A lot has been said about the massive, destructive car chase in my new novel Tail of the Dragon and how the hero Rick Stevens refuses to yield to any force other than his own impulse to live. But that does not mean that my latest book is strictly for men who like fast cars and violence. No, there’s a more complicated component that brings a texture to the story that is not so subtle, and that is the sex in Tail of the Dragon.
The sex is explicit, and it is necessary because at the heart of the story is a middle-aged couple who have rediscovered their passion for living, and with that passion comes sex, and large audacious amounts of it—just as it does in real life. CLICK HERE FOR MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK ‘FIFTY SHADES OF GREY.’ In the novel Fifty Shades of Grey which is lighting up book sales with enormous sales numbers, it is proof that women want to read books that involve aspects of their sexuality they are either curious about as reflected in their fantasies, or they are wanting to explore aspects of their sexuality in the safe confines of their minds to explore them in reality later. But I would view the kind of sex that is explored in Fifty Shades of Grey to be unhealthy sex, since it is driven by repressed feelings and fears—which are not aspects of the characters in Tail of the Dragon.
In Tail of the Dragon we have the opposite issue; Rick Stevens and his wife Renee are on a personal journey that does not involve fear, or repression leading them to sexual acts that are quite explicit, particularly the one on the balcony of a Gatlinburg hotel. The sex is purposely audacious and flagrant because those are attributes of Rick Stevens authenticity as a person, which leads to the extreme events of the novel in a non sexual way, just as in real life. If a person is willing to repress their sexual nature, they are also likely to repress their political views, their spiritual convictions, and their yearning for personal independence.
Fifty Shades of Grey has set a new standard for sex in a mainstream novel. As we speak literary agents are dusting off every erotic manuscript anyone has ever sent them because publishers are about to unleash upon the publishing world a slew of erotic fiction designed to ride the coat tails of Fifty Shades of Grey. Before this novel hit the public, publishers frowned down on the heavy use of the “F” word and the very descriptive sex that can go on between characters in a story. Fifty Shades of Grey is in every essence pornography, and it is now sold at Target, and local grocery stores which would have been unfathomable just a few years ago. The sex in Tail of the Dragon is done with much less profanity out of personal taste and editorial direction. My editor at American Book wanted me to clean up the sex which is very descriptive, because that is the standard America Book has. They do not publish erotica, so they expect their authors to find alternatives to such blatant imagery. I suspect that the policy will be reviewed in the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey, since that book was originally published non-traditionally as a print-on-demand title, in other words—self published. Word of mouth carried it over into the mainstream audience where legitimate publishers have picked it up after it became popular.
Sex however is as important to the human condition as drinking water, eating food, or learning to speak. It has as much reverence as conducting political policies. In a novel, such emotions are expected to be dealt with, so when exploring extreme notions, the sex must reflect the journey. In the case of Rick Stevens and his wife Renee the sex is designed to show what a healthy relationship between two longtime mates do with one another. If they have sex occasionally in public, it is not because they are extraverted exhibitionists; it is because when they are together, they have tuned everyone else out, and so the sexual act is a contextual agreement between them of which the rest of the world is excluded. The world may watch like caged animals at a zoo, but the passions for which Rick and Renee partake in are not for the sake of the collective society, but for themselves only.
Renee Stevens is a woman who is constructively submissive to her husband. When Rick wants sex, she gives it to him without question, and without games. In return, Rick does not have impotency problems like many middle-aged men. This leaves Rick and Renee to often have sex several times a day and not just once or twice a week. The point of course is not to show that Rick and Renee Stevens are sex addicts’ hell bent on perverted sexual sign stimuli for the unhealthy act of satisfying inner demons, but a healthy couple in love willing to satisfy the needs of their partners in a mutual fulfillment, the way a marriage should be.
Men and women join together to form families because they want to have sex with each other. At the most fundamental function of the marriage, what sets a couple apart is that they have sex. If sex was not involved, then the couple would merely be friends. It is sex that makes a marriage. When marriage is mentioned, the first thought is sex. Couples unite to have sex and to keep it safe between them in the context of a relationship. So in Tail of the Dragon which is about being authentic to oneself in every way, even when the law attempts to impose the beliefs of politics upon the sanctity of a spiritual union, sex must be robust and an important part of the story without being profane.
The sex in Tail of the Dragon is something I wouldn’t hesitate to tell my grown daughters about for the sake of their own sanity, and I have. My wife and I have traveled all over creation on the back of a motorcycle, and I can report that the sex of Rick and Renee have their roots in reality, because sometimes after a hard day of riding, sweating, and being on the edge of your senses, sex does happen often and anywhere once the shackles of orthodox confinement are outran. And in Tail of the Dragon, the story is all about outrunning orthodox confinement, so the subject is unavoidable.