Saturday’s Child: Imaginary Lovers

I prefer sexual tension to sex.

There’s a reason the characters in my novel don’t kiss for more than two-hundred and fifty pages, and it isn’t because they aren’t hot and bothered for each other after a scattering of charged dialogue. One, because it is so much more fun as a writer not to give them the things they want straightaway, and two, as a reader, the payoff is so much sweeter if I’ve been sucking my own lip for fifteen chapters in hopes they’ll get the hell over themselves and shag or snog with the wanton abandon of the young and stupid. Because I’ve never been (young). I’ve over thought just about every single thing when it comes to the opposite sex since I was old enough to develop a crush on a playmate in kindergarten over a rousing game of Hi Ho! Cherry-O.

The standard fare just isn’t enough to get me hot. It’s all bodies; no heart, no brain. Give me Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest or Son of the Shadows, especially, Tamora Pierce’s Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen, or of late M.K. Hobson’s Native Star. If I’ve read Dreadnaught Stanton purging himself in blood and desperate clinging to Emily once I’ve read it twelve times. I don’t need or want a love triangle unless it’s a reasonable complication (and not something conceived of by editors to drive teenage girls wild; I’m looking at you). And while I want love and my fair share of understated lust, there’s got to be more driving the story than the human hyperdrive to procreate.

Some of the best science fiction television programs, especially, do better than throw me a literal bone when it comes to romantic subplot. Farscape had more than Muppets with John Crichton and Aeryn Sun, and Star Trek: Enterprise’s third season boasts some of their best writing and more of Trip and T’pol than I thought I’d ever see. Don’t get me started on Ten and Rose (and don’t watch if you haven’t seen the whole of their story).

Suffice to say, I’m a sucker. But you’ve got to work for it.


11 thoughts on “Saturday’s Child: Imaginary Lovers

  1. Mary Jo

    “I’ve over thought just about every single thing when it comes to the opposite sex since I was old enough to develop a crush on a playmate in kindergarten over a rousing game of Hi Ho! Cherry-O.”

    Me too. It was bad. Really bad. It’s amazing how simple things can be once you’re married and the biggest decision is made, right?

    “I prefer sexual tension to sex.”

    Only in literature. In life, this preference definitely reverses. Haha!

    1. Jillian Kuhlmann Post author

      “Only in literature. In life, this preference definitely reverses. Haha!”

      Too true!

      Though, I still don’t know what’s going on in my husband’s head approximately 85 percent of the time. The remaining 15 percent, I expect, he’s thinking about sex. Or maybe it’s the reverse?

  2. Lar

    I’m with you on this. I love the buildup of romantic or sexual tension in a story. It never fails to get me to wonder if they are going to act on their feelings or desires. I also prefer romantic tension to strictly sexual tension because it is usually deeper and in most (not all) cases, there is underlying sexual tension at least implied.

    As for love triangles, I have a unique perspective on that. I’m in a very unique situation as far as my relationship. If you’d like insight, you can email me about it and I’d be happy to tell you.

    I remember Hi-Ho Cherry-O. Girls were icky when I used to play that. Girls were pretty icky until I hit 12-13 years old. Then they were just scary. They remained scary until my 20s.

    Hmmm, I don’t know your husband very well but considering his age and gender, I’m going to say his thoughts are far closer to the reverse.

    As always, a pleasure to read your stuff!


    1. Jillian Kuhlmann Post author

      I find love triangles in literature are rarely written to my satisfaction, or maybe it is because I always end up preferring one of the possible love interests to the other. They also feel particularly more like plot devices than legitimate conflicts in a lot of contemporary genre fiction.

      And as always, many, many thanks for reading and commenting with stuff for me to think about!

  3. andimalex

    If you have not already then you must read the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld. It is everything I think you’d enjoy, and the sexual tension quite maddeningly wonderful; though the ending is predictable it is no less sweet.

  4. Kristin Brumley

    You’re a Tamora Pierce fan, too? =D I personally enjoy the Wild Mage series the best…I was such a sucker for the love story between Daine and Numair. I still occasionally find myself pulling those books out for bath time soaks.

      1. Kristin Brumley

        That’s generally her audience, I would say…especially her earlier works. I wouldn’t recommend her Circle of Magic series, but Wild Mage…(or rather, Wild Magic?) is all about this girl who has amazing magic with animals. I’ve probably read them 3 or 4 times in the past 12 years.

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