One of my groups on Goodreads is having a great discussion about love scenes. How far do you want your love scenes to go? Are you satisfied with a sweet scene that shows where the couple is headed, but discretely closes the door before anything more than a kiss happens? Or do you want every steamy moment in all their graphic details?
Until about three years ago I hadn’t read a romance for probably twenty years. I cut my teeth on Kathleen Woodiwiss, whose love scenes by today’s standards are pretty mild. When I picked up Lisa Kleypas’ Mine ‘Til Midnight I was astonished–and more than a little heated–by the sensually graphic nature of her love scenes. But the fantasy/reality factor (it’s the way sex should be, with all the unsavory bits taken out) really appealed to me, so now Kleypas pretty much sets the standard for me. And it’s that heat level and sensuality that I attempt to capture in my own writing.
So how graphic is too graphic? Where should the romance writer draw the line?
And while we’re thinking about it, what is the line between romance and erotic romance as far as how you describe these scenes? We all know that erotic romance has more sex than a regular romance, or is it rather in the way that sex is described? Can erotic romance have only one sex scene and still be judged to be erotic?
As a writer of both erotic and non-erotic romance I find the line blurs sometimes. I’m finishing an historical that has a lot of sex scenes described in a very graphic way. However, I would not classify it as erotic romance. I also have an erotic romance with only one (rather lengthy) sex scene. Yet I’ve been told it is should be listed as erotic. How and who judges these categories? Publishers? Readers?
I have lots of questions, but I’d really like your opinions on this. Feedback from both readers and writers is vital to making our work the very best it can be. So share your thoughts on these and other questions you may have regarding how you like your sex scenes!