As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been glomming Lorelei James’ Rough Riders contemporary erotic romance series. Seeing as the sex scenes in these books are more explicit than in the romances I usually read, it got me to thinking about sex scenes in general and how I usually skim them, even in books by authors I really like.
As far as I’m concerned, sex in romance novels is not essential. The sexual content should fit the story. I’m happy to read romances in which the bedroom door remains firmly closed, and those in which sex is an integral part of the hero/heroine’s story arc. However, I’ve noticed that I tend to skim the sex scenes in many so-called mainstream romances as they often read like directions in a sex manual.
I am of the firm opinion that the vast majority of romance novels shouldn’t contain more than one sex scene. Beyond the couple’s First Encounter, most of the extra sex scenes are tedious and take away too much time from the rest of the story. Note: I am generalising wildly here. There are authors of mainstream romance who can make sex scenes work, no matter how many they have in their books, for example Victoria Dahl and Jill Shalvis.
Erotic romance is not a subgenre to which I feel particularly drawn, yet I’ve read a couple of authors lately who’ve made me reassess this stance. Lauren Dane and Lorelei James both manage to write explicit (and frequent) sex scenes in their books without skimping on emotional development. It’s a skill, and one which I’m pretty sure I lack in my own writing. Lorelei James’ books are particularly impressive in this regard as her Rough Riders series is long (ten books plus two novellas so far) and has a large cast of characters. She succeeds in making each of her cowboy heroes unique and I care about them and their extended family.
Do you skim sex scenes in romance novels? Do you think more than one sex scene in a romance is too much? Have you tried erotic romance? If so, which authors would you recommend?