It’s a good question and has generated a lot of good discussion, however, I’d like talk about writing characters who love each other in non-sexual relationships.
There are several such relationships that are very important to Cannibal Hearts. In fact, different types of physicality in emotional relationships is one of the main themes.
It seems to me that writers often use sex as a shorthand way to get around the very difficult task of showing love. I’ve written about this before, I know. Maybe it’s because I don’t care for sex scenes in books and movies, and I tend to skip over them.
It may also be that most of the really important relationships in my own life have been non-sexual ones. I have had absurdly few lifetime sexual contacts for a 21st Century American, but that hasn’t kept me from loving a lot of people very deeply.
I’d like to pose some questions about love and sex in fiction for discussion.
- When you read a novel that contains a strong male and a strong female lead, do you expect them to have sex at some point? Do you feel cheated if they don’t?
- Do you view relationships that do not have a sexual component as being less important to the characters as relationships which do include sex?
- Does a relationship with an unrequited sexual attraction–one character wants the other sexually, and the other doesn’t feel the same about the first–strike you as touching, or creepy?
- Are there non-sexual behaviors that imply to you that characters are having sex “off-screen”? If one character opens a door or holds a chair for another, do you assume that they are lovers?
- Do you expect homosexual characters to be more promiscuous than heterosexual ones?
- If a male heterosexual character has a male homosexual friend, does that set up an expectation in your mind that the two will have sex at some point? What about a female heterosexual character with a female homosexual friend?
- Does the genre of the work in question change your expectations?
Is this a huge catsup bottle or what?
I would be very interested in discussion on any or all of these points.