This blog will contain...
...profanity, sexually explicit dialog andadult imagery.
If you are under 18 and/or offended by this...

Thanks fiona, from "Sir Q and Me" for the warning message that just makes me melt. :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

What Defines a "Sex Scene"? "Out of the Night: Book One"

While this was originally day 7 of my blog tour, the link went dead. To read any other blog posts in the "Out of the Night: Book One" blog tour, please visit this page .

Let me start with an excerpt from "Gates of the Garden: Book Two" (Buy links here):

Vala is talking to The Queen...
"It was in your loft, with millions of meaningful glances, with gestures, with choice words that you got your collar around my throat, my Queen."
Joelle snarks to add- not just his cock!

I really started to question the phrase "sex scene" as I was working on a BDSM/age play menage novel for Nanowrimo; my beta reader, who isn't into BDSM, asked me some confused questions when I commented about a "sex scene" in which my "little" was in role. Although from a larger perspective, I've always questioned. For too many people, the phrase "sex scene" conjures hetero-sexist/-normative images that center on a penis being inserted into a vagina. Well as a queer woman, I have to say there's not always a penis in the room :D .

Beyond the heterosexism, the complexity of sexuality in my novels makes me debate what constitutes a scene. I consider scenes with erotic content based on several factors. 1) How many characters are involved? Like I would consider a person masturbating to be a sex scene, but as my BR pointed out, not everyone would. 2) What are the genders and sexual orientations of those involved? While sometimes the bodies having sex are cisgender male and female, IMHO behavior doesn't determine identity. Vala is bisexual, whether it's The Queen or Iona who she's being intimate with. I didn't stop being queer when I married a man. 3) Does the scene contain any characters who interact within a BDSM structure? Living as a lifestyle submissive, I have to tell you, sometimes just doing the dishes, thinking about the fact that my Master is going to flog me afterward, fuck me afterward, it's as good as "starting the sex scene," if it were fiction that I was writing. 4) Does the scene focus on BDSM activity or interaction (whether that be flogging, bondage, candle wax, role play etc) rather than a genital-based sexuality? Glance back at my example for #4. I doubt most people would find washing dishes a turn on, but when I'm in a pleasantly submissive frame of mind, the act of cleaning knowing it will please my Master turns washing dishes into an erotic thing. 5) If the scene is centered on a genital-based sexual exchange, does BDSM affect the interaction? This question answers part of why my Master and I don't engage in BDSM "play" at munches where genital-based sexuality is against the rules; for us, BDSM activity tends to be part of the whole sex exchange. So I guess, looking at these questions, I have to admit that I recklessly use the phrase to denote any scene that contains interactions that I find erotic.

So as we try to move beyond the heteronormative "cock in a hole"- do we have any answers to all those questions? What is a sex scene, whether in life, in porn, in erotica, when the players don't have cocks and holes or use them in atypical (from the heteronormative perspective) manner?

In the quote at the beginning, Vala is just talking about the act of accepting The Queen's collar as his slave. But that "just" is a temptation to give it too much power. Submission is like sex, I think- it isn't a zero sum game. At least I don't think it should be.

"Out of the Night: Book One" blurb

Restless and world-weary, Mearr isn't about to admit she needs anyone's help, even this gorgeous man who has taken her into his home. Well one of his homes and part of this huge family she's heard about but not met all of. She's young, looks young, and knows it but at least she's legal now so she can pick a new name to go with her new life...

The Queen knows he wants Mearr bad, ever since the first time he saw her in the window of the coffeehouse. He has his plan, but even a Dominant's plans don't always survive the unpredictability of the future. He struggles to figure out this temperamental woman he's brought home, how best to help her. Then he takes her to his mansion...

They wait patiently for The Queen to bring Mearr home. Well to the home they've been redecorating for Him and for the hopes that she'll become part of their family and be trained to please Him. Simon and Tommy have seen her, of course, being The Queen's right and left hands; they say she'll be a perfect addition...

Please come along with Joelle on this journey, shared with the readers in serial fashion. A multitude of "Happily-ever-afters" are waiting with the completion of book 9.

Author's Note: This novel is meant for open-minded adults. Activities described include a wide range of BDSM and sexual activities, some of which are male/male, male/female, consensual slavery, oral/anal/vaginal intercourse, bondage. The story also covers some sensitive topics in characters' backstories, such as drug abuse.

Buy it on-
Out of the Night: Book One (Vala's Story) print edition- This is NOT the re-released edition with its editing and additions.
available at Lulu.com's Market Place
available on Amazon.com

Out of the Night: Book One (Vala's Story) ebook

Smashwords- multiple formats- https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/417778 . First 20% available as a free sample.

Amazon/Kindle edition

Barnes and Noble/Nook edition

Joelle's Bio:

Joelle Casteel has so many faces, ways of being that no assumption is never safe. The woman who'll use a child's backpack as a purse is just as likely to describe a graphic sex act. My Master, the dominant in the BDSM relationship that shapes much of my life, jokes that I'm so far from the mainstream that I've forgotten what the mainstream is. This of course shows up in my writing. I regularly blur gender and sexual orientation lines- although I will fight against the misgendering of my characters (between The Queen's legs are a penis and balls and he says he's a MAN.) Whether a short story or a novel, whether erotica or erotic romance, I tend to bring many taboos to the sex/BDSM table alongside crazy plots, over-the-top characters, and romance even in the midst of relationships you may never find in a greeting card store. With BDSM gaining a broader audience with various books- which she will not name because she can't stand them- she feels it's past time to put out her impression of what BDSM can look like in reality. 


  1. Great post and question Joelle! Maybe it's about whether the reader perceives the scene as a sex scene?


    1. That's a good thought, Roz :) After all, not everyone is going to agree. Thanks for the comment.

  2. For me, it's whatever 'sets off' that part of my brain. Half of sex to me is the mental, so if a book's scene speaks to me in that way and gets me all tingly, well that's a sex scene. Great post!

    1. thanks for the comment, Elle :) And that mental portion can be so important. Like in my Nano novel for 2014- I wrote a long distance relationship with two erotic romance authors :D because really, who better to have an LDR? :D

  3. Oh, that sounds like a great read! I'd so read that.

    1. thanks for this comment too, Elle :) I'm hopeful- about 1000-ish words and I'll have Nano 2013 (a BDSM/ageplay menage done). Then I get to go back to work on Nano2014 ("Tabitha and Bina in Love"- Two erotic romance authors meet, fall in love, and engage in a long distance relationship.)