May 14, 2012

Posted by in Question | 20 Comments

Question – Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Sex?

Last week, I talked about violence.  This week, I’m going to talk about sex.

I read once that Romance books have, on average, three sex scenes in them and that erotica books have five.  I’m not sure how accurate that really is but when I think back I figure that sounds about right.  But sometimes I find that even the three “bow chika wow wow” scenes in one book are too many.  I feel that way if the sex is just thrown in just to make the book “juicy” and does nothing for the characters development or nothing for the advancement of the story at all.  I dislike books with scenes like that.

I remember reading a book a while back, one of my very first erotica books, and thinking “this is just bad bad bad!”  I thought this because the heroine was ‘trying to find herself’ and apparently she needed lots and lots of different men, some alone and some with friends, and raunchy sex to do so.  There was a scene that was absolutely ridiculous (I’m talking a foursome harem scene here!) and others that just made me scratch my head and turn the book onto its side to see if that made it make more sense.  But worst of all, by the time I reached the halfway point, I started skimming the sex scenes!  *gasp* I know!  Those scenes are one of the reasons we read romance to begin with!

Apparently though, I was one of the few people who felt that way about this book.  Proof that I am in the minority:  I picked it up because back when JR Ward had message boards, this book was found under the ‘hottest book ever’ thread with many votes going for it!  And I mean MANY!  Okay then…

That leads me to my Question this week:  For you, is there such a thing as too much sex in a book or do you have a ‘the more the merrier’ attitude?

  1. I totally agree with you. I like a sex scene when it’s hot AND interesting! When it’s showing something in the relationship between the characters. And when these scenes are very well written (like a certain scene in the Night Huntress serie..), it makes me all arggggggh!
    But, to be honest, the love stories that send the more butterflies in my stomack is when the relationship between the two heros is so strong you don’t need those sex scenes.
    I’m reading at the moment Magic Slays and “Kate and Curran is definitely my favourite couple although there’s almost no sex scenes in the serie.

  2. I’m pretty much of the mindframe that if it doesn’t progress the story or at least make sense in the story then it’s too much. To me it’s the same thing as having too much information spewed at me (an info-dump) or a superfluous character in a book – it’s too much and often times a distraction.
    There are also times when I feel like authors use it to attain their word count and that’s not cool!

  3. Gratuitousness sex scenes don;t do it for me-not even in erotic romances. I have always been more of a UF fan because the sex scenes are infrequent but that is changing and now they are rivaling PNRs.

    Another trend bothering me is the love triangles/quad-angles where the heroine is boinking everything that moves all the while boo hooing about trying to decide who she loves. Boink who and how many you want but don’t introduce the love card. It just makes the heroine look stupid, slutty, and annoying.

  4. Michele says:

    Yes, there is such a thing as too much. Case in point, The Guide to (Man) Hunting by Jessica Clare.

  5. I’m a romantic at heart, I really don’t care for sex scenes unless there’s real connection between the participants, and I like monogamist maybe.
    I stopt reading Anita Blake after she became a HO…lol

  6. Well, not to be a prude but yes. I have no idea why but I’d even like my books PG13. Maybe kissing, but honestly I do not need 4 pages of sex. I usually skim it anyway. It bores me. Except when they do something weird, then i tell bf and laugh

  7. Zendastark – Kate and Curran are my fave! And yes, that certain scene in the Night Huntress series…very well done. Not just sex but he’s showing how much he adores her. Great example of how it should be written. 🙂

    CdnMrs – Oh! To compare it to info-dump! Very true!

    Tori – I totally agree with you about the Love Card thing. 🙂

    Michele – LOL!!! Very true.

    Lupdilup – Prude?! LOL I agree with the connection. It really is necessary.

    blodeuedd –

    “It bores me. Except when they do something weird, then i tell bf and laugh”

    Your comments…LMAO!

  8. Yes I do believe that if you are reading a regular romance, too much sex can be too much. I also think if you are reading an erotica book, sometimes too much sex can equate to eating lots and lots of chocolate. (Yummy at first but now I have a stomach ache)

    I wish romance books were labelled easier to identify. I read it all, from the light romance straight through to the hot n’ steamy erotic but I like to know what’s between the pages before I start. Even covers can’t always be a good judge.

    When I’m at a bookstore and I have the book in hand, sometimes it is so hard to actually tell. I have to dig out my Blackberry and go to my Goodreads site to find out that info.

  9. Yes, I like the sex in my novels but…and here comes the qualifier…I like a long slow romantic invovement before the H/h get to the sex. I want a definite connection between those characters that goes beyond just erotic stimulus, and I want to anticipate their finally getting around to falling into each others arms. I’m just a romantic at heart. Most often I find this in Contemporary and Historical Romance novels, not so much in UF and PNR. But I’m also disappointed if there is no sex after they have been romantic for the entire book. I agree that there can be too much sex and it takes away from the story. This is one reason that erotic novels don’t always appeal to me. I’ve read a few that are good but most are written to titilate and arouse and have little to do with romance.

  10. Wow great question! I really do believe that lately there are too many sex scenes in my books, especially in historical romances. And I read the first scene, and perhaps the second, and I skip the rest, or just skim for pieces of conversation. I like to read the story, the romance, and all those love scenes are totally not necessary for me. After all, I still love my Barbara Cartland books 😉

  11. I think it depends on the book. Sometimes it’s OK, because it means something, but sex for sex is never interesting, or I think so. It’s for that I have a problem with the last books of LKH.

  12. @blodeuedd I like the PG13 idea! Count me in for long, slow buildup to relationship, count me out for play-by-play descriptions. Leave something to our imaginations. Less is more, IMO.

  13. Michelle – Like eating lots of chocolate. Love it! lol

    Dot – It does make it more real and feel more romantic if there is a slower build. I agree.

    melliane – I have heard that so often about LKH books!

    LisaC – Your comment reminds me of something Karen Marie Moning said. When her Fever books were optioned for a possible movie, fans were telling her that there is no way the movies would be as good as the books – or at hot – unless they make it NC17. KMM laughed and said that her books aren’t NC17 but our imaginations made them so. I thought that showed very well what our romance reading minds are capable of conjuring up. lol

  14. Northwoman says:

    For me there can’t be too much sex, IF it is inntimate. Or saying it another way, I can do without much sex if there is intimacy. The important thing is the intimacy – that is erotic.

  15. Jordan R says:

    First of all – I absolutely love that you put that Salt n Pepa album cover on this topic! It’s so terribly awesome – but I always love singing along. And now I’m going to have Let’s Talk About Sex in my head for the rest of the day!

    But I feel the same way you do about sex in books. Generally, I want it to be in there with a purpose. For example, Jeaniene Frost books, we know that Cat and Bones are getting it on more than the times that we “see” it in the books. But the times that the author chooses to highlight usually have some significance, either emotionally or to do with plot advancement. Besides, I really love the tension! If it’s just sex all the time, I’m bored because then I don’t feel the connection between the characters. I am sort of conservative when it comes to the romance genre though. I’m really not interested in reading about a character having multiple partners or *gasp* multiple partners at once! For me, I want to see the sex as part of the characters forming a monogamous relationship. I know that’s boring, but it’s the reason I read romance at all. I want the HEA!

  16. I heard about this book called The Sex Bucket List… I’m sure that there is alot of sex in it! lol ; )

  17. Yes, there is. Sometimes I feel authors use sex to fill up pages, when that happens I tent to skim over those parts. Don’t take me wrong I like my “bow chika wow wow” scenes (LOL) when they are part of the plot.

  18. LOL what books are you reading Julie? It seems to me that the 3/5 scenes are less than I usually encounter. I pondered the very same question problem here:

    I once read a book which was categorized and marketed as a contemporary romance book, but I almost got an erotica or at least an erotic romance: the sex scenes to outdoors scenes were about 4:1 (I once counted the h/h having 4 rounds of bed acrobatics before going out of the bedroom)

    I am more tolerant with more (and maybe meaningless sex scenes) in erotica novels, but in romance books I also want a plot!

  19. There is definitely too much sex. I’ve come to learn I am no erotica fan because I need plot with my sex. I have stopped some well-loved UF series in the past because the plot turned to crap. I like sex. Who doesn’t? But there is much more to experience in a book.

  20. While I really love a good sex scene and do enjoy some erotica, I prefer a long lead up to the actual sex. Kate and Curran is a good example.

    I have come to resent the inability of characters to resist any urge to jump in the sack. As much as I love the shifter/vampire/animal-human hybrid stories, it is sad that the authors of these stories seem to think their characters have absolutely no control on their sex drive.

    That being said, the sex scene between Bones & Kat in One Foot in the Grave with the bondage and venom is hot, hot, hot.

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