5 Things Wrong with #Sex Scenes in #Romance Novels and How to Improve Them
1. Men, even the first time having sex with a long-awaited or extremely attractive partner, can last more than fifteen seconds (three thrusts) before orgasm, even when impassioned, unless they are under age 20 or suffer from PME (Pre-Mature Ejaculation), in which case, that man is not a good candidate for being the romantic lead.
Dear Jayne Ann Krentz/Castle/Amanda Quick or any of the 4 other pseudonyms you use: I’m sorry the men/man you have sex with can’t last more than fifteen seconds after being undressed, touched, licked or inside a woman. The rest of us have had better lovers. I pity you.
image from healthystateofthinking.blogspot.com
2. Oral sex in the 2010’s is not shocking, novel, strange, shameful, disgusting or horrifying. Really. No recipient or provider should be having these reactions unless the participants are ages 15 and under, in which case, please do not depict them having sex. That is not “romantic”: that is sexual exploitation of minors.
Dear YA Authors: take note. Teens having sex (and oral sex DOES count, despite President Bill Clinton’s assertions to the contrary) with older lovers (having more than a five-year age difference when over 14; more than a two-year difference when under 14) are victims of statutory rape in most US states.
3. Having protagonists/female leads who are “virgins” or incredibly inexperienced with sex in the 2010s, yet who are stunningly beautiful, capable and independent who are older than twenty is absurd. This characterization of inexperience as what makes a woman desirable caters to archaic/paternalistic fantasies.
Dear Historical Fiction Romance Authors: You may be exempt from the atavistim, but you are nonetheless feeding into these fantasies. Please stop. It’s okay to depict these girls/women as appropriately inexperienced, but to make that lack of knowledge the center of their attractiveness means that after one encounter, they automatically become less attractive. Awful.
4. Thanks for including clitoral stimulation in heterosexual sex scenes. Thanks for depicting male romantic leads who not only know the clitoris exists, but can find it, know how to please a woman, and want to do this. It only took about 100 years of romance writing to get men to be this aware. Okay.
Dear Modern Romance Writers; Now that we’ve established that clitoral stimulation is important and necessary for females’ sexual satisfaction, not every sexual encounter has to depict women’s having both oral and digital stimulation to the point of orgasm, always having multiple orgasms and the woman having the first orgasms before the man’s, every time. Repetition and routine kill sex. When a reader becomes bored reading the sex scenes, you have failed.
image from http://www.buzzfeed.com
5. Bondage, rape, domination and other masochistic sexual relationships are NOT psychologically healthy sexual expressions even if consenting adults decide to act these out. Also, these “relationships” do not accurately depict what occurs in most women’s lives and your characterizations set women back about three centuries.
Dear Shades of Whatever Authors: We know your books sell well. We know they’re not especially well-thought-out or well-written, are easy to write and are quick to get published. Since you insist on writing and publishers insist on publishing these types of drivel as “romance,” could you at least occasionally depict a strong, intelligent, capable woman who refuses to engage sexually with such mentally ill men? PLEASE?
image from feministing.com
Three ways to write better sex scenes:
1. Have sex scenes in which a variety of activities occur with enthusiastic, willing participants of legal ages and with male participants who can last longer than fifteen seconds when erect.
2. Depict at least some of your female leads as strong, capable, experienced and independent prior to having sex as well as during and after meeting their romantic lead.
3. Include some sexual encounters in which female’s multiple or simultaneous partners’ orgasmms do not occur and participants are happy with each other, anyway.
Thanks, Romance Authors who already write sex scenes like this. Many of you do.