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Sex in stories


Talo Segura

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I read somewhere that gay online stories started with gay internet porn, then writers developed a plot and storylines, and so became what you might label erotic gay stories. Published gay themed literature always existed, with or without sex scenes. So how do you qualify when including sex in a story, what is pornographic and what is simply erotic, where is the difference? Where is the line drawn?

My own interpretation is very simple, but I would be interested in what other writers, and readers think. For myself it is a simply question of detail, which is best demonstrated by example.

Herbie lay melancholy on his back with his hands behind his head as his long hot prick stand straight up from his small grouping of dark black pubes. His head was turned and his eyes were obviously on the young boy. “Feel me,” he ordered with a deep unfamiliar voice.

The stomach hand slid down until it was massaging the solid pole. The fingers looked inadequate as they slid up from the bottom to the top and then back to the bottom in easy motions. Timmy’s face turned downward as he watched his handwork.

The words highlighted in bold are pornographic the scene is part of an erotic story. Were the scene to be rewritten.

Herbie lay melancholy on his back with his hands behind his head and his erection standing up proud. His head was turned and his eyes were obviously on the young boy. “Feel me,” he ordered with a deep unfamiliar voice.

The other's hand moved down until it rested wrapped around the target. The fingers looked inadequate as they slid up and down in easy motions. Timmy’s face turned downward as he watched his handwork.

The edited version is sexual, erotic, but not in any way pornographic.

Do you agree, or do you have a different interpretation? I haven't written graphic sex scenes and hence the topic for discussion.

 

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An interesting question.  This made me analyze my own writing - and I didn't like the outcome.

IMHO, (generally) in writing, porn will describe graphically.  Erotica will describe generally.  Romance will describe emotionally.

I would add, at least for me, for the majority of erotica I have read, I often skip the sex scenes.  They rarely add to the story - if it's a story you're after and not sex scenes.  I choose to believe there are classier ways to advance a plot.  (And now I am left with a whole lot or rewriting to do!).  Even in erotica, I'm looking for the emotional connection and romance - not only between characters but between them and me too.

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  • 1 month later...

I can't pigeon-hole my sex scenes. They are usually a mixture of romance and erotica. As I have developed my style over the years I've found that the most titilating scenes are ones that leave a lot to the imagination while giving enough to experience the experience the protagonist is having. Emotional rapture is something regular porn can't envision, usually. It's usually very mechanical and graphic showing everything that's going on. The most boring of which tends to be the scenes that only show peg one going into slot two, etc. Writing can convey the full experience if done well. 

I tend to pepper my sex scenes at moments in the narrative where there needs to be a unique and powerful connection made. The sex needs to be voluptuous, but the emotional meaning of it needs to be full. I have been counseled that avoiding graphic sexual tropes and overused descriptors is the key to making the experience for the reader new and personal. 

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  • 1 month later...

I am more plot oriented than sexual writer, but I must concede that after realizing my sexuality is different than my sexual orientation, it kind of made sense.

Sex for me is part of a lot great fictional stories, Harry Turtledove WorldWar series featured a lot of heterosexual sex scenes in graphic details, but he's still considered one of the greatest authors of the Science Fiction genre.

For my writing, I've evolved to aspects of sex, where I will explain the ingredients of sex, but do not give you graphic blow by blows. For that, I want reader to use their imagination:

Take this scene from the end of my story Stoking Embers:
 

Quote

 

Jason spoke at me shyly, “I thought we’d just do hand jobs or something.”

I laughed, “Hand jobs are fun, but I had something far more interesting for you tonight, Jason,” I picked up the pump, “have you ever seen one of these before?”

He shook his head, “No, what is it?”

I began to explain as best I could. “A penis pump is a cylindrical tube where you insert your penis in one end and a pump is used to add pressure against it inside. The air pressure creates suction and simulates oral sex with higher pressure points. The partner in control of the pump is responsible for identifying the right pressure level, amount of time, and release speed to bring the greatest amount of pleasure to the partner with the penis inserted.”

Jason gasped, “Oh my god, who invented something like that? It sounds perfect for me, but what about you Ben? I want to make sure you are happy, too.”

I put down the pump and took the vibrator and box of ribbed condoms. “I will have fun at the same time you are. While I am using the pump, you will be using this vibrator with the ribbed condom on me. Ribbed condoms unlike regular condoms provide added friction against the prostate. You can control the tempo of the insertion at the pace you think I am enjoying it the most as well. I hope our first-time having sex will let us know exactly how far and how much it takes each of us to reach our pleasure points.”

We spent the rest of the night experimenting with one another, learning about our bodies, and our rhythms synced. I can’t say it was the best sex I’ve ever had, but I think it was the most fulfilling sex I have ever experienced, because it was with someone who wanted to understand me and I wanted to understand him. There is still so much more for us in the next few weeks, but I am cautiously optimistic that maybe this fairy tale gay romance won’t end that soon.

 

It's sex, but the graphic details are supplied by your imagination with the tools I laid out in the story, not the story itself. I will get graphic of course, but sometimes you don't need to go the entire way.

Edited by W_L
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  • 3 weeks later...

I guess there's a vast difference between erotica in fiction for the sake of getting off, compared to writing erotica as part of the storyline. 

For example:

Quote

He was a master sucker! He focused his mouth on the dick and his hand stroked the others, bouncing off three of the men. He took a deep snort from the white line on the table and got high. And then rode the other two until he was filled inside with all of their cum. The end. He's now in Florida selling crack and gator meat to his fellow crackheads.

 

Compared to:

Quote

There was a small crawlspace underneath the bed. The ruckus was loud enough, irritatingly so, that he was on his haunches to hear the moaning. Fuck me like a bitch, he said. Marlon, it sounded like Marlon; he remembered his voice this afternoon. Peering through a crack visible enough for those curious enough to see, he squinted in that small space and saw Marlon grip the arms of his lover. Breathing as if there was nothing more to breathe, hot air behind his back and oozing with dribble on his ears, Marlon was being pounded like a stray dog. He could see the shaft perforating Marlon's insides as he urgently slapped his assailant's ass to fuck him harder. Anything harder than that, and he was certain there'd be a homicide in his neighbour's bedroom. "Death by dick," he reckoned. He then felt a cold draft sweep his feet. Much like his fingers, toes, and every skin on his body discoloured by the thing he dreaded thinking of the most, everything in his life had turned blue. Then he realised for a few more months, like these nights, that he'd imagine his own dick falling off and calling it quits.

 

I mean, if I wanted to get off by reading a narrative, I'd go to nifty and waste my time filtering stories with a good storyline, plot, narration, and grammar...to pop the cherry after an exhausting read. But if you want to be intrigued by a good sex scene, crafting sex scenes that don't seem jarring, but intriguing, is the challenge. Writing about two men humping each other for the sake of letting the readers know that they're having sex and they're good at or they're bunny rabbits hammering each other day and night without the context to the readers why they'd have to read through such parts, annoys me as a reader. 

Edited by LJCC
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  • 3 months later...

You know, I am a historian and I can tell you that gay themed literature has always existed, and there were a hell a lot of really great historical personalities that were also gay! One of oldest stories that I have ever read, was written by writer from the ancient Rome. It is probably one of the most romantic and vulgar (at the same time) stories that I have ever read. I was really surprised by the content of those stories.

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On 5/18/2021 at 9:09 AM, JenniferMorrisonta said:

You know, I am a historian and I can tell you that gay themed literature has always existed, and there were a hell a lot of really great historical personalities that were also gay! One of oldest stories that I have ever read, was written by writer from the ancient Rome. It is probably one of the most romantic and vulgar (at the same time) stories that I have ever read. I was really surprised by the content of those stories.

That is true, I have read some really old books and there were mentioned gay people in the Roman Empire

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On 5/18/2021 at 9:09 AM, JenniferMorrisonta said:

One of oldest stories that I have ever read, was written by writer from the ancient Rome. It is probably one of the most romantic and vulgar (at the same time) stories that I have ever read.

I'd be interested to know the title and author.

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On 5/18/2021 at 9:09 AM, JenniferMorrisonta said:

You know, I am a historian and I can tell you that gay themed literature has always existed, and there were a hell a lot of really great historical personalities that were also gay! One of oldest stories that I have ever read, was written by writer from the ancient Rome. It is probably one of the most romantic and vulgar (at the same time) stories that I have ever read. I was really surprised by the content of those stories.

I'm assuming the Roman work you are referring to is The Satyricon by Petronius. I like your assertion the novel is equal parts raunch and romance, for it is. Few have ever been equal to the level of this amazing, subtle and sexy writer.  

BTW, Burnaby's 1694 translation is still (sadly!!!!) the most Gay-friendly reading of the work in English today. Even Dent's much-lauded 1997 version, which was marketed as the first truly accurate translation in centuries to deal with the heroes' love triangle, is full of homophobic wordings and concepts.* But it's good to have to make sense of the action along with Burnaby's more correct language. 

 

*Too late for me, but after I completed Mojo, I bought Alfred Allinson's 1930 translation, and was startled to see Dent had ripped off large sections. Easy to tell, for the Latin original says one thing, and Dent sticks to Allinson's version instead of translating it more directly (and accurately). And again, Sadly!!!, Allison's version is less homophobic than the 1997 version too. Links to all of these works are in the Appendices of my Mojo here on GA

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Posted (edited)
On 5/20/2021 at 5:54 PM, AC Benus said:

I'm assuming the Roman work you are referring to is The Satyricon by Petronius. I like your assertion the novel is equal parts raunch and romance, for it is. Few have ever been equal to the level of this amazing, subtle and sexy writer.  

BTW, Burnaby's 1694 translation is still (sadly!!!!) the most Gay-friendly reading of the work in English today. Even Dent's much-lauded 1997 version, which was marketed as the first truly accurate translation in centuries to deal with the heroes' love triangle, is full of homophobic wordings and concepts.* But it's good to have to make sense of the action along with Burnaby's more correct language. 

 

*Too late for me, but after I completed Mojo, I bought Alfred Allinson's 1930 translation, and was startled to see Dent had ripped off large sections. Easy to tell, for the Latin original says one thing, and Dent sticks to Allinson's version instead of translating it more directly (and accurately). And again, Sadly!!!, Allison's version is less homophobic than the 1997 version too. Links to all of these works are in the Appendices of my Mojo here on GA

I know story you are referring to. If I recall from my classical education from years ago, there is no complete version of the Latin text, what is being translated from Latin is only a portion. As a Latin prose The Satyricon is remarkable insight into Roman culture and customs based on the Roman Empire, but it is incomplete. I didn't read any controversial sections (with the gay romance) of the translated text until years later, out of curiosity.

The boy lover/slave and his older lover/master is reminiscent to the real-world Renaissance gay relationship of Da Vinci and his live-in boyfriend Salai, who was infamous for his promiscuity (along with theft, forgery, and petty crimes), but Da Vinci for some reason always let him back in his life (and likely his bed). I developed a fondness for Renaissance era gay love stories in my 20's, which was why I unearthed what was to me originally just a footnote excerpts from my high school Latin class.

I don't think I've ever completed reading all the sections that were translated in their original Latin. I know there are scenes from it that I never read, such as the slave teenage boy having sex with a young preteen girl being one, I just found out with a wiki search.

Edited by W_L
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I approach writing like cooking. To get the dish just right you need to combine the ingredients in just the right mixture.

Instead of onions, peppers, garlic and celery, authors have plot, description, setting and character.

Sex is like a strong spice like cayenne. When you put it in a scene, given the way human brains work, it dominates their attention.

In some places a lot of spice might be justified like if you are trying to establish some things about characters and invite your readers to make assumptions about them.

In other places it can be overpowering and dominate the plot.

The craft is about finding that sweet spot where all the elements balance and create something special.

What works for gumbo works for story.

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On 5/23/2021 at 9:50 PM, W_L said:

I know story you are referring to. If I recall from my classical education from years ago, there is no complete version of the Latin text, what is being translated from Latin is only a portion. As a Latin prose The Satyricon is remarkable insight into Roman culture and customs based on the Roman Empire, but it is incomplete. I didn't read any controversial sections (with the gay romance) of the translated text until years later, out of curiosity.

The boy lover/slave and his older lover/master is reminiscent to the real-world Renaissance gay relationship of Da Vinci and his live-in boyfriend Salai, who was infamous for his promiscuity (along with theft, forgery, and petty crimes), but Da Vinci for some reason always let him back in his life (and likely his bed). I developed a fondness for Renaissance era gay love stories in my 20's, which was why I unearthed what was to me originally just a footnote excerpts from my high school Latin class.

I don't think I've ever completed reading all the sections that were translated in their original Latin. I know there are scenes from it that I never read, such as the slave teenage boy having sex with a young preteen girl being one, I just found out with a wiki search.

You need to re-read the versions I mention. The "boy' (Giton) is not a slave. This a homophobic reading, etc., etc., etc. Get Dent, read Burnaby - or best yet, Start with my Mojo. Then you can't go wrong. 

And yes, it's likely Petronious published 37 books (or chapters, if you will) to his original. How many portions of those survive is a matter of debate, but even in fragmented form, The Satyricon is the best Gay satire ever written. lol, the whole things is about the pursuit of giant cock, so how could the straights guide us so wrong. 

Look again 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, AC Benus said:

You need to re-read the versions I mention. The "boy' (Giton) is not a slave. This a homophobic reading, etc., etc., etc. Get Dent, read Burnaby - or best yet, Start with my Mojo. Then you can't go wrong. 

And yes, it's likely Petronious published 37 books (or chapters, if you will) to his original. How many portions of those survive is a matter of debate, but even in fragmented form, The Satyricon is the best Gay satire ever written. lol, the whole things is about the pursuit of giant cock, so how could the straights guide us so wrong. 

Look again 

I guess I have to find some of those translations in digital versions; last time I read an English translation was at the Boston Public Library, when I had far more visual acuity. I could attempt the Latin version, I'll be really rusty at maneuvering through my datives and ablatives cases, but could probably muddle through.

-----------

Just found a website with the Latin text:

https://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/petro/satyrlat/index.htm

Just browsing a few fragments now, I get what you mean, it is not explicitly stated that Giton is a slave. I wonder why the synopsis on wiki and Amazon call him a slave though. When I read the Latin text describing the attempted sexual assault on him from fragment IX, my interpretation is probably Giton is what we'd in modern times call a kept boy at worst, or live-in boyfriend at best, who just happens to do cooking, organizing the house, and social stuff for his more established boyfriend.

I guess my old impressions of Giton and Encolpius relationship being similar to real world historical relationship like Salai and Da Vinci's relationship now makes more sense. That's why I thought they shared similarities back when I first read it.

Edited by W_L
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