Urban Fantasy discussion

This topic is about Pagan
UF BOOK CHAT > Sex in Urban Fantasy

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message 1: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Nemo (Ed_Nemo) | 112 comments I am at a crossroads. I am about 90% done with Andrew Chapman's, Pagan. I will eventually write a review of it but there is something that really bugs me and I want to get off my chest.

First, I am not a prude. I am not some poor biddy clutching a bible to my chest and damning the souls of writers who write about something I don't like.

I know that the majority of Urban Fantasy is written by women, and a lot of those women also write romance novels. But when I am reading an otherwise great book and the author is compelled to write a graphic sex scene. It just takes me out of the story.

I am not against a little romance, but words like "thrusting" (repeatedly) and long graphic explanations of sex scenes are not only unwaranted, but completely unwanted in an otherwise great book.

I have had sex, I understand how it works, I don't need the amateur porn version explained to me like some sort of How To book on what people in love do in bed. "Thank you, I am aware."

I am 85% done with Pagan by Andrew Chapman. I will finish it tomorrow and write a review on Goodreads and Amazon, but I am irritated tonight.

Let me just say this: Pagan is extremely well written. The book is a perfect example of well written action combined with humor and enough specifics to let me know the author knows the difference between a Mauser rifle and a javelin.

This is a 5 star book with lots of rape and sex in it. Graphic rape and sex. Rape in a book immediately makes a bad guy unsalvable. When a rape scene comes up, I know, this is a very bad person that needs some killing. Giving grapic depictions does not make the act worse, it just draws me out of the story and becomes unpleasant.

Likewise, dedicating paragraphs to a sex scene has me wondering why the author is wasting my time rather than implying what happened and then letting me go, "okay, they have a healthy sex lide and are in love." I don't need the play by play.

So, in the end, a 5 star book is going to get a 3-4 rating because they felt the sex scenes are drawing people in.

Are sex scenes bringing in the readers? How many people like their Action/UF books to have explecit sex scenes? It could just be me. But I don't think so.

Due the majority of UF readers like graphic scenes?

message 2: by JK (new)

JK (eimajtl) Pretty sure the majority would disagree, but I do not. There have been numerous times in this group and in reviews I mention my dislike of gratuitous amounts of sex so I won't go super detailed.

If it's something that's built up to, I don't mind it so much. If it's something that happens rarely in the series I don't mind either - like in The Dresden Files. We've got 13 books and a plethora of short stories and there has been one sex scene. One. There are series a fraction of the length of DF and have 20 times the amount of sex. That I can't stand.

There are also series like Mercedes Thompson. There are a few instances of sex in the books, but it amounts to "and then we made off to bed." And that's it. It's mentioned, but you don't get any of the unwarranted detail.

And then there's something like the Fever series where rape is a perfectly good method of getting someone to get over rape. I'm still dumbfounded by this one. These are the types of things I really can't tolerate or understand. Why label the book as something else when you want to write erotica? Just label it as such, I'm pretty sure society is okay with sex now. You don't have to hide that you are writing about it.

Okay, okay. I didn't keep it short.

message 3: by Ralph (new)

Ralph Chavers | 4 comments Sex scenes in any book is just silly, unless it has a specific purpose. If there is a special touch that has a certain meaning, or maybe a specific type of look at a crucial stage of the act... such as the rolling of eyes or the covering of the lips to prevent a giggle. Or perhaps if there is something unorthodox that either of the characters do to reveal some facet of their personalities that might not be revealed in any other way.

There's always the 'show don't tell'aspect of writing and I've used brief sex scenes to show degrees of tenderness, and tendencies toward submission and dominance... and of course endless numbers of other reasons; but there should always be a 'reason', not just a sex for titillation type scenario.

And for me, my characters always become family, and for me to describe their actions in graphic sex scenes
would be very nearly like watching one of my sisters have sex. Not to mention that the thought of my favorite, wonderful characters from my other favorite writers being subjected to explicit sex scenes just seems so wrong. I mean, truly great characters become almost Holy. This a very important point that Ed has presented and I think we all should ask ourselves when we come to that moment of truth (when the lamps go out and our characters begin to touch) if we would really like to read about Franny Glass, or Luthien Tinuviel, or Cosette, or Heaven forbid poor Lizavetta being turned every which way but loose?

Stacia (the 2010 club) (Stacia_R) It all comes down to the reader I suppose. There are many types of UF available. It's not a one note genre. You can find UF with or without a lot of sex. If there wasn't a market for UF with sex, it wouldn't be getting published and purchased in droves.

Maybe it would be nice to see publishers add basic book ratings (not for the purpose of censorship) that show the level of sex, violence, etc. so buyers would know upfront if the book would be for them or not.

I myself like a little steam in my reads. It's not something that has to be there in order for me to like a book (after all, if the book is good, it's good with or without sex), but if the sex is in there I'm not going to be complaining either.

message 5: by Betelgeuze (last edited Aug 23, 2011 11:43PM) (new)

Betelgeuze | 116 comments For me it depends on my mood, but I do expect that in UF the focus lies more on aspects other than sex and romance. If there is to much romance and sex in UF than its no longer UF but PNR/ paranormal erotica. If there is sex in a book than it should be there to further the plot, and not just some random sex scene that contributes nothing to the story.

I read both UF and PNR, and don't mind romance/sex but I prefer UF. It would indeed be nice be nice if publishers would be more clear about the romantic /sexual contents of a book. Maybe they should be a bit more clear in indicating when abook is PNR or when it is UF. Although I have read books that can be described as both.

Sometimes the author also shifts the focus from UF to PNR. Which isn't necessarily bad as long as it is a natural progression of the story and furthers the plot. A bad example of this is the Anita Blake series which started out as UF and after nine books switched (imo) to really bad erotica.

message 6: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Nemo (Ed_Nemo) | 112 comments I guess the part that bothers me is, while I feel this book is very good, I could not recommend it for my daughter or my wife. I would have preferred this book to be labeled Paranormal Erotica and I could have just skipped it. Which is truly a shame, considering that I felt the book was otherwise well written and engaging.

When I was 8 years old I remember picking up the Piers Anthony book, "Bio of a Space Tyrant". I was a fan of his Xanth series and picked this book up purely on name recognition. I was treated to pretty horrible depictions of rape and I realized that Piers Anthony has some really weird sexual hang-ups and I would no longer be reading his works.

Authors need to make sure they reach their target audience or they will get negative reviews. And in this day and age, anyone with an internet connection can immediately record their disdain. Negative reviews impact sales. So, do yourself a favor and specify exactly what catagory your work falls into.

message 7: by Aaron (new)

Aaron | 22 comments Im fairly new to Urban Fantasy and before I knew anything about it I was quite taken aback by the sex in some of them and it really ruined the story for me. There are several reasons why it bugs me, the main reason is I love a strong female character and when shes sleeping around I feel like it be-littles her not empowers her. Another reason it bothers me is because I feel like I'm reading the authors fantasy that they wish would happen to them and I find it kind of gross, especially with the Sookie Stackhouse books for example. It really makes or breaks a story for me, I recently read Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk and I love the book but the heroine slept with a guy who she knew for like two days and then afterword continued to talk about how little she knew about him. I was like well then why did you sleep with him?

message 8: by Synobal (new)

Synobal | 3 comments My complaint is when a Paranormal Romance book tries to pass itself off as Urban fantasy. There should be some sort of flashing neon sign for PR books.

message 9: by Julia (last edited Aug 25, 2011 07:37AM) (new)

Julia | 612 comments After getting burned by the later books in the Anita Blake series -- I never started her Gentry books-- I try very hard to determine whether a new series I'm about to start in any genre, not just urban fantasy, has capital R Romance. If it does, I almost always read something else. (I do read everything by Diana Gabaldon who has capital R romance -- and sex!--and a dozen+ or so other things going on.) Some of my favorite books in the world have lower case r romance as one aspect or plot point, the Vorkosigan series of science fiction by Lois McMaster Bujold, where falling in love is a human connection, a difficulty and can enlarge and strengthen characters. (But no onstage sex.)

Aaron, I disagree with you about Sookie Stackhouse, which is fine, because I sometimes disagree with her choices as well, but that can be how a character is shown.

Ed, thanks for the heads up on Piers Anthony.

JK, And then there's something like the Fever series where rape is a perfectly good method of getting someone to get over rape. Okay, eeuw. Avoiding that one, too, thanks.

message 10: by JK (new)

JK (eimajtl) Synobal wrote: "My complaint is when a Paranormal Romance book tries to pass itself off as Urban fantasy. There should be some sort of flashing neon sign for PR books."

... how exactly does that work? I mean PNR is pretty much just urban fantasy with a heavy emphasis on the romance.

message 11: by Lisa MH (new)

Lisa MH | 315 comments Personally, I adore UF but I can't stand PNR. Mainly because of the overuse of sex. I don't mind it, if it serves a purpose, or if the relationship developes naturally to that point. But the graphic scenes are too much. Especially if it envolves non-consensual sex. That's too far.

I enjoy a strong, female protagonist, but recently I've been reading UF novels with male leads. They don't have as much, and sometimes no, sex.

I prefer novels I read to focus on action and plot, than sex (especially graphic sex).

message 12: by Synobal (new)

Synobal | 3 comments Lisa MH wrote: "Personally, I adore UF but I can't stand PNR. Mainly because of the overuse of sex. I don't mind it, if it serves a purpose, or if the relationship developes naturally to that point. But the graphi..."

It's sort of amusing that a lot of Urban Fantasy male main characters are practically monks compared to their female counter parts.

message 13: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle (Rhelle) | 9 comments I greatly dislike graphic sex scenes as well. A graphic rape scene will cause me to put the book down and never read anything by that author again. I don't like the confusion between urban fantasy and paranormal romance - I've likened it in the past to the difference between drama and porn. In urban fantasy there is a story to tell and sometimes part of that story is a sexual relationship, but its not key. PNR is porn - it has weak plots to justify all the gratuitous sex. Even erotica is more enjoyable than PNR because erotica doesn't pretend to be anything than what it is.

I also strongly dislike PNR for the message it sends. That as long as you wave a man in front of any woman, no matter how strong, intelligent, self-reliant, she cannot resist him. In fact, she needs him to complete her and to solve her problems because simply being near him makes her lose all sense. Perhaps I should just copy/paste a review of mine instead of repeating myself. :p

"It took several tries but I finally finished it. Very standard paranormal romance book. Almost exact copy of Buffy and Spike. Follows the established rules of:

1. The female must always be less than the male. Less powerful, wealthy, educated, worldly, interesting, intelligent, attractive, etc - you name it - the male must always be better than the female.

2. Since the female is less intelligent and educated than the male, she (almost always) is from the southern United States.

3. Communication must be stuck on no-information shared whatsoever. If there is a bomb in the trunk, neither character may tell each other. If something comes up, the default is to tell a lie rather than anything resembling the truth. Even if its just a trip to the corner store to get ice cream.

4. Jealousy is hot and is the only way you know for sure the other person loves you.

5. The love is always irrational - there is no reason given why two people who hate each other fall in the deepest love.

And so on - just check a list of 'how to ID an abusive partner'

Its terrible that females are telling other females that the storybook romance is one of abuse."


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) This is something I hate in plots in general:

"3. Communication must be stuck on no-information shared whatsoever. If there is a bomb in the trunk, neither character may tell each other. If something comes up, the default is to tell a lie rather than anything resembling the truth. Even if its just a trip to the corner store to get ice cream. "

I've found it a lot in the romancy books, but I've seen it in others, too, and it absolutely drives me bonkers.

I mean, I know that people aren't always completely honest or forthcoming in real life, but when the plot seems to depend on the main characters NEVER revealing important bits of information to each other, I just want to smack everyone, including the author.


Anyway, I do try to find UF titles that aren't PNR, but it's increasingly difficult. A male protagonist by a male author seemed to be a good way to gauge such things in the past, but this book seems to belie that. Hopefully it's not a trend.

message 15: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle (Rhelle) | 9 comments Perhaps we could come up with a list. I'd recommend

-Emma Bull
-Lilith Saintcrow (there is sex and romance, but not overtly out of place)
-Michelle Sagara (the cast series but she is a must read as Michelle West too)
-Kevin Hearn (the iron druid)
-Charles de Lint
-M.L.N. Hanover (aka Daniel Abraham)
-Carrie Vaughn
-Lisa Shearin (the Raine Benares series)
-Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels)
-Jennifer Estep (her assassin series, tho bigtime is good too)
-Katie MacAllister has more sex in her books, but its not as jarring as others and her stories & plot are excellent
-Kalayna Price (grave witch)
-Jim Butcher
-Steven Brust (technically more of a fantasy that happens in an urban environment)
-Scott Lynch (gentleman bastards, also fantasy in urban environs)
-Laura Bickle
-Ann Aguirre
-Seanan McGuire
-Chloe Neill
- Jenn Bennett (not as much sex as the blurb suggests)
-Victoria Laurie (esp notible as the heroine has friends, female friends!! The lack of friendships - not sidekicks, but friends is another lack in UF and PNR.)
-Karen Chance (more sex than I really liked, but the story and the plotting are well done)
-Mark del Franco

mmmm, I know I am missing some. I've been reading quite a bit lately.

message 16: by Julia (new)

Julia | 612 comments You've got several on your list I haven't read and I'm interested in checking out, thank you Rochelle! Here's some more:

- Tanya Huff. She's got three four uf series, plus more traditional fantasy and science fiction.
- Thomas E. Sniegoski A Kiss Before the Apocalypse: A Remy Chandler Novel. I have, but haven't gotten around to reading his uf for YA market.
- Rob Thurman is a woman but writes about Cal and Niko who are brothers. The first book is Nightlife.
- Kelley Armstrong writes the Women (and Men) of the Otherweorld, you can look at her website, where she usually has short stories so you can try her out in a shorter format. Her first book is Bitten.
- Jane Yolen writes little children's books, YA and adult. Her Except the Queen may be the opposite of YA and it's very wonderful. Also look for Pay the Piper: A Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tale that she wrote with her son, a musician.
I'm so glad you included Emma Bull and Charles de Lint, Rochelle!
P.S. Wen Spencer and Terri Windling!

message 17: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Nemo (Ed_Nemo) | 112 comments Rochelle and Julia, thank you very much for the recommendations.

message 18: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Nemo (Ed_Nemo) | 112 comments For the record, I finished "Pagan". It was an outstandingly written fun book. The characters are well fleshed out and fun. The dialog was quirky and funny, and the action was intense and page turning. This 5 star book would have been just that, if they had excised about 1-2 pages from the book.

I would also like to state that I am not quite narcissistic enough to think everyone feels the same way I do. Many people enjoy that. (I had a similar problem with the movie, "Watchmen", and other people I knew liked the sex scene.) But, I am obviously heartened by the fact that a lot of people, (make that a lot people that read a lot), feel the same way as me. I don't require these books disappear, just let me know on the outset. PNR on the cover saves me from, picking it up, reading it, being disgusted and writing a bad review.

Authors and Publishers, please take note: One well written bad review has more effect than 20 well written good reviews. Make sure you reach your target audience.

message 19: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle (Rhelle) | 9 comments Ed - I feel the same way, I just want to know if this is a 'real to me' book, or a PNR. Common sense says one should market to the correct crowd, which means it probably won't happen. :p

Julia - I forgot to mention Tanya Huff - I love her books!! Rob Thurman, Wen Spencer and Terri Windling are all on my to be read list, it sounds like I'll have to bump them up closer to the top!

I did read Thomas Sniegoski's remy chandler series and I greatly disliked it, but not because of sex. Evidently the author is extremely fond of dogs, and I ...I am not. The 4 books I slogged through (I pre-read the books my 12 year old daughter is interested in, just in case) were written as a ballad of the man's love for his dog, and how great and smart and wonderful the dog is, and that only demons hate dogs. *eyeroll*

I am a crazy cat lady, but should I have read a book that treated cats instead of dogs as that sort of...fangirliness, I'd still have disliked it. To me, it seemed that the plot was all about how to showcase THE DOG. (insert the marsha, marsha, MARSHA!! scream here).

Thanks for the other suggestions!! My daughter loves to read too, so keeping up with the books I read, and pre-approve read for her can be difficult.

message 20: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle (Rhelle) | 9 comments This is a bit off topic, but I can't get over how very awesome this is: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&... Kevin Hearn, of the Iron Druid chronicles, made this google map of the places and events in his series (so far). I am not a fan of maps, since I have no sense of direction and get lost with or without a map, but the concept of making a map like this tickles my sense of cool. :p

message 21: by Tasula (new) - added it

Tasula | 150 comments I like UF and I don't like PNR, but PNR turns me off for 2 reasons 1) silly emotions, with illogical plot devices that serve only to keep the man and woman apart until 2) detailed description of a sexual encounter.

Sex is great, a necessity of life IMO, and when two protagonists have reached a point in a logical narrative where they want to make love, I think it's fine "cut away" or even to have some brief description of the lovemaking. But a blow by blow (ha) account is just tedious- as someone said, we know how it works, this isn't a how-to manual.

UF authors I like that are mostly UF/action and little if any sex, some already mentioned (nice list, Rochelle, lots of my favorites were on your list)and Julia (love Huff and Armstrong). Note: some of the authors/books are pretty bloodthirsty. And some are more epic fantasy than UF.

Acevedo, Mario Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Armintrout, Jennifer The Turning: Book1:Blood Ties Series
Baker, Nancy The Night Inside aka Kiss of the Vampire
Bowen, Gary Diary of a Vampire
Collins Nancy A Sunglasses After Dark
Drake, Jocelynn Nightwalker
Farren, Mick the Time of Feasting
Frost, Jeaniene Halfway to the Grave
Garton, Ray Live Girls
Gleason, Colleen aka Gale Colette The Rest Falls Away
Gottlieb, Sherry Love Bite
Hendee Barb Blood Memories
Huff Tanya Blood Price
Huston, Charlie Already Dead
Lewis, J F Staked
Martin George RR Fevre Dream,
Neill, Chloe Some Girls Bite
Newman, Kim Anno-Dracula
Rardin, Jennifer Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Simmons, William Mark One Foot in the Grave
Stein, Jeanne C The Becoming
Taylor, Karen E The Vampire Vivienne
Harrison Kim Dead Witch Walking
Chance Karen Touch the Dark
Adams, Cie T and Cathy Clamp Touch of Evil
Armstrong Kelley Bitten
Cacek Patricia Canyons
Kittredge, Caitlin Night Life
Butcher, Jim Storm Front
Henry, Mark Happy Hour of the Damned
Bell, Alex The Ninth Circle
Brite, Poppy Z Lost Souls
Brust Steven The Lord of Castle Black
de Lint Charles The Mystery of Grace
Downum, Amanda The Drowning City
Gaiman Neil American Gods
Green, Simon R Something from the Nightside
Hanover, MLN Unclean Spirits
Kadrey, Richard Sandman Slim
Moore, Christopher The Stupidest Angel
Novik, Naomi His Majesty's Dragon
Pratchett, Terry The Color of Magic
Snyder, Maria Poison Study
Sturges, Matthew Midwinter
Tregillis, Ian Bitter Seeds
Williams, Liz The Snake Agent
McGuire, Seanan Rosemary and Rue
Andrews, Ilona Magic Bites
Driver, Lee The Good Die Twice
Hunter, Faith Skinwalker
Lima Maria Matters of the Blood
Briggs Patricia Moon Called
Vaughn, Carrie Kitty and the Midnight Hour,
Carriger, Gail Soulless

message 22: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (kwakwa) | 10 comments I totally agree with what Aaron said about feeling like you're reading the author's fantasy, especially when it's written in the first person. A lot of the time it's so graphic it's like porn in text, which is great if that's what you're looking for but if that's what I wanted I would read Mills and Boon or something.

I love the adventures in urban fantasy and some of the characters are so great, in a series you really get to know them and have a one sided relationship with them! because the genre is set in modern times or the future people are going to have sex, but i like it when the author just implies it so you know their relationship has moved to the next step but you don't feel like a voyer! like i said, you get to know the characters almost like they are friends and you don't want that much detail about your friends sex lives

message 23: by Julia (new)

Julia | 612 comments Rochelle,

As a cat person I bet you love Tanya Huff's Summoning books that start withSummon the Keeper.

As a non- dog person I suggest you avoid: John Levitt's series that begins with Dog Days, Kevin Hearne's Hounded and perhaps Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, because all these characters love their dogs, or whatever.

message 24: by Theresa (new)

Theresa  (TSorrels) Rochelle wrote: "This is a bit off topic, but I can't get over how very awesome this is: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&......"

How fun! Los Olivos does have yummy Mexican food... delicious shredded beef tacos! We have a location right down the street from my office.

Also very cool... my church meets at Skyline High School! It is a gorgeous school.

I might have to read that book now. :) Thanks for sharing, Rochelle.

message 25: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle (Rhelle) | 9 comments Julia, I absolutely *loved* Kevin Hearne's series and Jim Butcher as well. The difference between those books and the Remy Chandler books was that the dog in there was extremely irritating and ill mannered, but we were expected to adore it anyway. Also, the dog in the Remy books was put on a pedestal, was such an object of adoration it felt like it was used as sex in PRN - that the entire book's purpose was the dog as opposed to a plot.

message 26: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Nemo (Ed_Nemo) | 112 comments Wow. I couldn't dissagree with your more on the Remy Chandler series. I loved the dog. I wanted more of the dog. Maybe that's because I am a dog person.

As far as the plot goes: with the loss of Remy's wife, the dog is the only thing keeping Remy on Earth. So, I feel the dog is fairly integral to the story and the character if not the specific plot.

But as this thread has definitely shown us, we all have different likes/dislikes.

message 27: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle (Rhelle) | 9 comments Ed, I doubt I would have minded so much if I wasn't such a NOT a dog person. In fact, I am rather dog-phobic so the things Remy allowed the dog to do - walk up to others while they were eating, being off leashed in general, are things that drive me crazy about dog people.

I have had this conversation with a friend of mine who is very much a dog person, but he hates children. Everything about them actually, but I adore them. So I understand that not everyone would want to adore my kids, and I am resentful of dog owners who expect everyone else to have the same share-my-ice-cream-cone-with-my-dog feelings.

message 28: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Nemo (Ed_Nemo) | 112 comments Rochelle,

I too do not like dogs off their leashes in public. I think it is horribly unfair to the dog and can cause easily preventable problems. By that same token, I feel the same way about kids. I see kids rolling through the grocery store on the little roller shoes knocking people over and screaming. And the parents are not doing anything about it.

I think you and I are basically talking about the same thing. Adults needing to take responsibility for the ones in their care.

message 29: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle (Rhelle) | 9 comments I agree completely.

message 30: by Betelgeuze (new)

Betelgeuze | 116 comments Ed wrote: "Rochelle,

I too do not like dogs off their leashes in public. I think it is horribly unfair to the dog and can cause easily preventable problems. By that same token, I feel the same way about ki..."

I had a dog who never wore a leash. But he never approached another dog or a person with out my permission. Dogs don't need leashes as long as the owners have the dog trained well.

Children are a lot more annoying imo. Parents apparently don't feel the need to make them behave in public. And when one of their brats crashes into you and you tell the parent that they should make their children behave better the parents get angry.

message 31: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle (Rhelle) | 9 comments I am less bothered by dogs than children for many reasons and I consider children to be less objectionable in public - they have to learn socialization skills at some time. Besides, children are required for the continuation of our species and dogs are not.

message 32: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Nemo (Ed_Nemo) | 112 comments I prefer dogs to children as well. I find dogs much better behaved on the average. Of course children and dogs both are products of their parents/owners teachings. And while I have met many bad kids, I have never met a bad dog.

As for the continuation of our species, I have to say, at more than 7 billion humans currently on our planet, we have that pretty well covered.

And I have taken this thread off the rails. My apologies, I will now retire from my soap box and read a book. Which is what I am here to talk about. :D

message 33: by Lauren (new)

Lauren As a vet I'm a little biased. Dogs >>>> Kids. That said, I respect people who don't get it. I've met plenty of bad dogs. Been almost bitten/bitten by plenty of bad dogs. Maybe dogs are a good analogy for all this. Leashes are good. Leashes protect not only other people from your pet but they also protect your pet from people who might be fearful and lash out for no reason, or other dogs that might do the same. A little of your dog from a distance, is fine thank you. I see dogs all day long, I don't need to have a 20 minute petting time with your dog.

Sex in books is like that for me. Hint at all the good stuff and I want more. A little distance goes a long way. Make me see it up close and personal every page and all that moistness and sucking and bouncing begins to get a little gross after the early intimacy. That said I do enjoy sex in books, but there are authors I go to if I want that. When I read UF I'm looking for plot and action. Relationships are great because they build on the emotions when things get tense and dangerous, but too much sex just distracts me.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (Gatadelafuente) | 238 comments I find too much sex in an urban fantasy book a turnoff. I am a big romance fan, and I like when romance has sex, but I can live without it. I think that the balance in an UF is off most of the time when sex is added too liberally. I find myself wanting to skim the sex parts to get back to the action and the main storyline. Long story short, it's not a draw for me personally. I like some romance in UF, but not for it to overtake the story. That annoys me. When I want a focus on romance and steamy love scenes, I read a romance novel.

t'irla ~The Bookslayer~ t'irla's Talk Book Blog (tirla) I personally love sex in UF books and romance..as long as the plot is good and it works within the story line well. I don't like gratis sex..I mean sex that doesn't add to the story or doesn't feel right where they stick it.(said tongue in cheek)...But I like romance in anything I read...I'm kinda a feel good girl. HEA is a must for me.

message 36: by Juliann (new)

Juliann Whicker | 15 comments This is a fascinating thread. I've asked in other groups on Goodreads what the difference between PNR and UF is, and gotten different answers, but it's often arbitrary and difficult to draw the line. There is overlap in many books/series. I think the only thing that people expect to be less sex oriented is YA. Of course I've read YA (started to read and not finished actually) that had more graphic scenes than stuff called PNR. I would like a rating on books whether they're YA, UF, or PNR based on sexual and violent graphicness. That's one of the great uses of reviews I think.

Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* (ErinPaperbackstash) | 143 comments I dont like the book saturated with it until there is no plot, but I dont mind a little hot and steamy every once in awhile.

t'irla ~The Bookslayer~ t'irla's Talk Book Blog (tirla) Juliann wrote: "This is a fascinating thread. I've asked in other groups on Goodreads what the difference between PNR and UF is, and gotten different answers, but it's often arbitrary and difficult to draw the lin..."

I agree Juliann I would love there to be ratings on Y/A books. I have read some books that are considered Erotica and some of the publishers rate those on the inside first pages. X...xx....xxx.. with bdsm with menage a tois...etc. I think something along the same lines in Y/A would be good. Would give parents a bit more knowledge about what theirs kids are reading. ..IMO

message 39: by Julia (new)

Julia | 612 comments I would hate it if books were rated and I would fight against the rating of books. I fear it would lead to banning.

The movie rating system is deeply flawed and very political. There's a documentary on it called "This Movie Is Not Yet Rated." One mention of the word "shit," for instance is a PG 13. Two is an "R." If books were rated, who would do the rating? The MPAA that rates movies is a secret organization, almost.

On the other hand, I love forums like this, Amazon, Library Thing, and others where readers are encouraged to review. (And sites like Rotten Tomatoes for movies, for viewers to comment.) I can look at what a reviewer likes and doesn't like and evaluate the opinion based on what I like & don't like.

t'irla ~The Bookslayer~ t'irla's Talk Book Blog (tirla) My thoughts are only for Y/A books. I would like to know when I am purchasing a book for the young people in my life, if there is sexual content or not..swear words or not etc. This is why I would like something on the book to indicate this type of content. I don't believe this information would lead to book banning. Only to a more educated shopper.

message 41: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (fireweaver) | 63 comments @ t'irla (and i SWEAR this isn't an insult towards you, just food for thought!!): why is it that everyone feels the need to freak out about sensuality or sex in books for kids/YA? it's always the first thing that people want to screen from the kids...but the question of violence comes up so very much further down the list. why on earth do we as a culture find it more acceptable for our teens to read about murder (which hopefully happens to no one IRL) than we do for them to read about good sex (which hopefully happens to everyone who's interested in it)?

Julia, i'm right there with you - i'm totally down on the idea of ratings. heck, most of the time i don't even like that marketing always feels the need to label a book as a particular genre! something that's concretely labeled as to what it is sets up all sorts of expectations, and when what you actually get is outside those expectations, people get upset. like when you thought you were getting a UF novel, but instead it's romance (or vice versa!). i'd much prefer to just know whether it's a good book or a bad one - which finally gets to the answer of how i feel about sex in my books. well-written love scenes that are integral to the plot are just as awesome as well-written fight scenes that are integral to the plot. poorly written sex scenes, or those that don't move the story at all jar you out of the book just as much as any other bit of clunky writing.

message 42: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (kwakwa) | 10 comments i hate ratings or genre stamps on the book itself, but i would love it if i went to a book store and could pick up a pamphlet that had these for a number of books. it would make shopping really easy. as it is though i just hop on goodreads to get present ideas!

message 43: by Maggie (new)

Maggie (ceodraiocht) | 15 comments For those wanting a heads up, All Things Urban Fantasy does include a Sexual Content notation in all of her book reviews. The current one "Kissing. References to sex". She will note when it's graphic. She's a member here and I would recommend her site: http://allthingsurbanfantasy.blogspot...
You can search the reviews for a specific title.

message 44: by Juliann (last edited Sep 10, 2011 01:07PM) (new)

Juliann Whicker | 15 comments Thanks Maggie! That does seem helpful:)

Michelle-I think oversexualization of children in general is one of the saddest parts of our culture. Think child pageants. When people are bombarded by imagery that encourages sexuality, you might want to be certain the person is age appropriate because otherwise it isn't knowledge that will be based on future acts as an adult, but part of their present reality. It feels as though sexuality is pushed towards a younger and younger group. I'm not a fan.

message 45: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Nemo (Ed_Nemo) | 112 comments For the record I am completely against censorship. When it comes to TV and Music I am a firm believer in if you don't like something, change the channel. With books and movies, I just want to know about it before I purchase the book. Mentioning on the back that it contains graphic sex tells me what I need to know before I buy it. I don't even mind a little romance in a book if it is part of the plot.

message 46: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle (Rhelle) | 9 comments Again, I agree with Ed. I don't want to read about sex acts, but I don't think they need to be censored either. Rating systems are pretty much useless unless you know the person doing the ratings well enough to know if they have the same, or similar opinions to what you hold as mature. I started reading YA books a while ago for two reasons - to vet them for my kids & so I could read books without sex. Imagine my surprise at some of the acts in the YA books! I think we all want to keep our children as young and innocent as we can, which is why some of that is disappointing. However, kids are dealing with just those issues: sex, sexuality, relationships, gender issues, drugs, alcohol, etc. I am now more interested in making sure the YA titles that my kids read teach a lesson I want them to learn more than being horrified that there is sex in the books.

*a very excellent example is Jennifer Estep's new YA series (http://www.jenniferestep.com/books-se...) I am a HUGE fan of her other works and was excited to read this one too, and for my daughter to read it. Without being too spoilery, there was one somewhat graphic sex act I wasn't a fan of my daughter reading, but the lesson was about self-respect, and that I am ok with.

message 47: by H.D. (new)

H.D. (hdgordon) | 2 comments Julia wrote: "You've got several on your list I haven't read and I'm interested in checking out, thank you Rochelle! Here's some more:

- Tanya Huff. She's got three four uf series, plus more tra..."

Julia wrote: "You've got several on your list I haven't read and I'm interested in checking out, thank you Rochelle! Here's some more:

- Tanya Huff. She's got three four uf series, plus more tra..."

OHHHHHH LOVE Kelley Armstrong's otherworld series. Must read guys...I'm so obsessed that i've even got t-shirts and sweaterw with the logos :) Some of the books are hard to locate but def worth it!

t'irla ~The Bookslayer~ t'irla's Talk Book Blog (tirla) I think in a Y/A book you can get away with teaching the lesson without being graphic. I believe we need to preserve the innocence in our children for as long as possible. As they age they become more aware and addressing that in a book is ok..but there is no need to be graphic. Real Life is graphic enough..leaving some things to a person's imagination I think is best..I mean for me that is what reading is all about. I personally as an adult love erotica and graphic sex scenes in books but I am adult enough to know what is fantasy and what is reality and that they don't necessarily mean what you fantasize about is what you need in reality. Children/Young Adults don't have the skills and knowledge to know this and it is our responsibility as adults to protect them until the time is right and then guide them/introduce them, share knowledge with them about these topics. But that responsibility for parents/loved ones to do not a book written by someone who doesn't know the maturity level of our child. (gets off soapbox)

message 49: by Juliann (new)

Juliann Whicker | 15 comments Thanks T'irla. It's a good box:)

message 50: by Hmr28 (new)

Hmr28 | 14 comments Eh, we're all adults. Adults have sex. In fact adults think about sex ALL the time. I think it is a normal part of the relationships of the characters that inhabit books (not just uf, sf, fantasy, mysteries etc), the same way it is a normal part of a normal adult's life. I don't like or dislike it in UF. If it is a part of the characters life/growth and makes sense then it is fine with me. If it is badly written then generally the entire books is badly written anyway and I won't be reading another by that author.

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Books mentioned in this topic

Pay the Piper (other topics)
Except the Queen (other topics)
Nightlife (other topics)
Bitten (other topics)
A Kiss Before the Apocalypse (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Tanya Huff (other topics)
Wen Spencer (other topics)
Emma Bull (other topics)
Kelley Armstrong (other topics)
Rob Thurman (other topics)