“Yesterday I mentioned”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/2006/12/13/reality-dysfunctional/ my dislike of the literary sex mechanic. Today I’d like to elaborate on my views on this topic a little. This is a difficult philosophy to put into words, so bear with me as I do my best here.
I realize that a lot of stories and novels contain at least one sex scene. Heck, there’s even a genre of literature that’s about nothing _else_ but sex. And as I also mentioned yesterday, I tend to think that it’s a reflection of our sex-hungry culture. ((In case you missed it, I don’t think this is such a good thing.))
One of the many philosophies of science fiction as a whole is that one day mankind will evolve to the point where he realizes that his need for and reliance upon the mythology of a God or gods is foolish and unnecessary. ((Note: this is, of course, _not_ the philosophy which I espouse.)) As such the speculation is that mankind will throw off those restrictive shackles and fully embrace hedonistic activities, including unrestrained and unprohibitive sexual activities. Technology will, of course, aid in these pursuits due to mankind’s inevitable control over and annihilation of disease and pregnancy, so there will never be a need to worry about consequences. The overarching moral ethic of humanity will think nothing of this way of life, as there will be few hard and fast rules. So it’s natural that a good number of science (and other) fiction novels seem to revolve around this subject.
Trouble is, I tend to think that the use of sex in fiction is a bit of a cheap way ((As in, cheap thrill.)) to get through the story. Rarely have I ever seen in a story a sex scene that was absolutely required – very few stories I’ve ever read had sex as a pivotal plot point. You could either strike the scene completely or rewrite it slightly to eliminate the sex and the story would not suffer adversely. I honestly don’t see the need for fiction to revolve so heavily around the sexual element. Real life already accomplishes that far too effectively.
Granted, I realize this is merely a matter of personal philosophy, so I don’t expect a lot of people to actually agree with me. I just know that the fiction I have read in the past that I felt had the most solid writing and was the most stimulating intellectually was notably lacking in any kind of sexual content. ((Kind of an ironic ‘duh’ statement there, isn’t it?)) The way I see it, sex is really such a small part of what life is all about ((Yes, it’s fun and necessary for the propagation of the species, but I really do think that people devote far too much of their time, attention, and resources to the pursuit of sex, often to the destruction of other, far more important things and people.)), yet mankind has exalted it to a place of utmost importance. I think there are a lot of other, better stories out there to tell, and main characters grappling in the sack with one another all the time aren’t the ones that I think are all that interesting or important. So I find it disheartening when so many of the things I enjoy ultimately only end up coming back to sex.
These are just my thoughts. Take ’em for what they’re worth.