Can there be too much?

Sex, that is.

Can there ever be too much sex in a romance novel? I've been asking  myself this question all week as I work on a hot little scene that pretty much came out of nowhere (Yay for us pantsers!). Now, I'm not talking about an erotic romance novel here. Yes, there's tons of sex in those, and rightly so. I'm talking just your everyday romance book -- a sensual romance, if you will. At what point does the book cross the line and fall over into the erotic category? Is it language? Is it what they do? Well, I'll let you in on what I learned:

According to a couple different agents that I met and talked to (and it's funny how they both had the same, exact answer), to be considered an erotic romance, your novel has to have "extras". Extra people, extra props, extra, um, activities, etc. Language (yes, those words) was not a factor, really. Without all those "extras", what you really have is a sensual romance. Interesting, huh? And it's a concept I really like. As an author, I can teeter on that line of being either sensual or erotic. I've written both, and as a matter of fact, one of my current WIP's (works in progress) is very definitely erotic romance and the other is more on the sensual side. So, I'm getting the best of both worlds!

What about you? As a reader, which do you prefer? Do you like those "extras"? Do they have to be there for you? Or will a hot and steamy sensual romance do the trick? If you're an author, which way do you prefer to write? Can't wait to hear your thoughts!



Mary Ellen Quigley said...

I love to read the steamy "extras". Most of the authors I read tend to fall in this category. However, when I write I gear more towards sensual. I'm always thinking that one of my parents will read it or something, and I get embarrassed. Kind of silly!

Cameo Brown said...

I agree somewhat with that definition; however, it's a bit simplistic, I think. I feel like that if the eroticism is a driving element of the story as opposed to the more romantic element, then it's an erotic romance. Thinking of it in terms of "extras" is more of a way to make it concrete and understandable for those trying to create one. It's much easier to stick in a few prop-laden sex scenes than the create an entire story arc around a sexual element. If a writer creates a story where the couple uses a prop, but they only have sex once because the story is really more about their relationship outside of the sexual element, I wouldn't say that's an erotic romance.