Sunday, July 24, 2011

Topic: The Relevance of Sex In Literature in 2011. My guest today Author, Joanne Ellis.

“The Relevance of Sex In Literature in 2011.”

My guest today is Author Joanne Ellis.

This is a very interesting question and one I pondered for a time before I began. I believe the key words in the topic; relevance and the year.

Whether it is relevant or not in relation to 2011 matters little and a lot. Times have changed, porn is everywhere, literature is following the same route. But is it? Has it always been there and was relevant to the time it was written. This I’m not so sure about. I believe sex in literature has always been there in some form regardless of year. Whether or not it is relevant is another thing.

How far back do we look, to see how long sex has been portrayed on paper? Was it ever irrelevant? You will either like the subject manner or you don’t. So it is all a matter of where it fits into the genre, fits the readers, the audience and the demand. It also depends a lot on the writer and how they feel about the subject and its relevance to their work. I like to read about sex so I include it in my writing. I also write romance and they usually go hand in hand, not always and perhaps not necessarily in detail, but there nevertheless.

As a young adult I read a lot of Johanna Lindsey. Her books are raunchy and I loved them. This had it all in the romantic way, the breast heaving way but still sex was there and in this genre it was most certainly relevant. I also have read a lot of Jackie Collins and without sex her books wouldn’t be the same.

This brings me to the side. It depends on the subject, genre and its relevance to the story. Now I love erotic fiction and it is most definitely relevant here or there wouldn’t be the genre. So this plays the biggest part I feel as far as ‘relevance’ is concerned. At the same time if you have a fast paced thriller or horror story, sex may not even play a part. Genre is important.

Non-fiction sexual subjects are touchy but may be relevant to tell an important story. In this instance it could help to portray how sex may not always be in the bosom heaving, pulsing manhood kind of way. Here the sex may not be loving, it may be about power and abuse. Again do the details of the sex need to be revealed. I believe, in this case, the answer is yes again.

So I think no matter the year I’ve always swayed in the favour of loving encounters and hot sex. When reading fiction I like a bit of steam and spice. When reading non-fiction and where it is necessary to tell a story, then I want to read about it.

Therefore I believe in some forms sex has always been written about and is mostly relevant. I can’t say I’ve ever been reading and thought, no this isn’t relevant or needed for this story and vice versa, if it isn’t there, but could be, I’m not disappointed its not.

Much like anything really, if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

Joanne Ellis is an Australian romance writer who has two published novels. ‘Spoilt’ her debut novel has had over 150,000 e-book downloads since February 2011 and reached No. 1 on the US Amazon Kindle bestseller list and No. 2 in the UK. The sequel ‘Twisted Fire’ was released in July 2011.

Her short story ‘Mystified’ has been published in the short story anthology ‘Words to Music’. All proceeds of the book go to charity. To read more about Joanne, please visit her website,

Please join in the discussion, your thoughts and observations are most welcome.


  1. Jo, it's really good that you've explicitly mentioned the year in the title (I'm not sure that's been zoomed in on yet in this series). There was a really interesting review in the Guardian this week of The Necrphiliac by Gabrielle Wittkop ( which got people wondering if the public attitude to sex has got more restrictive than a permissive 70s heyday

  2. Joanne, I agree that genre is important, and I wrote of this in my post as well. There is always the opportunity to add a sex scene but whether or not it is relevant depends on the story.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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