SF Signal Podcast: Role of Sex in Science Fiction

UPDATE: Be sure to check out The Galaxy Express post “Sex in Science Fiction: Are They Doing It Right?” and discussion on this topic. Also, it seems like there’s sex on the brain in genre fiction land this week. Dear Author has a post up called Sexual Force and Reader Consent in Romance.

The article brings up several ideas that jibe well with what we’re discussing here. Do readers here think that Science Fiction heroines are mostly post-feminist in that they rarely seem to have the problem so many historical heroines do: saying yes to pleasure?

This week’s insightful SF Signal Podcast examines the sometimes controversial issue of what the proper role of sex is in Science Fiction:

What is the role of sex in science fiction?

Authors Philip Jose Farmer, Robert Heinlein and Ursula K. Le Guin, to name just a few, have all had sex and sexuality in their stories in one way or another. Science fiction and fantasy is full of examples of blurred gender roles, cross-species sex, virtual sex – are these legitimate points to move the story forward or are they simply there to sensationalize the prose? What are some examples of sex in science fiction that, good or bad, still stick in your mind? What are some examples where you felt it was completely out of place?

As an SF Signal Irregular, I had intended to take part in this discussion, but a scheduling conflict precluded me from joining in. Today I’m blogging about the role of sex in Science Fiction Romance over at SFR Brigade. Over at SF Signal, I left a comment where I noted that:

I think sex in any novel should, like any other element, either move the plot forward or develop/reveal character. How explicit a particular scene is or should be, IMO, depends on the voice of the author and also what needs to be revealed about plot or character. If a sex scene seems to occur out of nowhere, sometimes it’s because the author didn’t set up sexual tension between the two characters. I think this is one of the areas where the Romance genre excels. In Romance, the tension between the characters builds to an obvious physical and emotional crescendo. A love scene between the heroine and hero fundamentally changes the characters as it forces them to confront intimate details about themselves or their partner. This is why, IMO, Romance sex isn’t porn — no matter how graphic a scene it is, in Romance the sex has a purpose that can’t be extracted from the rest of the story.

Please give the podcast a listen and tell us your thoughts at either web site or here.

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