Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tangent: The Clinical Sex Scene

Very odd. Both of the romances I've read this week, Elizabeth Hoyt's To Beguile a Beast and Sherry Thomas's Not Quite a Husband, feature a scene in which either the hero (TBB's Alistair, who's a famed naturalist) or the heroine (NQAH's Bryony, a physician) get all seductive by examining their partner's relevant anatomy and describing it in clinical terms. ("This part is called the clitoris..." "Here's how an erection works...")

For me, this is pretty much the polar opposite of erotic. I remember encountering it with a sort of shudder of horror in Loretta Chase's Not Quite a Lady, where the hero, an unsentimental science-head, insisted on using words like "pudenda" (if there's a squickier word than "cunny" to encounter in a sex scene, it's got to be "pudenda") and mentioning orgasm as a sort of pedestrian occurrence.

I thought it was an oddity in NQAL, and certainly didn't expect to see that device again. But now twice, in two books released within months of each other? Maybe this is actually something lots of readers like, and I'm out of step?

Again, that feeling of the faulty barometer...

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