Brian Trapp: I have an announcement: Sex is back. I know what you’re thinking: Turn on the television; it didn’t go anywhere. And that’s my point. In a culture that doesn’t really hold back on what happens in the bedroom (or car . . . or office), sex should be less interesting as material for literary fiction.
Well . . . I don’t know what happened, but lately these CR submissions are making me blush. I am no Puritan, but I’m slightly uncomfortable with the amount of prostitution stories we’ve been getting. We’re talking fortyish fallen-housewife prostitutes. Chinese-village prostitutes. Indian-child prostitutes. Some of these stories are comic or tragic or in between, but they’re all about the ancient transaction. This is not a bad thing. Literary fiction has no boundaries or borders. But I will say this: Even when writing about sex and prostitutes (and sex with prostitutes), restraint and style are still very much appreciated.
Carnal acts are part of human experience, but when represented in fiction, they often become mired by overwrought and purple prose or else fall into uninspired, pornographic stereotype. If sex is back, then so be it, but let’s not have literary fiction compete with the dark corners of the internet or the latest incarnation of Fifty Shades of Grey. Sex in fiction should be as weird or beautiful or awkward as life itself.