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A Rant about Reality and Sex In Stories

December 1, 2009
Posted at 6:10 pm

I occasionally get e-mails complaining about many elements of my stories. I would like to take a moment to address two of those complaints.

One complaint is that some of the stories that I post do not have a sufficient quantity of sex in them. At the risk of offending some readers, I have to say phooey on that. While I suppose that there are some people who feel that Tabasco sauce goes well on everything, my experience has been it doesn't go that well with ice cream or apple pie. Likewise, not every story demands explicit sexual descriptions every ten paragraphs in order to be a good tale.

An important point should be made concerning sex in stories on SOL. There are a lot of excellent stories on SOL that do not have any sex in them at all. There are even more great stories that have oblique references to sex without blow by blow accounts of inserting tab A into slot B (or should I say slut B?). There are an overwhelming number of postings that have lots of sex and no stories; many of those postings are just horribly written pieces of garbage.

I hope that I'm not talking out turn, but as far as I know Lazeez does not claim Storiesonline to be an erotic literature website. He does claim it to be the website of the World Literature Company. The world of literature does not mandate that every story have sexual content. One of the reasons that I post here is that I like the fact that SOL allows postings of all degrees of sexual content from none at all to nothing except sex.

Another complaint is that some of my stories aren't realistic. The interesting thing about fiction is that it doesn't have to be true to life. Some stories require a greater suspension of belief than others, but that is allowed. Faster than light travel - no problem. Child geniuses who earn millions and have harems before reaching puberty - no problem. The genre of fiction admits a lot of leeway between the story world and reality. Is there room for a fictional story in which telling a woman that you would like to use her thighs for earmuffs doesn't result in violence? I guess not -- that is too extreme.

Now, I've even been told by some readers that having a character in a story tell a woman the first time he has met her that she is incredibly sexy is a mortal sin. Even worse is actually having the character say exactly what he would like to do with her. Apparently in their world of storytelling, the incredibly handsome man wiggles an eyebrow and the woman falls down with legs spread wide. If the man is a nerd, the woman takes pity on him and jumps his bones at the first opportunity; she discovers in the process of bone jumping that she can't resist the sexual prowess of the nerd.

Now I've gotten a number of e-mails claiming that the Donaldsons are a bunch of assholes. They might be, but in my opinion they are lovable fictional assholes. Would I want to live next door to one in real life? No. However, I might write a story about living next to one.

I've had readers tell me that they would kill a man if he was to ever treat their wife, sister, daughter, mother, female friend, or dog as Donaldsons are portrayed in those stories. The suggestion is that it isn't funny to write about characters like that. The Donaldsons are nothing compared to characters appearing in prime-time television sit-coms.

I realize that there are some who lack an appreciation of tongue-in-cheek satire and humor. I hope that they never read Johnathon Swift's 'A Modest Proposal.' I can imagine the e-mails that little piece of satire would generate.

The fact of the matter is that I think political correctness has gone way too far in our modern world. I believe that there are occasions when it a good thing for an author to trample over all that the PC correctness crowd holds holy. One PC holy truth that, in my humble opinion, deserves trampling is that it is wrong to tell a woman she looks attractive. Until the last 30 years, it hasn't been wrong for 25,000 years.

I'm not advocating that we return to the days of clubbing a woman on her head and dragging her off to the cave. However, not being able to tell a woman that she looks nice because she changed her hairstyle is wrong. Interestingly enough, criticism is less often judged offensive than compliments.You can say that someone is obese but you can't say that someone is sexy. There is something wrong in a world in which a verbal harassment isn't a matter of actually saying something offensive, but is defined in terms of the willingness of a person to claim offense (often with financial gain).