Here there be SEX. I don’t get it either, George R. R. Martin

Here there be SEX. I don’t get it either, George R. R. Martin

Posted on Jul 28, 2012 in News | 4 comments

“I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off. To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it’s madness. Ultimately, in the history of [the] world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure. Axes entering skulls, well, not so much.” G. R. R. Martin Game of Thrones

I’ve heard it myself, in several reviews of my epic fantasies. Yet readers and viewers eat up the Song of Ice and Fire series, and never complain about the violence, only the sex.

That still mystifies me. Apologies to the person who made this statement, but they said they’re a purist when it comes to fantasy, and they didn’t like sex in it. In the first book of the series two of the leads are tortured pretty significantly. In the second the bad guy ‘virtually’ rapes the heroine… But the objection is to the SEX in it? Especially since it’s consensual sex between two people who truly love one another.

I’m baffled. 

How is it that we writers can portray acts of terrible violence, yet be criticized for showing honest, open emotion, expressed in a physical way?

What are we ashamed of? Our glory of violence, or the tenderness of lovemaking? How is the one good and acceptable, the other not?

Please understand – I leave the moral judgments to my readers. Many of my characters have faced similar prejudices. The Elves in The Coming Storm repress their emotions outside of their Enclaves because the depth of those emotions have been used against them in their past – not because they’re cold in nature. The Fairy in Song of the Fairy Queen are seen as promiscuous because of their lightheartedness, and because their nature is to be loving – even when it comes to sex.
So I leave it to my readers with this caveat – Here there very likely will be sex. 
As well as violence, great characters, a believable setting and a great plot… (or so the rest of my reviews tell me)
and sex…


  1. Sally Struthers ('All in the Family') said "Take a woman's breast. Stab it with a knife and it will get an 'R' rating in a film. But kiss it and the film gets an 'X' rating."

  2. Puritanical hypocrisy crosses all genres, I see the same kinds of complaint about historical fiction. Doesn't change how I write it. I'm with and Martin on this one.

  3. I'm reading a fantasy that has no sex, at least up until two thirds of the way through–it bugged me since the main character has this unrequited love thing going with another character… when the sex finally happens it isn't between these characters, it's with a fae creature, and to my way of thinking, poorly written–I happen to like a bawdy sex scene…the idea of violence being okay and the ridiculous hypocrisy over sex which is one of our driving forces makes me crazy! so, which one of your books should I start with?

  4. Try Song of the Fairy Queen, or Servant of the Gods – or The Coming Storm (although there's no sex until the sequel – A Convocation of Kings)

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