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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jane A wrote:
Perhaps I'm going veer even more off track with this thread, but in reading through it I am left thinking that it's not only the excessive sex scenes that have been boring me, it's the constant lusting that has made many recent books wallbangers for me. If I read about the hero of one more book causing erect titties and wet panties - within the first few pages - I am going to scream.



Swelling breasts. That's another one. How does that even happen?
I'm screaming with you.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X wrote:
... As an American, living in a society completely saturated by sexuality, I find this whole porn thing very interesting. Certainly, the word porn is disapproving, but by earlier standards, we are surrounded by "porn," from the media, mainly. I'm sure I don't need to count out the ways that people in conservative societies would see our whole society (and do) as pornographic. The word just reflects our deep-seated discomfort with sex, surprising in this day and age, especially by women. ....


I agree with the "saturated" part of this paragraph but not the "discomfort" part because there are two long threads, one on each romance section on this board.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
Lynda X wrote:
... As an American, living in a society completely saturated by sexuality, I find this whole porn thing very interesting. Certainly, the word porn is disapproving, but by earlier standards, we are surrounded by "porn," from the media, mainly. I'm sure I don't need to count out the ways that people in conservative societies would see our whole society (and do) as pornographic. The word just reflects our deep-seated discomfort with sex, surprising in this day and age, especially by women. ....


I agree with the "saturated" part of this paragraph but not the "discomfort" part because there are two long threads, one on each romance section on this board.


What I find interesting is that I have a friend in Germany and we've talked about how nudity in their magazines is common place (such as a woman's breasts) and the fact that we don't have that here is seen as prudish. Also less shown on tv than we show on the networks here, believe it or not, lol. What's the big deal about a woman's body they feel? So , there are some that will say we are prudes, others pornographic but I think we sit about right there in the middle.

ETA: Ok I was just thinkign of watching Benny Hill as a kid and having certain things blurred out on the tv! lmao!

Linda
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1369

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I decided to be more specific than just to list authors as I did in my earlier post. These are Georgian or Regency Romances I've read 10 or more times since I started reading romances in the early 1990s:
25: A Rake's Reform (r) Holbrook, Cindy
20: Black Sheep (r) Heyer, Georgette
20: The Mad Miss Mathley (r) Martin, Michelle
18: Autumn Glory (sr) Metzger, Barbara
17: These Old Shades (r) Heyer, Georgette
17: Lord Sayer's Ghost (r) Holbrook, Cindy
16: Devil's Cub (r) Heyer, Georgette
16: Christmas Wishes (r) Metzger, Barbara
13: Elyza (r) Darcy, Clare
13: The Corinthian (r) Heyer, Georgette
13: The Actress & the Marquis (r) Holbrook, Cindy
12: Frederica (r) Heyer, Georgette
12: Venetia (r) Heyer, Georgette
12: The Duke's Downfall (r) Lynson, Jane
12: The Present (sr) Holbrook, Cindy
11: Lady of Quality (r) Heyer, Georgette
11: The Black Moth (r) Heyer, Georgette
11: The Unknown Ajax (r) Heyer, Georgette
11: A Suspicious Affair (r) Metzger, Barbara
11: Cupboard Kisses (r) Metzger, Barbara
11: The Tenacious Miss Tamerlane (r) Michaels, Kasey
10: The Masqueraders (r) Heyer, Georgette
The (sr) entries are short romances in anthologies.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda in sw va wrote:
What I find interesting is that I have a friend in Germany and we've talked about how nudity in their magazines is common place (such as a woman's breasts) and the fact that we don't have that here is seen as prudish. Also less shown on tv than we show on the networks here, believe it or not, lol. What's the big deal about a woman's body they feel? So , there are some that will say we are prudes, others pornographic but I think we sit about right there in the middle.

ETA: Ok I was just thinkign of watching Benny Hill as a kid and having certain things blurred out on the tv! lmao!

Linda


I lived in the UK and comedy shows (like Benny Hill and many others even years ago) and casual conversation could definitely be more risque than in the US. But it was a matter of degree, emphasis, and content. What I experienced in the UK was a natural, comfortable kind of humor about life, whereas Brits saw us as a having a kind of double standard of a more prurient type of sexuality on one hand and over-the-top moralizing on the other. In other words, a lack of balance, being all over the place.

They also happen to see us as cowboys because of all the violence both on TV and in our society, etc. I can't begin to tell you how many political cartoons I've seen of the President's chair in the Oval Office with a holster and gun hanging from the back of it.

I watch as much or more international news on independent channels than I do fairly water-down and/or slanted corporate-owned US news broadcasts, as well as keep in touch with UK friends, and now we're also seen as a country that is totally up for sale, citing for instance that more was spent on the recent Fla. primary than was spent on their last national election for all candidates for the whole election process. And don't say that's because we're a bigger country: we're talking about a single U.S. state compared to a populous nation.

So, I disagree about our being "in the middle." I think we're not only a diverse society, but a divided one, and getting more so all the time. It all depends on where you look and who you listen to.

All of this is to say that my original point was that the original poster of this thread requested book suggestions, not an uncommon request which some indeed answered, but the conversation also evolved into much more. Not that there's anything at all wrong about an expanded conversation, but my thought is that in Britain they might see this one on sex as typically American--the Puritans vs. the Cowboys (the reserved vs. the wild west). But hey, I'm not in Britain now, and I'm just one individual dependent on British news and my moderate British friends' views. So it's all just my personal observation and opinion.
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mirole



Joined: 06 Aug 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would not say about myself that in general I am tired of sex scenes or prefer less descriptive or fade-to-black love scenes. Maybe because I am relatively new to reading romance, which, I can freely admit, has much improved my love life (with my husband who is a happy camper indeed).

I would say that on average I prefer historical romance on the prude side and contemporary romance on the warm/hot side. So trad regencies and Balogh work great for me. Or those on the hotter side where sex is justified - marriage of convenience or any books where the couple having sex is married. When I read a story like Unlocked by Courtney Milan where the unmarried heroine is running around late at night jumping into the hero's bed and having sex I just laugh out loud helplessly and roll my eyes. Or a newlywed girl from a good albeit Cit family (In for a Penny by Rose Lerner) gives her husband a full-blown fellatio completing it with swallowing, do you really think this would be a likely behaviour for a Regency high-society girl? I just cannot take either of these or similar scenarios seriously and hence could not like the book.
There are some notable exceptions for me both ways though. As I've already mentioned, Lisa Valdez's Passion was an A read for me and I've already reread it twice. Also loved the heat factor in Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas but there, of course, the couple was technically married.

In contemporaries I like sex scenes in Sandra Brown's, Linda Howard's SEP's books. Yet I love Kristan Higgins's books. I did feel a bit cheated in Catch of the Day where it was fade-to-black, still the book was a keeper for me.

Chrisbooklover: to your last paragraph. I agree with you that some great writers might not be good at love scenes. An example for me would be Joanna Bourne. I only read one book by her - The Spymaster's Lady - and I loved it immensely but their love scene was pretty weak for me and felt more like the author had to write it tonfulfill her contractual obligations.



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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 1129
Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda in sw va wrote:
Eliza wrote:
Lynda X wrote:
... As an American, living in a society completely saturated by sexuality, I find this whole porn thing very interesting. Certainly, the word porn is disapproving, but by earlier standards, we are surrounded by "porn," from the media, mainly. I'm sure I don't need to count out the ways that people in conservative societies would see our whole society (and do) as pornographic. The word just reflects our deep-seated discomfort with sex, surprising in this day and age, especially by women. ....


I agree with the "saturated" part of this paragraph but not the "discomfort" part because there are two long threads, one on each romance section on this board.


What I find interesting is that I have a friend in Germany and we've talked about how nudity in their magazines is common place (such as a woman's breasts) and the fact that we don't have that here is seen as prudish. Also less shown on tv than we show on the networks here, believe it or not, lol. What's the big deal about a woman's body they feel? So , there are some that will say we are prudes, others pornographic but I think we sit about right there in the middle.

ETA: Ok I was just thinkign of watching Benny Hill as a kid and having certain things blurred out on the tv! lmao!

Linda


Actually, viewed from a German POV my initial reaction to the quote about "sex-saturated American society" was "In which parallel universe does the OP live, because in mine the US is a prudish country with an unhealthy attitude towards sex." Sorry, Americans, but that's the way you look from here.

Though the flipside of the official prudishness ("Oh my God, a foil covered nipple was seen for two seconds during the Superbowl - Won't someone think of the children?") in the US is that in spaces where official strictures are relaxed, e.g. romance novels, Pay-TV cable channels like HBO, the internet, etc... authors/creators tend to go overboard with the sex and swearing, probably because they finally can. Hence you get romance novels where sex scenes overwhelm the actual story or HBO shows with their unappealing sex scenes.

And yes, a lot of people do watch HBO for the sex scenes. One of the top search terms for my blog is "HBO shows with good sex" or variations thereof, leading ironically to a post wherein a complain about the unappealing sex scenes in HBO shows.

The debate about sex scenes is another symptom. On the one hand you have readers, also on this board, who flat out refuse to read romances that are rated "subtle" or "kisses only" or who automatically believe that such books are YA or Christian romances. On the other hand, you have readers who feel bored by sex scenes and - not on this board, but elsewhere - who cry "porn" and "immoral" at even the mildest sex scenes.

I read all across the spectrum from kisses to pretty damn hot. Heat level doesn't influence my reading choices. And I believe that a romance novel should have exactly as many sex scenes as the story requires, whether it's none or every other page.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cora wrote:


I read all across the spectrum from kisses to pretty damn hot. Heat level doesn't influence my reading choices. And I believe that a romance novel should have exactly as many sex scenes as the story requires, whether it's none or every other page.



Heat level doesn't influence my choices either, but those sex scenes have to contribute to the story and not just be filler. That's not prudish, but just looking for quality writing. Some of it is pretty damn bad.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As someone who moved to the US as an adult, it's not all doom and gloom. Sure, there's a certain duality (on the one hand, "sex sells", on the other hand, I've never seen anyone breastfeeding in public, for example). However, pretty much everyone I know is ok with talking about sex (sometimes too much, I mean do I really need to know who slept with whom and how it was?). Even at work, despite all the anti-harassment training. Of course, I live in a large metropolitan area and things might be different in a small religious community, but that's probably true about any such place in the rest of the world.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The debate about sex scenes is another symptom.


Exactly.

Quote:
Of course, I live in a large metropolitan area and things might be different in a small religious community, but that's probably true about any such place in the rest of the world.


Yes, big cities often differ from smaller communities (whether they are of the religious variety or not), but big cities can also differ from one another too. By way of illustration, look at where a primary is being held and how "morality" may be viewed and discussed differently there.

Also take a look at current political debate points--and I use that term extremely loosely because it's far more about criticism and acrimony than it is about real discussion and mutual respect trying to arrive at consensus, even within one political party never mind several parties. And yes, I'm still talking about sex and all that is "attached" to it, which vividly illustrate the divide I mentioned.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1150
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cora wrote:
I believe that a romance novel should have exactly as many sex scenes as the story requires, whether it's none or every other page.

ITA, and I think this is something you can't predict before you get into the book. Personally, I'd rather read widely and occasionally come across a book with too little/too much sex for me than limit myself ahead of time.

Also - I drop by your blog occasionally (NOT after searching for sex on HBO Very Happy) and really enjoy your posts there.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Natalie wrote:
As someone who moved to the US as an adult, it's not all doom and gloom. Sure, there's a certain duality (on the one hand, "sex sells", on the other hand, I've never seen anyone breastfeeding in public, for example). However, pretty much everyone I know is ok with talking about sex (sometimes too much, I mean do I really need to know who slept with whom and how it was?). Even at work, despite all the anti-harassment training. Of course, I live in a large metropolitan area and things might be different in a small religious community, but that's probably true about any such place in the rest of the world.


Natalie, as one who has gone from living in a big city (grew up outside Washington DC), to living in a small rural community along the bible belt, this is true to some extent. However, there are always exceptions, my boss likes to tell me more than I want to hear about her sex life, just as some girlfriends did back when I lived in the city. I think some people are just plain fond of sharing, no matter where they live.

Linda
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cora wrote:
[Actually, viewed from a German POV my initial reaction to the quote about "sex-saturated American society" was "In which parallel universe does the OP live, because in mine the US is a prudish country with an unhealthy attitude towards sex." Sorry, Americans, but that's the way you look from here.

Though the flipside of the official prudishness ("Oh my God, a foil covered nipple was seen for two seconds during the Superbowl - Won't someone think of the children?") in the US is that in spaces where official strictures are relaxed, e.g. romance novels, Pay-TV cable channels like HBO, the internet, etc... authors/creators tend to go overboard with the sex and swearing, probably because they finally can. Hence you get romance novels where sex scenes overwhelm the actual story or HBO shows with their unappealing sex scenes.

And yes, a lot of people do watch HBO for the sex scenes. One of the top search terms for my blog is "HBO shows with good sex" or variations thereof, leading ironically to a post wherein a complain about the unappealing sex scenes in HBO shows.

The debate about sex scenes is another symptom. On the one hand you have readers, also on this board, who flat out refuse to read romances that are rated "subtle" or "kisses only" or who automatically believe that such books are YA or Christian romances. On the other hand, you have readers who feel bored by sex scenes and - not on this board, but elsewhere - who cry "porn" and "immoral" at even the mildest sex scenes.

I read all across the spectrum from kisses to pretty damn hot. Heat level doesn't influence my reading choices. And I believe that a romance novel should have exactly as many sex scenes as the story requires, whether it's none or every other page.


Cora, I actually agree with much of what you said, especially the HBO! By the way, I disliked the nipple flash, I thought it was in poor taste, lol. Anyway though, wouldn't you consider the debate on sex scenes more about individual reader preference, rather than how sex is viewed as an entire country? Some readers like a lot, some a little, etc. Is it much different from discussion where some readers dislike alpha heroes, others love them, some readers like big family books, others do not, and so on.

I've avoided the discussion on the term porn so far but since it continues to be part of the discussion I'll chime in. I agree that there is a lot of porn out there that is degrading towards women, and there are also some that try to have romantic scenarios, only the bad acting, haha. I admit, I've watched more than a handful and enjoyed a few, *cough* When I see the term that romance novels are 'porn for women' I don't see it as a negative necessarily. To me it's saying that it's explicit sex but also WITH all the caring, feeling, romance, plot, thrown in. So while straight up porn (only sex) might be for guys, 'porn for women' has all the feelings attached that women like to see. I don't see it as an insult per say, but of course it depends on the tone of the person using the term. Myself, when I use it to describe what LKH books have amounted too these days I mean it in a negative way, lack of plot.

Linda
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"sex-saturated American society" can mean anything ranging from "sex sells" to "Oh my God, a foil covered nipple was seen for two seconds during the Superbowl" or. . . myriads of other manifestations.

The point is despite whether one's view is either "fer it or agin it," it's always there somewhere waiting for someone to debate, oh, say. . .like. this. particular. thread. Or perhaps. . .someone specifically trying out sex words on other threads for fun and effect.

The exception, of course, is one who feels uncomfortable or flat out isn't interested in discussing this topic and just leaves, perhaps like the original poster of this thread who simply asked for names of books and not a referendum.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
The exception, of course, is one who feels uncomfortable or flat out isn't interested in discussing this topic and just leaves, perhaps like the original poster of this thread who simply asked for names of books and not a referendum.

But that's what we discovered happens here (and maybe on other message boards). It's similar to a conversation among people. One thing leads to another, all somewhat related. Yes, it's possible to totally stay on-topic; obviously, though, there were some side roads that were taken here and they've led to some interesting thoughts, just as in IRL conversations.
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