Friday, November 18, 2011

Paranormal Romance: Engorged, throbbing and fainting, Oh my!

'alot like LOVE.' photo (c) 2008, Jason Clapp - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
This week we’re going to go for a lighter discussion point - one heavier on snark and giggles than major social justice issues. We’re going to talk about sex. Bad sex. Bad bad bad sex. The kind of sex that gives you a headache and makes masturbation seem like a good idea.

And oh, isn’t this a huge subject? Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy intersect a lot and it can be hard to figure out which is which sometimes. So, quite often we have run across a few books that have raaaaaather a lot of sex scenes per chapter (Laurell K Hamilton, yes we’re looking at you), though it could be argued that Hamilton did a bait and switch, because the first few Anita Blake books are legitimately urban fantasy, and then the rest fall squarely into the category of five cent porn -- actually maybe five cents is being generous.

One of my favourite tropes will always be the Anita Fug, which has always amused me ever since we first noticed it. Let’s face it, sex, if done vigorously, often leaves you sweaty and often covered in other substances as well. If you don’t clean up, there’s going to be a smell issue. Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake has sex a lot in the books. And in a lot of places - including many places that preclude cleanup. Off the top of my head I can recall her having a threesome in the car before returning to a concert, having sex in her office (that left her sopping wet to the knees and left a stain on the carpet) before going back to work and numerous occasions of her just chaining sex on sex on sex on sex. Let’s face it, she’s not exactly going to be fresh after all that - and I can’t help but read the rest of the book imagining the smell.

Of course, while Anita is certainly the worst offender, she’s hardly the only one (after all, several members of the Black Dagger Brotherhood get their jollies on in the bathroom and sure they wear leather, but the smell still clings) and there’s a lot of Paranormal Romance characters wandering around being all kind of fugly.

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