Thursday, July 20, 2006

Let's talk about sex

Everyone else is doing it, so I figured I’d bring up that all-consuming subject. Why? As an erotic romance writer, of course sex is the driving force in many of my plots and almost all of my character interactions – in CERTAIN stories, mind you. As a romance author first and foremost, I also write about characters who aren’t always in a state of sexual arousal.

I’ve been noticing in the romance novels I’m reading recently [not erotic romance mind you] that even though the hero and heroine don’t actually get horizontal until much later in the book, or very close to the end, they do think and talk about sex almost constantly. Nearly every scene seems to be sexually charged, sexual thoughts interrupt the characters’ actions – and while I can suspend my disbelief from the rooftops if necessary [let’s face it when you’re a fan of the vampire with a soul whose heart belongs to a vampire slayer who lives on the hell mouth, you have to accept a lot of wild ass stuff], I find I draw the line at instant, visceral sexual arousal.

Maybe I’ve been out of circulation too long. I don’t know. I mean I’ve seen hunky guys that have made my jaw drop, but I find it hard to swallow that a heroine can meet a hero under suspicious circumstances [a dark, stormy wine cellar, for example, or a demon bar, for instance] and within seconds she’s wondering what he could do to her with his...er... tongue. Conversely, the hero, who is busy saving himself and the heroine from evil vampires, bio-terrorists or an army of carpenter ants [whatever big bad is starring as the villain in the book] he’s stopping every few minutes give serious consideration to tearing off her clothes and indulging his suddenly raging desire.

Pul-ease.

No, really. I love love at first sight, and the hot steamy, sultry relationships that sizzle from the moment two people lock eyes – but I still think there are circumstance under which it’s inappropriate to be thinking about sex – specifically when you’re immediately engaged in eluding a murderous evil of some sort. During a break in the chase, getting hot and heavy is one thing, but when a hero is using one hand to dial 911 and the other to fondle the heroine, I go...give me a break, buster. Come on.

Call me old fashioned, but I think sex begins in the brain. Sure physical attraction is important, but the best relationships are cerebral – a hero and heroine need to have that rapport established. They can find each other attractive and sexually stimulating, but when they meet on page 2 and on page 3 they’re internal monologue has already turned to imagining a hot and heady encounter, I’m lost.

Is it just me, or is there a trend toward the instant sexual relationship that may be fine in erotica or even erotic romance, but are just a little too fast for the regular romance genre?

6 comments:

Annalee Blysse said...
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Annalee Blysse said...

This week I set a mainstream romance down four chapters in because except for the hero admiring the heroine for sticking up for him in one scene, pretty much all the hero has been thinking about is the heroine's boobs. When the bad guy stared at her boobs, it bugged her. But, when the hero ogles her she's pleased. So far the hero hasn't said anything particularly nice to her. To me this is part of the definition of TSTL. Falling for a guy with the exact same qualities as the bad guy can't lead to HEA. It gets worse. The hero slept with another woman with the heroine in the bedroom. Then the next morning, for various reasons he tossed up her skirts to check her out. One good thing is when the bad guy wanted to toss up her skirts and take a peek at her naked butt, the hero was kind enough to insist the bad guy have his wife do the checking. There is a reason for all this, but about the time she had to strip for the wife too I didn't care anymore. This plot element didn't bug me at all the Goldie Hawn movie... Overboard (I was getting them mixed up!)... where the hero is teasing her about the cute little heart-shaped birthmark on her derriere. She's got amnesia and he needs to prove he's her husband, so he has this information only a man whose seen her naked can.

Back to the book... Being mainstream, this "sex" is all described with very flowery language but I quit reading because I can't fall for the hero. It's like the author tried a bit too hard to get sex into the plot at every turn, and it just isn't sexy.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

I just saw your post, Annalee. You've hit the nail on the head. I know men think about sex a lot, likely more than women do, because let's face it, we're often too busy to think about sex [lol] but sometimes it just gets out of hand.

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