the story. (Doesn't mean you can't skip them if you want to, you may just miss something that is/ feels important to the protagonist.)

I think that covers most of all narrative strategies (even many omniscient narrators), but of course all may change if you use drastically different methods of telling your story than the use of the perspective of a protagonist.

I hope I didn't write too much. Hopefully nobody is bored or offended by reading this text.
Have a nice day.

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Replies:

  • >> -- Mike, 21:18:25 07/17/20 Fri

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