When did you notice a sexy change in genre books?S

This is where I admit some delinquency in my reading list. Although I work for a science fiction and fantasy site, I don't do too much fantasy reading. So it was only recently when I looked up from my Lord of the Rings copies and noticed that things had gotten hotter.

Today we have sexy vampires in The Southern Vampire Mysteries and sexy royals in A Game of Thrones and even sexy supernatural creatures in, shall we say, carefully repressed books like Twilight. Although I don't object to any of it, I feel very out-of-the-loop when I admit that well into adulthood, it hadn't occurred to me that fantasy books could include a lot of sex in them. Don't blame me. I cut my teeth on CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, the high-fantasy stuff that could add as much blood as it wished, but didn't get particularly steamy. As I recall, the Narnians didn't do much more than dance and hold hands, while the hottest thing anyone ever did in a Tolkien book was sing interminably-long songs to each other. (I don't think Arwen and Aragorn even share a scene until the third book when they're married.)

Obviously, a part of that is the fact that I was a child, and so was given relatively tame fiction. If I had known where to look, at the time, I could have found the Gorean books or the John Carter series. Instead I drifted away from fantasy fiction and when I finally came back to it, with N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and a look at the True Blood series, I felt a little as if the tide had risen around me. Suddenly I didn't find that many fantasy series that didn't have a sex scene in them.

Although I expect most people caught on to the sex scenes in fantasy fiction a long time before I did, I think most of us had that moment when we realized that not all fantasy romance involved one character kissing another's hand and announcing to the kingdom that soon they would be wed. What book was the first one in which you realized that the chapter was not going to end before things got explicit? And do you like the inclusion of sex in your stories or not?


Anyone looking for good, hot books can check out my interview with the Vaginal Fantasy book club on this week's show. In case you, like me, haven't noticed a lot of hot in your fantasy books, they will show you exactly where to turn.