I see that got your attention.
Seriously though, I do want to take a few moments to talk about sex. Sex in my books, to be more specific.
But first, let me back up a little.
I’ve already mentioned that I have the rest of The Starborn Series outlined and have jumped head-first into the second book. Even though it’s still a long way off, I can’t help but think about my plans for when the series is actually finished.
I know I’d like to publish and I’m still kind of leaning towards going indie (I’m a control freak PLUS I think these books might be a bit too niche for the traditional scene). To do that, all of the stories in the series will eventually need updates and revisions, not just because I will have a better sense of what works and what doesn’t but I’d also like to give people who’ve already read the story a reason to invest in an official copy (think extra/extended scenes, corrections, etc.)
I was thinking about all of this just the other day when a good friend slid into my DMs and asked me the question I’ve been struggling with the most:
When I do finally publish The Starborn Series, will I keep the sex scenes?
If you’ve read The Star and the Ocean on my blog (the Wattpad Edition is the SFW version of the story) you know that, while there isn’t a lot of on-the-page sex, there is some. Those scenes also leave very little to the imagination.
I’ve honestly been conflicted about this for a while. On a personal level I feel those scenes (the quasi-infamous “camping scene” in particular) are important: sex-having women loving women deserve to see sex-on-the-page from our own perspective. The camping scene is also a pivotal part of May’s healing.
But what does it do to the overall story?
I get a lot of comments about how fluffy TSATO is (heads up: book two won’t be nearly as fluffy. If that’s what you’re on board for, I apologize in advance) and, on occasion, I’ve seen some people trying to categorize it as a romance. But it’s not; TSATO and, ultimately entire The Starborn Series, is a fantasy story with a queer romance secondary-plot.
Does the sex distract from that? Personally I don’t think so, but perhaps I’m too close to it to be able to tell for sure.
And then there’s that bit about my audience.
I’ve never really been able to figure out what age category TSATO is for. The main characters range from their mid-twenties (May, one of the youngest, is 24) to mid-thirties. By default I believe that disqualifies it as Young Adult.
But it doesn’t quite feel like it fits in the New Adult category either. Yes, May and Em are the right ages, but at least anecdotally a lot of people have come to associate NA stories with sex – and lots of it. While there is sex in TSATO, I don’t feel it’s so central to the plot that it should influence how the story is perceived any more than I think the romantic elements should.
So where does that leave me?
Here’s the thing: for these characters sex is, at least in some small way, part of their relationship dynamic. I think it’s important for queer, sex-having, female-identifying people to see their sexuality represented in a way that is healthy and not just as a fetish. May and Em are consenting adults. Neither of them are virgins when they come together. They care deeply for one another. Sex for them is part of their human experience and how they connect with each other.
But does it have a place in this story?
This is the question I’m left with. I know what I want my answer to be is, but every time I think about it I waffle.
So I pose the question to you, dear reader:
I’d also love to read your thoughts (be they about the sex in TSATO or books in general) in the comments!