the long ones: your sexual expectations



About romance and erotica books, you perves. *rolls eyes*

This is a post that’s been hanging around in my head for a while now so I decided to pull it out, dust it off and attempt to give it some polish… yeah, right…

Lurker of book blogs that I am, I frequently see comments asking how much sex has been included in a novel as well as when those scenes occur within the story line.

-> Me: O_o

Yes, we romance and erotica readers tend to expect some sort of sex happening between the main characters and, yes, it seems to me that those assumptions are even higher when it comes to m/m stories.

But is that all there is? Isn’t there more to it than just getting your undies wet?

I have to admit, as smutty as I am, I get particularly PO’ed when I see such comments in relation to long novels.

Are you kidding me?? 150+ pages of sex from start to finish?!

If I wanted PWP, I’d only buy books by XXXXXXX or ###### or pure pron. *Oh, wait…*

*ahem*

Seriously, though, the expectations some readers have about the amount of sex scenes in a long novel just seem, well, ridiculous to me.

For me, and setting relevancy to one side, when I read such a book I generally want to see plot and character development before the smexing happens.

I become more invested in the progression of a longer story and, when the main characters do eventually end up in the sack together, it is all the more convincing and therefore satisfying to me as a reader.

So those are my expectations when it comes to sex in longer romances. Tell me what yours are.
Advertisements

About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
This entry was posted in books, ebooks, genres, romance, tropes. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to the long ones: your sexual expectations

  1. Jambrea says:

    I don't need tons of sex in my m/m romances. It needs to fit the characters and the story. For me it is more about plot. I love a good story. Not saying I don't like the sexin' part, but that is like icing on the cake, nice and yummy, but not a must have. šŸ™‚

  2. Chris says:

    It needs to fit into the story and not seem randomly added to meet a quota or fill a gaping plot hole. šŸ™‚

  3. Matthew says:

    Honestly, I can do without sex… in M/M books, that is. I want a story. I want characters. If sex scene fits in, ok, if the author insists. But endless (and very often completely unrealistic) pron – WHO CARES? I don't!
    I think it's a male perspective – we like our porn to be porn and our stories to be stories, I guess.

  4. Val says:

    I generally want to see plot and character development before the smexing happens.

    I agree, and I think the best sex scenes also reveal a lot about the characters: how they feel about themselves, each other, and that stage of their relationship. Great question, Kris!

  5. As long as the love scenes fit the story, then I'm fine with it. But after awhile hundreds of pages of fluids flying and angry noises gets to be a bit much. Example is Lora Leigh's Renegade. The hero gave so much oral to the heroine I thought his tongue was going to fall off!

    But it seems in M/M there's this assumption that there must be multiple sex scenes. Would be nice to read an inspirational or subtle M/M romance

  6. Tam says:

    I don't really have a preferance and with some authors I know what I'll get. A Sean Michael novel will be 80% sex whether it's 25 pages or 250. šŸ™‚

    But for author's I don't know at all, I'm in the whatever category. I don't mind if sex happens on the first page of a 350 page novel, or it can happen on page 300. If it makes sense, it makes sense.

    I've heard those stories of publishers who say “must be 40% sex”, I have no clue who they are but I think that kind of restriction on an author can only lead to a poorer product. Not always, sometimes 40% is just right and sometimes 60% is just right and sometimes 20% but it has to fit the story, to just randomly add sex scenes to beef it up is usually pretty obvious when you read it.

    Sometimes I like lots in m/m (and I know where to go to get it) and sometimes I'm more interested in the plot and characters lives OUTSIDE the bedroom (or bath, or kitchen, or dark alley).

  7. Mariana says:

    I'm with the “if it fits in the plot” group. I have to say that some authors give me smexing fatigue. Every situation is resolved with sex; every character development is celebrated with sex… it can be tiresome. There are some books that I skip the sex scenes of just to get through it.

    On the other hand, there are some authors that make a sex scene so perfect, I get jealous šŸ˜‰

  8. Tam says:

    There are m/m without lots of sex KB. Maybe not waiting until marriage type thing, but not necessarily on-page. Most of the time I don't even notice that I'm to page 200 and there's been no graphic sex or even sometimes no sex between the couple at all yet if the story has me captivated.

  9. Eyre says:

    I'm like Tam. I don't have a preference. I'm okay if there isn't any sex, but there are some authors that I enjoy whose books are going to be mostly sex. Honestly, it just depends on the mood I'm in. Now, there are certain times when I get annoyed by sex scenes that just seem out of place. If the couple suddenly decides to have a menage and I haven't been warned or there haven't been any hints they would want to do that, I get aggravated.

  10. I think Tam already said most of what I would have have said..

    New author, or authors writing in a new genre – get the septic treatment – I want plot, Character development…etc..

    Once I get a handle on what they are about – I then have comfort read or just plain old go to for good smut or long winded smut – what ever mood I am in, I can probably find an author to float my boat..

    That said – I recetly read one of my go to for smut author latest in a series and lo and behold – she stepped up her game and there was little to no smut present – and how did the contrary reader that I am felt – mightly put out…

    I expect silly smut from that author – not a half decent story…

    I am a reader – I am expected to be contrary… LOL

    E.H>

  11. Kris says:

    Jambrea: I agree that sex scenes need to be relevant to plot and characters. It's just that when it comes to longer stories I want all of the lead up to any sex to be, well, longer. Give me a good story, dammit! šŸ™‚

    Chris: “It needs to fit into the story and not seem randomly added to meet a quota or fill a gaping plot hole. :)”

    True that. I've never really understood the quota thing. I've heard about it, but it just seems totally whacked to me.

    Matthew: “Honestly, I can do without sex… in M/M books, that is.”

    *snort* I'm interested in your comment “and very often completely unrealistic”. How are they unrealistic? Enquiring minds and all that.

  12. Kris says:

    Val: “I agree, and I think the best sex scenes also reveal a lot about the characters: how they feel about themselves, each other, and that stage of their relationship.”

    Exactly. I think a longer book allows the act to be read as something more meaningful because we get to see the development of the relationship. That's one of the things I enjoy about long novels.

    Katiebabs chook: “But it seems in M/M there's this assumption that there must be multiple sex scenes.”

    I agree. I don't mind if the sex scenes reflect the gradual development of the relationship (for eg, kissing, BJs, sex, etc) but full on sex from the outset in a long novel gets really repetitive.

    Oh, and what Tam said about less explicit m/ms. There are definitely some out there.

    Tam: I agree with some authors you know what you get such as all of the sex in Sean Michael's stories, but I think that is something quite different from the expectations you may – or may not – have with a long novel or another author.

    “it has to fit the story, to just randomly add sex scenes to beef it up is usually pretty obvious when you read it”

    Yep. The random sex scene stands out like dog's balls. Makes you wonder why the editor dind't use their red pen a bit more.

  13. Kris says:

    Mariana: “On the other hand, there are some authors that make a sex scene so perfect, I get jealous ;)”

    LOL. I know what you mean. šŸ™‚

    Although it makes me roll my eyes and skim read, I can give or take the 'that's solved let's have sex' approach. What I hate is the repetitive sex scenes. The ones where the same formula has been used over and over again. They, to me, indicate that the author has done little research and is mainly getting on the m/m bandwagon. That's crappy.

    Eyre: “If the couple suddenly decides to have a menage and I haven't been warned or there haven't been any hints they would want to do that, I get aggravated.”

    The hit and run menage totally throws you out of the story. I remember reading a book like that ages ago and it totally killed it for me. I almost put the book down then and there, but I was doing a review of it. It was a major bummer in what had otherwise been a good story and because it happened right at the end too… Nope.

    EH: “I am a reader – I am expected to be contrary…”

    LOL. I'm with you on that one.

    “New author, or authors writing in a new genre – get the septic treatment – I want plot, Character development…etc..

    Once I get a handle on what they are about – I then have comfort read or just plain old go to for good smut or long winded smut – what ever mood I am in, I can probably find an author to float my boat..”

    From the comments here, I think that seems to be true of a number of readers. I do that myself, but when it comes to longer books I expect more. I expect an actual story. *shrugs* That's me though.

  14. Kaetrin says:

    I like to know going in what to expect – sort of a “heat level guide” so I'm not surprised/disappointed.

    Sean Kennedy's Tigers & Devils was mostly closed door sex and it was a great book. Very romantic.

    Having said that, I do like some sex scenes usually, whether I'm reading m/f or m/m. But, I don't want it in the absence of a plot and character development. I'm in it for the romance and the smexxing means something when there's a relationship between the characters. In a longer book, I ordinarily expect it to take longer to get to the smexy times but it doesn't have to.

    I just read Regularly Scheduled Life by KA Mitchell (that was around 200 pages IIRC – would you call that long Kris?) and it was about a couple who were already together and had been for 6 years – one of them is injured and the story is about what happens to their relationship as a result. It was therefore quite fitting that the smex was pretty much there from the get go. I thought it was a great story – a really angsty emotional read and the sex scenes added to it and moved the plot forward.

    @ KB I'm with you about Lora Leigh – some of her books are okay but there are some I've read (or skimmed) which seem like one sex scene after another with nothing much to join the dots – and it's not just the guy's tongue falling off – the poor girl must get totally dehydrated!! o-0

  15. Matthew says:

    @Kris:
    1. Anal sex without any hygienic preparation. Well, sometimes it happens in RL – but there are consequences.
    2. Anything the boys do is arousing to no end. Their whole bodies are an erogenous zone. You never read “Could you please stop nibbling my neck? It really does nothing to me.” No. Spanking, biting, dirty talk – they never discuss it beforehand, yet when it happens the other feels like in heaven.
    3. Speaking of heaven – both guys lose their ability to think even before they shed the first layer of clothes. They enter some nirvana state of mind and proceed to coma.
    4. All men are well hung and keep their hard-on for the whole time. Actually, hours before the intercourse and 5 minutes after they are ready to go again.

  16. Kris says:

    Kaetrin: “I'm in it for the romance and the smexxing means something when there's a relationship between the characters. In a longer book, I ordinarily expect it to take longer to get to the smexy times but it doesn't have to.”

    You're right. It doesn't have to, but I really want more of the lead up into the relationship. I'm also wondering if it has sometime to do with the fact that because I'm paying more for the story I expect more. Something to think about.

    In the ebook industry 150-200 pages seems to be a long book, especially if it is published by a particular company. Although that's the page length I was kind of referring to in this post, that is actually quite short for me since I am fantasy reader. I'm used 400-500 pages minimum. LOL.

    Matthew: Thanks for answering my question. šŸ™‚

    1. I've seen a discussion about this on the m/m goodreads group where the guys were pretty frank about fecal matter, etc.

    2. Isn't that a sign of twu wuv? Where even the places that turned you off before are now hot spots? šŸ˜›

    3. That's the 'ungh' factor in m/m. I'm pretty sure that's become an official trope all of its own.

    4. Another twu wuv sign. You're perpetually horny, have copious amounts of cum and never die of dehydration.

  17. orannia says:

    I loves you! You read my mind šŸ™‚

    Before…I would say I could do without the sex. Now…I like that sign of physical intimacy, but it needs to be entwined with emotional intimacy – I need the plot and character development first and foremost.

  18. Kris says:

    Orannia: You too? šŸ™‚ It just seems to mean more when it happens, doesn't it. In a longer novel you become emotionally invested in the characters and they and the story develops. When the act finally happens it is oh, so good. šŸ™‚

    An example of what I mean is Kate and Curran from the the Magic series. I was thrilled when they finally got together in the last book. It was awesome.

  19. Nikyta says:

    Honestly, I prefer my m/m without the sex… but I agree with Jam and everyone else, the sex has to fit with the story… One of my favorite books is Tatterdemalion because it doesn't have that much sex in it but where it does, it supports the plot… and like Mariana I get annoyed with an overload of sex scenes and I start skipping pages… It just depends on my mood.

    But there are some authors that I can read page after page of sex and still be reading eagerly but then other authors I can't. It kind of depends on whether I like the way they write it… I have noticed that when it comes to the books that have too much sex I start to get distracted and count how many times they use certain words… Is that bad? lol

  20. Kaertin: Gushing and weeping comes to mind when reading Lora Leigh. O.o

  21. Angelia says:

    I like sex in my books. I do not like books that are nothing but sex.

    Don't give me sex every chapter and call it a novel. I want a plot in there somewhere.

  22. Kris says:

    Nikyta: “I have noticed that when it comes to the books that have too much sex I start to get distracted and count how many times they use certain words… Is that bad? lol”

    LOL. Nope. There have been a number of occasion on this blog where we have discussed the use of certain terms and some readers have actually started counting them. You're in good company for weird here, my love. ;P

    It's interesting that you prefer your m/m stories without sex. It made me think about all of the books I have read that I have really enjoyed that either don;t have any sex or are not explicit. Maybe another poll is in order??

    Angelia: “Don't give me sex every chapter and call it a novel. I want a plot in there somewhere.”

    I think that is what shits me the most about having lots of sex in longer novels. I feel like I got duped for forking out my hard earneds for nothing but sex. If I buy a long book, I expect a long story NOT just one long sex scene.

  23. Kaetrin says:

    @KB – Lora, all that gushing and weeping can't be healthy – get the girl an IV, stat!!

  24. Twimom227 says:

    This topic goes along with the “what is erotic” and “what is hot?” I think expectations are dependent upon the story line and style of the book.

    I have read some books where there is sex almost immediately between the primary couple. Wards' Dark Lover, Nalini Singh's Branded by Fire and even the book I just finished: Alyssa Day's Atlantis Betrayed all include some sex near the beginning. but it works because the writing is remarkable and there is true passion and build up. And I've read some books where the main couple wait for a while… Although, if the book is 400 pages, and there is no sex until page 250… I probably am feeling a bit let down. And in a longer book, I hope for a few good scenes, but nothing that dominates the entire book. Plot and story! It is why I read. No, really!

  25. Kris says:

    Twimom227: “This topic goes along with the “what is erotic” and “what is hot?””

    That is very true and also very dependent upon the reader. I am one of those who adores the build up of sexual tension in a story as so I guess it's really no surprise that I prefer development first.

    “Plot and story! It is why I read. No, really!”

    I'm totally convinced. šŸ˜›

Leave a Reply. I dare you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s