Alien Nookie

Not all science fiction is going to involve sex.  Not all science fiction is going to include aliens either.  But the odds of humans and aliens having sex in sci-fi romance are pretty good.  The odds are even higher if you’re like me, writing erotic SF romance.  But there are a couple of roadblocks.

Warning: the rest of the post may be considered graphic and offensive.  Proceed at your peril.

When I think about what life might be like on other planets (and yes, I do believe in alien life) I think it’s wildly improbable that aliens would have any similarity to us.  Even if the differences are not insurmountable in terms of language and atmospheric barriers… you’re gonna have to be sexually attracted to them.

If there is mutual attraction, the bits on both of you that are supposed to feel good when rubbed together need to align in some manner.  All this is predicated on the assumption that the aliens will be sexually active and will derive pleasure from the activity.  While sexual activity is not limited to reproduction, there’s a reason it’s called sexual reproduction and my guess is asexual reproduction would be more common in alien races… would they even have similar desires?  And somehow, this all has to be built into a sexy read with a happy ending?!?

We’re a long way from the grease paint aliens in Star Trek.  There are a lot of considerations when including alien sex in a book.  (The movie Galaxy Quest touched on this very subject… and although it was done in a very humorous way, it’s kinda makes my point).  The trick is to make the aliens… well… alien but at the same time include enough characteristics to make them appealing, at least for romantic fiction.  I understand tentacles are popular. *wink*

I have an upcoming release, Spice ‘n’ Solace, where I’ve prepared the way for my aliens to boink humans, although they do not in this particular book.  And I did find it a challenge, especially since the inspiration for my aliens were Ankylosaurs — oh, those paleontology courses finally paid off!  In fact, that’s where the aliens’ name comes from.  I don’t think I actually come out and say it in the book, but it’s their resemblance to the dinosaurs — bipedal versions — that prompts humans to call them Ankylos.

Aha – you try and figure out how spikes and armor plating are conducive to sex with humans!  The real answer is I cheated, but I hope I did so in a believable manner.

Now, I read a book several years ago – granted, it was not a romance – that included sex with aliens.  It demonstrated a couple of potential issues (many of which, I suspect, were the author’s).  Anyway, there were a group of alien criminals who landed on Earth.  If I recall, most of them were basically human looking, although they were all different species.  At one point they get drunk at a party.  Rapes occurred… resulting in several women’s deaths.  One of the aliens had a barbed penis that essentially cut the woman up from inside.  Another had highly acidic bodily fluids… I’m sure I don’t need to spell this out.  This was not AT ALL sexy.  It’s been years, and I’m still horrified by this scene — mostly by the viciousness, but partly by the improbability that the only real difference was fatally incompatible sexual organs.  I mean, really?

Anyone care to share some titles that have a realistic relationship with an alien?  Especially aliens that aren’t essentially human?

KC Burn

14 comments

  1. Everyone knows that the only differences between us and ET are fatally incompatible sexual organs!
    You’ve actually hit on the surefire way to pull me out of a story, no matter how much I adore SF Romance of the erotic kind. I need an explanation when a story intros human/alien nookie. Even if it’s a nod like, everyone’s descended from Earth & evolved in such and such a way. Wave the magic wand. I need it, because I can’t suspend my disbelief that there are aliens out there that not only evolved in a sexually compatible way just for fun’s sake, but to make babies?
    If the story even addresses that the alien/human matchup can happen for fun but procreation isn’t possible, I can even let myself go with it. But, when we can’t procreate with another species on our own planet with only a 2-5% difference in DNA makeup? (that 2-5% difference changes depending on latest news/research)
    It really does throw me right out of a story. Can’t help it.

    Great post KC. Truly enjoyed it!

    1. Yes, this is definitely one topic that I find it difficult to suspend disbelief — I need at least a token attempt to make it believable. Of course, since I write gay romance, I don’t have to worry about the surprise hybrid baby :)

      1. I wouldn’t say that if I were you! I’ve read a human/alien erotic SFR with a pregnant man!

      2. :) Well, that would be quite the surprise, wouldn’t it?

  2. I love the alien/human relationship stuff in books. Actually, I liked Stephanie Meyers’ The Host. Of course, the aliens inhabit human bodies so the sex is still human. And one other that I thought was funny and strangely great was Susan Kyle’s The Morcai Battalion. It’s silly and simply written but I really enjoyed it. Oh, one other is the Alien Huntress series by Gena Showalter. It’s a convoluted mess and the characters are ascerbic, but I love them!

    1. Hi Jen! I love it too — if I didn’t, I wouldn’t care about the issues :) I’ll have to look up your suggestions – I haven’t read any of them!

  3. I’m used to envisioning most aliens looking like humans, likely thanks to pop culture. “Roswell”, “3rd Rock from the Sun”, and “V” for example all contain aliens that pass for humans. I’ve also read quite a few books where aliens and humans are similar enough in body type/structure to have sexual relations (“Contact” by Susan Grant and “Touched by an Alien” by Gini Koch are 2 off the top of my head). It doesn’t bother me or turn me off from the book.

    Does that mean I think if aliens are out there, they look just like us? No. But I don’t think it’s completely and utterly impossible, either. And I’m willing to go with it for the sake of a good story. To me, it’s better than the alternative – aliens with barbed penises that would rip apart a human woman. Ewwwww. *shudders*

    1. Hi Meghan. Honestly, it’s easier to envision aliens that can pass for humans, but V is a special case… I find it difficult to believe that the creatures they are inside would, with any regularity, be attracted to humans, since initial attraction is so often based in the visual. And of course, they have to throw in the hybrid baby, which is well and truly where they go too far, in my opinion anyway. I did like Contact… and most of Susan Grant’s books — there are always exceptions :)

      1. With V, the lizards have been experimenting on humans for a while with the sole intent on creating a hybrid. That’s interesting and I’d expect it to cumulate in offspring between Lisa and Tyler. However, then Ryan and Valerie had an oops baby and ruined it. I understand they had to have an hybrid baby in there as a nod to the original series, but I thought they would have done it in a more sophisticated way.

        Also, I remember seeing somewhere that Spock’s birth was made possible by technology and that because of a chromosomal mismatch he should be infertile. You’d think we’d see this sort of plot twist more often.

        In my novella The Spiral Path, the heroine is a Chimeran, meaning that she has a parent from each of the two known parallel dimensions: Terra and Creed. Going on the idea that there are infinite dimensions in the multiverse — some very similar to our own and some very different — everyone is technically human. However, each dimension vibrates at its own unique frequency and people can’t cross over for very long. Most children conceived from cross-dimensional unions don’t make it to term because of this, but the few who do are Chimerans and can live in either dimension indefinitely. They’re bodies self-regulate.

        Oh, and then there’s the character who’s been stuck in a wormhole for eons. She does have pure energy tentacles. :)

        @Jen B.: Thanks for the reminder about The Morcai Battalion. I’ve had that on my TBR list for a while and forgot all about it!

      2. Hi Lisa! Yes, the V accidental hybrid baby is about where I gave up on that show, like you said, it could have been handled better — because genetic manipulation? I can totally suspend my disbelief for that. And I’m perfectly happy with stories of humans in different dimensions or humans that have been transplanted onto different planets. Your novella sounds great… I’m so far behind on my reading list!

  4. Anne McCaffrey’s Freedom’s Landing series did a good job with human and alien relationships. It doesn’t have explicit sex but it deals with the cultural issues involved when several species of aliens are dumped on a planet and left there to sink or swim. Love get’s blurred between species, but no babies. In the second book they deal with the cultural solutions to the problem, thought that part wasn’t terribly romantic.

    1. Hmmm. I’ll check that out. I love McCaffrey’s Pern books, but I never read the Freedom’s Landing series. Thanks, Charlie!

  5. I’ve been sick for the last two weeks so I am late commenting – sorry! Of course since my series – the Confederacy Treaty with Carina – has LOTS of alien/human sex I have to say that I had a lot of fun writing it, but that it is total esacpsim. I do say that most aliens are very different from humans, so much so that only one type is allowed to meet for the initial treaty. This one kind, the Inarrii, are similar enough that sex is very much a go, although it can often be telepathic. There will be no babies though. DNA is far too different.

    1. I hope you’re feeling better, Lilly! I was away this weekend myself and after just two days without internet, I’m still getting caught up. I love the idea of telepathic sex! Very cool, it’s on my list to read (oh, the TBR pile… it’s awesome and scary all at the same time).

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