Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Tangents/Off-Topic Discussions > Sex scenes in books Yay or Nay?

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message 1: by Ada (new)

Ada Maybe a weird question to ask, but do you find that sex scenes in romance books (or other genres with a romance in it) are a must?

I'm not thinking about books written by authors long dead (Pride and Prejudice) but more contemporary authors.

For me a sex scene must be very well written will I enjoy it. Or else I will skip it unless I'm in the mood for sex...

Wait, that came out wrong..

What I mean is: if I want to read explicitly about sex I go to erotica. But most of the time I'm very happy with an fade to black scene if the romance is well written.

How about you?


message 2: by Brittany (new)

Brittany (nerdyspinster) | 255 comments I prefer romance books to have sex scenes. I don't mind fade to black sometimes, depending on the book, but I would rather read sex scenes in romance novels more often than not. If I were reading romance novels for the romance aspect alone I'd read YA or something. I feel like sex scenes generally add to the relationship building between the hero and the heroine in romance novels and seem like a natural thing to have, since adults typically have sex when they fall for each other (or even before they fall for each other.) And I like detail in the sex scenes but I don't want them to be so graphic that it categorizes as a PWP erotica novel.


Sean Lookielook Sandulak (seansandulak) | 918 comments Mod
I think a sex scene is fine as long you're not sticking it in where it doesn't belong (phrasing! sorry). Seriously, if it's not absolutely necessary to have the graphic details every time. At the same time, avoiding them can make the writing seem prudish. It's very much a balance between the reader's expectations and the writer's intent and skill. That's why it's an art, not a science.


message 4: by T.S. (new)

T.S. Adrian (shadyia) | 163 comments Yay.

As long as it isn't gratuitous. If it adds spice to the story, but also builds character and is appropriate to the mood and theme.

Most heroic fantasy writers cannot write sex into their stories, even the "adult" fiction. New writers struggle with language and what to call what and how to use a proper metaphor without sounding like a sleazy Hustler Forum.

Ada, I discuss this in a related topic here (and has a sample of a sex scene in my WIP.) Please have a look:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 5: by Brittany (last edited Jul 07, 2016 07:49AM) (new)

Brittany (nerdyspinster) | 255 comments Sean wrote: "I think a sex scene is fine as long you're not sticking it in where it doesn't belong (phrasing! sorry). Seriously, if it's not absolutely necessary to have the graphic details every time. At the s..."

Ha, phrasing! That's true though. I don't like reading sex scenes when the situation doesn't really need one. Like, say, when the protags are trying to survive and it's a dire moment, but they stop to make out or have sex because they can't control their libidos for one minute, or one of them does something heroic and cool that makes the other person all hot and bothered. Like, really? You're running for your life, things are chasing you, and you have time to fuck? Come on. I've read enough romance novels (and fanfic) where situations like that have come up and it's so irritating.


message 6: by Malaraa (new)

Malaraa | 335 comments Started this with one thing to say and ended up with a wall of text, so the tl:dr is basically "no single answer".

I think if the romance is the main plot line of the story, it usually needs to include either the sex scenes, or at least some sort of extremely intimate couple time. Doesn't have to be detailed, or it can focus on the foreplay or afterglow part if that fits better with the story, but some sort of connection between emotion and physicality needs to be shown. For me it's usually more important that it fit the rest of the tone of book. If the characters are very reserved people, passionate set-up and a fade can work better. If these are characters with bold impulsive behavior in other areas, I start with expecting more on-screen sexy times. Which I *like* better does come down to mood more than anything else as well. :)

If the romance is a secondary plot, you may not be able to devote the book space to include more than a hint or a fade out to show sexual hi-jinks. If you're devoting enough pages to the sex to have it work in smoothly, be believable, and the timing to work, you're stealing time away from what used to be the main plot. There can still be a place for a sex scene if the book is very long, or if the sex is very casual, but it's going to have to do several things other than show us the sex. Maybe it takes an overpowered weapon out of our MC's hands (Not that one!) because now they're naked when the villain bursts in to the room, it's a calculated move to steal a secret, it sets up a later scene in the same room, it sets up the MC dealing with realizing they don't care as much about sex or about who they have it with as their culture says they should, and so on.

When there hasn't been a good balance created between the plot lines, that's where you run into a lot of the "oops, gotta cram a sex scene in, let's pause for some sexy times in this closet/bathroom/pantry before we get back to running from the zombies/murderer/monster!" Or (and this annoys me more personally) the dreaded "stares into space for 10 minutes to day dream about the love interest during an otherwise real time, urgent conversation" - that is *not* the time to tell us how hot they find each other, at great length. In fact, don't tell *us* about that at all. Have your character tell *the lover* why they find them hot - as a seduction, as reassurance that they're worthy, as a just in case we die moment, as anything other than a one-sided monologue directed at the fourth-wall. If it's not an appropriate time to tell the other character, it's usually also not an appropriate time to tell us.


message 7: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (stormfire298) | 52 comments I'm okay with a fade to black if the characters are well developed and the story well written, otherwise I feel the need to read the smut so that it makes me feel like it was less of a waste, kind of like how I watch Michael Bay films and I am okay with the "junk food" of it because I watch things blow up.


message 8: by Ada (new)

Ada Wauw I always thought I was a bit weird for not always wanting a smutty scene in my books. And I never got why some people complained about them. So nice to see some who think the same and very nice to see some background from those who don't ^^. Thank you all!


message 9: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (j-boo) | 182 comments I can certainly enjoy romances with just fade to black, but I definitely prefer them with "fleshed" out sex scenes (ha ha, a little sex scene humor there)


message 10: by Duckie84 (new)

Duckie84 | 33 comments I can go either way. if the sex is well written yay! If the sex takes over the plot/is a chapter or more for one sex scene no.
I had been reading the Anita Blake series. I really enjoyed it until she started having sex and it not advancing the plot. in one book the author wrote herself into a corner and had Anita loose too much blood having sex with a vamp. Next thing you know she wakes up in the hospital and all of the issues were magically solved.

I guess my point is sex in books can make the book or break the book.


message 11: by Ada (new)

Ada This:

Duckie84 wrote: "I guess my point is sex in books can make the book or break the book."

and this:

Duckie84 wrote: " I really enjoyed it until she started having sex and it not advancing the plot."

jeej to both! I think that's why I sometimes just rage quite although I like the main characters well enough. And about Anita Blake... *sigh* such a SHAME. I adored that series.


message 12: by Christa (new)

Christa I only like them if the sex is well-written. I despise books where the author feels the need to go into graphic detail about each and every time the characters have sex. It ends up making the stories drag, especially if the sex scenes are poorly written and there are a ton of them in the story that don't need to be there!


message 13: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth | 1 comments i dont think ive encountered well written sex

i dont read enough though


message 14: by Kasi (new)

Kasi Blake (kcblake) | 2 comments When I wrote for Harlequin, I used the sex scenes to show another side of the characters, maybe reveal something in them that wasn't obvious before. Because it was Harlequin, I HAD to have sex scenes. So I at least wanted them to do more than just make people hot. Lol. It's kind off embarrassing when your sister-in-law tells you how hot the book made her. Ick. Maybe that's why I write YA now.


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