Wait. What? They did that where?

We’ve all read them – those books where the sex just doesn’t make sense. Recently, I’ve stumbled across several that made me cringe.

have_piano_sex_20121015_1115238297For example, in Laurell K. Hamilton’s latest (and I know, I said I’d never read them again, but I can’t help it – it’s a compulsion at this point!), the main character Merry Gentry gives birth to triplets. About a week later, she’s having sex. With multiple men. To be fair, it isn’t penetrative sex, but still. No, thank you.

In a fantasy novella I read recently (name withheld to prevent major spoilers), our intrepid hero stabs his ex-fiance (don’t worry, she’s a bad witch) and kills her, then stabs his uncle through the heart (he’s bad, too), pinning him to the floor. He and the heroine then proceed to have sex next to two dead bodies. As soon as they are done, her father walks in, and grants them immortality. Because why not, I guess.

And in Tessa Dare’s Three Nights with a Scoundrel, the hero sits the heroine (who is deaf) on the piano in a house he is looking to purchase, realizes that the vibrations are….having an additional effect than just having her “hear” the song he’s playing, and decides they need to have sex. On the piano. In the house the realtor left them the key for, with the promise to lock up when they were done. Honestly, now I’m trying to remember if they locked up when they were…..done.

And it’s not always just the sex itself – there are moments that are just inherently not sexy. Like decontamination showers. Lost in a frozen wasteland. Funerals (at least wait until after, please?). Being kidnapped by terrorists (like, actually in the process of being kidnapped. Not the time to stop for a quickie!)

(On a side note – let’s just ignore how actual, historical pirates were generally not very sexy – being kidnapped by pirates in a romance novel is just about the best thing that could happen to your historical heroine. Blame it on the good, old-fashioned bodice-rippers.)

I’m not the only one, though. I’ve heard stories of sex on horseback (oh, so many), in children’s playgrounds (it was in a slide. Why?), and sex in a fighter jet (just….how?!?). Here’s what some of the other AAR staffers have to share about awkward sex and inappropriate moments.

Jenna – My example involves sex at a most inopportune moment. In Linda Howard’s Mackenzie’s Pleasure, hero Navy SEAL Zane Mackenzie has just rescued heroine Barrie Lovejoy from Libyan terrorists who had kidnapped and tormented her. The two are forced to remain in hiding before they can escape. Barrie is terrified that if they are captured, she will be raped, so she begs Zane to have sex with her so her first time won’t be a rape. They have crazy, orgasmic sex while hiding from terrorists in some hell-hole, knowing that at any second they could be discovered and killed. I don’t think that having hot sex with kidnap victims you’ve just rescued is taught in BUD/S.

Bylthe – While I’ve seen my share of improbable romantic suspense “we’re being chased by a killer, but now seems like as good a time as any to get naked” sex, I think the one I actually found the most ridiculous was in Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond. The hero has a broken leg and still manages to have sex with the heroine IN A BATHTUB. The logistics are mind boggling.

Lee - In a recently reviewed romantic suspense story, there’s a scene where the group escaped from the wild and crazy woodman and the older pair stops to have wild and crazy sex in the hot springs. Unbelievable!

Caz – I’m sad to say that I’ve read many a sex scene which has left me scratching my head, and can’t remember much about any of them, but the one that sticks with me was in an historical from a début author that I read last year. (It’s A Little Night Mischief by Emily Greenwood – my review is here http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=9556)

The hero and heroine are, for some reason I can’t remember, sitting on either side of a locked door, and he brings her to orgasm simply by talking to her. I can’t figure out if this is an early manifestation of Tantric Sex, or an attempt to do something different that crossed that line between “hot” and “laughable”. To this day, this is known as “the infamous doorgasm scene”.

Haley – I think the most memorably bizarre sex scene I’ve read would have to go to Marsha Canham’s Across a Moonlit Sea. The hero and heroine get it on thirty feet above the deck of the ship like they’re acrobats or something. The way is was described made no real logistical sense to me, personally, but it does offer the opportunity to describe it as “frigging in the rigging”, so that’s fun. Overall, though, that is actually a really fun, bodice-ripper style pirate romance.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean we didn’t enjoy some of these books. Personally, I’ve read many, many great books with WTF moments that in the end I really enjoyed, and even re-read.

And I’m ignoring many of the cliches like public toilets and beaches that are just a thing. I never did get the whole beach thing – talk about sand in uncomfortable places!

What about you? What are your head-scratching moments? Sex scenes or sexy moments that make you wonder?


Books mentioned in this article are available here:


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24 Responses to Wait. What? They did that where?

  1. Shannon says:

    Julie Anne Long – Since the Surrender (Pennyroyal Green 3)

    They go into a museum to investigate the disappearance of her sister. It’s set up as very sneaky and covert (they have to unlock their pistols beforehand because it would be too loud to unlock it while inside) and yet they manage to have sex against an ancient bureau. And then, they go back and do it AGAIN in a Henry VIII bed!

    • Caz says:

      Don’t the H/h in Sarah MacLean’s “Nine Rules…” have sex in a museum they’ve broken into? I’ll have to look it up…

      • Elysa says:

        No, they just have a private conversation in some alcove or behind a screen in the museum, they may have kissed but that’s it. The mist improbable intimacies in that book were when she sneaks into the fencing club and his gentleman’s club.

  2. lauren says:

    Sometimes I laugh so hard I pee my pants at some of the ridiculous sex scenes.
    One that comes to mind is a Monica McCarty Highland Guard, the hero and heroine are in a skiff about 8ft long with a small sail during a violent storm and yet they are able to stay in the boat and have rocking sex.

  3. Robin says:

    What about Lisa Valdez’ book, PASSION? the H/H meet and have sex behind a screen in an exhibition in a museum while people are viewing the exhibition!! It was a good book and caused quite a stir in its time but still–sex behind a screen while hundreds of people mill around is bad once–but this H/H keep doing it day after day.

  4. Pamela (aka pwm in mi) says:

    While I love Jill Sorenson’s work, the idea of wanting to have sex while trapped under a collapsed freeway because an earthquake has rocked the city was far fetched. Adding in decaying corps, no bathrooms, or showers and escaped convicts on the loose, did not turn me on. It was a fun book but really quite silly.

  5. HaleyAAR says:

    I will say, even though I used the Canham book as my example, it is one of my favorite pirate romances (in spite of the ridiculous sex).

  6. Paola says:

    In Karen Robards’s Nobody’s Angel, the heroine goes searching for her sister in a garden, she meets the hero and they have sex on the floor of an open pavilion.
    In Anne Stuart’s Fire and Ice the heroine absolutely needs to have sex with the hero while the villains are minutes away from them.

  7. Eggletina says:

    Nodding my head to those who mention the ridiculous sex scenes when lovers are on the run and in dangerous situations (usually in romantic suspense).

    Jenna… I had the same reaction to that scene in Linda Howard’s MacKenzie book. I know there is some psychological validity to couples wanting to have sex if they think they are going to die soon, but it’s rarely done believably in romance. Similarly, I am always troubled when heroines who’ve just been raped, beaten or otherwise physically abused by a villain want to immediately (while still in danger and recovering from physical wounds) have sex with the hero to replace a bad memory with a good one. Many a book has nearly hit the wall with that one.

  8. MaryK says:

    Princess of Thieves by Katherine O’Neal. Sex in the rigging of a hot air balloon. That’s really all I remember about the book.

    • Louise says:

      I remember that one. The heroine was terrified of heights, so this was the hero’s bright idea to help her get over it. Just made me dislike him intensely. And then there’s another part where he leaves her tied up alone while the bad guy is on the loose, which made me utterly despise him.

  9. Ani Gonzalez says:

    Sex on horseback always puzzled me. I also remember a book where the H/H had sex on top of a flying dragon. I was seriously skeptical and the fact that the dragon was sentient didn’t help.

  10. Blackjack1 says:

    As a horse owner and rider, I have to say “no,” just no, to sex on the back of a horse. It’s difficult to know where to start with just how wrong this scenario is.

    • Paola says:

      There’s a long sex scene on horseback in Elizabeth Lowell’s Too Hot to Handle. They just touch each other and it seems believable, but I know nothing about horses.

      • Blackjack1 says:

        I haven’t read it! Generally, it’s like driving and you should keep your eyes looking where you’re going, otherwise, horses, unlike cars, have a mind of their own. I see so many people “check out” while riding, but I also see so many accidents on horses.

  11. cc says:

    I don’t remember the book (thankfully!) but the couple has sex in the middle of the afternoon, in a garden, on the ground, in THE SNOW! Sorry, no.

  12. willaful says:

    I just ran into “the bathroom floor” in an old Diana Palmer. GROSS!

  13. Maria M. says:

    There is the Balogh novel – A Notorious Rake, I think – where they have sex in a public park (some kind of open air shelter) because she’s terrified of thunderstorms, and that it his way to calm her down. They don’t even like each other. I like Balogh, but that really stretched my credulity.

    (BTW I have written a romance myself, and the only sex takes place in a comfortable bed, in privacy.)

  14. I cringe at books where there’s sex on a beach. Neither salt water nor sand are lovers’ friend.

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  16. Nikki says:

    I’m trying to locate two books and their authors. The first has a sex scene where the female is given an aphrodisiac after being captured and has a plum placed in her vagina. When she’s rescued she has sex on horseback to relieve the orgasms caused by the drugs. The second book has a sex scene where a woman disguised as a man breaks into her neighbor’s house and is mistaken for a thief. When he discovers she’s a woman he has sex with her on his bedroom floor and hits his head on a radiator before orgasm. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Aubrie says:

      I am also looking for the book where the heroine has a plum used on her I have googled and googled and nothing pops up.

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