Monday, August 29, 2011

On Sex and Sexism

J.A. Konrath dropped a bomb alright when he tossed a sex scene into the mix in his novel, Cherry Bomb.

Always great subjects of debate – I read two engaging posts this past week on sex and sexism. Funny enough, the one about sex is not by a romance writer, but thriller writer Joe Konrath. This is what he said about including a sex scene in his Jack Daniels series:

“I learned I liked writing sex scenes. They were fun, but they also allowed me to show a human, emotional, vulnerable side to my characters.”

He goes on to say: “Color me surprised when I began getting bad reviews and hate mail for daring to put explicit sex in a sci-fi novel. WTF? I thought everyone liked sex.” 

“What amazes me even more than that is the fact that my books have so much violence in them. Apparently I can stab someone fifty times and feed them to the crows while they’re still alive and that’s okay as long as there are no blowjobs.”

Two words: Repressed puritans.

I won’t regurgitate my entire comment to his post except for this:

That kind of strong reaction reminds me of homophobic senators going off against gays then getting caught soliciting sex in public restrooms. The haters are probably the perviest ones of all. Just be honest. Sex is entertainment. It’s a connection with another person even if fleeting and it changes the relationship with the other character.

YA author Saundra Mitchell wrote a post about sexism in response to a NYT article’s cry for more male protagonists ’cause boys just aren’t reading as much as girls. I found this post via YA author Amanda 

I think women, in general, are simply better at visualizing stories. When I read, a movie is playing in my head. My brother’s turning into a bigger Jane Austen fan than me, but would he read one of her books? Nooooo.

My husband doesn’t care if a man, woman or extraterrestrial wrote the story (or whether the protagonist’s a woman) so long as it’s entertaining and good. But he, too, prefers his stories in visual format. 

In the end, what does gender matter? It’s all about voice and I can relate to men as easily as women depending on their thoughts and values. Or maybe I can't relate to them at all, but they tell a dang good story.

Guys already lord over the business world, politics and sports. Women do dark extremely well and I love that we’re dominating the YA market. (And romance - but that one's pretty much a given.) 


  1. I think a lot depends on how good it is written and how many they are-- or rather, whether they take away from the story at all.

  2. Hey Nikki! Love your site. I got your email right as I was (finally) reading your novel. I'm on Page 13, and Ethan is getting ready to face Lord Merrick. I hope he kicks his butt, too.
    Cheers and writerly hugs (lovin' the book. Are there, perhaps, delicious sex scenes in the near future pages??)

  3. Thank you, Cinthia. I didn’t realize you had a blog. Your pictures are gorgeous. I love the “Knots-So-Fast” pet store and trucker/tower riding his rig with all his pets. Only in Alaska!

    Thanks for reading my historical romance. Those scenes are a bit far off in this book (it’s all about anticipation, right?), but there is plenty of hotness and sexual tension coursing throughout. I hope you enjoy the story.

    The editor’s comments on this were: “I enjoyed the set up and the writing a great deal. But I’m sorry to report that as I read, the characters just didn’t come to life for me, so it’s with sincere regret I’m stepping aside.”

    So if you have suggestions for breathing life into the characters please HELP ME! : )