That being said, I do like to include at least one romantic/sexy/amusing scene between my hero and heroine, and you know what? It's really hard to do without getting explicit, and sometimes it's tempting to go there. But as much as I like to keep a light, whimsical tone when I write, I'm still a romantic at heart. I LOVE to read and write about the build-up that leads to the hot sex.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a well-written steamy read as much as the next girl. Which by the way, I recently read Lindy Dale's Seven Days, and all I have to say is hooooooooeeeeey! You better have a bucket of ice water on hand if you choose to indulge in that one.
Maybe it comes easy for other writers, but not for me. The reason being is that sexy, romantic scenes involve talking about eyes a lot. And hands. And fingertips. Then back to the eyes. Throw in a collarbone and neck. Lips. Mouths (essentially recycling the word lips). Then we're back to the eyes again. Are you catching my drift? There are only so many romantic gestures one can come up with without repeating yourself, and if you want to make the scene as lengthy and satisfying for the reader as possible, you start running out of ways to show interactions that we take for granted when watching films.
In movies and TV it's easier because we can just watch the dreamy couple share that romantic dance for a full minute or two without hearing the narration. "He looked deeply into her eyes and brushed her cheek with his thumb. She lowered her gaze before looking into his eyes again." Blah, blah, blah...
I've spent the last couple of days working on my one romantic/sexy/amusing scene in my work in progress, and I'm praying that readers will find it romantic/sexy/amusing. Not "OMG! This scene just goes on and on and repeats the same crap over and over. And then I get to the end of it, and there's no graphic sex? WTF?"
Only time will tell.
As usual, I got a little sidetracked from my opening and I'm wondering what level of sexual detail others prefer in their novels. I was quite surprised when one of the reviewers for Menopause to Matrimony said the sex scenes made her extremely uncomfortable. She had agreed to review it for me and was kind enough to finish the book despite the fact that it made her uneasy, but I was taken off guard because to me, the sex in my books—what little there is of it—is pretty vanilla.
So I guess like anything else, it's all a matter of perspective. :)
UPDATE: Here's the link to a guest post I wrote from a couple years ago on a similar topic, if you'd like to have a look-see.
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