Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How Hot Do You Like Your Romances?

For those of you of an older age, like myself, you remember the cowboy movies where the good guy would sooner kiss his horse than a woman. If he did find a woman to love, they merely rode off into the sunset together. Now, they're more inclined to ride off into the sunset, naked, while having sex on the horse.

Things have certainly changed for that ol' cowboy.

The same thing has happened to our romances, as well.

When I first started reading romances in the late sixties, the heroine and hero never kissed until the next to the last page. This made selecting a romance much easier. One simply stood in the bookstore and flipped to the last two pages and read them to see if the nature of the chaste kiss was worthy of the read.

The only heat level we had back then was sweet. No sex. No mention of sex. No body parts perking up when the love interest sauntered onto the scene. Then we moved into the arena of closed bedroom door sex and the ensuing pregnancy. Now? Well, now, we've got choices--and that's a good thing, don't you think?

Not everyone enjoys reading sex and there are books written expressly for them. Some enjoy a little sizzle and talented authors provide that, too. Torrid love scenes appeal to many. And kink? Oh my, the many shades and flavors and positions of kink.

I've written sweet and sensual, bordering on "hawt."

As a reader, I prefer hawt to kink. What are your preferences? How hot do you like your romances?

41 comments:

Alison Henderson said...

I started reading romance in the early 80's when more explicit sex first reared its head (HA!). I loved it, but of course I was much younger then. Now that I don't have hormones anymore, I find I skim those passages. There are only so many ways of describing the same acts and body parts. Kink just isn't my thing and never was, but I'm glad for all the different heat levels. It allows our genre to offer something for every taste.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I ask myself that same question everytime I write the "first" kiss. How many ways can I describe the meeting of two pair of lips and make it sigh-worthy and memorable? Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alison.

Angel Nicholas said...

I do love the selection now. Not only is there something available for every taste, there's something available for every mood. And I read across the board. If it's well-written, I'll read it.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Yes, Angela. Perhaps my question should have included a second part. And does the heat level really matter when a story is a compelling read?

Maddy said...

I like 'suggestive,' best and leave the rest to my own imagination. I like a full menu of potential ingredients and then can make my own combo.

I think we lack the descriptive language to ever make a sex scene real. I prefer anatomy lessons to stay in the text book.

Jannine Gallant said...

I put one mild sex scene into shorts and a couple in long books. Mostly because I feel readers expect it, and my characters are ready at that point. However, we all know where everything goes, and I don't feel the need to read or write an instruction manual. LOL One reviewer gave me an A- review instead of an A because she said surely I missed the page in the sex scene with all the details. LOL Nope, I like to let my readers use their imaginations when it comes to describing body parts! And quite frankly, if it goes on for more than a page or two when I'm reading, I start yawning and skimming.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks for sharing, Maddy. I love that we all enjoy different things. As a writer, I need to keep my fingertip of the pulsepoint of readers' expections.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Jannine, I enjoy a well-written sex scene that focuses more on the emotions than the physicality of the characters. I find it rather humorous that nearly every hero is heavily endowed, when in reality few men are.

Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Vonnie! I'm not into kink myself and prefer spicy romances over hot. But to each his own.

And I do enjoy reading sensuous as well as sweet romances now and again.

Joanne Stewart said...

I started reading romance somewhere around the 90's. And I frankly lurve me a good love scene. I still do. But I have to admit that I'm finding I don't want just explicit sex. I want a sensual love scene between two people falling in love. Erotica? Isn't really my style, though I do read a lot of it, because everything beyond a certain steam level gets labeled as erotic. When really, what I'm trying to find are those few precious gems. Those who write hot, but emotional and sensual at the same time. Sadly, it's a rare find.

Great topic, Vonnie!

Mona Risk said...

Great question Vonnie. It all depends on the tone of the novel. My three international romances have several hot love scenes because the plot is partly based on them and would collapse without them.

In my Holidays Babies Series,we see the opposite. There's no sex scene. Instead, I use tender and passionate kiss, a lot of sensual tension but the plot does not allow for love scenes. The tone is milder. Any sex scene would be out of place because here the plot has no room for sex. I find it tasteless to mix Christmas Babies or Mother's Day Babies with hot sex.

So it all depends on your plot, whether a sex scene would fit in the story or throw the reader out of the story.

LaVerne Clark said...

I love to read books with good sex scenes in it, but not too frequent either. By good, I mean, deeply emotional. If I feel the characters lack that emotional connection by the time they're doing the deed, the book will fail to grab me. I much prefer books with a strong plot line than ones that rely too heavily on sex, sex and more sex. My eyes glaze over and I start skipping then if I haven't already thrown the book at the wall :)

AJ Nuest said...

Great topic, as usual, Vonnie. I will stand from my chair and proudly state that I love me a good steamy sex scene. Love it. And when writing romance, I am a bedroom-door-open kinda gal. However, writing sex scene after sex scene is not romance...nor is it erotica...and this gets my feathers ruffled a little and I don't even write the genre. Erotica often gets labeled as nothing but sex when, in fact, REAL erotica is sex as well as a story line. GMC plays as important a role as the steam--just like all the other romances I read with lower heat levels. The only difference is the terminology, frequency and explicity of the sex. Nothing but sex scene after sex scene is pornography, not erotica. I also am a firm believer that the characters play a large part in dictating the heat level. A prime example of this is Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. Those stories are so darn hot they nearly singed my eyeballs when I read them...so imagine my surprise when I read another two-book series by this same author, where the hottest thing that happen was some very discreet hand holding. In the end it didn't matter to me because the depth of the characters in both series were completely appropriate for the steam level. This brings me to my next point. Many, many, many erotica authors out there do NOT balance the steam well with the GMC...and I think this is what confuses people. They assume all erotica is the same because they've read a few authors who didn't do it well. One who does that I adore is Naima Simone. She has a book out called Under His Wings through Elloras Cave and, yes, she was one of my authors there. But, I can tell you I've not read a good erotic romance of this calibre in a very long time. I wept while reading that story. Just wept. And I fell totally and completely in love with the characters. I guess my point here is that no matter what, erotica, sensual, sweet...whatever the heat level, the sex is not supposed to be just for the sake of the act. It is meant to be used to move the story forward--regardless of the terminology or lack thereof that is used. Okay, I'm done ranting. LOL I hope I haven't made anyone mad. :-)

Angela Adams said...

Is it my imagination or does the horse in this picture look like it has a smile on its face? As far as the heat level in a romance novel...whatever is needed to advance the story.

Gayle Glass said...

Great topic, Vonnie.
I don't read erotica, but IMHO, AJ was dead on when she said "sex should not be just for the sake of the act." I write with the doors wide open, but I don't venture far into erotica or kink in reading or writing. I don't read BDSM or minage and I cringe when I read words using the F word for the act of making love rather than as a profanity or when the C words are bandied about by the H/H in reference to the other's "parts." However, as you so eloquently pointed out, if it works within the story and fits with the characters' GMC, I don't always notice. If the emotion is there and the sex scene serves a purpose in either advancing the plot or revealing something about the characters, then it works for me. If it works, I am likely to be less "offended" by the more raunchy sex scene and less disappointed by the scene that closes the door before slot A can be inserted into tab B. For me, the most important aspect of a romance is the relationship between two people in all its many aspects that leads to that very satisfying HEA.

AJ Nuest said...

Of course, now I had to go back a look at the horse. LOL Angela! You're right! It IS smiling! But, then again, who wouldn't be with that guy kissing them?

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Joanne, I lurve a good sex scene, too. Some are a little too cold-hearted in their pursuit of the ultimate release. Emotions, the deep level of caring for this person are what makes a good romance IMHO. As you said, finding a hot, sensual, thoughtful and emotional love scene is often a rare find.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Well put, Mona. Well put! I have a historical coming out soon from TWRP. My heroine simply refused to do anything sexual. For Annalee and Boone, a sex scene wouldn't have worked.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

LaVerne, how is your knee healing from surgery? I love writing sexual tension and if I can insert some humor, so much the better. I want my characters to use sex as an expression of their feelings for one another.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

You are educating me, AJ. I thought there was a great difference between erotic romance and erotica. I'd always looked on erotica as a different animal...with a thin plot, multiple partners, heavy use of BDSM and sex for sex sake. Its goal being merely to titilate with very little focus on the romance we all love. Have my ideas been wrong all along?

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Yes, Angela, the horse is smiling and notice its closed eyes as if it is thoroughly enjoying being kissed by this guy. That's why I chose it. I'm trilled you noticed!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Gayle/Lilly...thanks for stopping in and sharing your viewpoint. I think it is the emotions between the h/h that make the sex scene work and sizzle. And as romance writers, we deal in emotions.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

AJ, ya gotta love a horse in bliss, don't you?

Lilly Gayle said...

Vonnie,
Glad you "recognized" me. :) Being two people is starting to confuse me. I didn't even know "Gayle" had a blogger account. lol! Or maybe she just hacked Lilly's page. ;)

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I paused for a moment. Gayle? But...but that's my Lilly. LOL

Janice Hougland said...

I think writing a sex scene just for the sex and nothing else is something like what you could get in an adult toy store. I don't read romances for that. If I wanted it I'd go to an adult toy store. What I want in a romance is sensuality and sex with a good story line and plot...with love, affection, hurt, pride, anger and all that stuff that is the human emotional condition. In other words, sex that is appropriate for the story...which makes it real to the reader. Janice

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head, Janice. It's the emotion, the feelings the hero or heroine feel for each other that makes a sex scene sizzle. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

Georgie Tyler said...

Hi Vonnie, I love it all! If it's written well you can feel the emotion whether it's described explicitly or not. If BDSM is part of the storyline then I'm cool with that.It can be extremely erotic, but has to fit into the storyline for it to work. The same with goes with same sex relationships or menage. If it fits and is written well then I don't mind reading stuff that pushes the boundaries. But at the moment I'm re reading Anna Karenina a classic love story and tragedy in between edits, teaching and the kids!! :) Take Care!

Liz Flaherty said...

I love the variety that's out there. I still like "sweet" the best--I'm all about the story and the author's voice. I'm glad to see some publishers are realizing that just because a reader doesn't really like sex scenes doesn't mean she doesn't want realistic dialog and humor, not to mention tension.

Maria Bradley said...

I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

http://teenfeatherinmypen.blogspot.co.uk/

Calisa Rhose said...

What a great topic, V! I admit, I'm a shy reader. I don't read a lot of erotica and I find myself amazed, stunned and cringing at times when I do. LOL I didn't get an editing job at EC simply because I had hesitations about editing certain formats. But I admire authors who can write the genre. I'm like AJ in that if it's all sex, sex, sex-no GMC/storyline, I'm not interested. That's porn to me.

What I am pulled to is healthy m/f relationships with or without an open door. It'a all about the relationship and the characters for me in reading and writing.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Hi, my Georgie, I loved Anna Karenina. Such angst. Such passion. We need strong characters in our stories, multi-layered. We also need strong GMC. If all that leads to sex, then those scenes are right for the plotline.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

So true, Liz. Some of the "sweet" romances I've read were nearly devoid of normal emotions. I have a few sweet romance writers I thoroughly enjoy because they include human foilbles and zany moments that endear the characters to us.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Hi Maria. I'm glad you found us. Join in the discussion.

Lynne Marshall said...

Make mine sensual, thanks for asking, Vonnie.

Too much sex, I skim the pages. Not enough sexual tension, I get bored.
I'll take the baby bear version: Juuuuust right.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks for commenting, Calisa. I'm hearing the expression "Mommy Porn" more and more these days and cringe, hoping it's not another slander at my beloved romances. I enjoy reading sex if it's integral to the relationship that's building.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks for you "baby bear" opinion, Lynne. LOL I love writing sexual tension. I think that's what ramps the romance. Even "sweet" romances can and should contain a lot of sexual tension.

Nancy S. Goodman said...

Great post Vonnie. I love the emotion of a good sex scene and try to put it all out there. There is something so sexy right before the hero and heroine's lips meet. The sex must fit the plot, I would hate to think there is a plan for how many sex scenes there should be in a romance. Sometimes there's a need to be quick and sometimes slowww just fits the bill!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

How right you are, Nancy. The timing depends on the characters and how quickly their need for each other grows. Thanks for stopping by!

Michele M. Reynolds said...

I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! Follow me on my blog at http://mmreynolds.blogspot.com/

Calisa Rhose said...

I know, Vonnie. I actually agreed to judge some erotica entries in a contest after posting this. LOL Guess I like to cringe and blush! LOL