Romance and Me: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Sex in a Romance Novel?

Filed in Romance and Me , The Latin Lover Posted on August 10, 2011 @ 12:00 pm 11 comments

Hey Everyone!

When talking/thinking about romance novels the topic of sex is bound to come up. Everyone has their own preference: whether they like it sweet and PG, or sensual and steamy, and some even don’t mind it being graphic, but everyone has their stand on the issue.As you well know Susi and I, we both want our romance novels to have some sweet smex, but recently I read a novel which made me wonder whether there is such a thing as too much sex…

You see this novel was marketed and shelved as a contemporary romance novel and I jumped in expecting a sexy romantic read, but instead got something else.Once again let me say not only I don’t mind reading sex scenes in my romance novels, to the contrary I enjoy and cherish them, but when I was reading this novel, I noticed that after a steamy scene there was no out-of-the-bedroom scene to alternate the scenery and the action. No, right after the H/H got it on and fell into bed, the next chapter began and they tore at each other’s clothes once again. I couldn’t even imagine how it was possible physically to actually DO all they did when just reading about their bedroom antics tired me.


And besides the crebility of it (yes, I like even my romance novels to have an ounce of reality) I found that having nonstop sex scenes ruined the quality of the novel as with so much sex scenes (really, at one point I counted them, there were 4 sex scenes when finally they came up for air and did something in the outside world) the author did not build any sexual tension or have a climactic resolution later, and had no time to develop her characters or the plot.

I stress that if it had happened with an erotica novel I wouldn’t have minded, as with erotica novels I don’t necessarily expect them to have a well developed plot, good characterisation, and other details which are crucial in any other novel.

So bearing in mind this particular novel I came to the conclusion that yes, there is such a thing as too much sex, and it can ruin a story which started out good and showed so much more potential.

So tell me, do you think there is a line when sex is just too much?Have you ever encountered/read a novel which dripped of sex (and I’m not talking of erotica novels)?Or do you just think me a prude and proudly say “bring on the nonstop smex”? ;-p

Share with me your opinion I’m curious to hear your thoughts! 😉

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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  • BLHmistress August 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I like this topic because I was just thinking of this the other day, I agree with you when it comes to romance novels I do love smex but I also love to have a good storyline to go with it like you said (not counting erotica which I do love as well) but when I am in the mood for a good romance I want a mixture of drama,smex , humor and eventually a HEA. I don't even mind if they hop into bed right away as long as there is some action outside of the bedroom.

  • Julia Rachel Barrett August 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I do prefer a story with a side of great sex – but the story should be paramount. If I want porn, I'll read porn – which I don't care for so…

  • Roxanne Rhoads August 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    It depends on the story- like you if I go into it knowing I'm reading erotica then I want the sex scenes, that's what I'm expecting but if I'm reading romance, or urban fantasy or whatever I want story, I want characters, I want something to happen other than sex.

    I hate to admit it but I've been known to skip over the sex in some of LKH's Anita Blake books (yes I know shameful for an erotica author to admit to skipping over the sex).

  • Blodeuedd August 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I do not mind it but sure I am annoyed sometimes when they have sex 4 times in a row o_O

    Oh and all those historical romances where she is a virgin, and then bam sex at once and it feels great

  • Rebs @ Book-Rants August 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I think there is a thing as too much sex. It's one of the main reasons I read so much YA. YA paranormal romance often has enough sexual tension to fill an ocean, but the sex stuff is pretty PG. It just happens that's what I enjoy, all the build up. Don't get me wrong I don't think there is anything wrong with sex in books, I just am not a person who enjoys a lot.

  • AsianCocoa August 10, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I don't mind a lot of graphic sex scenes which is why I read a lot of erotica and almost zero YA. But I also enjoy a book that drips with sexual tension and in that case a minimal amount of sex scenes is okay too. A great book for me would be a balance of story, characters, sexual tension and at least 2 "off the charts" sex scenes. 😉
    So I'll say: "bring on the nonstop smex"!

  • Kaetrin August 10, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I don't mind a lot of sex in my books (:P) but I do prefer the physical action actually drives the story along rather than just a collection of sex scenes. I need the story to make it mean something.

  • JenM August 10, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Sometimes it seems like there is so much gratuitous sex in romances these days that when I read a sweet romance it's almost a relief. There's got to be at least some character development and plot, otherwise, I just feel cheated.

  • Stella (Ex Libris) August 11, 2011 at 4:11 am

    @BLHMistress: Exactly! The sex is part of the romance but the story should have other equally important facets.

    @Julia Rachel Barrett: Yes Julia, and what really made me notice the too much sex was that it grew tiring since that was ALL they were doing! Made me bored after a while..

    @Roxanne: Yes, if it had been categorized as erotica, it would ahve been fine: lots of sex with little else.

    @Blodeuedd: Lol, yes! When they kept going at it without taking a break I kept counting for the sheer ridiculousness of it :-/

    yes, and especially those HR when she's a virgin, first sex is great and they keep having several times right away, shouldn't she be sore at least the first time a bit?

    @Rebs: Oh no, nothing wrong, personal preferences and all, and believe me instead of this sex-dripping book I wouold have preferred a much tamer story which had more substance. Sexual tension is my favourite, it is even more important than the actual culmination especially in novels, so it has to be written well.

  • Stella (Ex Libris) August 11, 2011 at 4:16 am

    @AsianCocoa: I like graphic scenes too and enjoy erotica novels a lot, and I definitely like to have sex in my romance novels, but as you said especially in a romance novel great characters and sexual tension are a must, and this novel lacked that 🙁 But yep, smex is good 😀

    @Kaetrin: I completely agree with you. I don't mind the mindless, meaningless sex in erotica novels, but not so much in a romance novel when they are not just in it for the lust and instant gratification but have to reach that final HEA and fall in love. And falling in love solely based on bedroom action isn't really romantic or credible..

    @JenM: My thoughts exactly! I was disappointed in the book because there wasn't enough time and detail spent on character and plot development. However if the author had deleted only 1/3 of all the sex scenes it could have been so much better, would ahve more substance.

  • Wren Andre August 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I agree completely. There are a lot of levels of steaminess within the romance genre, and I think like anything else, you need to stay within whatever heat level you're writing in.
    Personally – I love tension. That's what drives me in a story, the build-up. It can be sex, danger, mystery, personal conflict – but the tension is what keeps me reading way past when I should have shut off the light and gone to bed.

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