Sex Sold Here

July 16, 2008 at 7:14 am | Posted in Writing Craft | 1 Comment
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sex-sold-hereSex sells.

You see it portrayed everywhere—magazines, television, and billboard advertisements for clothing, perfume, and items like cars and hamburgers. Movies, television shows, and even children’s cartoons and video games are full of sexual images and allusions. American society has more sexual references than any other country in the world, and nowhere else will you find such mixed messages.

Adult films are bad. Erotic literature is good. Exotic dancing is bad. Nude modeling for art is good. Sex with someone you love (outside of wedlock) is bad. Sex within marriage (even if you can barely tolerate your mate) is good.

How do these mixed messages affect the characters in your story and the story itself? No matter which direction you choose to go and what specific choice you make—in language, imagery, and character motivation—you are likely to offend someone’s moral sensibilities.

Where does an author’s responsibility lie? With the organic nature of her story and voice of her characters? Or with protecting the sensitivities of the reader?

How much, as writers, should we censor our content?

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