Okay, how many of you saw this yesterday and said, "Huh?" I hit the wrong key and bam, it published. Simple fix of course -- tip for you -- before you do any writing on your post, fix the date on your post options and you won't have the problem of being totally embarrassed like I was.
Back to the real post.
I hate sex... in books. There, I've said it. And I know I've pontificated (Hi Donna *waves*) on this subject before, but I have to rant today.
I've been working on my Regency romance. As you may, or may not know, I don't write sex in my books.** I have sexual TENSION. I have tons of angst. I have passion filled kisses. I do not have sex. Not that I have anything against the act itself, I just don't want to write it, or read it for that matter. (And just so you know, I CAN write it, I HAVE written it, I have three sex scenes in my files just in case I ever did want to put it in my books.)
I recently acquired three new (pubbed in 2010) Regency romances. Two by NYT best-selling authors, one from a debut. The books were fantastic, (especially the debut -- soooo jealous), I read them in a day. (One a day.) The plots were great, the characters were great, the writing was great. Until I got to the sex.
The first book hit me with a sex scene on page 27 (which is kind of quick), and had four more sex scenes as well. And I'm not talking about regular missionary position kind of sex, I'm talking wild screaming monkey sex. Do I really want to read that?
The other books weren't too bad, the sex scenes were the "usual" and there were only two per book. However, each of them were between 5 and 7 pages long. WHY?
Because the authors described each and every little thing that happened. BORING!
To me, reading 7 pages of sex is like reading 7 pages of narrative on the correct way to wash dishes. Good Lord, we all know how to wash dishes and I'm presuming (as we're all consenting adults) we all know how to have sex. If you need to learn how to have wild screaming monkey sex, then go find a copy of the Karma Sutra.
As writers we're told to cut the crap out of our manuscripts, we're told to polish polish polish, make it shiny. So why the hell do we need to have 7 pages of sex? Wouldn't 3 have been enough? Do we really need to know ALL the details? Why are publishers publishing this?
Because sex sells.
Okay, call me a prude, call me a Puritan (I am orginally from New England), call me whatever you want, I don't care. I just don't see the need for sex scenes just to sell a book. Give me a great plot, give me characters who are real, give me some angst that doesn't involve heaving bosoms and eyes that bore into my soul.
I once queried an agent who said, "If you have an historical romance, can it stand by itself without the sex? If you took out the sex, would you still have a good book? If so, then you don't need the sex."
So why is there so much out there? Are readers in the Regency niche market not getting any? Are the ladies reading my genre all voyeurs because that's what it amounts to in my mind. I wouldn't like someone peeking in my bedroom window watching me do the horizontal shag. Which is why I don't read it. I'm not a perv.
And I can hear you all -- It's just a book, they're not real people. I know, I know. But still. Sex to me is a private act between the two people doing it. And you know what -- It's all the same. Pick up any two historical romances from any year, or different years for that matter, read the sex scenes, they're pretty much the same. You can only do it so many ways. (again Karma Sutra). And after awhile, it just gets boring. Like ham on rye with mustard.
Why does sex have to infiltrate such a sweet genre like Regency romance? Has anyone read Georgette Heyer? For God's sake, Jane Austen was a TRUE Regency romance writer and I don't think there is even a KISS in Pride and Prejudice. And you CANNOT tell me, THAT wasn't a GREAT book.
Question -- How many of you skip the sex scenes in the books you read? If you do write romance, do you write sex?
**To clarify -- I don't write sex in my Regencies. I write sex in my contemporary romances but even that (I think) is tasteful and most of it happens behind closed doors anyway. I like to leave some things to the imagination. Which, I think, is the real reason I don't write it.