Thursday, September 14, 2006

Let's Talk About Sex...

No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens. ~ Abraham Lincoln

A group of writing friends and I got into an interesting discussion about sex in romance novels. Not all of us write romance, but all of us have read it at one time or another.

I don't read erotica because it doesn't make sense to me, anymore than a porn movie does (and, I know, there were dozens of gasps of horror because I *sort of* just called erotica "porn"... But, really, IMHO erotica is porn with a plot. But that's just my opinion). I don't think I'm a prude, but I am reading for a ROMANCE. I want to watch two characters fall in love, not in bed (at least not immediately).

I don't have a problem with the H/H in my books having sex. I do have a problem when it doesn't make sense, when it seems inappropriate to the situation or thrown in because there needs to be a sex scene every so many pages.

I recently read the first couple of chapters of a Sillhouette Intimate Moments that opened with the heroine being tortured, and finding out that these same bad guys had beaten her father to death. She trapped, shes terrified, she knows she's going to die. The hero swoops in (a man she'd never before laid eyes one), beats up the bad guys and chucks the heroine into a truck, driving away.

She looks to see who her savior is, and is immediately (and dramatically) turned on by his looks. She's hot, and if they hadn't been running away from the bad guys, probably would have leaped on him in the front seat of that truck.

Sorry. Didn't work for me.

In one of my comments to the group, I said: With the popularity of Erotica and Harlequin's Brava stuff, I think most writers feel obligated to throw in wild monkey sex every so many pages. And if the characters aren't having sex, then they must be thinking about it, even if they're running barefoot through the rain forest, pursued by a horde of killer racoons.

Give me sexual tension. Give me long looks, and soft touches, and teasing kisses. Give me the need, but not the act. Make me want the hero as badly as the heroine does, but don't give him to me (or her) right away.

Nora Roberts does this in many of her books -- most notably her "Three Sisters" trilogy. It was fantastic.

It's how I want to write. What about you? How do you feel about how books are being written nowadays? This is a hot button for a lot of people, and I'm wondering how much hate mail I'm going to get...

The floor is now open.


Ceri said...

You're so right. A few of my stories are written with Blaze type lines in mind and of course it's expected, but I by far enjoy the build up. Take Eureka, for example, the relationship between Carter and Allison is perfect. You know there's something there, but if they were to act on it too fast then what? The tension would be gone. I for one, would be disappointed and miss it.

I'm going to make a conscious effort to increase the tension and decrease the actual "deed".

jqkhg-jabbering queens kick hugh grant

Judy said...

No hate mail here. I'm with you. It's the tension that's the thing with me. And, it's not just in writing. Back in the "olden days," once David and Maddie got together in Moonlighting a lot of the enjoyment of the show went right out the window.

I'm not opposed to sex in tv, movies, books, real life ;-) but make it realistic. Make it a natural, keyword natural outgrowth of the development of the plot and the character development.

There are people in real life who bedhop and think nothing of jumping into bed at the slightest provocation, but I don't know that I want to read about them.

Tori Lennox said...

I'll admit I like some erotica. Depends on how well it's written. That said, I have yet to toss my kids in bed (or anywhere else *g*) and probably won't. If they do end up there, I'll probably close the door on it because it's just not something I want to write. Plus I'm not sure I'm really writing romance. It's more something with romantic elements. :)

But the slow build is a lot of fun to read.

anno said...

You'll get no argument from me, either. Tension is just a lot more arousing(and probably harder to develop) than the "action" scenes.

Plus--here's my controversial idea for the day--sometimes these women who are always hot-n-ready seem targeted more at men's fantasies than women's, and I've occasionally wondered if such "heroines" are just as improbable and potentially damaging as the fashion models who define our standards of beauty.

MaryF said...

That SIM does sound unrealistic, but I remember targeting them and being told, "Up the sexual tension." Sure, in its PLACE!