I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I don’t know where people find the time to watch TV. I know some people who have completely packed lives, and yet they somehow manage to follow 25 different shows. Well, mazel tov.
The problem for me is that television has entered a new golden age of quality and storytelling, and there are so many shows that I’d like to watch, except that I have no time. I’m able to watch one or two episodes a week here and there, and do the occasional weekend binge watching.
I recently finished watching Hemlock Grove on Netflix, which took me probably six months to watch its three seasons. (Very weird and very gory, by the way.) For the next series to watch, I chose Penny Dreadful, an excellent British paranormal TV show that brings together classic horror figures into the same universe. But what I began to notice about these unfettered-because-they’re-not-on network-TV shows is there is a lot of sex that goes on. Not that I’m bothered by it. I’m no prude.*
But it’s a fact that’s hard to miss—these shows have a lot of sex! And I wonder if it’s because people in reality have sex and these production companies want to reflect a certain aspect of real life, or do they include it just to draw people in with no other motives? Maybe it’s both.
There are moment, however, that I feel a sex scene is gratuitous and really doesn’t need to be there. Sometimes a sex scene really adds nothing to the story except sex. It makes me wonder how much of that appears in literature as well, and lesfic in particular. I wish I could say that I’ve read every lesfic book out there, but, sadly, I don’t have that kind of reading time.
I think that lesfic authors are often more conscious—perhaps overly conscious—of the amount of sex they put in their stories (excluding erotica) because there’s often concern over the politics of sex. There are two sides to the politics of sex, however—one that says that women are sexualized and that sex in literature is a form of oppression, and one that says that women need to be recognized as sexual beings and by doing so, we eliminate the stigma and slut-shaming of women who enjoy and engage in sex.
But do lesbians secretly—or not so secretly—enjoy lots of sex in their literature? I know this is not universally true because I’ve heard some segments of the lesfic-reading population say that they get tired of all the sex, and enjoy reading books that either have no sex or only allude to sex by fading to black.
Mind you, I’m not judging either way. I just became curious and starting wondering what the overall feeling about it is in the lesfic community. I’m not sure I’ll ever get an answer, but it’s something to think about. And I’m not so sure that there is a right answer. Right and wrong tend to be fluid, just like women and just like sexuality.
Whatever your preference for reading or writing sex, embrace it, own it, and never be ashamed.
*Speaking of me not being a prude, and as a quick aside, I’m really happy to announce that my short story “The Auction” will appear in Best Lesbian Erotica vol. 3, edited by Sacchi Green. That will be out in December.