[DWJ] Heyer and Bujold

Aimee Smith aimees001 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 4 17:46:15 EST 2009

Minnow wrote:

  "it is such a relief to be able to read
about a human relationship without being suddenly dragged to sit on  
the end
of the bed while the people you have just met have sex.

Hee hee! Yes!

"The same feeling about "how nice not to encounter sex everywhere" might
apply to Bujold: I'm delighted that Miles has a sex-life, but I'm also
rather glad not to be given every sweaty detail about it every time he  
up in the sack with someone.  And I revel in the fact that Bujold can  
sure I know that it is about to happen/has happened without feeling  
she has
to give me yet another guide to the naked human body's sexual  

My sentiments exactly.
I don't make a habit of watching people have sex in real life - so why  
do I need to watch it in my head when I'm in a book?
This is one of the reasons I tend to stick to YA - the chances of  
encountering startling and detailed sex is somewhat reduced.
When I do chance to find an author like Bujold and Heyer I *do* think,  
"how nice not to encounter sex everywhere".
(Incidentally, I was delighted that Twilight did this - I'm sure there  
are issues to be discussed about that, but I'm not interested at the  

I am most annoyed when the sex is not necessary - so many times in  
books it is in unneccessary detail, or simply not needed at all for  
the purposes of the story.
Therefore, the author is trying to make the book a success by  
delivering the, as you suggest, soft porn. I lose respect for authors  
if I suspect they're doing that.
It's also awkward if you know the characters wouldn't be comfortable  
sharing those details with an onlooker: I'm guessing a lot of  
realistic characters wouldn't.

The discussion on romance with sex being soft porn is understandably  
one to polarise.
I know which side I come down on, and I like your definition too:

"I conclude that a book might be porn if people read it *for* the sexual
descriptions and titilation thereby, and not-porn if they read it *in  
of* the sex-bits."

However, I am not sure to what extent I'd balance that with what the  
author intended: did the author intend to titilate?
Unlike some modern theorists, I tend to give equal weight to author's  
intent and the reader's interpretation of a text.
But I'm sure there's a whole variety of reader motives to take into  

Anyway, good email.



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