Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Less Sex, More Filling

I must admit, I'm a bit burned out on romance right now. It's not that I know how the book's going to end - I'm cool with the Happily Ever After (love that, in fact). It's just that because of the popularity of erotica, graphic sex seems to have invaded every romance novel I've picked up lately, and that's not what I read romance for. I know this probably isn't the popular opinion, but I'm tired of super sexy books. In my opinion, there is a market for romances that have great characters, strong plots and show the characters' growth through the love story instead of what happens in the bedroom.

Because I've had a hard time finding books that fit this category, I've switched to YA. The stories I've discovered have been amazing! Inventive, imaginative and beautifully written. I'm excited to start writing my own YA. The genre seems wide open.

If you've got recommendations for romances light on sex but big on story, let me know. I'd also like to know how you feel about books like this. Would you buy/read a book knowing sex wasn't featured prominately?


  1. I read all over the board, but when I pick up a romance, I expect the sex. Obviously, with erotica, too.

    Romance light on the sex? Try a Crusie? Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee.

    Have you read Stephanie Meyer's Twilight and New Moon? LOVED them.

  2. Man, I am with you 100% Kristen!

  3. Eva - I'm not saying no sex, just sex off-screen or handled in a way where it's not so blatant. And I love Crusie, Lee and Meyers - I've read all of them!

    Mindy - Maybe we should write to some publishers?

  4. Anonymous10:01 AM

    I'm so with you on this Kristen. I'm reading a lot of fantasy these days, when I have time to read at all. I wonder if readers (non-authors) will eventually burn out on it too? When I read romance, I tend to move back to my old standys, Nora, Elizabeth Lowell...

    And dare I say it? I'm getting kind of sick of "dark, dark, dark". I don't mean I need comedy especially, but I'm a bit burnt out on the undead, the once dead, the going to be dead if someone doesn't save the world... you know what I mean. No offense to those who love those genres... And I'm aiming this at myself as well. I'm all wrapped up in paranormal...but once in a while you kinda want...normal.

  5. Ciar - I totally know what you mean! I don't read a lot of dark because I find it a bit draining. I've heard so much that straight contemp. romances aren't selling, but I think that might change soon. Don't get me wrong - I love paranormals, but I like the kind I write - lighter, with a bit of quirk. Books that don't take themselves so serious, you know?

  6. I love YA. I love the pace and the stories I've been reading are awesome. Going to go pick up more Scott Westerfield... Didn't you read the midnighters series? I want to try Peeps too:)I don't mind sex in romance as long as it's more about the emotions than physical tricks.

  7. For me the sex has to make sense within the story. What's bothering me is that many erotic stories is that the whole story is one sex scene after the other, but there's no plot and the author tries to solve the complicated conflict at the last pages.

  8. Teri - I haven't read Westerfield yet. I'm almost afraid because I have a feeling I'll get sucked in. lol

    Tempest - See, for me that would be a reason not to read erotica. If it's just sex for sex's sake, how is that still considered romance?

  9. Anonymous10:30 AM

    That's cool that you're excited to start writing your own YA. I'm sure it will be awesome!

    As for me, some of my favorite authors are Lisa Kleypas, Samantha James, and Karen Maire Moning. So I like sensual love scenes in romances.

  10. "Would you buy/read a book knowing sex wasn't featured prominately"

    Yes!!! Character growth of a character is not soley based on what they can do in the bedroom. OK, it could be about "the morning after" but just as easily be about the morning before and how they act within the situations they find themselves. Strong emotion doesn't have to be jumping into bed to show it, nope. It can be a quick and strong hug, the show of support and the willingness to let someone cry on your shoulder.
    You know, the quiet show of strength.

    Thanks for the head's up, Kristen!
    I think ol' Elle is out of sync on her viewpoint of "spontaneous joy".
    Especially after reading your comment and post.

    Are men the only ones with midlife crisis???

  11. I. So. Hear. You.

    I don't mind erotic romance. I even actually like it a lot on occasion. But lately, it seems to be all that's out there -- some of them, to the point that the sex overwhelms the plot. (Or worse, "plot? what plot?")

    It's honestly why I've been reading a lot more fantasy lately. While there is often sex, it usually is not handled in the same way as in romance. Even the books by Jacqueline Carey and Anne Bishop, which are lauded for being sensual/erotic, are not that detailed in comparison to romance novels.

    I don't read much in the way of YA, but if you're open to urban fantasy, I'd pick up Ilona Andrews' Magic Bites. I finished it recently, and it's quite good. Very interested to see what she does next in the series. :)

  12. Nonny - I am very open to urban fantasy, so thanks for the recommendation! I'll look for it next time I'm out. I love fantasy - it's some of the earliest reading I did.

  13. Amen, Sistah!!! I completely know what you mean. And, I love the YA these days! Westerfield is wonderful...I've read the Midnighter series and loved it. I haven't read the Peeps books, though I have them. I'm reading Stephanie Rowe's Date Me Baby trilogy right now...funnier than heck and very light on sex.

    It's not that there can't be sex in the romances I read, I'm just tired of it seemingly getting more and more and more added to every book.

  14. I'm an erotica author, but I love books with little or no sex! With or without it, the story and the characters are what's important.
    I actually read mostly chick lit and romantic comedy-and recently I'm getting back into hard-core sci-fi (not sci-fi romance). Great stuff-especially Elizabeth Bear's Hammer! But I digress...
    Mostly I like it funny. I love Jennifer Cruisie, Jennifer Weiner, and of course, our own Gemma Halliday. Oh, and I've started to read Wendy Wax and am loving her!

  15. Urban fantasy -- Patricia Briggs! Interesting complex relationships. No sex on screen. Or, come to think of it, in the first book at all.

    Sci-fi romance -- Linnea Sinclair! The plot and the characters are the story, not the sex.