Why I don't like sex scenes in books

I don't like reading graphic sex scenes in books. Call me a prude, call me childish, but I don't. I feel like there are possible exceptions to the rule, but as a whole I don't care for it. Let's be clear here - I'm not talking gooey love scenes where a couple disappear into a bedroom and kiss passionately before the author cuts the chapter off and the rest is left to your imagination - I'm talking gratuitous sex scenes with lots of details. If I wanted graphic sex, I'd watch porn. Or buy a book for the romance section of Waterstones. If I was looking for sex in a book I wouldn't have this problem, but I kind of hate it when you're getting really into a book and there's a surprise sex scene that makes you blush like a beetroot. Here's why...

It's awkward in public

Up until recently, I did most of my reading on trains. A train is not the ideal place to read a sex scene, especially not at 8am. I don't want to bring my breakfast back up, nor do I want to bring up someone else's if they happen to read over my shoulder. Whenever this has happened, I can't help but try and angle myself away from the person sitting next to me, nervous that they'd see what I was reading (especially if it was one of those train rides when I was commuting with my Mum). I mean, if you enjoy it you don't want to get turned on in public, surely? All those people who read 50 Shades in public, are you crazy?

They read like fanfiction

When I was a teenager, I read a lot of fanfiction (for more cringeworthy nostalgia, you can read my fanfiction post). Back then, I didn't mind a tastefully written sex scene (I still don't mind them, if they're well done). But many, many of them were awful. And I feel like this is kind of true in a lot of published books. I cringe at the way they're worded. When referring to penises and vaginas, I feel like authors have overused their thesauruses. It's just full of clichés and overuse of words and phrases like "throbbing member", "loins", sword metaphors, lip biting and heaving chests. I could go on and on forever with examples but the point is just please, please stop.

After the first sex scene, you get the point

A lot of the time, a sex scene in a book is the cumulation of chapters of tension and is therefore kind of vital to the plot. That's when I have no problem with them. But it bothers me when it happens again and again and I have to have the same scenes played out again and again. I get the point! I don't need the full gory details every time two characters bone. A prime example of this is A Court of Mist and Fury, which I reviewed earlier this year. I'm currently reading another of Maas' books, Empire of Storms. Her Throne of Glass series handled sex quite well up until the fifth book, but it seems her other series has now seeped in. I felt like I was skimming past when there was a sex scene, and felt myself rolling my eyes later on when a she implies a blow job. So far Empire of Storms seems to be a hormonal hotbed of sexual energy for pretty much all of the characters! It kind of leaves me disappointed after such an amazing book four. But I digress, the point is that if it furthers the plot then I see no problem, but repetitive sex scenes just seem unnecessary.

They're unrealistic

Sex scenes in books can be highly unrealistic. Yes, sometimes sex is raunchy and passionate, but quite a lot of the time it's awkward and unflattering. Especially when it's the first time two people are intimate with each other, which is usually the case in a lot of books. I suppose for some it's aspirational and inspirational, in a way. But for me, it just doesn't feel real. There are so many different types of sex - hot and passionate, awkward, soft and sensitive, or the type where you just keep giggling for one reason or another. I am also extremely worried about the ideals that some sex scenes are projecting. I've never had the displeasure of reading 50 Shades of Grey, I don't think I'll ever even try, but the accounts of their relationship worries me. It's not Sub/Dom or S&M or whatever E.L. James seems to want it to be, it's downright abusive.

So there you have it - I'm a prude. I hope I'm not the only one!

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