Look, I understand that on-page sex in a romance novel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And thankfully, there are a plethora of “closed door” romances and every heat-level in between to indulge everyone’s different idea of the perfect romance.
But, to me, taking the sex out of a romance novel would be like taking half of the clues out of a mystery. Sure, the case is solved at the end, but you don’t have all the details of how it came together.
Now, do I love the sex scenes for the sake of sex scenes? Hell, yes, I do! I’m a kinky girl with very little shame, so I want to read them no matter what. However, that being said, a sex scene done right isn’t only about the smoking hot physical stuff, it’s also full of emotion—yes, I said EMOTION. Sex scenes in a romance novel aren’t (or at least shouldn’t be) like reading the assembly instructions for furniture! (Making sure there was an ample amount of lubrication, he lined up Bolt A with Hole B and inserted it completely until the screwed Nuts at the other end were flush against the opening… Um, no thank you.)
The characters not only go through a myriad of physical sensations, but emotional ones as well: insecurity, fear, confidence, madness, frustration, elation, revelations, and so many more. Personally, I’ve never written a sex scene that hasn’t altered—either for good or bad—the relationship in some way.
Let’s face it; a couple’s sexual relationship is a HUGE factor in their lives. You can be the perfect couple outside of the bedroom, but if you’re not compatible in the bedroom, there’s going to be trouble in paradise. And, unless you’ve taken a vow of lifelong celibacy, EVERYONE has sex. So why pretend like it doesn’t happen? Why gloss over what happens between a couple sexually? I hate not knowing what happens in those moments. Was it hot and heavy? Slow and easy? Two minutes or two hours? Did one of them hold back or was it no holds barred?
I once read an interview with my all-time favorite author, Gena Showalter. She told of an early experience she had at one of her book signings, where a woman walked up to the counter and commented with a look of disdain on her face that Gena’s books were “those trashy novels.” Gena’s great response was, “What’s so trashy about love and monogamy?”
Indeed! (And I’d also add polyamory, because let’s give it up for our favorite menage and “why choose” novels!) Why are the books categorized as ROMANCE considered by a large majority of the public to be “trashy?” For that matter, why is everything sex-related considered so taboo? Go into an adult bookstore (which, for the record, I’m not sure why the word “book” is in there, because I don’t believe I’ve ever actually seen any books in those stores) and you can get something as innocently cheeky as penis- or boob-shaped pasta to things you didn’t even have the imagination to conjure up before walking through the door. But does that mean that any of it is wrong and shameful? Of course not! It means there are different things that float different boats, and everyone’s (safe, sane, and consensual) boat deserves to…float. Okay, that analogy got a bit confusing, but you know what I’m saying.
The same goes for what we write or read in our romance novels. Whether the sex is missionary and vanilla or upside-down and kinky, it’s a vital part of the characters’ relationship.
The sex scenes in my new release, The Dark King, are some of the hottest I’ve written in my decade-long career. Caiden, who is a Dominant involved in the BDSM lifestyle, introduces kink to Bryn at her curious insistence. The scenes start in the “shallow end” of the kink pool and get progressively “deeper” as the story unfolds and their relationship deepens.
Could the plot stand on its own without those scenes? Yes, I believe so. But I also believe that if I hadn’t shown them, it’d be harder to believe in Caiden and Bryn’s connection. And if we can’t get our readers to relate to the characters and invest in their ultimate HEA, then we’ve failed our readers and our characters.
And that, my friends, is why I love books with smokin’ hot sex.