Powered by Bravenet Bravenet Blog

Janitor On Duty

journal photo

February 11th, 2007

1:06 AM

We need more sex in erotic romance

Oo-er!

No, I'm not kidding when I say we need more sex in romantic eroticas, romanticas, erotic romances, or whatever we call those books published by pretty much nearly every online publisher nowadays. Since I've been reading more and more of these books recently, I notice one distressing thing: there's not enough sex.

By this, I am talking about all those ebooks with naughty covers and epublisher blurbs that promise me threesomes, foursomes, doggy sex with werewolves, and more but when I read them, I get very disappointingly mundane love scenes. I think we need to redefine what "erotic" means in the erotic romance or romantic erotica label for these books.

Is "erotic" simply a word to mean "more explicit"? How explicit is more explicit?

A while ago, there were a furor when Robin Schone wrote a scene with anal sex and there were the usual pearl-clutching that later died out when everyone decided to write such books as well. So for a long time "erotic romance" simply means "same old love scenes, just add anal sex". And now, I can see the trend happening - only now, it's the same old love scenes, just add BDSM after the usual vamp/furry/ghost obligatory ingredients.

There is just no imagination in so many of these ebooks. I regret I can't say that I live a varied and colorful life when it comes to sex, but that doesn't mean if I didn't experience threesomes before, I wouldn't know at once that the author isn't really into a love scene in her story.

What makes a sex scene work? Well, there's no way getting around the fact that the market is geared towards women, even if more men are reading them, so the whole "women like to read about emotions more than graphic slot A/slot B mechanics" principle applies. However, I don't find many ebooks that succeed in describing the erotic sensations of the sex act. Many of them are so perfunctory and half the time I'm convinced the author has no idea what goes in actual BDSM play when she writes such a scene because these BDSM love scenes follow the same old pattern from ebook to ebook, kinda like a bunch of virginal schoolgirls adopting another virgin schoolgirl's description of sex play to be incorporated into their own fanfictions. Same with threesomes. I laugh when an author describes a threesome simply as two men waiting for turns to get at the heroine.

Come on, authors! Go watch a dirty movie if you need inspiration for threesome mechanics. Common sense will tell you that a woman has three body orifices feasible for sex. Nine if you ask the Japanese but everyone knows they live on a different planet from the rest of us so their opinions on sex don't count. Two men, three body orifices. And all you can come up with are the two men patiently waiting to go one after the other? I've read an anthology, supposedly an erotic one, where the theme is food, and not one of the seven or eight authors involved thought of incorporating food into their characters' sensual foreplay. It's just, oh, the heroine is a chef, so here's the shag scene, in full missionary position glory. Or if the author is particularly imaginative, doggy style shag. Or maybe fellatio.

Where's the imagination? Romantic erotica is supposed to push the envelope, no? Instead, all I get nowadays are unimaginative nearly-vanilla BDSM scenes that even someone who doesn't do BDSM in real life like me find dull, unexciting, and often even fake. I'd love to come across stories where the authors describe feelings experienced by the characters as well as what the characters are doing during sex. And it's not just "explosive climax" - I'm talking about descriptions of taste, touch, everything. After all, sex involves all five senses - we touch, we see, we hear, we taste, and we smell. Okay, maybe I'd rather not read about the smell part. But I'd love to know what the characters are feeling. That's what makes a good sex scene for me - not just the explicit act, but the explicit feelings.

I am not the kind of reader to go "Eeeuw!" so easily - I won't read romantic eroticas if I am - so I welcome more descriptions of the sex act. I've love to know what the heroine is feeling when, say, she has the hero's penis in her mouth. Does she like it? What is she doing? How is she using her tongue? Does she like what she tastes? How does the penis feel in her mouth? The weight, the texture, the contour? Are the hero's groans music to her ears?

How about erotic verbal exchange? Does the hero talk dirty to the heroine? Does she like it? Is she turned on? Does she feel wild while he's doing her doggy-style and he grabs her hair and pulls her head back so that he can kiss her roughly from behind?

How about the sound? Is the bed creaking? Does the headboard bang against the wall?

How about the heat of the room? The sweat on their skin? The sounds their bodies are making?

I want descriptions. I want sensations. Thoughts. Emotions. I've come across sex scenes where the actual act is alluded to but the heroine's emotions and thoughts during the act are so explicitly detailed that I find such a scene too erotic for words. I've found such scenes in eroticas, but so far, very rarely in romantic eroticas. The problem I have with too many romanticas is that the love scenes are clearly written as if they are meant for conventional romance novels, only with handcuffs and anal sex and maybe the hero's best friend thrown in in such an awkwardly fake "I read this in another romantic erotica story so I'm just following what I read there!" manner that I find these stories as erotic as a dead fish.

I also have a problem with the proliferation of joke stories passed off as romantic eroticas. It is one thing to write in a tongue-in-cheek manner, but when I come across so many bad superhero/barbarian stories with sex scenes featuring bizarre gravity-defying mechanics and cartoonishly huge body parts, I wonder whether these authors want to even write romantic eroticas. They give me this impression that they are uncomfortable with writing sex scenes so they insert all kinds of cartoonish elements to the sex scenes, complete with raging penises that pour a deluge of seed that makes the heroine scream in ecstasy because she looooooves getting impregnated. It's a mood killer. I am paying for a romantic erotica, not a badly written hentai script.

The problem here is clearly the lack of quality control. Many authors who for some reasons cannot write effective sex scenes are coming out with at least one such ebook a month and I shudder to imagine how long it took them to write those 23-paged "erotic stories" that they push out at a terrifying 12-24 books a year rate. The epublishers, clearly facing the heat of the competition, will want to stay in business so of course they won't be too concerned about quality as long as someone is willing to buy them. I don't know. Currently the ebook industry seems to be at the verge of an implosion. I'm hearing stories of ebooks selling only two copies a month making it to that epublisher's bestseller list of that month. So there are more ebooks and epublishers than there are consumers, so I suspect, like the previous ebook bloom and bust in the early 2001-2002, that there will be a bust soon and only a few epublishers will be left standing at the end of the day while those who are in just for the money or those who clearly are ill-prepared to run a publishing company will be whittled out eventually.

I'm not wishing ill on any eauthor or epublisher, but as a reader, I wish there is an easier way to find some decent read without having to wade through a pile of badly-written cash-in tripe. Let me go off-topic a bit here but I also wish more e-authors will stop having this attitude that every book of theirs must sell and must be brilliant. As much as I'd like to support the ebook industry, I'd be honest here: if I'm an editor at a publishing house, I'd scream in horror if I come across some of the ebooks I've the misfortune to encounter on my incoming tray. Some stories, especially those 15-25 paged ones, are so underdeveloped and even pointless because the story makes no impact on the reader to the point that they should either be expanded into a longer story or just be kept in the author's drawer. But egads, I'm come across some e-authors who brag that they sold 20 short stories in 3 months to some people and are contracted to submit some who knows how many more short stories in a few months time to other publishers. Common sense should've warned these e-authors that any work churned out at such a rate cannot be good since they are not in the McDonald's industry. But these e-authors are so convinced that everything they put out turns to gold and the fact that they sold three copies of one book in one year is some kind of validation of their talent. But like I said, I suspect that eventually the bubble will have to burst. Such unsustainable growth of the ebook industry cannot last. Perhaps I shouldn't begrudge some people for making hay while the sun shines, but ugh, I have to read their books sometimes...

Okay, back to the topic at hand.

And perhaps I am in the minority here, but I prefer my erotica and romance to be separated so I am not too enthusiastic about the proliferation of M+/F scenes in romantic eroticas. I'm sure some couples who swing have happy long marriages, but personally, I read romance for the idea that love is something exclusive - the holy grail to be attained after overcoming obstacles, if you will. So the idea of a hero and a heroine finding love only to throw an orgy at the last chapter and invite everybody along to play cheapens the idea of a love hard won. Yes, I know, it's possible to love someone and still be in an open relationship. But many of these M+/F scenes in such ebooks are pointless and serve only to titillate someone. Oh, our heroine is in some cult that advocates compulsory gangbangs every Sunday! I blame this on Laurell K Hamilton, I really do. Just because her gangbang books sell, everyone thinks that romance novels must have gangbangs too because we readers - who are the only ones buying Ms Hamilton's books nowadays, come to think of it - love to read about our heroines becoming as wide and as busy as an expressway during peak hours.

I just don't like picking up a romantic story to find M+/F scenes. I like M+/F scenes (and F+/M and F+/M+ scenes too) but in eroticas where it's all fun and play without messy emotions getting in the way. I find it hard to reconcile the fact that the hero and the heroine just had a happy hour with the neighborhood just three pages before they decide that they love each other and they will be monogomous forever from that point. Please don't do this to me. Please don't pretend that two people who clearly enjoy spreading the love around will automatically stop doing that, especially when they clearly have no problems with being the buffet that everybody partakes in on Friday evenings. As for MMF couplings, they can work with me but again, it has to be very well-writing and convincing because it's an unconventional arrangement for someone like me who doesn't encounter polygamy/polyamory on a daily basis.

Yes, MMF can work but I find it hard to believe that the MMF thing will work happily ever after (which is what romance is all about) unless the F is an expert in juggling both Ms so that the Ms will never feel that one is favored over the other and get all jealous and sulky. So yeah, sue me and call me old-fashioned but I like my stories to be about two people in love, be it an MF, FF, or MM coupling. Three's company. More than three is something I'd prefer to see sold as erotica. At least in erotica, the authors won't try so hard to pretend that the main characters are going to live like a conventional happily married couple and therefore I will be enjoy all the naughtiness going on better.

34 comment(s).

Posted by Tilly:

I've been in your shoes. Each book I picked up seemed to be the same as the one before. When I came off the "there's nothing good out there" stool, I changed everything. I didn't visit my usual haunts or authors. For two months I only bought new and found some really good stuff.

So, my suggestion, shake it up - at the worst, you go back to the usual and hope something good will come along. But at its best, you find some real gems to keep you reading with joy.
February 11th, 2007 @ 3:31 AM

Posted by Jennifer McKenzie:

I write erotic romantic under a pen name, Jennifer Leeland. I was relieved to see some of your critera for an erotic romance. I honestly agree with you that if it's erotic, it needs to be "different" from conventional romance. I'm big on trust and I don't see how people can have anal sex and use the lastest toys unless they trust each other. A lot of my stuff involves established relationships.
In my last release, I used a popsicle. I was digging for every word for "cold" I could find. It was fun to write. And I can think of ALL kinds things to do with food fetishes.
Thanks for the blog. It was a nice reminder to me that writing erotic is NOT about just adding anal sex to a sex scene. VERY helpful.

Mrs G: Oh good, I love recommendations. Gonna Google up "Jennifer Leeland" now :)
February 11th, 2007 @ 3:59 AM

Posted by Anne:

Have you read any Sarah McCarty novels from Ellora's Cave? She does FABULOUSLY detailed sex scenes that will have you either seeking out your significant other or a battery operated device of some kind. She NEVER has left me feeling unsatisfied, and through each of her sex scenes, she advances the dynamics of the relationship of the H & H. It's really lovely how she does this. ;)

Mrs G: Will check her out. Thanks!
February 11th, 2007 @ 4:32 AM

Posted by katie:

Well said, Mrs. Giggles!
I completely agree with your point of view!;)
February 11th, 2007 @ 5:21 AM

Posted by Emily Veinglory:

I am sometimes bemused at how much sex scenes are glossed over by both print and ebook erotic romance writers. I don't mind so much about content but I do want to know who is doing what to whom, how it feels and how they feel about it.
February 11th, 2007 @ 10:54 AM

Posted by Heather:

Thank you for the detailed advice and criticism. I definitely shared this with my fellow writers.
Once again, I always look to your literary wisdom.;)
February 11th, 2007 @ 12:40 PM

Posted by WendyPortia:

What an absolutely splendid analysis! I found myself saying 'Yes!' so often I felt like Meg Ryan... :)

My concern is often that some authors who write in a fast and superficial way are so concerned with the details of the plumbing ie. the place tab A in slot B style of sexual description that they completely forget what's going on in the characters' heads. They overlook the emotional, sensory and psychological interplay that's at least as important, if not far more important than what's going on in the 'parts'...

Thanks for an excellent post that I wish I'd written myself.

love

Wendy
aka Portia Da Costa
February 11th, 2007 @ 5:03 PM

Posted by Ally:

Amen, sister! The group sex thing doesn't bug me, even in HEA romance, but I can't STAND trying to read a sex scene that ignores the senses, and especially the emotions. Some folks like to peg people like me (girls who write manlove) as pure erotica without emotion just because we write same sex pairings, but I'm basically an old-fashioned romantic at heart. I love a HEA ending, with two people in love forever and ever, and that's pretty much what my guys get :)

Um, well, except in my short stories. Those often turn out kind of dark. No idea why that is, hm...

Anyway, yeah, like you I've run into plenty of ebooks and shorts that are so light on plot content it makes me wish I had a hard copy in my hand so I could throw it against the wall. OTOH, I have actually thrown plenty of print books against the wall for the same reason, so I guess it's something you find all over the publishing industry. BTW, I also blame LKH. Where's my grumpy, contradictory, vampire-ass-kicking Anita?? Who's this non-ass-kicking chick replacing her??? I want Anita back, dammit! And Edward. I need more Edward. But that's a whole other blog topic right there.
February 11th, 2007 @ 10:44 PM

Posted by Shiloh Walker:

Mrs. G, have you ever read Joey Hill? Nobody can write a erotic romance depicting the BDSM lifestyle the way she can. Nobody.

I've written menage stories before but not often. I'm not writing the menage in just to get the little tagline on the page, 'menage' so it will sell better. If it doesn't play into the story the way the story plays out in my head, it's not worth writing or trying to force it.

Mrs G: Joey Hill, huh? Will look out for her if I'm in a mood for some BDSM read. Thanks.
February 11th, 2007 @ 11:07 PM

Posted by Jean Marie Ward:

Ditto, ditto, ditto--so much so, I don't know where to insert my "especially the part..." ;)
But I'll settle for a recommendation. Ann Vremont can't write a sex scene that doesn't play into plot and character development. Her RELUCTANT MUSE (Samhain) is a happy, fluffy case in point. But her SACRED HEART DIARIES (also from Samhain), based on family letters from the 18th century, will take your breath away. It's lush, romantic and so intense in places it's terrifying.

Mrs G: Thanks. Talk about coincidence, I was just at Samhain the other day with the mouse click icon hovering just over the "Add to cart" button when it comes to Ann Vremont's Sacred Heart Diaries but something held me back. Now, I will go back there ASAP and do the necessary!
February 11th, 2007 @ 11:43 PM

Posted by kate r:

Great entry and not just because you're at the top of your Mrs. G game.

No, it's also about me, me, me because I'm at last close to the cutting edge. I was ranting about spanking and formula and erotica *days* ago. Last Tuesday.
February 12th, 2007 @ 12:27 AM

Posted by kate r:

where're my messages going, I wonder.
they were just Mrs G! Wow!
and hey, me too, only I ranted last tuesday but not nearly as beautifully or thoroughly

Mrs G: Sorry about that - I've set the blog to moderation mode in order to zap spams. For some reason, Bravenet tools are a big red target for spams - dunno if they are behind the spams (ooh, conspiracy theory alert) or they just attract the spambots more than anyone else. I've also told Bravenet to do something, maybe a message, that lets people know that a blog is moderated but so far, no luck. Re: your blog, I must confess I didn't visit it for a while now. Now that I've read your rant, I can only say I wish I have your ability to make a concise point when I would need 500, give or take 100 for off-topic tangents, to come to the same point! Spanking is for sissies anyway, the new codeword for "Hey, I'm writing BDSM but I'm kinda noob on the whole BDSM 101 thing, since I hear they do weird scary stuff like putting rings on genitals and piercing people all over, eeeuw, but since spanking is fine, I'll just do spanking and call my story BDSM! Wheee!" I suspect actual BDSM practitioners will read one of these "BDSM! For mature readers only!" stories and either laugh themselves silly or cringe in embarrassment.
February 12th, 2007 @ 12:31 AM

Posted by Ciar Cullen:

Very interesting post, I agree with it, maybe guilty of some of it, although I haven't written menages and don't know enough about BDSM to attempt it. I write explicit sex scenes, but the reminder about emotion, the senses, is a good one. One thing, though, since we're all told hot=sales, there's a lot of pressure (not at Samhain I might say) to write multiples, or at least market your work as erotic romance. I'm frustrated at times when a reviewer writes "this wasn't as hot as some by this publisher" as a criticism. I can't identify with HEA menages (it's not in my mental construct), so I don't buy them, and I'm not a fan of "free love," so I don't buy erotica. That's just me, and evidently I'm in the minority. Maybe I'm just getting old, dunno...
February 12th, 2007 @ 3:53 AM

Posted by Jennifer McKenzie:

I have to agree with Shiloh Walker. Joey Hill is one of the best reads I had last year. "Natural Law" was recommended to me and I LOVED it. I wish I could write like she does. No such luck......yet.
February 12th, 2007 @ 5:05 AM

Posted by Ingela F. Hyatt:

Way to go, Mrs. G! I think you are absolutely correct!

I changed my historical romances to erotic based on the advice from my editor (at Samhain) -- the love scenes were nearly there anyway -- so my love scenes ARE explicit but they also involve the emotions of the hero and heroine. I have always believed that sex is the culmination of the deepest most intimate feelings a couple can have one another. I love the freedom of being able to write erotic love scenes, to use whatever language I want in the descriptions while maintaining the love between the hero and heroine. My stories have violence, language and explicit sex, because I like to accurate. There was plenty of violence in the middle ages (and every other time), men have always sworn, and sex IS explicit, even if your doing it in the dark with your eyes closed, you can't ignore that fact. But romance IS about love between the hero and heroine and should always be maintained especially in erotic love scenes.
February 12th, 2007 @ 6:22 AM

Posted by romblogreader:

I second the recommendation for Natural Law by Joey W. Hill. "Giggle, giggle, spank," BDSM it ain't, and it's got a psychologically accurate feel to the BDSM dynamic that's all to rare in smut in general, let alone romantica.
February 12th, 2007 @ 8:31 AM

Posted by Eva Gale:

Bam!

I'm guilty, I admit. It was only one story and I promise I won't do it again.

Excellent article.
February 12th, 2007 @ 9:04 AM

Posted by Amanda Brice:

Excellent article. I don't write erotica, but I occasionally edit it.

And the reminder about the 5 senses applies, no matter what you write.
February 12th, 2007 @ 10:49 AM

Posted by Fae Sutherland:

I have to totally agree on the whole thing. Especially the BDSM part. Seriously, some of the stuff I've read that is called BDSM makes me want to slap someone. Not just that, though, the sex in general I find is so....cool. Level. Where's the fire and intensity and breathless need? I never seem to see it.

I often worry I put too much into my characters thoughts and emotions during sex, but to me it's necessary. It's as necessary, maybe even more, than the tab A into slot B (though god knows that gets description out the, no pun intended, ass too). I want to know how they're feeling when that tab goes into that slot, right down the the sweat tickling their neck. And if I don't write it out I'll never know. So I do.

I wonder often what some of these authors are doing while they write these bland sex scenes. Macrame? Knitting? Watching Dr. Phil? Lord people, put on some porn and then write these things!

Fae
February 12th, 2007 @ 1:49 PM

Posted by Cerri Ellis:

You may want to try out Eden Bradley's lush, sensual writing–and Sasha White, who I feel has a lovely edge to her work. Joey Hill is also incredibly gifted, as others have mentioned.

Engaging the senses is just as important, if not more so in erotic romance, as it is in mystery, horror or any other genre.

I love to read a story so breathtaking that the characters move off the page, their world vivid and real, if only for those scant hours my eyes can spare.

When the setting itself becomes almost a third character, I know I am in the hands of a master of the craft. Or mistress. :wink:

Hmm, speaking of masters and mistresses...I think it's nice there are varying degrees of kink, since not everyone wants to read a real true-to-life BDSM story. Sure, some do, and there are authors aplenty for those readers. Which is not to say authors should ignore passion and emotion in their writing. On the contrary, sensuality should be uppermost in their minds and in their words.

I simply like the lighter side of kink. Playful sex between a couple. I mean, if it's not fun, why do it? Of course, that's just my take on the trip. Your mileage may vary. :)
February 12th, 2007 @ 2:25 PM

Posted by Cat Marsters:

I agree that in ero-rom it can be hard to reconcile menage sex with a HEA. My editor is always reminding me that menage books sell the best—and she's right—but I don't write too many because I find it hard to come up with a scenario that works.

The whole premise of the book, for me, has to be about the relationship between the three protagonists, and what kind of characters they’re going to be, or not be—for instance the possessive Alpha male, who to my mind isn’t going to want to share his woman. He doesn’t want another penis in the room, because he is perfectly capable of satisfying his woman by himself, thank you very much. If we have a couple in love, why do they need a third wheel? Is it a gangbang for a birthday present? Well, that’s very nice of you, but isn’t your couply, vanilla sex going to seem a bit dull forever after?

I’ve written a couple of stories I consider to be menage books—not just books with menage scenes—where the protagonists have a threesome relationship. But only one or two, because as I said, I need to believe the three of them can sustain this kind of relationship before I can write it. Threesome sex is all very nice, but it is often pretty gratuitous.

Not that I’d ever write a gratuitous sex scene. Not me. Never.o:)
February 12th, 2007 @ 9:07 PM

Posted by MaryJanice Davidson:

That was wonderful. As a sometime erotic writer, I promise to take this excellent advice to heart.

No, I'm not being nastily sarcastic.

No, really, I'm NOT. :P
February 13th, 2007 @ 1:50 AM

Posted by Petula Caesar:

Very interesting. I agreed with a lot of what you had to say.

One thing that you touched on was how much volume business some e-book authors seem to do in terms of how much they have published. When I first got into this as an author, it made me feel a bit inadequate to see and hear about all these authors around me with so many pubs out, and me and my one little 'ole erotica anthology "Lipstick and Other Stories" (which you were kind enough to give an 88 when you reviewed it, thank you very much for that). I always wondered how they could be writing at such a furious pace. But maybe its just me. I'm working on my second erotica anthology and I want it to be at least as good as the first one if not better, but it is taking time and effort and thought and patience on my part to build each story so it can be the best work I can produce. It's taken me the past year and a half to write about 80% of it, and in the meantime I've seen authors put out 5-105 different books. Its nice to know I'm not the only one who wonders if that many people can really be that talented.

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Maybe I'm just not good with the multi tasking as an author, but I just can't imagine how you can write so much and for even most of it to be good.
February 13th, 2007 @ 9:09 AM

Posted by Kate Sterling:

Sitting here red-faced next to Eva Gale.
Thanks for such a great article. I'll try to mend my ways.
February 14th, 2007 @ 8:21 AM

Posted by Jayelle Drewry:

I agree... with most of what you said. But a lot is also subjective. I've written a few stories. Some readers have told me sex is HOT while others have said it's Okay. As a writer I can't appeal to all the people all the time.
More sex doesn't make better sex. I have read books that are one sex scene after another and they bore me out of my mind. So I don't agree that erotic romance needs more sex. Just better written sex. I want the scene to make me hot when I read it. Sarah McCarthy is an excellent example of that. She does a lot of build up that makes the sex scenes HOT. Robine Schone does a fine job as well. I blame her entirely for my discovery of erotic romance.
February 15th, 2007 @ 7:30 AM

Posted by Joyce Ellen Armond:

Like every other part of a novel, good sex scenes are driven by CONFLICT. Too often it seems that ooops, the story stops for sex. The sex needs to be part of the conflict. Then by virtue of it being dynamic it will also be more erotic.

And I refuse to read BDSM erotic romance. It's POWER EXCHANGE, which once again implies a dynamic relationship.

CONFLICT CONFLICT CONFLICT is what we haven't got.
February 15th, 2007 @ 8:21 AM

Posted by Kathleen Dante:

I read through this and kept thinking, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" You nailed it! (Whoops! No pun intended.)

I just suffered through a ONE-PARAGRAPH (less than a third of a page) sex scene in what was supposed to be an erotic romance. It was blah! And the other (somewhat longer) sex scenes were barely an improvement. Tab A, Slot B, minimal emotions, no sensual detail. OMG, it would have been a wallbanger, except I was reading on my laptop.

Of course, as soon as I finished reading your blog, there was the immediate check for guilty conscience. Do I write like that? I sure hope not. This is a great reminder on how to engage the readers' imaginations. Thanks!
February 16th, 2007 @ 3:31 AM

Posted by Janet M:

What a great discussion, and of course I'm coming in hopelessly late. I just wanted to add that I think the problem with a lot of erotic romance writers is that they haven't broken free of the conventions of romance scenes--the cliches, the all-the-same-ness of the sex scenes, and the ultimate sin, that if writer A did it in her book, then so can writer B, C...and so on. Any romance cliches are forgiven (but not by me) as being what the market demands/what the reader wants.

Another issue is that erotic scenes are meant to turn the reader on. Squeals of "it's all about the relationship/feelings" are, in my opinion, a copout. Yes, you should have emotions and passion but also wet panties. Otherwise, what's the point? And writing erotic scenes is technically very tricky--you want immediacy and you want to draw the reader into the scene, but at the same time you want her to be able to step back and be "outside" the characters' sensations--reader as voyeur. It's hard to maintain this very complex, shifting point of view (for the writer. The reader shouldn't even be aware of the uh, manipulation).

And why--this is something I find bizarre--why don't more characters TALK while they're having sex? Assuming their mouths aren't full...
February 17th, 2007 @ 9:18 AM

Posted by Angela Knight:

Good points, well-made. I taught a class on this last weekend, actually. A sex scene is like any other kind of scene: it's got to do something in the plot, or there's no point. (Other than giving the readers warm, damp feelings.) It needs to advance the conflict -- romantic, external or internal -- or develop characterization. (My hero likes to be tied up and nibbled into a coma because he's so damned Alpha everwhere else.)

As far as exploring new frontiers goes, there's something to be said for investigating some of the web's kinkier porn. (If you can avoid computer viruses.) Sometimes they do inspire ideas.
February 17th, 2007 @ 4:37 PM

Posted by Dawn Montgomery:

Well said Mrs. G.
;)
These are things I've screamed about for ages. And I think all of us took a moment to do the guilty..."Do I write like that" thing. I've read some shorts that were filled with so much emotion and erotic imagery it took my breath away. At the same time I've read long novels by previously loved authors that put in the obligatory blah blahs and I wished I could throw my PDA across the room. Well written sex yes, more sex scenes...only if it forwards the plot. I'm so sick of the "erotic romance is popular so let's all sub" mentality. JMHO. I don't know about the rest of you guys, but every sex scene I write is draining and difficult. Why? B/C it has to be perfect in emotion,depth and yes ROFL...physical ability. :)

Well said, Mrs. G. And thank you for your honesty.
February 17th, 2007 @ 11:29 PM

Posted by Loraine Mer:

OMG! I love this entry. And I was worried about the acceptance my new writing would have. I'm working in a story about porn stars that are swingers and all that. I was writing how they love each other and to see the other having sex with other people and I was wondering if it would push the boundaries too much. I think it will not.

Thanks for helping me to decidedly go forth with it.
February 23rd, 2007 @ 9:47 PM

Posted by Suz deMello:

Mrs G has obviously not read my work. If she had, she wouldn't complain about the lack of varied sex, quality control, sensory detail, and emotion in romantic erotica.

Mrs G: Is that a challenge, m'dear?
February 24th, 2007 @ 2:44 PM

Posted by Gabriella Hewitt:

This has to be the most indepth article I have read in a while regarding erotic.

Although, I myself don't write erotica, wouldn't dare b/c I could never do the genre justice. I do love to pick up new authors like Sasha White and Maya Banks who I think do fabulous job. LKH used to rock my boat now I'm drowing in so many characters and sex scenes. Seriously, where has the story gone. And Mrs. G you did nail it with the mega-penis syndrome. Personally if I saw something that large coming at me I'd have register it as a deadly weapon. :P

I don't think only epubs aer to blame for the poor quality of erotica or romantica. Some pubs are so greedy to fill the shelves that some of these stories are little more than porn w/ pretty wrapping. Forget the 5 senses. What ever happened to a plot and characters you care about?!

I think some epublishers care more than others. Still sex sells and I amn ot above racketing up the heat level if necessary. Although I belive in the romance first and foremost. Give me a good HEA anyday and while your at it throw in some dirty sex talk in bed.:)
March 1st, 2007 @ 5:35 AM

Posted by Rhianna Samuels:

There was so much that you said that was right on the mark, the comments certainly agree. Count me as one of the followers also.

I have been telling my sister that I needed to write short stories/novella, becasue the authors that do are very much visible. Perhaps it's a bit of envy, that I have that pesky day job competing with my writing time.

My writing seems to take longer lengths and a longer time to complete. And I agree that romance requires the emotional enjoyment of sex, as well as the physical enjoyment. I can't speak to erotica, but in romance once a couple reaches the intimacy of sex, I believe they have a lot of sex and that is reflected in my stories.;)
November 19th, 2007 @ 12:07 AM