Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tiptoeing Through the Minefield

Sex or no sex, that is the question. Okay, I’m being ‘cute’ but today romance authors are thinking very carefully before they sit down to write that next novel.
Why? Because somebody sneaked in when we weren’t looking and moved the the great delight of readers and writers alike.
  Nowadays, a reader can search online and find stories that run the gamut from literary porn to erotica, to “Mommy porn”, to romance with sexual elements, to sweet romance. And there are readers for every level of sexuality. We all know readers who enjoy several levels, and why not?
  I have a writer friend who claims that a book isn’t a romance without some sex. “It’s bound to happen,” she argues. “When a man and a woman love each other sex is a natural result, so why not write about it?”
  “Because it’s not necessary.” This from a friend who writes “sweet” romances. “It may happen, but do you have to describe it?”
  They come to an impasse every time.
  There are arguments to support both points of view, and when you get right down to it, it’s up to the reader to choose her preferred level of sensuality.
  I write romance because it’s the genre that makes me comfortable as an author. By its very nature, romance is an emotional subject, and I like to develop the emotional side of my characters, along with the inevitable conflict that arises between them. I’ve written books with sexual elements as well as books where the two main characters go into the bedroom and shut the door. The constant is that there is sexual tension because I don’t see how a romance can be realistic without it.
  Paramount over everything is the story. I’ve made up stories about people all my life. Does that make me a voyeur? Perhaps. I see a couple sitting in the park, or a man and a woman meeting at a coffee shop and my imagination takes off–sometimes without my permission. I also like a good story line with my romance. It’s not the main ingredient–the book is a romance after all–but I like to weave in a surprise, or a twist near the end that makes the reader smile. Maybe they’ve already figured it out along the way, but when it’s revealed, they can say “I knew that”, and finish the book with a smile on their face.
  Because that’s what it’s all about, after all...entertainment. Enjoy.


  1. I do the same thing--making up stories about people I observe. Because I write sweet stories, I write about love and chemistry. I have no problem about what other people write--we each choose our genres. Interesting discussion. Thanks.

    Jane Myers Perrine

    1. Hi Jane:
      So relieved to know I'm not the only one. Fun though, isn't it? Thanks for reading.

  2. I have a harder time with the sweet romance aspects, and find the steamier sex comes more naturally in my writing.

    There is so much sex in life that does not always coincide with a strong alpha male who's good looking and successful.

    There is so much sex in life between people of all types - and not always is there romance and love involved. Yet, sex plays an important role in life and to downplay the non-romantic aspect is to exclude part of the human experience, IMHO.

    Romance doesn't always proceed sexual tension, nor does it survive in the long haul. Yet, love and romance are powerful experiences and I'm not knocking those who can recreate those moments, nor those who crave to be lost in the world of those moments.

    As for me, honestly, I've always had a hard time reading most romances because they seem like fantasy-land to me. So much, "...he finally took his eyes off me, and I thought I'd melt into the floor" after the second meeting... moments.

    Too much fantasy-land, where all the men are yound and successful and of course, "fantastically good looking." And all the woman are strong and smart, yet vulnerable and easily angered (thus the tension ... )

    Honestly... at the end of the day - the best part of most romances I was ever able to finish were the better written sex scenes, that managed to get my juices flowing.

    So, to me - I think Romances are about the sex - at least in part.

    But, if I'm looking for that result in my reading, I tend to find more satisfaction (so to speak) from well written erotica - even if some of the characters turn out to not be so sweet, enduring, or even loving....

    1. Dear Shop:
      Thank you for the insightful comment. There's nothing I like more than to learn what readers want. So few people are this honest.

  3. I'm glad you posted this. I often list my "racier" romances as erotica, but that's a misfit too because they don't contain enough sex for erotica (as in almost every single page. lol) I don't "close the door" so it's not "clean/straight out romance, so what is it? Maybe we need to come up with a new catagory: Romotica? Eromancia? LMAO, well I guess we'll figure it out somewhere. I'm thinking about listing my next one as romance and putting a disclaimer in the description saying it contains language and sexual situations not suitable for younger readers or ... hum, should I say prudes? Maybe not.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. OOPS! Still learning this "reply" business. Had a typo.
    Dear Miss:
    Thanks for the comment. I share your dilemma, as my books are about half and half regarding sex or no sex. I suspect that with the explosion of erotica available on the internet it's becoming an either/or situation. When I have explicit sex in a book I put it in the description - as you mentioned. There's not much more we can do for readers who don't want to be offended by the inclusion of a sex scene.