Ever said that when you’ve finished reading a book? I don’t mean the feeling you have when you think, good grief, I couldn’t let my mother – or my maiden aunt – read this – though, trust me, your mother has probably seen it all, and, as most maiden aunts nowadays were teenagers in the sixties, during the summers of ‘peace and love’, you’d probably have to search long and hard to find that ‘maiden’ aunt. I don’t mean a book which – half way through – has you starting to groan, or to giggle, or to scratch your head as you begin to wonder whether what is being described is even physically possible without the hero and heroine taking a very quick – and highly embarrassing – trip to ER. I don’t even mean a book which, when you finish, has you fanning yourself frantically, thinking, whoa, that was hot, hot, hot, and the next time I read it – and I’m going to start re-reading this in ten minutes flat – I’d better make sure the blinds are drawn in case one of the neighbours sees what I’m reading.
I mean the kind of book you reach the end of, and suddenly feel irritated, or disssatisfied, or somehow vaguely cheated. I’ve read books like that, and come to the conclusion that my problem is ‘sex in isolation’. Not sex where the hero and heroine are marooned up a mountain for days on end, but sex which seems to be nothing more than the constant physical joining of character A, and character B, or characters A, B, and C – hey, I’m openminded – in as many, and as varied, ways as the writer can dream up. You might say, well, Maggie, what you’ve just read is erotica and that doesn’t require any kind of story or character development, but I don’t buy that. Telling me, Maggie, what you’ve just read is straight – or kinky – pornography – so why did you expect a story, doesn’t cut it either. I guess what I’m saying is, whether it’s a ‘straight’ romance, erotica, or pornography, if it’s a work of fiction I expect/need a story. No matter how thin, or tenuous, that story might be, I need a story. A story containing two characters I care about, and if the two characters remain nothing more than ‘names’, two ‘names’ who frequently have sex, then, sorry, for me, the verdict will always be, there’s too much sex in this. How about you?