The first sex scene in a romance novel: WHEN?
The first sex scene in a romance is a pretty big deal. It's a high point in the story. The hero and heroine meet, get to know each other and develop feelings; the first love scene is the culmination of their attraction, the animal magnetism, the gut instinct that tells them they have to be together. So here's a good question: when should that scene take place in the story? Too early and the reader might feel rushed and feel like there wasn't enough time to get invested in the characters' relationship. Too late and the reader will get bored and perhaps abandon the book, tired to watch the characters go hot and cold for each other. And yet the question is further complicated by genre!
For example, romance writer Savanna Fox times the first sex scene in her novels differently depending on whether she's writing contemporary or erotic romance: "Readers of sexy contemporary romance don’t mind if the first sex scene doesn’t occur for a while, as long as there’s sexual tension and flirtation along the way. An erotic romance needs a premise that will get my couple together sexually quite early on.... In my erotic romances, sex is one of the first interactions that happens in the book. It’s a catalyst for each partner to examine fears, desires, and feelings for the other person as sex evolves into romance and love."
How about you? Tell us about your romance and how you've timed the first sex scene and why. Or perhaps you write sweet romance and there are no steam to speak of? GO!
--edited by Nevena Georgieva on 1/27/2014, 10:21 AM--
Super great question, Neve!
I am very curious about this as well. I am reading an Erotic Romance right now and I was just shocked at how quickly the sex scene happened, mainly because the characters had barely even spoken to one another and the circumstances for their sex scene were just ludicrous.
That said, in my WIP I have a sex scene in the first chapter. I've written and rewritten the first 100 pages of this particular WIP approximately 3,000 times and I finally decided that the sex scene needed to happen as soon as possible. But what I am trying to do is trying to have the characters farther along in their relationship when the book begins, so that they can believably get intimate super quickly.
Curious to find out what other folks say. Was on my mind a lot in my reading and writing this weekend!