Every romance writer gets the sex question at some point. The two most common I’ve been asked are: Why has the romance genre changed to include a lot more sex? Don’t you worry about what your mother, grandmother, children, pastor (take your pick) might think of you?
The reason I include sex in my novels is because it’s important to the development of the plot, the characters AND the romance. Let's face it, there are very few people in the world who purposefully enter into a romantic relationship without an expectation of sex. More than that, with the openness about the sexual experience in our society, there is an expectation of great sex. What could be more important than writing about the most intimate relationship we all want to have, but spend our entire lives trying to get right? So, let me briefly answer the two questions.
Why has the romance genre changed to include a lot more sex? Fiction tends to reflect the times we are in. My 14 and 15 year old nieces and nephews know more about sex and its variety than I did after five years of my first marriage. The acceptance and easy discussion of sex today is very different than it was when I was growing up. In today's world, it seems unnatural to write a book where the romance is central and not have the protagonists having sex. Certainly, the description can vary from mere suggestion (they walk into the bedroom and close the door) to graphic detail (erotica). My books are somewhere in the middle between those two ends of the continuum. Most reviewers would call them "hot" --the typical sensuality level of today's romances.
Don’t you worry about what your mother, grandmother, children, pastor (take your pick) might think of you? I'll admit that when I wrote my first sex scene, I was definitely embarrassed at the thought of who might read it and what that person might say to me or ask me. I was brought up in a household where sex was never discussed. Consequently, for me to even find the right words to describe the scene was difficult. However, as I've grown in my writing and in my understanding of my characters, these scenes have become easier for me to write. In a real life romance, the progress of the sexual relationship is often a marker of turning points in the love relationship. True intimacy requires both partners to trust, to let go, to share power and control. The sexual relationship in a romance is one of many important metaphors which help to explore the progress of true intimacy which is trust and love. By the way, my pastor assures me she has sex too, so not to worry. :-)
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