Added: Antwane Auten - Date: 09.03.2022 14:59 - Views: 45650 - Clicks: 4786
I am so often dissatisfied with the way sex is portrayed in media, whether created by queer or straight folks. In film and television, save for The L Word and its reboot, sex between women can be so gauzy when depicted, and unrealistic. In my debut novel, A World BetweenI keep us focused on the bed and the writhing bodies, which was something I knew would be true as soon as I began writing five years ago.
Being raised by my WASPy mother and Japanese dad, I found that sex was one of those taboo topics—like frank conversations about body parts or consent. But my mom did what she could, allowing for the lesser embarrassment of buying me books that explained in kid terms what sex was or what I could expect from my period.
I demand credit for a lack of puns up until this point. Sex with women was about trying people on, and trial and error of what I liked and how to please others.
It was feeling desire more deeply than I ever had. I was lucky to have partners who kept my body safe, without the threats of plagues I knew existed in the straight world: coercion, pregnancy, general fuckboy-ery. This is true in life and in A World Betweena story about Eleanor and Leena, who move away from and towards each other over the course of thirteen years. Sex-as-communication is something I also used as a writer.
I served the realistic sex scenes readers deserve as well as some idealism about the sex that I want to see in the world. I found it hard to create chemistry on the. First, it is literally one-dimensional, and so often chemistry is found in a firmly three-dimensional universe Bette and Tina! Harry and Sally!
In literature, the sparked interaction of two people is up to the author, creating moments of dialogue and shared intimacies that entice a reader to invest, that make the relationship, and therefore the narrative, believable. In my book, I used many tools to communicate what it was about Eleanor and Leena that connected them—like banter and a shared sense of humor or trying my damndest to convey the delight and butterflies-in-gut they felt for the other. But the one I found most interesting and clearest to pen was sex. There are a handful of sex scenes and false starts in A World Betweenall with the intention of illustrating with action and little dialogue that these are two people with a romantic, sexual connection—soulmates, if you believe in that kind of thing.
Letting someone in, baring yourself literally and figuratively, can be an intimate act, as it is for Eleanor and Leena. Sex can tell us so much about a character. In the case of Eleanor and Leena, they are who they are, whether in bed with a sexual partner or walking down the street.
Eleanor is extra; Leena is utilitarian. Beyond this, sex can convey something more subtle. Do they favor variety? Are they game to try anything? Do they have elaborate fantasies that they cannot bear to share with anyone?
Are they not interested in sex at all? Do they seek out more than one partner at a time? Their motivations, interests, and actions related to sex can help create a whole character. But this is not always the case, as characters may find themselves revealing different facets in the bedroom that they might not at work. Next book: much more complicated relationships to sex. Later in my book, Leena is more comfortable in seeking exactly the kind of sexual pleasure she wants, something that would not have been true of her character earlier in the text.
Her direct overtures around sex are one more way we learn she has transformed with time. Any sex Leena initiates or participates in is, of course, my decision.
Through sex, I am talking directly to readers about what I find critical in the discourse around sex. I wanted to depict someone like Eleanor who, when we first meet her, is a very sexually motivated college-aged woman.
Thinking back to glossy, unrealistic, or incomplete sex that we so often see between women: I wonder if the urge to clamp down and leave more to the imagination is a reaction to the way that women having sex has been commodified outside of our community, trampled on by the Male Gaze. Perhaps it leaves creators skittish.
Call it naivete or bravery, but my feminism compels me to gulp down awkwardness and look past what I was taught was taboo. People have sex. Women have sex. For me, within the confines of this book, it would feel irresponsible to censor or smooth over this part of their and our lives. I was and remain committed to telling the truth about sex. In wanting to create something real, I was uber conscious of choreography. In what order and how? Someone lays down on a bed and stretches out their arm, then someone lays next to them, wrapping an arm around their middle, then someone else strokes the inside of a thigh, and on and on.
Beyond stage directions, I knew I wanted to test the boundaries of intimacy, focusing on the surroundings of sex. Being cherished like that was almost painful, and she leaned into her discomfort until the awful feeling turned to gold. But with my fresh eyes, I wanted to make sure that sex scenes—between college-aged people especially—featured a lot of checking in and requests for consent. This is in part my feminist desire to create what I wish to see in the world, but it also tells us something important about Eleanor and Leena: They respect each other and are kind and careful with the other in intimate, delicate moments.
This als something small in the larger tableau of who they are together. Queer women! Reflecting on the birth of this novel, I cannot help but see the humor to go from a life without discussion of sex to discussing it in almost every interview and essay I write. For as much bravado as I have about my Feminist Manifesto to talk about sex, I squirm a little to think of the words my family and coworkers will read, words I typed with my fingers, words that came from my brain.
I created something that satisfies me, that if I read, I would think, Damn!Women want sex Eleanor
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Writing Sex with Women, by Women, for Women