Monday, 4 February 2013

Lesbian does not always equal sex

(Admit it. All you saw in the heading was "lesbian sex").

Now that I've got your attention, I wanted to chat about a couple of things that have been annoying me no end the last few weeks. I've been doing some research on an idea I have for some steampunky type characters and plots, and having some real fun checking out some of the steampunk websites around the place. (Check these cool gadgets out)

The first one I seem to be encountering whenever I search for lesbian steampunk. There doesn't appear to be too much around, which is great for me in a way, because I can tap into a fresh market. But I've stumbled across a few forums where other people have been asking for recommendations for some lesian steampunk, and the answers have almost always been to the tune of "I don't have anything to recommend for lesbian steampunk, but here's some cool erotica that you might like instead."

Now, I'm not big on the erotica genre anyway, but why is it always assumed that if you're looking for any type of fiction with lesbian characters (or gay for that matter), that you're automatically after erotica?

Here's a tip: I'm JUST after lesbian characters. I'm squeamish about badly written sex scenes, be they same-same or otherwise. Hell, I'm squeamish about sex scenes, badly written or not. I like to use my own imagination for those types of scenes, and much prefer the "fade out" effect. I'd rather not have a blow-by-blow of who puts what, where.

What I'm really looking for is this: steampunk stories, that don't have sex as the end goal, with lesbian characters. Simple? Apparently not.

The second thing I'm frustrated with is the amount of gratuitous sex in a lot of the lesbian books I'm reading. (I have a whole other post whinging about other stuff I don't like about lesbian fiction, but I'm sticking with the sex for this one).

I was reading a sample of one a couple of weeks ago (a sample, which is only the first 10%), and the lead character stops what she's doing to jump in the sack with some hussy she just met, within the first five pages. THE FIRST FIVE PAGES!! Give me a break. That is not characterisation. That is gratuitous sex. Not even James Bond jumps into bed with the women plotting his downfall in the first five pages (or the first five minutes in the case of the movies).

I get it. We have this image to protect where BBLs (Big Butch Lesbians) can bed anyone they want without consequence, and that makes them super cool. Women, straight and gay, fall at their feet and worship the ground they walk on.

I don't want to read about those characters.

Here's what I want.

I want characters who go through shit that doesn't happen just because they're lesbian. I want characters whose major trait is something OTHER than the fact that they're lesbian.

So the question is, how do I find those characters?

The answer: in my own head. My answer to my frustrations is to write what I want to read, since no-one else seems to be doing it.