I recently wrote a guest post for author Petra F. Bagnardi's Goodreads blog. She invited me to talk about sex in today's Romance genre, especially in NA. Granted, I'm still a newbie where NA is concerned so I tried to explain why I like reading good, intense sex scenes and why the presence of good sex scenes are necessary for me in the novels I read these days.
My post is one of the 5 posts that were written by different bloggers on this topic. Please remember, these are my own opinions, mainly as a Romance reader of many years.
The original post can be found HERE alongside Petra's conclusion.
First of all, I’d like to thank Petra for inviting me to write a guest blog because officially, it’s sort of my first one. I was intrigued by the subject matter when she mentioned about it. Is sex the ‘enemy’ in Na literature? Is there really too much sex in these books?
For a starter, I’d like to tell you my introduction to a sex scene in a romance novel. I was in my late teens. I had previously, rather voraciously, gulped down books by Victoria Holt. Her books are basically classic Gothic romances without any love scenes at all. Honestly, I didn’t know love scenes were, in fact, written in a book and explicitly too. Guess what, the mention of ‘nipple’ in that book got me tizzy. Come to think of it, if I compare that book to the genres I explore these days, my reaction at that time seems entirely laughable but that’s how I felt.
So far, I’ve read Historical and Contemporary romances. My tastes have grown and changed over the years. I’ve also quite heavily been exploring the world of Erotic Romance for the past 3 or so years. NA is rather a new arena that I’ve been dipping toes in for about a year now. Just fyi, I don’t read YA romance, so my idea of that one is pretty vague.
Ever since I decided to read NA books, I’ve been going through reviews and such, as I generally do, to pick up what might suit my tastes. I found some good authors in the process and many rave reviews not only about the author’s writing but also the sexy heroes and their sexy moves in bed. On the contrary, I’ve also read reviews saying sex was too much, or unnecessary etc., as in, those readers didn’t expect such explicit material. Also, that NA books have a common type of formula and sex playing a big part in it. But I decided to go through some of these books and form my own opinion. A few books I’ve read were good, if not excellent but I really enjoyed those. And sex scenes-wise, they indeed were hot, just as I like it.
Even though I don’t necessarily agree with every opinion expressed in those reviews I read, I know they must’ve had their reasons to think that there were too much sex. Here, I’ll only talk about what I think of sex scenes in NA romances, or let’s say, in Romance as a whole.
For me, it comes down to a few basic points:
1. I enjoy reading them; it’s as simple as that.
2. To each their own. Opinions differ. What others find explicit might nearly not feel as explicit to me and vice versa, hence I like forming my own opinion before judging.
3. Romance as a genre in today’s world where sex is necessary because we’re more open about sexual relationships than we’d ever been before.
4. It sells, as some would point out.
IMO, a well-written, hot sex scene can actually add to a story, be it an Erotic Romance or NA. It displays a connection of body and mind that can greatly levitate the storyline to a certain level of richness. In example, while reading a book, it can happen that you’re not liking the way things are progressing. Yet, when the central characters (H and h) of the story finally have sex, you end up feeling a connection giving you hope that these two people are actually headed towards something good. In turn, you start enjoying the story much more. And that’s just one example drawn from my own experience.
Personally, I’ve never minded sex scenes, as long as it’s done well and I’m not falling asleep in the middle. Intense sex scenes are my favorite ones. I’ve read sex scenes that made me squirm and daydream, in the middle of a class no less. It has happened, trust me. I always make sure to express how good it was or how I felt when I write a review. Yes, there are books without sex or with very mild scenes that I’ve loved but those are rare occurrences, largely depending on the author’s creativity. But I generally avoid clean romances cause, as I mentioned above, I need to feel that connection between the main characters.
It is not to say that there weren’t books I’ve read where sex scenes felt gratuitous. Not well-done, neither any interesting storyline to go with it. But this also comes down to the fact that tastes and opinions differ.
Before I finish, I’d like to state that I definitely don’t think that the presence of sex scenes in Romance novels is condemnable in any way, neither in NA as a very popular sub-genre. If it disturbs someone so much, they should just move on to the next book or find another genre and see if that’s more to their taste, because as a reader I think the possibilities are infinite.