Good Morning Monday!
Personal interpretation is the beauty of art.
Another Good Morning Monday post! Go me!
In this week’s post, I wanted to talk about sex in books and, more directly, the lack of sex in books.
I quite often have reviews where readers mention in a negative light that my books often have a considerable lack of on-page sex. This is true, and something I could never deny: my books (not including the A. Voyeur ones) would never fall into the erotica category.
That being said, I also have quite a few reviews stating there is too much sex in my books. So clearly it’s a battle I will never win. Quite frankly, it’s not a battle I’m willing to fight. I write the stories the characters tell me to write and it would feel wrong for me to sway them either way. I would also never change a book to what I *think* my readers might want. I write the stories the characters tell me to write. I owe them truth in the delivery, not anyone else. Not even me.
I will read reviews sometimes so I can learn from them. I like hearing what people loved and didn’t love about my work. I am a firm believer in the adage “to each their own”, and I have no qualms with the opinions of others. In fact, I welcome them. After all, I’ve read books where there’s been, in my opinion, too much or too little on-page sex. We all like different things, and personal interpretation is the beauty of art.
So, why am I bringing this up now?
Spencer Cohen, Book One has no sex. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch. There is UST and a smoking hot kiss, but no sex.
Will some people hate that? Sure. Will some people love that? Sure. Will some people not notice or care? Probably. Again, with the battles I will never win.
I can say, without giving spoilers, that Books 2 & 3 make up for it. Which is fine, wonderful even, for those books. It fits the plot/characters/emotional need of those two books for the intimacy levels to be cranked up a notch or three. There’s nothing gratuitous about the physical development of this couple. They’re expressing their feelings in a physical way, exploring and learning what the other likes. It’s a natural progression of all budding relationships, if they’re inclined to be physical.
But in Book One, Spencer and Andrew are not there yet.
I’ve had one early ARC reviewer tell me she didn’t even realise there was no sex in the book until someone asked her. This is what she said,
“It’s unique, and sweet and damn hot even though there isn’t really anything steamy. It just works, the chemistry they have, the sexy innuendos and blushing moments …. *swoon* perfection!”
As a reader, I look for a well-balanced blend of characterisation, interaction, growth and development. If that includes sex, then bring it on. If it’s gratuitous and repetitive, I will skim. And if the characters have more sex than conversations, then chances are it will end up being a DNF for me.
So, what is, in your opinion, too much or too little sex in a book? Is it important? Is no sex a deal breaker? Is too much sex a deal breaker? Is it even an issue these days? Should it be explicit, implied, or completely off-page? Should it be there at all?
Comments, opinions and thoughts? Hit me with them. And remember, no one is right or wrong.
I’ve always found your books to have just the right amount for the stories and the characters involved. I don’t think any author should feel pressured to put more sex in just for the sake of it because it could potentially change the flow, dynamic or interpretation of the characters.
I like to spend time getting to know the guys, their past, their present, how they became who they are and why they’re where they are today. I recently proofed a story that missed all these things and it made the MC’s come across as shallow and one dimensional. I mean the sex was sizzling hot, and there was copious amounts of it (almost to the point of me rolling my eyes and saying “not again”) and that was fine, because that was the dynamic of their relationship and their lifestyle. BUT, I love stories of real people, people who I’ll probably meet or come across one day and have something to talk about or watch and try and guess their story and if there’s no background or insight into their daily life besides in the bedroom it just falls flat for me.
You’re right, it is a delicate balance, and a personal choice for each person. For me, your stories are the perfect blend and I can only assume by your fan base that many feel the same. Keep doing what you’re doing, lovely. It’s working 🙂
Exactly. I think you said it better than I did 🙂 And thank you!! As long as I have boys in my head who need their stories told, I will keep writing. <3
One of my very favourite books is Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy, and the sex is just suggested, not explicit. I think sometimes, if well written, this can be just as enjoyable and enticing. I like the tease. Too explicit and I’m skimming!
Yes! Sometimes implied sex works better than descriptive, on-page sex. Again, this is just my opinion, and it differs for everyone. I like a blend of both, but I’ll take banter and snark and stolen moments before a book of pure sex. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
I like a good story and well written characters in a book. If sex happens then that’s OK, but it’s gotta move the story on. Story first, sex OK, but not gratuitous, that’s a big no as far as I’m concerned. To be honest if there’s too many sex scenes in any book, I find myself page skimming to get back to the story. Too much sex is a bore.
I agree. It’d be no different if they described their morning coffee in the same way. A few times is great, but every time is boring 😉
It all depends on the story for me. Sure I like the sex part but there has to be a story or I won’t read it.
So very true. Sometimes it’s who the characters are, and therefore important. But we need to see who they are out of the bedroom too. <3
For me, for every book I read, it’s all about the connections. Who connects, how they connect, why it works or doesn’t, the problems they face and the solutions they find. All that will be different for each set of characters, and as long as the sex fits the connections they form, it doesn’t matter how often or how detailed or when it happens. If the characters are right, the rest follows naturally, and will be whatever those characters decide it should be.
Yes, yes, aaaaand yes. LOL Each book is different, each character and couple are different. Couldn’t agree more 🙂 <3
I love your books just as they are. I find no need to always have sex on page, it’s the whole situation and interactions that’s interesting, not the clinical details. I enjoy a good sex scene, but it’s not something that will make me either choose or dismiss a book. It’s not the first time I’ve told you your dialogues are brilliant and THAT is something I treasure.
I read Spencer Cohen Book I and enjoyed it so much, and I didn’t miss anything from lack of a sex scene. I loved the connection they developed the emotion and the tension and the inclusion of secondary characters. I’m counting down the days till I can read more about them, and yeah I admit I’m looking forward to the sex this time. Some books are littered with too much sex and I do end up skipping through parts sometimes, But I think I only skip through parts when I’m not completely invested in the main characters, because when I am, I soak in every scene, every interaction. But I have to say, just continue to go with your instincts because I’m loving what you’re doing so far.
Spencer Cohen was the first book of yours that I read, and then I moved on to Red Dirt series and I’m currently in the middle of book 4, and I love it SO much. I just read where Charlie is telling Travis that he’ll read the background profile on his next applicant this time and how he also had one on Travis. So hilarious. Things like that are what I love. The casual sexy banter with characters (and secondary chars). There hasn’t been a full on sex scene yet, and I’m looking forward to one, but I’m thoroughly enjoying every other step along the way. So far it seems like you have a pretty perfect mix of explicit and implied, and that really is working for me. lol. Just do your thing.