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Is it the SEX or ROMANCE?
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athena_d



Joined: 04 Jul 2007
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 6:35 pm    Post subject: Is it the SEX or ROMANCE? Reply with quote

I've been wondering around ebooks forums lately, and I notice that almost every other post or requests are for eroticas. Either it be Ellora's Cave or Samhain, these publishers seems to be getting very popular nowadays.

I was intrigued so i decided to read one because Ive always enjoyed my romances hot anyways. I decided automatically that it was not for me. There was just too much sex IMO (even though thats a stupid comment considering it IS erotica). I know there are authors out there who a lot of readers feel can pull off an erotic tale AND have character and relationship development, so I dont mean to offend anyone who has dissimilar reading tastes.

SO the question: Is it the SEX or ROMANCE that ultimately captures your interest in a romance novel?
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1481
Location: America

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The romance. If I don't care about the h/h and their romance, I skip the sex scenes and often, skip all the lust-thought scenes.
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Kelly B



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Romance for me, too. If I want to read erotica, I'll read erotica. I don't mind sex scenes in romance novels, but, like NoirFemme, will often skim or skip them altogether, unless it plays into the development of the romance/relationship between the two characters beyond just a "OMG, you are so attractive I must have you NOW." So, I'll usually skim to make sure I'm not missing character development, and if I'm not, I skip them.

I hate lust think. HATE. IT. I think a lot of authors rely on it to serve as a stand-in for the development of a romantic relationship, but I'm usually left thinking that there isn't much lasting romance there if all we see is how much the two leads wants to bone. Sex doesn't equal love. Obviously lust plays in, but when the only basis for emotion is lust, well, that's just not a good romance to me. I think it can be done well--Balogh's Simply Dangerous, for example, where the two leads are drawn together by an inexplicable (to them) attraction, but it develops from there and doesn't just use the lust as (poor) shorthand for romance.
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Retrograde



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 458

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely the romance. I find that most sex scenes are unremarkable. While I won't skip them, I skim over them very quickly. There's only a handful of authors that can write refreshing and sensual sex scenes IMO.
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Kass



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Is it the SEX or ROMANCE that ultimately captures your interest in a romance novel?

I don't read romance novels without sex in them as a rule. I don't see the point, except for Georgette Heyer (who I mostly read for humor). However, if it's a bad romance, usually it's "bad sex" as well.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 11:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Is it the SEX or ROMANCE? Reply with quote

athena_d wrote:


SO the question: Is it the SEX or ROMANCE that ultimately captures your interest in a romance novel?


Gimme both! Laughing
Seriously, though, sex is (for me anyway) an essential part of romance. I want the characters to connect on all levels: emotional, mental and physical. I do like well done hot scenes - and it's not really about the details - it's not like the act is going to change any time soon - but sex as a way to share one's love and desire. Of course, books with meaningless sex added only because it's supposed to be in it don't interest me. If chemistry between the h/h and emotions and everything else is in place but there's no sex at least of a "warm" kind I feel frustrated, as if I've been cheated out of a dessert I've been looking forward to throughout the meal Laughing

I guess that's also the reason why I don't read erotica - too much chocolat, you know! Confused

Strangely enough, when it comes to other fiction genres I'd rather not have any sex scenes at all. More often than not it would be just icky (umm Mr. Martin... do I really need to know the color of the guy's penis in a fantasy novel?)
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+IHS+

athena_d wrote:
Is it the SEX or ROMANCE that ultimately captures your interest in a romance novel?


I think that what captures and holds my interest is something which falls under both huge categories of "sex" and "romance." I love it when the hero and heroine can talk to each other. They may begin with flirtatious banter (which I suppose goes under "romance"), then progress to more torrid love talk (which would likely go under "sex"). In a really good Romance, they even develop a kind of "language" of their own because certain words have become especially meaningful to them.

Equally important is non-verbal communication. They may choose gifts for each other, for instance, which seem ordinary to everyone else but which hold great significance for them. (I can think of specific examples; Jo Beverley's heroes and heroines are very good at this. In the The Shattered Rose, the secondary hero courts his beloved by first singing a romantic song about El Cid and Jimena and then reproducing all the gifts the Cid gave to his bride. In The Rogue's Return, the heroine presents the hero with a trinket made from the bullet which nearly took his life.)
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 4:54 am    Post subject: Re: Is it the SEX or ROMANCE? Reply with quote

The romance. I've nothing against erotica in general - it just doesn't work for me. I also agree with what Natalie wrote:

Natalie wrote:
Seriously, though, sex is (for me anyway) an essential part of romance. I want the characters to connect on all levels: emotional, mental and physical. I do like well done hot scenes - and it's not really about the details - it's not like the act is going to change any time soon - but sex as a way to share one's love and desire. Of course, books with meaningless sex added only because it's supposed to be in it don't interest me.

Some authors, in the attempt to make their books hotter, have gotten to the point where the sex is boring, mechanical, and adds nothing to the plot, the charcaterization, or the relationship. I'd rather have a two page scene that's hot and adds to the novel than the 10-15 page manuals I see all too often.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the romance, I usually skip the sex scenes! In fact, I'm pretty darn tired of the overly detailed sex scenes in general, wouldn't hurt my feelings if they left them out entirely.

Linda
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Anna B



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The romance, definetly. I've tried erotic romance, and it's not for me. I'm at this party for the emotional journey, and while sex can be part of that, if it's not on camera, that's fine by me, and fine by me if it is. If I don't find scenes of any sort essential to my experience of that story, I'll skip or skim.
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MMcA



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 680

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd agree with Anna's comment about reading for the emotional journey - I look for an emotional payoff from romance, so it's never about the sex for me.
Probably shouldn't generalise about sex scenes, because I've read books with great sex scenes, and books I've felt would have been better with more sexual tension. Still, usually I skim or skip those scenes, and in those cases, it doesn't feel as if I miss anything important. And, because the sex scenes in Romance aren't what matters to me, I've never really looked at Romantica or Erotica.

And I think I disagree with Natalie - not exactly that I look for sex scenes in other genres, more that some of the more memorable writing about sex that I've read comes from outside the genre. Memorable is perhaps the wrong word. Writing that rings true.
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Kelly B



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
[S]ome of the more memorable writing about sex that I've read comes from outside the genre. Memorable is perhaps the wrong word. Writing that rings true.


I agree. I think that romance sex is pretty much fantasy sex, which, of course, feeds into the fantasy at the core of the genre. All the trappings of seduction, always a simultaneous orgasm, no weird bodily functions, realizations that this position just isn't working, etc. It's always PERFECT and AMAZING and LIFE-ALTERING. Sex is great, but part of what I love about it is the fun and imperfections that come along with it. I think Jennifer Crusie does realistic sex very well--the kind of hang-ups that you can have going in, the fun of a good romp, the fact that it doesn't always work with the technical precision of a well-produced porn. Her characters always seem very real to me, including how they act and relate to each other in the bedroom. For all of the heat and endless description in, say, a Kleypas book (I really enjoy her work, just using her as an illustrative example of a hotter author who writes straight romance), the sex is often kind of boring and cookie cutter because it is perfection and high drama every time. Maybe this is why I often don't find sex in romance novels very romantic--the way the characters come together in the bedroom rarely feels unique or informed by their personalities (I don't really count the archetypes of master of the bedroom alpha and secret sensualist virgin as demonstrative of personality).
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kelly B wrote:
For all of the heat and endless description in, say, a Kleypas book (I really enjoy her work, just using her as an illustrative example of a hotter author who writes straight romance), the sex is often kind of boring and cookie cutter because it is perfection and high drama every time. Maybe this is why I often don't find sex in romance novels very romantic--the way the characters come together in the bedroom rarely feels unique or informed by their personalities (I don't really count the archetypes of master of the bedroom alpha and secret sensualist virgin as demonstrative of personality).


While I've never been guilty of skipping a sex scene Embarassed , I understand what you mean about Kleypas. How disappointed I was (in a purely literary sense, of course! Wink ) when the staid, proper Westcliff turned out to be a more creative lover than the notorious rake Sebastian. (I recall a scene in Devil in Winter in which Sebastian tells Evie that he never sleeps with the same woman twice. Perhaps that served his reputation well, because he really did seem like a one-trick pony.)

Some of the most creative and relevant sex scenes I've read have involved a heroine who was abused or traumatised in the past. The hero has to be sensitive enough to tailor the sexual experience to the heroine's needs.

My favourite example is from Jo Beverley's Forbidden: the last sex scene. It's absolutely perfect and takes into account not just what's "hot," but the unique characters of the hero and heroine.

There was potential for another in at the end of Jo Goodman's Everything I Ever Wanted, because the heroine has an exotic tattoo on her torso courtesy of the villain and the hero helps her get over her shame by having sex with her before a full-length mirror--but a single sentence informs us that all that happens "off stage."

I've heard of another romance in which the hero "ties" the heroine to the bed with easily snapped daisy chains, but I don't know the title.
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Rebecca191



Joined: 27 Jun 2007
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me it's the romance. I don't skip sex scenes even though they all seem the same these days, in case there's any dialogue/thoughts there, but I kinda tend to speed read them. Lately I've been reading some inspirationals because they have a larger variety of historical settings, and I can't say I miss the sex scenes at all. I dislike erotica, because it's just too much sex for me, not enough of the book is about the h/h interacting outside the bedroom.
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LeeB.



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1283
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda in sw va wrote:
It's the romance, I usually skip the sex scenes! In fact, I'm pretty darn tired of the overly detailed sex scenes in general, wouldn't hurt my feelings if they left them out entirely.

I have to agree with Linda. I like the romance and generally skip the sex scenes as many books seem padded with them.
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