Okay, now that I've got your attention, I'll clarify that. How important is sex, to you, in a romance novel?
That's what I'm wondering about this Wednesday. There are books that offer the specific promise of action between the covers – Harlequin Blaze, Silhouette Desire, Ellora's Cave, and lots of other single title novels. But when you read a romance that isn't specifically represented as being sexy, are you disappointed if the characters don't have sex?
I'm wondering because lately, I've read several books where it felt like the sex was thrown in just because it was required. It's not explicit, so it's not there for the steam factor; but it doesn't really seem to advance the plot or the relationship either. And usually, the hero and heroine have only known each other for a couple of days. The characters' motivations seem realistic in every other respect … but in the real world, it doesn't seem (to me) like they'd be ready to jump between the sheets so fast.
Do we just expect relationships to develop more quickly in a romance because the genre offers a heightened, more intense version of real life? Do publishers ask for lovemaking scenes because they feel they're expected? Or do readers need to know the characters made love in order to feel that they've really connected?
Or … maybe … is sex becoming obligatory in some romances?
Whenever I bring up a subject like this, I feel like Grandma Moses. So let me clarify one other thing: I'm not against sex in books. I'm just not necessarily for sex in all books. If it's not there for the rush of sensuality (which can certainly be fun!), and it doesn't contribute to the story, I just wonder … why is it there?
MEG'S CONFESSION, Avalon, February 2007