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Is it the SEX or ROMANCE?
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 3:25 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?


The simple answer is that it's the story of the relationship that captures me.

Which isn't always the same thing as "romance" to me and why that was the simple answer. Romance is so much more than just the relationship but definitely finds its foundation there. The modern romance genre in particular is all about that relationship and, yet, finds its voice in so many forms that also hark back to that more classical definition of Romance that evokes adventure, mystery and fantasy, too. All of those elements combined make up what we call romance.

Including sex.

As someone has already pointed out, sex was present in the books even before the sex scenes were allowed into them or became so graphic. Just because we got the bedroom door slammed in our faces didn't mean they (the characters) didn't do it. Otherwise how could we have sequels where they later popped up with children? Embarassed

Conversely, just because there is a lot of actual "sex" in a book doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with the writing - unless the narrative doesn't flow around the story being told properly. I've read almost sweet romances that were just as jarring to me once they actually got around to doing something - ANYTHING - as the most heavily graphically laden sexual romance is.

It's not the actual sex that's in the books. It's how it's handled in the story being told. It's either part of the story or it's not. It either flows with the narrative or it doesn't. It either fits the characters or it doesn't.

It's also within the reader's comfort zone or it isn't.

Personally, I've run across a couple of erotic romances that were almost purely "sex" and were actually pretty good stories if one accepted that the story being told was about the pair's physical interactions. Yes, that can be the plot if it delves into their psychological and emotional reactions at the same time. I'd much rather read one of those than attempt to read a book, romance or otherwise, where I end up skipping a majority of the book because the author spent way too much time inside a serial killer's head.

See, now that's comfort zones for you. I can deal with too much or too little sex as long as it's part of the pair's story but I ain't gonna stay in a villain's head no matter how many times authors and readers tell me it's all a "necessary part of a good story" and I really should try it. Ain't happening. Wink
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I picked up a paperback at the library today. It was on the Detective racks rather than the Romance rack; by Emma Holly, whom I have not tried to read previously; the title was All U Can Eat.

It has so much sex that there's no way I can regard it as a romance. It opens with the heroine in bed; a quite explicit sex scene with her boyfriend when he arrives; at which point he proceeds to break up with her because he has another girlfriend.

A few days later, he shows up in her diner, with the other woman (who is wearing an engagement ring) while the heroine is waitressing. She's mildly disturbed when she realizes that the woman's order for milk rather than coffee probably indicates a pregnancy.

Sorry. After this, I just didn't care what happened to any of these scuzzballs from then on. It went right back into the tote bag.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="veasleyd1"]I picked up a paperback at the library today. It was on the Detective racks rather than the Romance rack; by Emma Holly, whom I have not tried to read previously; the title was All U Can Eat.



Whenever a reader picks up a book by the author, Emma Holly, they should expect more sex...especially in her erotic line. Her historicals are more romantic and I've read one or two of her paranormals, and they are more romantic too. I really liked her historicals, but I don't care for her erotic books much, not because I'm a prude or anything like that Smile , but they just feature way too much sex and it doesn't seem romantic. I read one with "cooking" in the title and found it uninteresting, but other readers have loved the book.

Just to add...It seems odd that book was in the Detectives rack. LOL...it must have been misfiled. It's funny it wasn't in the cookbook rack!
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xina wrote:

Just to add...It seems odd that book was in the Detectives rack. LOL...it must have been misfiled. It's funny it wasn't in the cookbook rack!


No, it wasn't misfiled. It was cataloged with a D on the spine. Then, the latest Marion Zimmer Bradley Avalon book was also cataloged with a D on the spine . . . .

Sometimes life's like that.
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kspears



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember being frustrated by early Regencies when they shut the bedroom door on me, the reader. I also remember when some of the traditional Regency authors started sneaking in sex: Mary Balogh, Claudette Williams, Julia Jeffries, Patricia Oliver. That may be one of the reason's I'm so fond of Mary Balogh.

On the other hand, while I love my romance with sex, I also get tired of the six page long sex romp. And, the perfect first time.
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kspears wrote:
On the other hand, while I love my romance with sex, I also get tired of the six page long sex romp. And, the perfect first time.


It's a balancing act. I say that as a longtime reader who feels like she's probably read just about every type of romance out there at one time or another. Not always liked them but definitely tried most. And on the sweet to sizzling range, I have to say the middle of road range with a requisite one love scene probably annoys me the most. Rolling Eyes Okay, that's inaccurate because I actually have several pet peeves in this area.

I hated, absolutely hated, having the bedroom slammed, not closed, but more or less slammed in my face at the end of the books years ago. I'm not sure but that may have been one of the reasons I almost gave up on romance for a while.

And then there are/were the love scenes that aren't/weren't really love scenes. It's like the bedroom door is open but we can't see anything. And, doesn't that sound voyeuristic? Embarassed However, I'm talking more about the fact that we're left out of the moment than voyeurism, you know. I am, really. We get a hint but that's all. It's just so jarring to suddenly realize it's the morning after and I'm thinking "They had sex? When? Where? What? What?"

Thankfully, the genre didn't stay in the phase for very long. At least I don't think it did. Because in a lot of ways, I think those types of scenarios were also tied to not having the hero's perspective so strongly in the books. It's like a chicken and the egg thing. I'm not sure which came first - more hero point of views or more graphic sexual narrative - but I'm thinking the two go hand in hand in creating that increased feel of emotional intimacy between the pairs in the books.
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 4:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Is it the SEX or ROMANCE? Reply with quote

athena_d wrote:
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?


Easily the romance. I think when I was younger -- and curious as opposed to experienced -- I liked the sex. But now, I can as thoroughly enjoy a book that is kisses only as I can one that is on the hot and sizzling side. My one requisite is that I feel a relationship is there -- I don't like a kisses book where I am shocked when the h/h end up together and I don't like a sizzling book where the h/h connect only on the physical realm.

maggie b.
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Niftybergin



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I'm reading a romance novel, I definitely want to read about the romance more than the sex -- the emotional relationship more than the physical one. I've gotten very frustrated lately by books I've read in which the romance took a back seat to the sex, which dominated the story in terms of page count and "plot."

It's not that I prefer to NOT have sex in a romance. It's just that I feel like the balance is kind of off. It's really hard for me to believe in the HEA when the only area in which the couple has proven their compatibility and partnership is in the sack. He/she is the best lay the other has ever had. We get it. But what else do they have going for them?

On the other hand, as a long-time reader of what I call "straight erotica" -- not pertaining to sexual orientation, just the focus of the story -- I'm also miffed to find that a lot of the erotica titles I've picked up lately have "legitimized" the sex with a romance. Bah! That's not what I want to read, either. Can't a character just have sex because she's horny and wants to get off? Why does she have to have an emotional attachment to her partner(s)?

Regarding sex in romance, my biggest disappointments lately (in terms of new-to-me authors) have been Lora Leigh and Elizabeth Hoyt. I think both authors are great writers and storytellers, but their stories put so much emphasis on the sex that I find myself zoning out. You know the story's not really grabbing you when you turn the page, see yet another sex scene, and think to yourself, "Blah, blah, blah" as you turn the pages, waiting for the story to recommence.

My biggest hallelujah! with respect to a new-to-me author is Nalini Singh. I think she does a great job telling an awesome story and providing sexual tension and good sex scenes that accent the story and add to it, rather than dominating it.
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Kass



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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have liked every Emma Holly I've read, and have no doubt I'd like that one, too. I don't think I've ever been turned off by number of or emphasis on sex scenes, just bad sex scenes, like in every new Stephanie Laurens novel.
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veasleyd1



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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kass wrote:
I have liked every Emma Holly I've read, and have no doubt I'd like that one, too. I don't think I've ever been turned off by number of or emphasis on sex scenes, just bad sex scenes, like in every new Stephanie Laurens novel.


For me, Laurens is a near-perfect example of someone who writes books in which at least three-fourths of the sex scenes are completely superfluous in the sense that they don't advance the story line at all or really give any additional insight into the characters.

Of course, Laurens is as bad as Diana Palmer in that there's really only one plot, one hero, and one heroine, whose names get changed, but whose relationship remains essentially the same -- book after book after tedious book. Plus, I dislike the breast-mauling in the sex scenes. How many women really want the male equivalent of a mammogram machine in bed with them for the rest of their lives?
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sanalayla



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kass wrote:
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.


Same here. I would prefer for my romances to be on the "hot" side. But if the romance is tepid, then so is the sex.

I think, for me, it's the sexual tension leading up to the sex scenes that's the most fun to read. Not even the sex scenes themselves. And I guess that's why I don't like Erotica that much: Because they get down to the actual sex much faster and I feel like there's isn't enough build up.
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Lindareads



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:37 pm    Post subject: Emma Holly Books Reply with quote

I am in the camp that likes Emma Holly's books. I have only read her Erotica books but have an historical or two here by her in the TBR. I always know what to expect when I pick up one of her books and I'm not surprised at a given storyline. Cooking Up A Storm was my first EM book, and I read ALL U Can Eat within the past year. I wouldn't want a steady diet, pun intended, of EM erotica, but occasionally, it's fun. Her writing is very easy to read, and the books read very fast. I know they're not for everyone, but they work for me.

I would have to say that rather than romance or sex, the writing, and how the sex or romance is written into the storyline is what hooks me and keeps me reading.

Linda
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