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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex in Media: Books, Magazines, Films, TV & More » sex positive novels

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Author Topic: sex positive novels
alaska
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Books can be sex positive without being about sexuality directly and without being sex ed books.

In my opinion, one way to influence the view of people on any given matter can be through literature. In novels, that means that a sex positive message (whether it is on safer sex, orientation, gender, choice or whatever else) can sometimes be hidden, sometimes be the main issue of a book. It can be as little as describing a queer and out classmate or friend of a main character in a teen novel to the simple description of safer sex between the main characters, to as much as the personal struggle of someone in regards to choice or a non-monogamous relationship.

Have you recently come across a book that send maybe on second look- a sex-positive message? What was it? What did you like about the book? What was the message?

A few weeks back, I read "Maybe the moon" by Armistead Maupin, who has also written the lovely and much famed "Tales of the city" series set in San Francisco.

"Maybe the Moon" is factional, really, as the main character and the main bits of the plot are true. It's the fictional diary of Cadence Roth (in real life: Tamara de Treaux) who starred in one of the most successful movies of all time, without ever being recognized for it. - She had played E.T.
What makes the (alarm: kitschy language ahead) "touching" and thought provoking, very funny novel "sex positive" is the description of Cadence's sexuality and the way that she lives it. She is open and blunt and never pretends that a person outside the norm of physical appearance is not a sexual being.
She's just an ordinary twentysomething, and her disability is not much of an issue anymore, as she has come to terms with it growing up. She describes how she used to ponder whether men only wanted sex with her for the "kink" and would later brag or far worse- laugh about it with their mates, but ends the thought that in her view, that's a risk not much different from the risk *everyone* takes when getting between the sheets with someone else they don't know too well yet.
She realizes that automatically marking someone's interest in her as "kinky" would be like calling anyone with a certain preference kinky, too.

The sex described between her and her (normal sized) partner is lovely and normal and sexy and the general message is that sex has many faces, and can be between different people.
Cadence also has tons of queer mates, and their stories deal with issues such as being out when you're famous, queer stereotypes in the media and the fact that above all, honesty towards yourself is important.

A truly great read that I can wholeheartedly recommend.- Above all for the fabulous sad story, of course.

So what are your recommendations of sexuality positive books?

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Caro
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"Through repetition the magic will be forced to rise."
Alchemical Precept


Posts: 4526 | From: germany | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lady Moonlight
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Great topic, Alaska!

Unfortunately, I'm an elementary librarian, so the vast majority of my reading is suitable for kiddies 5th grade and under. Not much to work with there! However, my reading does turn adult from time to time.

My favorite sex-positive book at the moment (at least in the young adult category) would have to be Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. Although nobody actually has intercourse in the book, it's an incredibly sensual novel, and it's pretty clear that the main character has been sexually active in the past and will be again. It's part of her feral nature (she's a werewolf). Also, her (human) boyfriend pulls out a condom at one point when they almost have sex, so you know at least one of them is thinking safely!

[This message has been edited by Lady Moonlight (edited 10-11-2001).]


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Bobolink
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Lady Moonlight's comment reminded me of a cartoon I saw a number of years ago that tickled my funny-bone. It shows two wolves sitting side-by-side under a full moon. The caption read, "It would never work out for us, Eunice. When the sun comes up I turn into a man."

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We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

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Gaffer
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Errr, let's see now. I have a chem test tomorrow so I'll suggest some after it. Wish me luck.

Okay, now that I've forgotten all that I learned about the metric system and signifigant digits, let me see.

I really liked the Chocolate/Werewolf book, although it got kind of weird--who knew wolf politics could get that complicated?

I liked how The Bell Jar dealt with sex too, although I don't completely understand it. The main character goes to get some form of birth control from a doctor, I don't know if it's a diaphram or someting else (the book doesn't really go into details). But then, when she actually has sex for the first time she feels these sharp pains and starts hemorrhaging. I don't understand why. If anyone has read it and knows what the doctor means when he calls her one in a million I would appreciate an explanation. The rest of The Bell Jar, though, made far too much sense to me. I love that book.

[This message has been edited by Gaffer (edited 10-13-2001).]


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Lady Moonlight
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It's been years since I read [u]The Bell Jar[/u]. However, I do know that some women have particularly thick hymens which may tear at first intercourse causing hemorrhaging. It's pretty rare, but one of my friend's mothers spent her honeymoon night in the emergency room for just that reason. (A good argument for not waiting until marriage if you ask me! )
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Mophead
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I didn't get the Bell Jar at all. I should try it again.

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Beppie
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May I ask, what was it that made Candence's appearance out of the "norm"?
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alaska
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Oy, I really didn't mention that part? Cadence (and tamara de Treaux) was 31 inches tall!
- that's why she fit into the E.T. costume. Tammy de Treaux was at one point registered in the Guiness Book of Records as the smallest mobile female.

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kythryne
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I also adore Armistead Maupin's books -- I'm busily reading my way through the Tales of the City series now. I agree, he does a wonderful job of being sex-positive without being explicit.

Robert Heinline's books (sci-fi) are good, although his attitude is a bit archaic, IMO. But he usually portrays sex in a very positive light, without getting all hung up about it. Particularly remarkable, I suppose, when you consider the era he wrote in.

Mercedes Lackey's novels (fantasy) are good too, particularly the Magic's Pawn series, which has a gay main character. The relationships are portrayed sensitively and realistically, without being stereotypical.
And Madeleine L'Engle does a beautiful job of portraying sex as a natural part of life. Particularly in her autobiograpical books, but also throughout her novels.

I could probably think of others, but I'm getting too tired...

Kyth


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Gumdrop Girl
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as much as i love sylvia plath, i don't like The Bell Jar's take on sexuality.

The book is sort of autobiographical, and if you are familiar with Plath's life, you will know she was a very troubled woman with a fixation on her father.

The main character, Esther Greenwood, uses sex as an escape. She feels grotesque as a virgin and thinks that by having sex she will solve all of her problems. In effect, she buries herself in a vice (sex) to distract herself from the reality of her situation (severe depression). Only when she has to deal with the consequences (severe hemorrhaging) does she realize that she was wrong to believe that sex could make her perfect. One could also interpret the bleeding as catharsis -- Plath loved to use pain and blood to signify a spiritual release, in which case, you could argue that by having sex, Esther Greenwood did succeed in changing her life.

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