Writing Sex-Positive: How Matters as Much as What

As Season 2 of Autumn Harvest: Maiden is about to start, I want to clarify what I mean when I call it “sex-positive” as well as feminist. It has to do with the genre of the story (“fantasy romance”) as well as my approach to writing it and my personal values as a writer.

Autumn Harvestis intended to be sexy. It seems strange to me that a lot of things that are intended to be sexy are neither sex-positve nor feminist. This includes rape themes and slut-shaming in straight male porn (WTF?), but also romances in which seduction turns into coercion, and the slasher film chestnut that someone’s going to have sex (for the audience’s viewing pleasure) but then they’re going to be killed for it.

Before I go on, I want to make two things clear: I’m not telling anyone what their fantasies should be, and I’m not telling anyone else what they can or can’t write. Fantasy can be anything, and it’s perfectly acceptable to have a sexual fantasy about something you wouldn’t want to actually see happen. Similarly, fiction can be anything: writers can write what they choose, and readers can make their judgments accordingly.

What I want to do as a writer is tell an interesting and thought-provoking story that is sexy but never asks the reader to take pleasure in something that would be physically or emotionally harmful to those involved.

Some horrible things happen in the world of Autumn Harvest. If you’ve listened or read through Brinna’s story in Season 1, you know what I’m talking about. That’s part of the world and the story, but all stories are in the telling. I’m not interested in writing in a purified world where nothing bad ever happens. I am committed to not fetishizing those things.

Does rape occur in the world of Autumn Harvest? Sadly, yes. Will I ever write a rape scene in my story? No.

If I’m going to write a sex scene, it’s going to be “good sex” or “happy sex,” and here’s what that means to me: consenting adults, mutual desire and respect, and a general lack of regrets. That’s not the only kind of sex that happens in the world, but it is the only kind of sex that I’m going to ask my audience to enjoy.

These distinctions can become surprisingly subtle in fiction, especially when such things as magic, destiny, and divinities are involved, so I’ll leave it up to my readers and listeners to decide if I live up to my values. I just wanted to let you know what they are.

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