I'm sorry if this is a bit of a spoiler, but I have to post a warning before posting the next chapter of my book. If you are okay with reading a sex scene that is not graphic, you may skip the rest of today's explanatory post for now and read it after reading the chapter I'll be posting here on April 8, 2008. I don't think the "Gratuitous Love Scene" chapter should pose too much of a problem since (if anything) it's less explicit and less controversial than the corresponding scene from part 3, and nobody complained about that. Still, I'd like to give a little explanation:
First of all, this scene was the inspiration for one of my most popular (and infamous) posts: An Immodest Proposal: Sex on the first date?. When I wrote the Gratuitous Love Scene chapter, I just wrote what to me is a romantic love scene. Once you've read it, you probably mock me for this since the story is pretty nerdy and perhaps even a little corny. But after writing it, it hit me that I was kind of (unintentionally) thumbing my nose at convention since a woman isn't supposed to think that a romantic first date should involve sex. So I wrote my "sex on the first date" essay while remembering this chapter and laughing at myself for my unorthodox attitude towards love, sex, and romance.
Second of all, why did I call this scene "gratuitous"? In a novel called Exmormon, it's naturally an in-joke about Mormonism. Mormons aren't supposed to watch R-rated movies because of all the sex (although the violence is less of a problem for them, as I discussed here), and I'd heard too many people say things like "It would have been a good movie if only they'd cut out that one scene"). You don't even have to have watched the film to know what scene they're talking about: it's the sex scene. And, really, whether the scene was integral to the story is irrelevant -- for Mormons, every single story that has a sex scene would be improved by cutting all the sex scenes out.
In the case of this scene, it's gratuitous in the sense that you can read the entire rest of the novel -- skipping this one chapter -- and you won't be going "I don't get it. What happened? What's going on?" However, it's not superfluous in terms of the overall story structure.
Lastly, I'm glad to be finally posting this chapter. It's one of the faves among those who have read the whole book. Plus, over the past year almost everyone who reads any part of the online edition clicks on this chapter at least once, and I hate turning them away empty-handed. Even if you learned in sexual purity class that you're the only one perverted enough to think about sex, my stats tell a different story... ;^)