Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A few days ago over at Romancing the Blog they were talking about sex in romance novels. I almost chimed in my two bits over there, but I kept thinking about more and more things I wanted to say--so what the heck, I'll blog about it too.

I used to LOVE romance novel sex. The tension between the main characters, the steamy kisses leading up to The First Time, the fallout, the misunderstandings, the embraces behind trees, the quickies in carriages... the whole shebang. And, being a woman of a certain age, I've witnessed the evolvement of sex in novels over the years. There were the early romances, along the lines of Love's Tender Fury, where the female lead endured struggle after struggle on her path to true love. Sometimes she also went through more than one partner, but if her heart remained true I guess that's all that really mattered. Who knows. Anyway, romance evolved into more one man-one woman fare with the conflicts coming more from the dueling personalities involved than time, distance, rape, etc... , but the sex was still a good, solid, intregal part of the story. It was a necessary, lovely (usually) step in the development of the characters/relationship. I looked forward to it. Sometimes I even read the sex scenes first.

The genre is still evolving, and the role of sex in romance novels is continually altering. And I have discovered that what once gave me such a zing now falls flat.

Yes, folks, I'm bored with the sex.

I can't believe it either.

It's been subtle, but it's been growing. I find myself tired of the tension, impatient with the descriptions. And I'm skipping the sex scenes in order to get on with the story. It seems that the sex has become gratuitous: "Okay, we're at page 120, time to throw in the sex scene!" and that it isn't moving the story forward or adding to character development. In short, it's just not a big deal, and so many stories I've read would have--in my own humble opinion, please don't lynch me here--been just as good or better without it cluttering up the plot.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not turning into some kind of weirdo or anything. But I've been puzzling over my change in attitude, wondering if it's just the books, or if it's because I'm getting older (how much older? let's not go there, please...) or a combination, or what. I don't know if it's just temporary insanity, hormone fluctuations, or needing to be more challenged by what I read.

And she puzzled, and puzzled, 'til her puzzler was sore...


Robyn said...

I'm with you. I don't know why some scenes make my heart pitty-pat and others don't; maybe it's the obligatory feel, as you said. Maybe it's because some scenes are written for the humina-humina factor, while the ones I like more are written more on the emotions behind it. But the descriptions! If I have to read about pebbly nubbins and turgid manhoods and blood turning hot one more time, ugh. And hot blood? OUCH!

StarvingWriteNow said...

HA HA HA!!!! Humina-Humina Factor--I love it!

Honey said...

Interesting... I'm suffering from the same thing, now that you mention it. It's almost gotten mundane. But maybe that's just me. :)

Ellen said...

I think that sex is boring when it becomes part of the "formula" -- and that's the direction it's taken lately. Once in awhile, I read a sex scene that's well done and unique to the characters -- it's like a drink of water in the desert.

I wonder if your post somehow reached me through osmosis today. LOL.