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Okay, now that I have your attention, I am curious about something and I am sure this has probably been addressed on the board at some point over the last few years, but I would like to know people's thoughts on this.

I've dreamed of writing as long ago as the age of eight. For a variety of reasons, I never had the confidence to pursue my dream. Parallel to that, I knew I was gay from an early age, as well. Through my thirties and forties, I read a lot of gay writers, such as Edmund White, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, etc. and I knew it was possible to write about gay people without sex being the primary focus, even though our sexual orientation is what defines us as gay. I discovered Nifty back in the mid-nineties, even before it was a web site and I freely admit that I liked reading the porn on there. I decided, after spending thirty years writing and throwing away my efforts because I didn't think they were worthwhile, to try my hand at writing naughty stories for Nifty, which I first began posting in January 2002. My first efforts were absolutely dreadful, but I received a lot of compliments about the sex scenes. As I progressed, however, I began corresponding with people who were commenting on aspects of my stories other than the sex and my work became progressively less sexual. Cole Parker was one of those who early on encouraged me to evolve a little and move away from strictly sexual stories. I had started wanting to write porn that wasn't as crappy as most of what was on Nifty. I wanted to add a plot to it and make is something more than just a j/o story, yet still porn. That was my original thinking. But, with encouragement from Cole and others, I moved in another direction evolved, I suppose. ( I wonder how many writers here started off writing porn on Nifty or ASSGM or the other sites?)

Now, this might seem a little disjointed and not well thought out, and I apologize, but I am putting several thoughts together here.Part of the reason, and here I go getting personal, but I tend to feel rather self-conscious about sex. I admit that for many years, I, like many gay men, was rather promiscuous. Survivors of child abuse tend to do that. We seek validation through physical contact. But, strangely, I had a number of gay friends, but could never have sex with them. I could go out, have anonymous sex and THEN become friends with them, but not the other way around. One of the things I liked about Nifty when I first started writing there, was that I was anonymous. I could write pretty much what I wanted and it was fun and exciting to know people were getting off on what I was writing and I have didn't have to look them in the face and feel that shame I was taught to feel when I was nine. Then something horrible happened. I started becoming friends with some of my readers and I started feeling self-conscious and ashamed of my more sexual writing and started cutting down on it to the point that I actually quit writing altogether for awhile. Now, I am writing again and running into the same fears, shame, and insecurity, which seemed to be highlighted by the recent controversy, which I was dreadfully embarrassed about. I'm not bringing that back up, I am referring to sex in general. This point is, I love Awesome Dude, I love reading the stories here, and I think it's cool that so many talented and gifted writers are here. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the writers here are people who have made names for themselves in the real world. I like it here, but now I have the old dilemma. I feel self-conscious putting sex in a story intended for here.

I just received an email from a very talented young writer here who is reading Foxwood, one of my last stories, and mentioned that it had more sex than he expected, which surprised me because I thought it was one of my least sexual stories. However, I'm not sure now how to handle the issue of sex in the story I'm writing now. When I began writing on Nifty in 2002, I wanted to combine sex with so-called legitimate writing. Now, I feel self-conscious about it because you people sort of know me and I feel embarrassed about it, yet, I want you to think well of me and my writing, yet... I'm torn in both directions. I know that the guidelines state that story is more important and that sex should only be presented if it directly applies to the plot and helps move the story forward. And, I like that. That's good.

Do other writers here struggle with these issues? I want to write sex scenes, but I feel self-conscious about it now. How much sex is too much sex? Are sex scenes off-putting? I know there is probably a wide spectrum of belief on this subject and I have to admit-- though it might not seem so-- that I find this rather difficult to discuss and I am forcing myself to post this, but I would like to read your thoughts and comments on this. Thank you very much! (And, don't worry about hurting my feelings. :smile: Say what you want! Please).

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I would venture to say that most of the authors here have at one time or another posted a story or two or ten to the Nifty site. But if you write enough sex scenes in the work then you reach a point where it becomes pretty much meaningless, at least in your own mind.

Nifty is a good place for reader feedback since the minds reading there are so easy to please. Having exchanged mail with a dozen or so authors on the site (they don’t have a convenient forum) I felt an undercurrent of dissatisfaction among the group. Perhaps we were all tired of writing one kind of story for one kind of reader.

But Nifty served a purpose. It allowed experimentation outside of the sexual content and I found it challenging my boundaries as a writer. I began writing in sixth grade, putting my gay feelings on paper. I even posted some of those to Nifty (forty years later) just to see the reaction. But those lessons taught me what I really wanted was to write something better, and so I moved my tent to another pasture.

If you want to cut back on the sex scenes then try writing a story without them. Write the piece and where the characters should hop into bed to consummate the deal go on and skip to the emotional aftermath. Yes, it may leave a hole in your plot, but it won’t be as big as you might think. After the story is done then go back and see how little it will take to bridge those gaps. It might take a little sexual activity but who knows?

I wrote Marathon Gold without any overt sexual feelings between my main characters, although there was a boyish masturbation scene early on. Around the adventure tale was another story of how boys become men and share an emotional tie akin to love. Those emotions served to replace the sex as a means of self-expression between the characters, and that was my point.

So if you are determined to remove the sexual depiction then it needs to be replaced with something that allows the characters to express their feelings. A good piece of descriptive writing doesn’t have to include sex. After all, what new aspect of the act are you going to describe for us that we don’t already know?

I always recommend the author’s focus should be on perfecting dialogue to bring out the hidden aspects of a character or situation. The right combination of spoken words can bring great insight to a scene for the readers, and perhaps give them a glimpse of what inspired the author’s thoughts. I believe most readers want to know where creative ideas come from.

Cole Parker is a master of giving the reader all the emotional content needed to convey his point in a story. I think he would rather bake a pie than write a gratuitous sex scene for a cheap thrill. His writing is a fine example of why it isn’t necessary (I mean the sex not the pies).

So don’t feel self-conscious about the sex scenes when you can always avoid going into massive detail. There are many here who will gladly work with you and offer their opinions on what you have written. Just put your fingers back on the keyboard and let it rip. Good authors are hard to find, but critics come in piles. I keep mine in the back yard next to the pile of horse poop and it is often hard to tell the difference between them.

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Guest Dabeagle

My own opinion is probably similar to Chris's, but I'll use my own words. Zirgo ectos fluze! (All my own words)

No, really. I'll go a few different directions with this too and try to be as clear as I can without sounding like a pretentious jerk. For me the sex scene is always secondary, and it's one of the major problems I have with gay writing and to a lesser degree gay movies. If I hit my local library's main site and search for 'Gay & Lesbian Fiction' what I get are anthologies of erotic short stories. Now lest I sound like a prude let me be clear - I have my own porn and I enjoy a titillating story now and again. But when I'm looking for something longer than that (don't say it Lug) I want action, adventure, dialogue and something I can identify with. In short I'm looking for what a lot of writers here post - stories about people, relationships and how gay people work and fit into them. Being able to have the main character fall in love with another guy is great for me because, even if everything else about the character is different from myself, we have something that is at my core in common. I can't say that for an action movie where the guy's sidekick is the girl who, if she sneezes, will have a wardrobe malfunction. I understand it, intellectually and monetarily, but I don't identify with that or enjoy it as much.

This is why, to me, sex scenes are secondary and I usually describe them in opaque terms rather than in licks and pants. Perhaps I have a touch of the romantic, but overall that's my preference and so I write that way. That I can think of off the top of my head, I've only written one "explicit" sex scene in 12 years online, and I was happy with it and didn't feel the need to go into the detail for the benefit of the story. Maybe, in the end, that's really the bottom line - is it good for the story? Or good for the person who will stop there, fap, fap, fap and not finish the chapter. Maybe it depends on your aims. There is certainly not a problem with a well placed, well written sex scene however many of the online denizens tend to focus on that and only ask you if there will be more.

As a closing note, anyone that has read me for any length of time will recognize the above statements as true, within the framework of my writing. Yet due to low traffic, low response and having finally finished a damn serial story, I started to post Wayward Son to Nifty. Still low response but one of the three or four actually asked me if Daniel and Gideon would have raunchy sex as that's what he was looking for. And that kind of made me feel like I hadn't written anything of interest then. I have read a very limited set of your work, but I do know you write well.

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There is a difference between writing descriptive sex scenes and writing a story which involves sex, or even has sex as one of the plot elements. (see my story, Everything a Boy Could Want. This was my first story that I put on the web.) It wasn't the first story I wrote. The others were awful. Shocking pieces of gratuitous sex that I couldn't bring myself to post. They had no literary merit, and little in the way of thrills that hadn't been done better by Nifty writers.

I'm not at all shy or easily embarrassed, but those unposted stories make me cringe. So what happened...why didn't I look for a way to write a sexy story that wouldn't be just a manual about where to put parts of the anatomy for pleasure? I remembered my teenage encounters with the author Mary Renault, who wrote romantic fiction set in the times of ancient Greece, when sex was understood as an expression of love between males.

I had also had some experience in writing for the dramatic stage. So I found that if I started writing a story with some idea of a plot that wasn't just an excuse to write porn, that something else happened; the characters I wrote, stole the plot and then laughed at my efforts to write a 'serious' story. This gave rise to my comedies. Yes, I could have gone back to sections of those stories and been very descriptive, but I didn't want to, I prefer to leave that to the imagination of the reader.

Real life has interrupted my evolution from comedy to more dramatic, lyrical stories, but I have a folder full of beginnings, middles and ends; all of which I want to use or develop in the future when reality permits me that luxury.

What I want to say is that evolving as an author is very much a situation of gaining confidence in our own abilities. Every time we write something awful, we should dare to look at it with fresh eyes, and sometimes those eyes belong to our readers. I have had feedback on stories that I thought were throwaway efforts, that others thought were wonderful.

I'm able to judge my work a little better now, but my best work is still totally a mess until it is edited.

I find the editing process is itself, inspirational and instructional.

I must add that when posting on the Net, it is a good idea to expect nothing back. Cruel as it is, no one applauds at the times we expect, and sometimes our work is unacknowledged, our creativity never fully appreciated. That's just they way things are. The pleasure has to be in throwing yourself into the task, and as Stanley Kubrick once remarked, "Hope that someone else likes it."

I have found that there is usually someone who likes what I write, and I would only worry if the likes of Fred Phelps praised my work.

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Des makes a good point; hey, that sometimes does happen! But he said we must learn to have confidence in our own abilities. You, my friend, have great, great abilities, and you don't fully appreciate them.

As far as sex scenes go, well, they're much like almost everything else when it comes to writing. There are no rules. What works, works. So, do what feels right. Do what makes the story better.

We have writers here who write extraordinary sex scenes. Josh and Douglas come to mind. They write sex as poignant and tender and graphic and moving and visceral, and, remarkably, not a bit boring. I think their stories would be less without these scenes. But they are also wonderful writers, and they could easily carry the plots with the sex left out. So, it works both ways.

You have written good sex scenes that have furthered your stories. One of my favorite stories of yours is The Moon in Your Eyes. Your initial sex scene with two boys on a bed, boys who'd just met but found a mutual attaction, was perfect, in my mind. Well, in my memory; it's been a while since I read it.

There are sex scenes and sex scenes. So many at Nifty are the sort where someone starts licking a boy's body at the top and goes to the bottom and then back up again and I stop reading and go find something else to do, like wash the dog. Once was enough for that; after that, boredom sets in.

And that's a problem with sex scenes. Almost whatever one does has already been done. The only differece is a new set of participants. That's why, if I write at all graphically about sex, I concentrate on the characters, their thoughts, feelings and reactions, more than the anatomies involved. We've all read that before. We haven't read how these people are feeling about it.

I don't think you need to be embarrassed about a sex scene if it fits seemlessly into the story. Your stories are so rich with character and plot, the sex certainly could be foregone, but it needn't be. If it feels right to include it, do so. You have to trust your judgment. You of all people need to do that. Your writing is exemplary. So, trust youself, and make the story the best it can be.

Just another man's opinion to add to the mix.

C

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Some stories are written purely as mental stimulation and/or wish fulfilment for the author and readers.

Some stories are written with more of a focus on characters or plot.

This is the big distinction most of us make between "stroke-stories" and "gay fiction."

But there's a false choice being offered, I think. There's no law saying that a well-written, character- or plot-driven story can't have scenes that are...uh..."stroke-able."

Some of my biggest influences and favorite writers in the "genre" (I don't like to think of "gay" as a genre, myself, but that's another topic all together) write detailed descriptions of sex:

Joey Gumb's "Forever on a Tree"

Journeyman's "Journey of Love"

FreeThinker's...uh, all of them. (Yeah, that's right - I'm referencing you to answer your own question. Haha.)

What these writers have in common is their ability to take hold of the heartstrings and give them a good twist, balancing the highs and lows of human emotion and keeping the two in tension. In all three examples I named, the protagonists end up in such terrible lows that, dammit, they deserve something good to happen to them! The sex in these stories is almost necessary to balance out the tragedy.

Brief tangent:

One of J.R.R. Tolkien’s big claims with regards to writing (and critiquing) fantasy was that happy endings can work - and can even be necessary. Literary critics didn't like the idea of a happy ending - it's too unrealistic, and if your story is already about magic elves, you're really asking for a lot by way of suspension of disbelief. So in an effort to justify a happy ending, fantasy writers will put their characters through mortal danger, heartbreaking loss, and existential despair - a cycle of tension and release that finally pays off with a happy ending.

Back on track:

I think this applies to writers of romance just as well as fantasy. One could easily argue that writing about love - especially with teenage characters - can be unrealistic, and indeed, it can easily become overly saccharine to the point that it causes insulin spikes just by reading it. This, I would argue, separates the Authors from the Writers. There's a billion stories on Nifty that follow the pattern of happy-sex-happy-sex-happy-sex. We tend to forget these as soon as we finish reading them. The stories that grab us and refuse to let go, the stories that stick with us, that make us think "I want to write something that makes people feel the way this made me feel!" - they play off of that tension-release dynamic.

And, frankly, sex can be a good form of release. But like any sort of happy ending, if it's going to be memorable, it has to be earned.

How is it earned? How much is too much? How detailed can you get without being off-putting? The answer, I think, is the same as the answer to almost any question when it comes to the "rules" of writing:

It depends.

Though, as a long time fan of your work, I'd suggest you follow your instincts. They've worked for you so far.

Write what you want to write - you're never going to please everybody, but there's always someone out there who it will resonate with.

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You're right, FreeThinker. This topic comes up here semi-regularly.

I'd have to agree with the last few comments. Most of the writers of gay fiction on the 'net seemed to have started out pretty much the same way, especially those (but not limited to) who are young enough to have found Nifty while a teen.

It usually goes something like this: Find Nifty. Read Nifty. Wank to Nifty. Decide Nifty stories are crap and they can write better than 90% of what's on there. Write porn for Nifty. Decide porn by itself gets boring real fast. Find other sites with stories that have actual plots. Write stories that have actual plots.

The problem with porn is that it's repetitive, mechanical, boring, and very narrowly focused. Notice I said "porn" and not "sex scenes." There are many fine examples of excellent sex scenes in the stories here and other sites among characters of all ages that do what a good scene is supposed to do: tell you about the character, further the plot, create relationships or conflict in a story, or any one of the other wonderful things that keeps us reading. Not only that, but they can also be sexually stimulating and arousing. Nothing wrong with that!

Sex scenes are perfectly fine, in fact can add greatly to a story. As long as they're there for a purpose. Just as I wouldn't toss a scene into a story about the tiny details of a character brushing and flossing his teeth for no reason, I won't toss a sex scene in a story for no reason. However, if there's a reason, then yes. Absolutely. Sex is important to human beings. Sex is especially important to teenagers, partly because of the strength of emotions surrounding it and partially because it's new and exciting. It often has a lot to do with their growth as a human being. So sometimes, for some stories, it's absolutely essential to be there.

Naturally, like any scene, how it's written will decide its success. But, since we're talking about your writing FreeThinker, this isn't an issue. They'll be written with skill, thoughtfulness, clarity, and purpose.

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I started writing when I was six years old. I wrote stories that I gave my mom and dad to read. Mom encouraged me, so I kept writing.

I wrote my first gay themed story when in 2003 when I was twelve years old. I did not give it to my mom or dad to read. I did give it to Doug (we'd met a few months earlier). I later polished it and posted it on Nifty. It wasn't very good, but I got two email messages from readers who said it was realistic. Yeah, NOT!

The first story I posted on Nifty that I thought was good was (but it's still not very good) DC. It has sex scenes that are integral to the plot, but sex is the focus of the story. I began posting a serial novel (that for a whole variety of reasons I didn't finish). There's sex in this story that's integal to the plot, but like with DC it's the focus of the story.

When I was fifteen I wrote a serial novella about Hurricane Katrina as an extra credit project for my AP U.S. History class. I added an unneccesary sex scene and posted it on Nifty. That story, as I submitted it to my APUSH class (without the sex scene), is on Codey's World as Escaping Katrina and is linked to my site here on AD.

I still write stories that have gay themes and include references to having sex but are not explicit. Now, like Dabeagle, I write stories about people and relationships. Many have no sex at all, many have no gay theme or characters at all. I write what I like to write; if a reader writes to me and says he wants hot sex and complains about the lack thereof in my stories, I suggest Nifty.

I posted four stories on GA, two that didn't have a gay theme and no sex, and two that have a gay theme but no sex. It was suggested that since GA is a site for gay stories, I shouldn't post any non-gay stories there. I wrote back that I'm a gay author and I write stories, some of which have a gay theme and some of which don't. That's a good description of who I am as a writer.

About sex scenes. There are basically four ways for gay guys to hae sex. JO, MJO, BJ, and AI. I don't feel that I can add anything to that quartet of anatomical methods, so writing about the mechanics of gay sex isn't high on my To-Do list. I don't put anyone down for writing explicit sex scenes, rape scenes, violence, whatever, and I'll read some of those kinds of stories (though inter-generational sex bothers me a lot). But I don't write those kinds of stories.

As a writer/author/whatever I write what I write and I don't make any excuses. I think that probably fits most of us here at AD and other online sites.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I'll keep this post short. There was a time when sex sold for me but that was many years ago. Now, I have zero use for stroker stories. My tastes have definatly improved since the beginning. I've read some good stories that have some explicit sex in them but end up glossing over those scenes to get to the story. I want a tale I could learn from, life lessons and the such.

It's been said many times 'Write what you know' so that's that I do with a bit of realistic fantasy added in. Even a few of my real life quips. People have asked for sex in my stories, one time from a editor I had. Again, write what you know. Imagination don't count, at least in my case. My theory is what happens behind closed doors remains a mystery. They could be playing scrabble for all I know. They don't tell me.

In my opinion, a lot of sex in a story is a story killer because that will end up being all is about. Wanting it, getting there and the aftermath.

And I said I was keeping this short................

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Maybe I'm putting in my two cents where it doesn't belong, but I hope you don't mind input from a reader. I've noticed that all the comments so far are from authors. Not just any, but ones that I consider some of the best. I have read everything I've found written by Cole, Gee, Colin, Beagle, Chris and Des and all but one by EleCivil. What can I say, I'm an avid reader. In terms of sex scenes, for me, it depends on how it fits into the story line. I can tell you right off, I tend to skip over the extremely graphic scenes. I know the mechanics of it all and I really don't need the author to describe every pant, thrust or drop of sweat. But, as long as it helps the story along, I have no problem with a scene that expresses physical love in the form of sex. Yes, to me there is a difference between a sex scene and a love scene involving sex. A sex scene is only meant to arouse the reader. A love scene involving sex is used to illustrate a growing (no pun intended) emotional bond between the characters. And, no, believe it or not, I'm not a prude. I just prefer the old adage, "Less is more". The imagination is a extraordinary thing. Sometimes a subtle suggestion can go a lot farther that a running commentary. But, that's just my lone opinion. I hope I didn't intrude where I shouldn't have.

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Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread. This has been amazingly insightful and instructive (and encouraging). I am grateful for all the input and your kind words about my writing. I have included some sex scenes in the story I am writing, but in this case they are there only for plot and are not "pant and grunt" scenes. I just didn't want to feel they were unwelcome. I make references to, but do not describe, some incidents in the protagonist's past which were abusive, but the reason for those is to show how such incidents influenced the evolution of the protagonist into the character he is at the beginning of the story. It's not necessary to the plot to describe them. I feel much more comfortable now with the subject and I am grateful for your input. Thank you, everyone! And, more comments and input are not unwelcome!

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Maybe I'm putting in my two cents where it doesn't belong, but I hope you don't mind input from a reader.

Not only are your comments extremely welcome, I encourage any and all readers to comment freely. It's valuable and important. Thanks very much for chiming in Eric. And any other readers of this thread, please leave your thoughts too.

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I think most, if not all of us, like to see comments from our readers and other authors. Membership is free at AwesomeDude and you can remain anonymous, but given this day and age of Facechook and twats, sorry, I mean Facebook and twitter, no one is as anonymous as they might like to think. I'd prefer to be ominous rather than anonymous, anyway. We respect privacy.

Comments on our discussions are welcome, but don't forget, please, that none of the authors get paid for our story writing, and we watch almost forlornly, for readers' thoughts about our work. You, the readers, are the ones who can inspire us to write more and better stories. Indeed, in many ways, our readers are our muse whenever you make a comment, or let us know how you reacted to what we write. Just be gentle, some of us are fragile. :hug:

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Maybe I'm putting in my two cents where it doesn't belong, but I hope you don't mind input from a reader. I've noticed that all the comments so far are from authors. Not just any, but ones that I consider some of the best. I have read everything I've found written by Cole, Gee, Colin, Beagle, Chris and Des and all but one by EleCivil. What can I say, I'm an avid reader. In terms of sex scenes, for me, it depends on how it fits into the story line. I can tell you right off, I tend to skip over the extremely graphic scenes. I know the mechanics of it all and I really don't need the author to describe every pant, thrust or drop of sweat. But, as long as it helps the story along, I have no problem with a scene that expresses physical love in the form of sex. Yes, to me there is a difference between a sex scene and a love scene involving sex. A sex scene is only meant to arouse the reader. A love scene involving sex is used to illustrate a growing (no pun intended) emotional bond between the characters. And, no, believe it or not, I'm not a prude. I just prefer the old adage, "Less is more". The imagination is a extraordinary thing. Sometimes a subtle suggestion can go a lot farther that a running commentary. But, that's just my lone opinion. I hope I didn't intrude where I shouldn't have.

You're not the only one. I too will gloss over the graphic sex scene in a story. As reader I can do that.

As an editor and beta reader I can't do that. Most of the authors I edit for usually don't include sex unless it's a new writer I'm working with. Those that have included sex usually make it clear something happened and not what happened. It's the same for the authors that I beta read for.

As a reader I tend to go more for the plot and characters of the story. Unlike some readers, I don't complain about the lack of sex in the story.

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A thought comes to mind to mention the once considered, 'first novel', was The Satyricon, by Petronius who lived during the time of Nero's Rome. The work would be right at home in AwesomDude's library of romantic gay fiction.

This is relevant, because of the subject matter as described in Wiki:

The surviving portions of the text [satyricon] detail the misadventures of the narrator, Encolpius, and his lover, a handsome sixteen-year-old boy named Giton. Throughout the novel, Encolpius has a hard time keeping his lover faithful to him as he is constantly being enticed away by others. Encolpius's friend Ascyltus (who seems to have previously been in a relationship with Encolpius) is another major character.

Further quote from the above Wiki reference:

The Satyricon is considered one of the gems of Western literature, and may be the earliest extant work classifiable as a novel, although some would give that honour to Chariton's Callirhoe.[citation needed] Petronius mixes together two antithetical genres: the cynic and parodic menippean satire, and the idealizing and sentimental Greek romance.

I read The Satyricon when I was about 16, I think, and it gave me considerable strength to survive the condemnation of those times when homosexuality was illegal and culturally unacceptable. This strength came from realising that there were historical periods when same sex relationships were not treated as immoral, and that sex itself was, and is not a sin.

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Guest Dabeagle

What Des just said put me in mind of an email I cherish. I don't think I can ever be accused of not wanting feedback from my readers, but every once in a while one message comes through to let us know exactly how important something we wrote was to someone; for whatever reason it gave them a branch to hang onto. I won't go into all the details, and I'm deleting the person's name, but at one time I had the thought that the stories I carried should be more positive, role model like in their characterizations and not bed hopping little sluts for instance. My thought was what if the kid I'm mentoring were gay and found my site, what would I want him to read? What might my responsibility be to him? Right or wrong I changed my policies and what I carried for stories. I'm not looking to restart that debate and I'll politely ask it not be reignited here, but I say all that so you can understand the full meaning of what something as silly as what I do can mean to someone - and it's why I write.

Dear Dave,

After being away from the website for a good four months, I came back and discovered the giant change in the content of dabeagle. I then poked my nose into the forums a discovered your reasons for doing do. While I understand the purpose, I must say that the site was just fine as it was. In its previous incarnation it can be credited with helping me though being outed at 16, forced into "de-gaying", getting thrown out by my mother, surviving the foster care system and making it out as a relatively undamaged college student.

The stories on the site at the time, while not PG dealt with a lot of the same stuff I was dealing with in my life, not least of which is the sex. Queer kids don't get sex ed anywhere. Its prohibited at schools, and most community organizations are too afraid to lose the funding to even attempt it. So to cut to the point, the stories of dabeagle, coupled with iomfats.org did the birds and bees for me, not just from the physical side of it, but also from the social side of queer attraction and relation. It's not like I had a handy role model to ask all of this, and nifty, whilst always accessible, is just not it. Let me also note that when I fist discovered dabeagle, my mother had already blocked all the queer resource sites I knew of. Fiction somehow got though. The fiction of dabeagle and its availability pretty were the only thing I had when my mother was trying to turn me straight. The rare NC-17 moment did not diminish the sites capacity to help.

The content of dabeagle has never been gratuitous porn. There is also, as any author can recognise a difference between a romance with an occasional bit or erotica, and erotica with a dollop of romance. the reader, even a teenaged one, can make the same distinction. That is what set dabeagle apart from a lot of gay writers pages out there. The romance component just made it fun. I understand the lowering of the general rating for legal liability purposes, but whether it makes the site better for youth is debatable. Teeagers, and I can still call myself one, rambling verbosity and all- I am nineteen, are neither virginal nor sexless. We experiment and do stuff regardless of the legal age. Thanks in part to dabeagle in it's previous incarnation, I was prepared for the emotional ramifications of it. As it stands now, I feel the site has lost that.

That said, it is your site and what you wish is best will stand. All I can ask is that you consider this letter, and belive that there's more than kid like me out there.

That, and thanks for creating a wonderful resource which has been a lot of help and comfort to me when i couldn't find it elsewhere.

Sincerely,

XXX

I know I don't NEED to write a sex scene to touch someone, I don't NEED it for a story to be relevant but if I write it, then it needs ot be relevant and touch someone. It works for me, but I encourage others to use what works for them. After all, there is more than one type of reader out there.

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I would comment more extensively, except Gee said everything I would say!

My advice for Free Thinker would be: write for yourself. Don't write what you think people need to see. I agree, there should be a story beyond the sex, and any sexual content has to be justified by the story (rather than vice-versa). The story should still work without the sex. In fact, on several stories I've written, I've tried to stand back and objectively say, "would this story work if it weren't a gay story?" In other words, is it about something beyond just gay life and attitudes? To me, there has to be something more there in order for it to work.

"How explicit is too explicit" is a personal choice. There are conversations on this site that go back at least ten years on this subject. My take is, go wild in the first draft, and be prepared to cut back on a polish. Rely on a second or even a third pair of eyes to advise you. But don't let embarrassment color your work. Write for yourself, write what pleases you, and assume that the audience will agree (or at least, the audience that matters).

Two general comments I would make about sex scenes: 1) the usual rule of thumb I use is, I try never to duplicate the same sex scene twice. If I do have an explicit scene, the next chapter might just have a Hollywood "fade-out / fade-in" scene, where the characters just tumble into a haystack and then we go to the next scene, as they're zipping up. Nothing wrong with that, once in awhile. And 2): Vary the location. I think too many stories get locked down to people having sex in conventional locations. Shake it up and avoid boredom. Human beings are very inventive.

And if there is a third point, I'd say love and affection are as important or more important than sex. I always try to get to the heart of the matter (no pun intended), and try to get inside the heads of the character. To me, it's more about what they're thinking and feeling than the specific body parts per se. Fiction isn't an anatomy lesson: it's more psychological and introspective. To me, the stories that fail are those that cover sex scenes like a reporter narrating a wrestling match. And that's not what it's all about -- not to me, at least.

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This is a fascinating thread and I don't think I have much to add... except to point out humanity is driven by sex. No matter our race or creed, and no matter how hard we try to hide from it, the fact is sex is a base primal urge, and undeneath the patina of civilisation we try so hard to maintain it rules - for an example take the phenomenal success of 'Fifty shades of Grey.' Of course the degree of sex in a story is entirely down to the author, but you can't forget it's there, and neither should you.

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I would write out a long comment... but, Dabeagle's email pretty much covers me, only to add that this is a site catering to 'gay-themed' authors and their writings. If I wanted to read the musings of the Great Pooh, I would try to find a site catering to children, or old men with more time on their hands than good sense. Or, change the channel to some Babdist preacher.

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Reader here, and late as usual.

I have thoughts on just about everything said here, but I do the best by me, and I think, by authors too, when I stick to my own experiences and to my feelings about them.

I came here, initially, because of the realization that while I had never bought into the mainstream ideas or attitudes toward gay men, I had nothing by way of exprience or information in place of it. At the center of the realization and the motivation to remedy the situation was a new supervisor at work, who in a very short time, changed my view of myself in regards to my work, and my contribution to an environment that was populated largely by folks with a common background very different from my own. He also happened to be gay, and out, and realizing I had no concept of what that meant to him felt suddenly like a deficiency and one I wanted to remedy as quickly as possible without monopolizing his time to do it. In a surprisingly short amount of time (due in part to a voracious appetite for fiction) I went from Literotica, to Nifty, where I read hundreds of stories in every genre (the phrase "you never know what you're going to get" proved itself as fully as is it is likely to anywhere) and eventually I slowed, the blanks filled in, and more selectivity set in and I landed here, at AD, and at CrvBoy; Cole brought me to the forum and thus, AD became my one-stop shop and home.

Anyway, what I wanted to add was that I found miracles of writing in every corner, in places so unexpected (LOL, a word rendered fairly meaningless by now) that I make it a point to make a pass through Nifty every now and then, using my original search method which I like to say is akin to "dowsing", just in case. Now and then, I get lucky, still.

And among those miracles, are the aforementioned Josh and Cole, two very different writers in terms of sexual content, who nonetheless have taken me places with their work that have so enriched my life, and expanded my perspective I can't ever thank them enough. That I tried is of some comfort now that Josh has left the scene, and if I never succeed I will at least have been considerable irritation to Cole, which we all know, is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. <g>

What I'm saying, and what has been said already, is that it's not the sex but the point of it that matters; my particular vision of hell is having nothing but my own thoughts, my own opinions, and my own limited perspective for all of life or all of eternity, and therefore, heaven to me is the story you want to tell, the way you want to tell it.

That's all.

Thank you for your refreshingly candid and honest quest, I can't think of a better place for such inquiry, and I wish you the best as you work this out for yourself, with whatever help you have found useful to you here.

Regards,

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