When I tell someone I write steamy romance, I get one of two immediate, knee-jerk responses: a broad grin and conspiratorial gleam in the eye, or the I-just-smelled-something-nasty face. Either is generally followed by The Question…
“So, like Fifty Shades of Gray?”.
No. Not at all like Fifty Shades of Gray.
The only similarity is that my stories also include graphic sex (though not of the BDSM variety. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Whatever creams your Twinkie.) and a HEA or HFN ending.
I strive to write stories about real people, living real lives, and going through real life struggles on their way to creating healthy relationships. And sex is a real part of the development of most modern relationships.
Having sex can change people (and characters are people too), and their relationships. Sometimes deeply and profoundly (there’s that comparison to real life again). It can move people to express love, or decide to spend the rest of their lives together, or freak out and bail.
The ways we behave when we’re naked (or not) and intimate with someone expresses so much about how we feel about ourselves and others. When I’m writing, sexual encounters offer a framework for expressing these deeper layers. I can show if a character is giving, controlling, ego driven, oblivious, inexperienced, uninhibited, uncomfortable in their own skin, putting up walls, and so much more.
Sex scenes let me manipulate my characters by pushing boundaries, or working through trust issues, or having them do something wildly, thrillingly out of, well, character. Like any other important scene in a story, it won’t have the same oomph if it’s not written out in all its glorious detail.
Just as importantly, all women deserve to enjoy great sex with loads of delicious foreplay (in books AND real life). That means, we need more examples of strong, independent women having mind-altering sex on their own terms.
Sex where the woman has one (or more) orgasms. Sex where the woman takes charge, or willingly gives up control because she trusts her partner to have her best interests—her pleasure—in mind. Sex where it’s not over until the woman is boneless and blissed-out.
For me, writing—and reading—those kinds of sex scenes is a whole hell of a lot of fun.
Do you like graphic sex scenes in your romance novels? Or, do you prefer a sweeter read, or a story where the door closes on the bedroom? Why?