Friday, February 09, 2007

What's SEX got to do with it?

Remember that Tina Turner 1984 chart topper "What's love got to do with it?" Sex and love--certainly not synonyms, but so

I write romance, so the question of sex and love crops up frequently. What's a proper balance? The genre allows a wide range of variation, from inspirationals (love, but no sex) to erotica (which some people would say is sex, but no love--well, many people would say pure erotica is outside the romance genre entirely, but you get my drift). I would venture to guess, however, that the amount of sex in your middle-of-the-road, garden variety romance has increased markedly since I was a young teen in the, um, well, let's just say the latter half of the 20th century, ok? Certainly the amount of sex in the general media--radio, TV, cinema--has.

Is there too much sex in romance novels now? I've heard some readers say they just skip over the sex scenes. They'd be happier if the bedroom door stayed firmly closed, thank you very much. Hmm. Well, that's not me, though I do sometimes find myself scratching my head, thinking, "Is that physically possible??" And I'm not a huge fan of "insert tab A into slot B" scenes, either. I mean, I want to read a romance, not a sex manual.

As I writer, I don't mind writing sex scenes--just don't ask me to read them aloud! I like writing interactions between my characters, whether they are arguing, teasing, or making love. Action shows emotion--and the act of sex can reveal the nature of the characters' love for each other.

So, what about you readers and writers out there in the blogosphere? What's sex got to do with it? Is there too much in today's romances? Should we close--and lock--the bedroom door? Have things gone too far...or have they not gone far enough?


Eve Silver said...

A well written love scene holds my attention, but as you said, Sally, "insert tab in slot" just isn't interesting. I read romances with a wide range of sensuality levels, and the truth is, a good read is a good read. For me, it isn't the sex that does (or doesn't) hold my interest, it's the skill of the author. I think each author should write what they feel best represents their story, and if that means closing the door...fine...if it means opening the door really, really wide, that's great too, so long as the writing captures me.

meardaba said...

I'm perfectly comfortable with all the sex in romances novels. As long as the sex scenes aren't boring, I'll read them. I've been known to skip sex scenes, but mostly because I've felt that the scene was not warranted at that particular time.

It's all about the writing.

As for sex in the's not the sex I'm against, it's the objectification of women that gets my knickers in a twist. On TV, in magazines and newspapers, in ads, whatever, women are reduced to body parts: breasts or legs or ass. It makes women look less human, and less real. That leads to all sorts of bad things.http://

Lois said...

Yep, it sure seems like there is too much. However, as long as you can find a variety of books out there, ones with a lot to ones that keep the bedroom closed, and as long as it's not for the sake of throwing a sex scene in, but for character development or plot or whatever the proper term should be there ;) then why not right? :)


Ann Christopher said...

Hi, Sally--

Eve and Meardaba are right--it's all about the writing, and the emotion between the characters.


Sally MacKenzie said...

Well, guys, it sounds like we all agree--it comes down to the writing--and the character development. If it fits--it's ok. If it's gratuitous, it's a downer. And as Lois says, it's good that there's variety to meet everyone's tastes.

And meardaba, I couldn't agree more with your comment on sex in the media!

Little Lamb Lost said...

Yes it is dependant on the writing but there are also times when I am simply in the mood for a steamy romance, or a romance that focuses much more on the emotional relationship rather than the physical one. To that end, I would hate to see sweet romances disappear just as I would not want to return to the times when erotic romance were considered very unacceptable. Wishing for a well written book goes without saying.

Cindy Miles said...

What a great post! I agree that it's definitely the skill of the writer keeping my attention. A well-written love story can have the bedroom door closed and still be sexy as the devil!