Reality and romance

I love romance. It’s my favourite genre by far. Still, there are times when I shake my head at a book or two. See, once in a while, romance borders on the…well, unrealistic.

The hero can definitely be over the top. His hair is perfect, his teeth are perfect and his smile can make females swoon from miles away. Sometimes perfection itself is not enough. I’ve read books where he was ‘incredibly male’, whatever that means.

Other times the love is over the top. There are love stories where the hero and heroine despise each other the entire book but magically come to passionate, desperate love in the last two pages of the book. Really?

But the worse infraction by far are those sex scenes. I’m all for imagination and trying new things but some of the scenarios I’ve read made me cringe–and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the reaction the author wanted. I’ll leave alone the fact that no one in a romance seems to have any sort of realistic sexual issue, some of the situations made me wonder if it was physically possible at all.

Can two people actually have sex on a horse? Really? Because I’ve ridden a horse and I’ll tell you I had trouble simply staying seated on the animal. How come no one ever slips during hot, steamy shower sex but I barely make it out of mine alive in the mornings? Should I mention how dirty pirates were (no tooth brushes!)? How could sex with them be even remotely appealing?

If you’re interested, here‘s the article that got me ranting about the topic. A fantastic read by All About Romance.

What do you think? Is it realistic or do we say, eh, and just believe?




Romance and sex: writer’s responsibilities?

I read S.K. Nichollsexcellent post on this subject and it got me thinking. What do I think about sex in romance? Should the author have a responsibility towards the reader and guide their moral compass?

Personally, for me, the task of guiding someone else’s moral compass is way out of my field of expertise. I have enough trouble keeping my own morals and finding the right choices in my own life, let alone guide others. So, I’d like to keep writing clear of morality–again, just for me.

I do write romance and that means a love story. My books are meant for adults, not children. I hope that’s the audience they find their way to (ahem…right now the ‘audience’ is very limited in number…and I only have one book out, but you get the point).

But I do think that, for me, if there’s sex in romance, it should add something to the story. It shouldn’t be there just because nothing else was going on in the last 100 pages. It shouldn’t be there gratuitously.

I’ll add that most books I love fall under that category. Romance isn’t just about sex. It’s a love story, hopefully, a beautiful love story.