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How important is sex to you in a Romance novel?
Alex Rosa
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 2:13 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 14

Recently while posting my romance novel on another site, I had originally wrote more detailed sex scenes, but when posting I made them PG-13 (still raunchy) but no rated R. I recently had a comment from an avid romance genre reader, who said she LOVED the story, but felt a little short changed in reference to the sex scenes. Calling them specifically a tease. haha. I asked her about it and she said for woman who read the genre, that is something they want. Kind of an odd question, but I just wondered how important is sex in the books you romance books you read?

To keep this raunchy topic less awkward (that's if it is), I have to personally admit. I like sex in my romance novels. There I said it.

As I edit/redraft my story, I am considering adding more to those scenes.
Maya Starling
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 2:23 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45

It depends for me.

I like some stories to have the raunch... and they're usualy the erotic romance novels, but sometimes (less often), I like it soft and not R rate... but then again, how far and how much makes it R rated? Where's the line?
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 3:09 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 17

I find that if you read romance novels, then you know which brands you like. For example, Harlequin Blaze is geared towards more of the raunchy side. Personally, that is the only line of Harelquin I read because I prefer sex in romance novels.

In everyday relationships, the meshing on the emotional and physical levels is key to building a strong relationship. So, I believe showing both in a novel is healthy and required.
Alex Rosa
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 3:13 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 14

good question. When I got the comment I giggled a bit, only because I did tone it down. Maybe I should do what others do and post R rated chapters separate to see how they're received. Just thinking about including it overall when posting on here, and even in it's editing/publishing future.
I've read some books that are overly graphic for my taste, but I do like raunch. She had commented and said it would make the story MORE adult, even though it already is. Hmm. Where is the line I wonder?
Alex Rosa
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 3:14 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 14

I prefer mine steamy too, Harlequin is a good example for sure.

I toned it down, but maybe I'll bump it up to more of what my reading standard really is
Danielle Bowers
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 5:05 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280

Do you think she felt shortchanged because of your tone leading up to the scene?  If you built up the sexual tension over the course of a few chapters then glossed over the sex scene the reader may have that reaction.

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 5:58 PM
Joined: 4/30/2013
Posts: 2

I think the line lays in the wording.  Avoiding some words in the same exact scene can tone it to raunchy instead of erotica.  I will admit though, lately, and it happened with one book that appealed to me in other ways I guess, that I think I fell over a few of my lines.  Some words that really put me off in some scenes now don't

And I get what Danielle is saying.  I do feel short changed if everything is hot and heavy and then suddenly "they wake up the next morning"  I've been guilty of that, even went back and rewrote some scenes to be more gradual about closing out the scene.
Kim Fry
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 11:34 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 3

Well, I like sex in books. I like it when it's well written and it doesn't feel like I've got porn. I don't want to read it on every page, but skillfully scattered makes for an awesome story. Sex is a basic part of most romantic relationships, it's natural. 
TE Hauxwell
Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 2:33 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 18

I have to be in the mood for steamy and if I am I'll usually pick a novella, something that I can read in an evening. Full length novels that contain a lot of erotica frequently don't keep me entertained as they tend to emphasise the sex over the relationship building. For a full length romance novel one or two steamy scenes in the latter third of the story are fine as long as it's in character and appropriate to the time period etc. But in general I don't mind being left at the bedroom door if it makes sense to do so.

Alexandria Brim
Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013 3:16 AM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353

I agree with TE. Especially the part about sex vs. relationship building. I do tend to see that in a number of romances. While I have enjoyed my share of sex scenes, I also have enjoyed ones that leave it up to the readers' imagination. I believe everyone has different things that they find sexy and I know I like putting together my own scenario while reading. So I employed a bit of a teasing approach to my own sex scenes.
Alex Rosa
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 2:20 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 14

Thanks everyone for the input. I normally write all the tension, and build, amongst some banter. I write maybe half way, (maybe a little less) through the sex scene and end it with a witty line. Maybe that is short-changing people? I do agree, the relationship build is important, and I think the sex can be too, as long as it isn't too much. Again, I had edited them to be more pg-13, maybe I'll bump them up a bit and write them all the way through for the most part. I think it can give the book a more adult feel to it too.
Michael R Hagan
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 7:11 PM
Joined: 10/14/2012
Posts: 229

I thought it time a bloke added a view to this, thus far exclusively fairer sex discussion.
In reviews I've been correctly advised that my action/fight scenes were a little too detailed.
The comment pointed out that it shouldn't take longer to read the action than it would take for it to actually happen in real time.
For this reason, being a mortal man, and not the stuff of romance fiction, I have no problem with the sex scenes............ how far wrong can I go with two sentences?
At least this is one area where I won't need to further reduce my wordcount in attempting to make my lengthy book more attractive to publishers.

C M Rosens
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 7:55 PM
Joined: 5/8/2013
Posts: 25

I'd be interested to see if there's a difference between the way a man would write a scene and the way a woman would write the same scene...

Men are more visual, allegedly, while women are more emotional/sensory... and men use fewer pronouns, apparently.... Hm. From a lexicographical perspective that might be a fun study...

*killed the erotic buzz with that last comment*

Michael R Hagan
Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2013 9:36 AM
Joined: 10/14/2012
Posts: 229

Well, in an attempt to replace the eroticism ... for a male-written sex-scene, I can recommend Andrew Richardson. He does a range of historically influenced books and some erotica... the title usually makes it obvious which is which.
Personally, I've tended to skip over some parts, giving the build up, or the aftermath. But in my book the sex can be found in two places; once to misdirect the implied direction of the plot and intent of the MCs, and once as a prelude to blackmail spurring a political agenda... not so much for the scene itself................... or you might infer that I chickened out.
If you would like a peek as to how I approached these (though I'd be hesitant to pretend to represent male authors in general) the two scenes can be found in The Desolate; halfway through Ch 16 and right at the start of Ch 18.
The latter is more about power than sex, but I'd be curious what you guys think.
Michael R Hagan
Posted: Monday, May 13, 2013 6:03 AM
Joined: 10/14/2012
Posts: 229

P.S. Hard not to kill eroticism when one's avatar is a baby.
N K Navarro
Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2013 2:09 PM
Joined: 4/29/2013
Posts: 2

I'm all about sex in a romance novel but writers should build before 'giving it to the reader. I think that foreplay/teasing helps to build the tension.  Laurell K. Hamilton does this well in her Anita Blake series.
Alexander Hollins
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 6:41 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416

Well, I have had it assumed once based on a lesbian scene I wrote that Alex was short for Alexis, lol. So I would say its more the style of the writer than the gender. 
Toni Smalley
Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 7:23 PM
I am not an avid reader of the romance genre, but have read many of J.R. Ward's novels. What I like the most is the tension scene to scene, especially when they hate each other at first - the light brush of stolen touches, locking eyes briefly with those expressions that say they want more, constant obstacles that keep them apart, all of it boiling, boiling to the rim of the pan until the pressure cooker explodes and they finally kiss. That is what gets me the most is that moment, anything after that is meh.

As far as the act of love-making, I like it when the author injects the emotions the two characters are feeling, what it means when they are touching each other, exploring one another, not thinking about the impending doom of tomorrow nor the horrors in their past. I like the connection to be so deep that their sex scene reaches down and roots itself deep within their souls. So, I suppose this means, when I read 50 Shades, I threw it to the floor with the ongoing raunchy scenes that meant nothing to me. I hate that. When they carry on and on, and eventually the book is nothing, but raunchiness. I think these scenes can be steamy without being raunchy. 
Alexander Hollins
Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11:50 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416

, I like it when the author injects the emotions the two characters are feeling, what it means when they are touching each other, exploring one another, not thinking about the impending doom of tomorrow nor the horrors in their past. I like the connection to be so deep that their sex scene reaches down and roots itself deep within their souls

And this is, to my mind, the difference between erotica, and porn. Totally with you on this. 

Andrea Matthews
Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 12:01 AM
Joined: 6/8/2013
Posts: 25

I'm not a big fan of sex scenes just for the sake of having them.  I think they need to have a purpose, to further the story, or perhaps give you more of an insight into a characters personality.  Romance is more important to me.  Of course, if that romantic loves culminates in a steamy bedroom scene, I'm not going to complain.  Too many times I've read authors that throw a sex scene in every time their characters turn around.  The hero is going off to war, the heroine is heading down to make dinner, the hero has to sneeze . . . but first, stop everything while they get all hot and bothered.  I read one story where there were so many sex scenes, they lost their appeal.  The hero was on the verge of death, I wanted to find out what happened to him, but I had to wait while he and his love cavorted in the heather. 
     I think how the sex scenes are handled is also important.  I like it when the characters get together and make love, not when they simply have sex.  I guess what it comes down to is I don't want to feel like I'm reading porn.  I want to read romance.  But that's just my opinion for whatever it's worth. 

Rachel Anne Marks
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 3:36 PM
Joined: 1/23/2012
Posts: 36

I agree, I don't think you should raunch it out just for the sake of being more explicit. Every love scene should be what it needs to be, to move the character/story forward.
Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013 6:35 PM
Joined: 10/7/2013
Posts: 65

I think it depends on what you believe the story needs.  If you think the story would be improved by detailed sex scenes, go for it.  But don't feel you HAVE to add them just because "the audience" demands it.  I enjoy good romance stories with or without the sex.  It doesn't really matter that much to me as a reader.  If I really want raunch, I know where to go; certain authors are known for hot and steamy sex scenes.  Ex:  Amanda Quick.  I originally wrote my manuscript in a semi-X rated way, but when I took the sex scenes out, I discovered it was a better story without all the sex.  Our imaginations can fill-in-the-blanks sometimes.  

And now I have a question:  My heroine is a "good-girl" (yes, they do exist!) and fears sex somewhat. (She expects marriage first; it's just part of her personality makeup)  Do you think that will put readers off?  


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