Passion influenced by the moon?

April 28, 2008 at 6:00 am (AJ Hampton, General)

Need. Lust. Burning desire. Gripped in the cusp of passion and the driving need to mate, all the outward characteristics fade until the only thing that remains is the animal attraction. The salty taste of flesh. The smooth, slick feel of skin. The smell of sex. The heavy sound of breathing.

The inner feminist in me cringes at the portrayal of women and their “need” to breed. Yes, the biological clock ticks insistently in some of us, but most women tend to be more reserved about their need to be ravished. At the same time, the dark romantic in me craves the intense mating of two people caught up in a maelstrom of desire.

In some cases males must show their worth, their dominance to win their mates affection. Who doesn’t want men fighting at the chance to prove what a wonderful lover and provider they would be? Lets face it, dominating males are sexy as hell (in fiction at least!).

Writing in the shape shifting genre gives us a unique opportunity to blend reality with fantasy. A clever writer will build their world and the uniqueness of their shifters. What traits make their book original? Do they shift in a magical burst of light? Do their animals crawl out of their skins?

Recently Lori Devoti wrote an amazing post describing some of the different “types” of shape shifters. (To read that post, click this link).

That being said, one of the best examples of shape shifting and the effect the moon has not only over the animal inside of them, but the libido as well is the Riley Jenson – Guardian series by Keri Arthur. She’s built her world in such a way that casual sex is hot, dangerous, and irresistible. Not only was there romance, there were several intense scenes that drew me inside of Riley’s world. When in the moon’s cusp, nothing matters but the need. I found it liberating and erotic to see a woman so comfortable with herself and what she wanted.

Done correctly I feel the need to mate can bring an erotic feel to the book that doesn’t overwhelm the plot. Done incorrectly, your heroine is a tramp. It can be hard to unblurr the lines of lust and love when caught in such a fevered coupling.

Where do you, as a reader, an author, draw the line between animalistic behavior and social norms?


  1. Darla said,

    Alot of it doesn’t bother me as it adds to the real feel of the story, but in my opinion sex in shifted form especially when one is in shifted form and the other isn’t, is a bit too far for me.

  2. ajhampton said,

    I have to agree Darla. That is where I draw the line too. I know a lot of publishing houses are very strict about bestiality, but curiously enough sometimes they have disclaimers that list exceptions for scenes in shifted form.

    The closest I’ve come to reading anything remotely like that is Katie MacAlisters Aisling Grey books. Her dragon lover sometimes flickers between himself and his beast while they make love. Its done very tastefully, so I don’t mind at all.



  3. Destiny Blaine said,

    Hi AJ!

    I love this, “Lets face it, dominating males are sexy as hell (in fiction at least!)” and you make a strong point—in fiction they’re sexy as hell. In real life? They can, on occasion, be a general pain in the sitter-downer!

    Destiny Blaine

  4. Harry~DayDream said,

    I agree on everything you guys said. Besides they moon makes people act all sorts of ways. It’s only natural to increase their sexuality as well.


  5. Selena Illyria said,

    Firstly, great blog post. :-). It’s hard but I try to find a balance when doing a shifter story.

  6. Robin Snodgrass said,

    I think as a reader that I overlook a lot of overbearing qualities in a male shifter and the whole “mating” process that I wouldn’t put up with in real life. I think the dominance in a shiter romance is sexy and sensual as long as both partners are happy and satisfied at the end of the story. Animalistic urges exist in everyone, but in a well written shapeshifter book, they come to the forefront and the reader is swept up in the story completely.

  7. AJ Hampton said,

    Destiny – LOL, I love it. “A pain in the sitter-downer.” How politically correct of you! I’m a firm believer that what I like in fiction strongly opposes what I like in real life. It’s like having a split personality sometimes!

    Harry – I’ve noticed, even as a kid, the effect of the moon. There is just something magically about it.

    Selena – Thank you so much for coming out and supporting me! I love having a blog about shape shifters; it’s really great to find out other people’s opinions on one subject. I’m learning so much already and we’ve only just begun!

    Robin – LOL. The “mating process.” Well put. And yes, being happy and satisfied is important. I think the same goes for any subject in fiction, if its well done and has a reason, there is no limit to what can be erotic.

  8. Savanna Kougar said,

    Hi AJ, great blog, moon-enlightening! Since I write shifter stories, I’ll chime in. I think there’s a balance between the lusty heat and the feelings the heroine and hero have for each other. Sometimes passion brings forth the opportunity to love at a very intense level.
    And in Red Lioness Tamed, there is a scene were she’s shifted to her lioness woman form, which is totally natural to her kind, and erotic and exotic to the hero.

  9. Lori Devoti said,

    So far as reading, I’m not so much into the casual sex driven by animal need thing. I do however love a good alpha male character. That in part is a lot of the appeal of Patricia Briggs Mercy series. I think she did an excellent job with the alpha male weres. I also love Clay in Bitten for the same reason–but while those males are driven to claim their respective heroines, its personal. They want THAT woman–not just any woman because the moon is at a certain place, etc.
    That’s what I think is sexy. 🙂

  10. shreela said,

    I learned a lot about what ‘supposed alpha-male traits’ turned me off while waitressing in nightclubs when I was younger. One of the trendier places I worked at was frequented by a ‘biker group’ that didn’t wear known emblems; they dressed ‘tough’ but stylish. They were all extremely attractive and well-toned. Men didn’t mess with them, and most women watched them as they walked by, including me. I managed to become one of their backup waitresses (which was hard, since they tipped good in addition to being hot).

    I went to that nightclub as a customer one night, and the leader recognize me, which thrilled me, until he hugged me and I saw in his eyes that he had been partying harder than usual. He kept pulling me to his body, and my infatuation quickly turned to self-preservation and anger. It was too late for me to use any ‘lighter’ moves I knew since he was holding me so close to his body. He finally let me go after seeing the bartender climbing over the bar (my friend’s fiance), and realizing I was yelling: “Let me go you stupid jerk”.

    So I didn’t enjoy an attractive, dangerous ‘alpha-male’ making uninvited physical advances on me after all. It ticked me off, and triggered self-defense mode instead of making me swoon.

    A few years later, I waitressed at a less trendier place that didn’t have as strict a dress code. Occasionally a different biker gang would come by; they were more outlander’ish, but tried behaving themselves when they went out to non-biker establishments, and didn’t wear emblems (even with the looser dress code, emblems were still forbidden). I never waitressed on them because I wasn’t “one of their girls”.

    But one night the leader reached out towards me, putting two fingers into just the waistband of my shorts, and slowly pulled me towards him, smiling a playful ‘come-hither’ look the entire time. It totally caught me off guard because we had never exchanged words, or even glances. And although he towered over me (I’m rather tall myself), and appeared quite strong with defined arm and shoulder muscles, I didn’t feel physically threatened because I could have easily gotten away from him at any time.

    But I didn’t try to get away immediately because I my body was too busy responding to him and his actions. Within just a few seconds my breathing changed, my face felt flushed and my eyes were probably embarrassingly glittery. I’m sure others part of my body betrayed me too as he pulled me to him, until our bellies just barely touched. That’s when I backed away, he did nothing to try to prevent me, but he did continue the dark smile, eyes never looking away from mine. Ahem, I had to pull myself together a few minutes after that happened.

    To me, a true alpha male has the smarts and finesse to know how to be assertive in a way a woman would respond to, instead of aggressive which triggers our fight-or-flight response like the other ‘wanna-be alpha male’. These preferences apply to my stories too, and I’ve quit authors if their ‘hero’ was overly aggressive without balance.

    Many commenters also brought up one partner being shifted, while the other partner isn’t. Thankfully I haven’t run across that yet, but I most likely won’t return to a series that includes that.

  11. Michele Hauf said,

    Ah, that animalistic behavior that comes with the moon. Or is it always there, and is just heightened at different times of the month? As I type this I’m wondering if the male shifters sort of have ‘cycles’ similar to our own female monthly cycles. Thier’s results in the shift or howling or a fierce devotion to seeking a mate. Ours? Well, we can be crabby, and occasionally howl, but I haven’t seen any shifts (at least not in myself). 🙂

  12. Marcia Colette said,

    Sad to say, there are some people out there who don’t draw the line. Already I’ve had two people say to me, “I’ll read your book when we’re talking animal on human.” My response to that, “When you find a cheetah who’s willing to go at it with you like that, let me know. I’d love to interview what’s left over for research purposes.”

    I can take just about anything when it comes to animal behavior and social norms. In fact, I love crossing the lines, but only in regards to tasteful matters (family life, education, careers, etc.). However, when it comes to bestiality, that’s a line that needs to be constructed out of reinforced concrete walls.

  13. Cynthia Eden said,

    Great post!! Like the others have noted, I try to find a balance with my shifters, but they can certainly get primal when the situation calls for it. 🙂

    Wonderful blog site!

  14. teresadamario said,

    For me, it’s important to remember the difference between alpha male and bully. Sometimes we authors go over that little “line” and cross into bullydom. I think that was one of the things that was different in SheWolf. A true alpha male respects strength, and respects females. Getting that across without losing some of the alpha traits in fiction is very difficult.

    I’ve studied different animals and it’s interesting to note than in wolves at least, the mates look for strong mates, both masculine AND feminine. They want a female who can keep up with them, and in some places, keep them in check. 😀

    Kieran is called an “Uber-Alpha” in one of my reviews, yet in the book he never commands her, never orders her, and always respects her. He may threaten, he may shout, but he doesn’t go over that line. He shows his alpha traits other ways, with other people. He has no need to intimidate his mate. She’s his partner, and lover.

    All that being said, I find alpha very sexy – though I’m not into crossing over into the hairy type during mating. I like that sexy, salty skin, the flesh I can feel and touch. Fur is best left in artificial type, on a blanket. LOL

  15. Rebecca York said,

    Shreela, great post. You’ve given a good demonstration of the difference between fantasy and reality. It’s fun to read about these guys, but encountering an aggressive male in real life is different.

    I write pretty hot love scenes, but I know they are not as hot as some other authors. My guys are aggressive, and they may be driven by lust. They might think they aren’t able to stop, but they wouldn’t dream of forcing themselves on a woman who wasn’t enjoying their attentions. They are always as focused on satisfying their partner as on their own satisfaction. Their own vulnerabilities are always right at the surface when they make love.

    Angela Knight once said she has a rule about sex with shapeshifters. Both parties should have the same number of legs when they make love. I think that’s a good rule.


  16. shreela said,

    @Michele Hauf: “I’m wondering if the male shifters sort of have ‘cycles’ similar to our own female monthly cycles”

    Since human females’ cycles often sync, supposedly because of hormones we don’t know we’re sharing, I’d bet that human males sense it as well. Then with the heightened scent that most non-human mammals have, I’m guessing they’d more than ‘sense’ hormonal changes. The moon probably magnifies it that much more.

    @Marcia Colette: ROFL, excellent comeback!

    @Rebecca York: You’re on my TBR list. “RETURN OF THE WARRIOR”, ooh ancient conspiracy theory, and “BEYOND FEARLESS”, I ‘sort of’ know someone like the hero, so naturally I’m drawn to it.

  17. fermale domination said,

    Thanks, very interesting.

  18. Liza Curtis Black said,

    LOL, Loved this post. I have to say I’m guilty of reading the borderline “in shifted form” stuff…and I wince that I have but…

    maybe he could just need a shave when their ‘engaged’ so to speak…more hair on the chest? (versus on the back).

    Face it, we do love our alpha males, but as noted above, if we met them in person I suspect we’d merely think they were jerks. Nothing particularly sexy about that!

    (and I’m in awe of you all…I’ve read you over and over again. Fan-delirium here!)


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