If you haven’t already noticed, scenes of a more intimate nature have become a very large part of popular culture. It has ended in a climatic high, where audiences are expecting at least one good sex scene whenever they engage in their favourite pastime, whether it be a book, a movie, a TV series or even a video game.
The question that needs to be asked is: does the hot and steamy have a place in the world of fantasy? I think it depends greatly on the type of fantasy story and the characters that drive them forward. Executed correctly and a sex scene has the power to leave a lasting impression on a story as it develops further. Done badly and a sex scene can destroy everything, leaving an audience unable to think about a beloved character in the same way again.
Saving the topics of romantic and erotic fantasy for another post, we need to ask ourselves was the scene awkward and thrown in carelessly or did it have a purpose? Sex for the sake of sex is perhaps unnecessary and should revolve around the characters and their emotions toward one other as well as their personal development or decline thereafter. The circumstances around the intimacy needs to be considered too. In my opinion, I’d get far more excited over a sex scene involving the sexual tension between Lord of the Rings Aragorn and Eowyn than I would the strange and almost creepy relationship between Games of Thrones Samwell Tarly and Gilly.
The target audience also needs to be looked at. There are some people out there who get uncomfortable when faced with an intimate scene and there are others who enjoy the excitement of an epic tale with the addition of a prewar romp. For others like me, the epic adventure is important but so too is the romance and tension that leads to the prewar romp and the devastation afterwards when the lovers are forced to part ways.
Detail and how much is shown or described is also important. A mere suggestion of intimacy may be frustrating for an audience but sometimes it’s more powerful if left to the imagination than just some sloppy scene that was thrown into the story unexpectedly due to a writer’s lack of ideas. The emotional side of sex is just as hot and can be interpreted beautifully when we think of the almost forbidden love that Lord of the Rings Aragorn and Arwen share. But then again the build up to an explosive first encounter can be very intense and rewarding for an audience as in the wedding night of Outlander’s Claire and Jamie. The scene almost makes you forget that what you are reading or watching is really a fantasy story where a woman gets sent back in time by touching a standing stone.
In the end, intimacy between our favourite characters and our love for them isn’t going away and I believe we can expect to see bolder things in the coming future. As fans of fantasy, I think we need to continue to see a sex scene for what it is while continuing to respect the story and the characters that make them possible.
Megan Futcher's Mini-Bio:
People and cultures have always fascinated me and I enjoy thumbing through heavy books on anthropology and archaeology. My novels and novellas dive into an unknown world before recorded history and I love asking the 'what if' question while I share online and write the 4 born, a fantasy spin on human evolution and freedom exploring strength and beauty of multiculturalism.
Wind and Fire Synopsis:
In a world where the four elements rule as gods, the Gaias of Wind, Fire, Water and Earth determine the existence and fate of every man and women. Threatening this seemingly perfect world is the Fourborn – a yet to be identified baby born of all four races and the only one who has the power to set mankind free from it's elemental shackles.
Divinely chosen in the pending chaos is a guardian from each race. With the words of an ancient prophesy as their only guide, they must find and protect the Four born at all costs or risk losing everything they hold dear.