Thursday, October 04, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Decorum

Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)

I think like with almost anything, it would depend on the book and the author--and ultimately the reader. Each of us has different tastes and tolerance levels after all. I have read books that include profanity or explicit sex scenes that do not bother me at all. If the words and actions of the characters fit the story, the time period, and the characters, I doubt I would give such things a second thought. It is all a part of the world the author has created--a part of that world I have stepped into for a brief moment in time.

I cannot say I have ever read a book that I thought had too much profanity, or, at least, more than I can tolerate. I imagine that if I did, I may find it distracting. If the cursing seemed forced or out of place, I might take notice.

As for sex in books . . . My tastes are such that I do not often gravitate towards the types of novels that include overly explicit sex scenes. That said, there are exceptions. There was a time in my life when I would skim over the sex scenes. It was not so much because I found them embarassing, rather I found them boring. Today I only skim over the ones that read too much like how to books. I have come to appreciate a well written sex scene. I generally do not care for gratuitous sex in books. I prefer such scenes to have meaning and play some part in moving the narrative along or in developing the characters.

I do not seek out books that use or do not use profanity. Neither do I completely avoid books that have sex scenes nor race out to read one that is full of them. I cannot really say I give it much thought at all when I am picking out my next book to read.


  1. I agree with you, Wendy!
    I don't mind as long as it goes with the plot and that it's written tastefully.

    Hope you have a great weekend ahead. :)

  2. I have no problems with sex and profanity. I do have problems with excessive violence. I even posted about one of the books I read recently (Invisible Armies) which was about protests groups and how excessively violent they became. I avoid all books about boxing and wrestling for the same reason.


  3. I think the key is just that, is it "tasteful," which is an individual thing after all. In movies and television, I have frequently found profanity distracting and over-employed; in books, I have rarely found it so.

    Now, explicit sex in books bothers me. I don't want to feel like voyeur, and personally, prefer that the author leave out graphic details. Here again, however, I've rarely encountered it because I choose to avoid authors like Laura K. Hamilton. I have a dear friend who adores the Anita Blake books by Hamilton, but one was too much for me.

  4. It is not the scenes but the books that should hold me. I don't mind those scenes as long those are demands of the plot.

  5. I agree! Our answers are very similar.

  6. Very well said. I don't avoid it, but I don't look for it either. Most of the books I really don't really have much sex or profanity.

  7. I find the sex scenes in books boring too, generally.

    Funny, I don't usually notice profanity in books but I certainly do on television.

  8. I think you've hit it! We all have different tolerance levels, and this question has highlighted that if there is such a thing as a "erotica tolerance scale" from 1 - 10, then everyone that answered this question is somewhere around a "2 - 5" meaning "I don't lose any sleep over there being sex scenes and most of the time they're lame!". As compared to me, who is like at 10, and actually searches out this stuff (mostly fanwork, though, because publish erotica is a mess at the best of times).

    However, most of the time I vote for subtext! Subtext is awesome.

  9. I agree it takes the plot and characters to make all the difference in the world. A lot of sex scenes are boring but if it's long anticipated with two people in a series or long book and you've been waiting forever, sometimes I read a sentence a minute with my hand over my mouth lol.

  10. Like you, I don't tend to read books that have explicit sex scenes anyway. And profanity is only annoying if it's there just for the sake of being there. If it works with the character and the story I have no problem with it either.

  11. Melody - I hope you have a great weekend too! I'm going to talk my husband into going to see a movie, if I can. I'm not yet sure which one though.

    Historia - I don't think a book about wrestling or boxing would interest me. I don't mind violence so much. It depends on how it is depicted or written, really. Or what the book is about.

    Jenclair - You must not have read the first Laurell K. Hamilton book then. LOL The first two or three books are relatively sex free.

    Gautami - Yes, I agree. If the scene fits and meets the demands of the plot, then I don't usually have a problem with it.

    Amy - Yes, they are. :-)

    Kristy - Thank you. I don't really give it much thought when I'm looking for a book to read.

    Carrie K - I was talking to my husband last night about this topic and wondered if I was weird for sometimes finding sex scenes in books boring. I'm discovering that I'm not alone. :-)

    Renay - It really does come down to individual taste--or tolerance as the case may be. I have read some really good sex scenes and enjoyed them, but still, it isn't something I find myself drawn to generally.

    Erin - I've had those moments too. :-) And with tears in my eyes.

    Tanabata - And it really isn't a matter of finding such things offensive, at least not for me. It just doesn't hold me interest all that much. There are some books I do read that get hot and heavy now and then--and usually I'm fine with that. As long as it fits with the story and the direction the characters are headed.

  12. I share the same thoughts. Happy weekend!

  13. Great discussion and something I've not thought about a lot. I've only started one book that I couldn't finish because of the sexual content. I found the book to be written just for the sex. Mostly, I look for a well-written story with characters that draw me in.

  14. Well written answer. We are basically the same except that I don't like reading the F-word.

    My BTT is up here.

  15. Alice - Thanks for stopping in. :-)

    Framed - I hadn't really given much thought to profanity in books before, but the sexual content issue has come up occasionally in discussions I've been a part of. Like you, the story and the characters are what attract me to a book--and hold my interest.

    Callista - Thank you! I grew up in a household where the F-word was used so frequently that I've become immune to any offensiveness it might carry. It's not a word I use frequenty (and never in public) though.


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