As a result of Kate's graphic detail as a doctor, the graphic details of her personal life would seem to be... required to maintain voice, wouldn't they? Cooking and cleaning and doing laundry. Gathering medicinal herbs. Sewing. Kissing and petting and hands under her skirts and... ?
In my science fiction, the level of graphic detail was much lower. There were fewer sharp objects to get disemboweled with, after all. And I had no problem shutting the bedroom door at a reasonable moment. In the years since I walked away from Kate and her fantasy epic, I settled into this set of assumptions when it comes to bedroom activities (wherever they may occur):
- My readers care about the characters, therefore my readers want the characters to have good sexual experiences.
- It's possible that the readers and I agree on what constitutes a good sexual experience, but it's more likely that we at least partly disagree.
- Therefore, I should let my readers supply their own definition of what my characters did when they had a good sexual experience because the readers will enjoy that more.
- The exception being the deliberately erotic cutting-room-floor scenes that I write for personal entertainment.
Getting back to Kate, she is challenging me to be far more graphic than I have been since I switched to science fiction. And while describing gore in detail can be difficult, there is something to be said for knowing that she's there to help and heal.
Describing erotic adventures can be just as difficult, honestly. Not because I'm embarrassed to talk about them, but because they are so intensely character-driven. That and you have to keep track of all the arms and legs and clothes and furniture -- it's really just as bad as tracking all the swords and bodies in a fight. But avoiding her sexual experiences would short-change an important part of her story. There are important consequences.
Which is more challenging for you: graphic violence or graphic sexuality? Do you avoid them? Why?