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If we skip sex scenes, do romances need sex?
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Charlotte McClain



Joined: 04 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what about the sex scenes attracts you? Are there certain kinds that you like? Graphic or suggestive? Just curious.
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Chris6854
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a really good question. I don't think I've ever really stopped to analyze what I like about the scenes. I don't have time to post in depth right now, but "off the cuff" I think that my definition of a great marriage is a union that contains amazing emotional AND physical chemistry.

IMO, there is nothing sexier than a man that loves a woman for herself (flaws and all) AND has an overwhelmingly powerful physical desire for her as well. I enjoy reading the sex scenes, especially because they often show an emotional side of the hero that is somewhat veiled in other parts of the book. I don't have a preference for really graphic sex, but I don't mind it at all if it is well done. However, if the book is more than 50% sex scenes, I find it very boring.

PS - I remember reading a study that most women need an emotional connection to have sex....while most men feel the strongest emotional connection to a woman right after sex. Very interesting!
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris6854 wrote:
PS - I remember reading a study that most women need an emotional connection to have sex....while most men feel the strongest emotional connection to a woman right after sex. Very interesting!


I know that I'd want the leads to have more of an emotional connection before sex, too, but I don't think I've ever wondered about what the emotional connection was like after sex.

I'll have to reread some Romances which I believe to have good sex scenes--in the sense that they fit both the characters and the story--and see if they reflect that about men and women.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris6854 wrote:
PS - I remember reading a study that most women need an emotional connection to have sex....while most men feel the strongest emotional connection to a woman right after sex. Very interesting!

I wonder sometimes how one decides to make these studies, how they go about eliciting the data, and how they use the data to draw the conclusions. Sex is as varied as snowflakes. Even in loving and committed relationships, sex is sometimes passionate love, sometimes simple affection, sometimes lust, sometimes comfort, sometimes for pregnancy, sometimes a bedtime habit. The emotions before and after probably are equally varied.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I'm in the minority, but when choosing between two books with an "A" grade, I'll take the "Hot" one over the "Warm" one every time. I never realized that I was such a pervert compared to other romance readers![/quote]


No, I think a lot of romance readers chosse the "Hot" books when reading the reviews. I guess I was in that camp when I first started reading romance. Also, I sometimes disagree with the sensuality ratings. There have been a few books with a "Subtle" rating that I have thought should be under the "Hot" rated, and some "Hot" books that don't seem so very hot to me at all.
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris6854 wrote:


I guess I'm in the minority, but when choosing between two books with an "A" grade, I'll take the "Hot" one over the "Warm" one every time. I never realized that I was such a pervert compared to other romance readers!


I'd be curious to know how many romances you read. Would you say two or three a week? Closer to one? I'm curious to know if this affects how we feel about sex scenes. Last week I read four (sick, spent a couple of hours a day reading while the fam watched TV) and was definitely skimming sex scenes. OTH, I wonder if I would read them more thoroughly if I wasn't encountering them as frequently.

maggie b.
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Chris6854
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I wonder sometimes how one decides to make these studies, how they go about eliciting the data, and how they use the data to draw the conclusions. Sex is as varied as snowflakes. Even in loving and committed relationships, sex is sometimes passionate love, sometimes simple affection, sometimes lust, sometimes comfort, sometimes for pregnancy, sometimes a bedtime habit. The emotions before and after probably are equally varied.


Dick: I had to write my post quickly last night & couldn't remember where I got the info from. (I completely agree with you...sex is as varied as snowflakes!) I've been "racking my brain" trying to think of it today and finally remembered. When I first got married, a close friend of mine (who was quite a bit older than me) recommended that I read "Mars and Venus in the Bedroom" by John Gray, a psychotherapist/relationship counselor. In the book Gray explains how to keep passion alive in long term, monagamous relationships. At that time I found it easy to read and informative, if a bit simplistic. I was most interested in the parts of the book that detailed the different attitudes men and women have toward sex. Anyway, I just wanted to correct my earlier post, the information was not presented as part of a formal "Study".

Maggieb:

It's hard for me to quantify the number of books I read each week. It just depends on how busy I am, how busy my kids are, etc. On average, I probably read at least four books a week and I try not to waste my time on books considered "just average". My life is so hectic, if I'm able to take a break with a book, I want it to be a good one. (That's why I love AAR. It really narrows down my choices for me.) 75% of my reading consists of romance, the balance are mystery/suspense, sci fi and general fiction. I prefer romantic suspense, contempary and sci fi romance. I don't read many historicals unless they are really considered "exceptional". If it's a great book, I don't skim any of it, including the sex scenes. If it's an average read I skim some of it, but I don't specifically choose to skim the sex scenes. I don't think I've ever analyzed my reading this closely before. This topic has really caused me stop and think about my habits. In the end, If I'm completely absorbed by the characters, I don't want to skim the sex scenes. When they're done well, they present another dimension of the characters for me.

I just have to add one more thing...I'm sorry this post is soooo long!
Humans are sexual beings. Women would have to live under a rock to not realize that the majority of men think about sex on a regular basis. If I don't see that fact of life reflected in the story I'm reading, I'm unconvinced by the HEA. It can be a couple with an amazing connection and a deep love, but if the physical side is missing from the story I can't help but be skeptical. Just to clarify, I'm referring to the physical "chemistry" of attraction. I'm not referring to physical attraction. Two people can find each beautiful, but if there isn't a spark of chemistry, ummm, good luck! Definitely no HEA for them! LOL

I need to emphasize that this is only my opinion regarding romance books...not reality. A number of my college courses discussed the different types of successful married relationships. At the time, I hadn't realized that marriages could have such different dynamics. (Too many romance novels!) However, as I've gotten older, I've seen loving couples who are great friends and wonderful parents have happy marriages without sex. It's just that when I read a romance book I want the whole fantasy.
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graceC



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it depends on an author's skills. I personally will read a good romance book, with or without sex scenes. Lynn Kurland, for example, is one author who can really write romantic romance novels without sex scenes at all. Her heroines always have 'no sex before marriage' policy and the most she'd go is warm kisses and no more. Yet I love her to death. For me, characterization and good story are foundations of any book and more important than sex scenes. Even when I read erotica, I give more value to those two than the sex scenes.
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Kaia



Joined: 19 Oct 2008
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Location: Bay Area, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris6854 wrote:
Quote:
I guess I'm in the minority, but when choosing between two books with an "A" grade, I'll take the "Hot" one over the "Warm" one every time. I never realized that I was such a pervert compared to other romance readers!


I am with you here! One of the things I do to get new books/authors on this site is a Power Search of DIK reviews and then I'll write down the names of the "Hot" ones for my bookstore list. Laughing And since AAR has done such a good job encouraging me to not be ashamed of my romance novel reading, I am not going to be ashamed of what I enjoy in the romance novels. (Not that that's all I enjoy Wink ) This is not to say I have never skimmed; ocasionally, if it's redundant, poorly written, or I'm just not into the book, I'll find myself losing focus in the scene.
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Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really depends on the book, author, everything, for me. I too could deal without reading about Eve and Roarke's sex life anymore--I'd rather a fade to black. Just because it is basically the same scene written over and over again, but it becomes faintly ridiculous because it seems like Robb tries too hard to make every time be 'the best', like this time is so much more intense, but really they all read pretty much the same. And I adore the series to pieces, don't get me wrong.

My favourite scenes are those where the love scene manages to illustrate some aspect of character. Imperfect love scenes are *great* but it seems like authors, especially now, are reluctant to write those. It's really too bad, because I think they can be amazing illustrations of character development. I can remember a couple of Mary Balogh books where the heroine didn't find sex satisfying at first, and as her relationship with her new husband developed she found it more and more so.

but it seems like so many sex scenes I've written lately *have* to show that the hero is *the best lover ever* and the heroine absolutely adores everything that he does. It is a little boring to be honest--I like books where the characters have sexual 'quirks'..things they like and don't like. I remember being really impressed by a Lydia Joyce book where the heroine found that her breasts weren't especially sensitive, so the hero had to realise this and find other things to do.

So for me, a well-integrated sex scene can absolutely elevate a book, but I don't *demand* it because, well, I'd have very little to choose from.
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Skrabs



Joined: 16 Apr 2008
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Location: Australia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find really long, descriptive love scenes that last a chapter or so to be completely skimmable (is that even a word?). I don't need a blow-by-blow description but on the other hand I want more than a couple of lines. Shooting stars and rainbows and all of those other orgasmic experiences simply make me want to laugh. It's passion people, not astronomy.

On the other hand I recently read a book where the author obviously went out of her way to make the love scene realistic (in terms of it being uncomfortable and awkward, the hero getting cramed in the back of the car seat etc..) in that it almost wasn;t sexy at all and I began to wonder if either of the leads truly enjoyed it.

I like something on the hotter side and I love it when they simply explode and are on each other, unable to resist any longer.
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I skip a lot of sex scenes, especially when they're tedious, repetitive, and pretty much the same from book to book. I don't skip them all, because sometimes they're actually important to the plot in the way they play out.

For a recent example, take Sophia Nash, A Dangerous Beauty (2007). Because of Lady Rosamunde's prior experiences, it's very important how Luc, the hero, treats her when they move into a physical relationship. The scene of their first time is long -- yes. However, it deals as much, often more, with emotions than with the physical description of what they are doing and experiencing.

In a sense, this reply also flows over into the "importance of the first time" thread. It's not the first time either of them had sex (she's a widow) but it sets the tone for the development of a very different kind of marriage from the circumstances she experienced as Baird's wife.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am beginning to wonder how certain points regarding the readers factor into these varied responses, and they do seem to be assorted. For instance the age of the reader, how long she/he has been reading romance, whether married, divorced or single and how content they are in that status.

As an aside note, I recall when my sister was going thru a divorce, which was quite devastating for her, she totally abandoned romance novels, which she enjoyed up to that point. Even now, and following a happy second marriage, she still is not comfortable with romance-only fiction. Women's fiction appears to be okay with her, though--not sure about chic-lit.

Personally, I seem to agree with those here who said when they first began reading romance, every word was practically devoured, sex scenes and all. I know that's not the case with me now. I'm guessing it's over-exposure to those overly-descriptive settings in my case, and hopefully not age. Laughing But who's to say?
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This may be of interest to some..regarding sex scenes.
I was looking for a review on Amazon on the new Erin McCarthy book and found several reviews that interested me. One reviewer has reviewed over 400 books..mostly romance. She lists the number of love scenes and the page length of all the scenes in the novel. LOL! I've never come across anything like that on Amazon. Look under "People" and her name is Jane Stewart (the reviewer). When I get some time, I'm going to browse her reviews regarding all thos love scenes!
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RfP



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tee wrote:
I am beginning to wonder how certain points regarding the readers factor into these varied responses, and they do seem to be assorted. For instance the age of the reader, how long she/he has been reading romance, whether married, divorced or single and how content they are in that status.
Tee, my feelings on sex scenes haven't changed greatly as I've aged, been single or in a relationship, etc. For me, the best sex scenes are those that develop the story and/or characters.

If sex scenes are written that way, skipping 'em risks missing important developments in the relationship--but I totally get why people skip, because some authors write the same sex scene over and over. (Stephanie Laurens, I'm looking at you!)
Chris6854 wrote:
When I first got married, a close friend of mine (who was quite a bit older than me) recommended that I read "Mars and Venus in the Bedroom" by John Gray, a psychotherapist/relationship counselor. In the book Gray explains how to keep passion alive in long term, monagamous relationships. At that time I found it easy to read and informative, if a bit simplistic.
I wonder whether the research in Gray's book is well thought of. I'm curious because a year ago I read Deborah Cameron's The Myth of Mars and Venus, which talks about some unexamined assumptions and a general lack of research supporting Gray's original Men Are Mars, Women Are From Venus. (Which doesn't mean Gray's all wrong, just that his theories may not be as universal as they're portrayed.)

If you're interested, here's an excellent review of Cameron's book. Also, a year ago I linked to several excerpts from Cameron's book; they're quite interesting and funny. I especially like the example from Papua New Guinea, where women "wear the pants" so to speak.
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