The question in the header isn’t actually mine. I borrowed it from a gentleman who attended a talk I gave recently to a local writers’ group. After I’d finished speaking, I invited questions from the floor and dealt with all the usual ones that are asked on these occasions: where do I get my ideas: how long does it take me to write a book: how many books have I written, etc.
I was about to round things up when a middle-aged gentleman at the back of the room stood up. He explained that he had been writing category romances for a number of years but hadn’t succeeded in having a book published yet. After a great deal of thought, he’d realised that his books were lacking a vital ingredient – sex. He was currently addressing the problem but what he needed to know was how much sex was too much sex?
After a lot of laughter, the group settled down to discuss the issue and it was surprising how people’s views varied. There were several writers there who preferred to add the barest minimum of sex scenes to their books, while others admitted that they liked to spice things up. However, nobody could – or would – say exactly how much sex was right or wrong.
When my opinion was sought, I explained that I felt it was up to my characters what happened. After I introduce them at the start of the book, I wait to see where they will lead me. Some books are just naturally more sensual than others because of the way the hero and heroine respond to each other. One thing I never do is to add gratuitous sex scenes to “heat” things up. That doesn’t work for me either as a writer or as a reader. I have to feel that a scene is justified, that it hasn’t been put in purely to titillate. (I must confess that whenever I come across a book like that, I skip over the sex scenes as I find them so boring!)
One of the best things about writing Medical Romances is the fact that there are no restrictions on how much or how little sex we should put in. Most of the other lines have very strict guidelines and the writers have to conform to them, but we Medical Romance authors are allowed a tremendous amount of leeway. It suits me perfectly and I believe it’s one of the reasons why Medical Romances have always been so popular. There’s a Medical Romance to suit your every mood.
The sudden interest in erotica, thanks to a certain series of books, has been in the news lately. Much has been made of the fact that women who would not normally read such books are now openly discussing them. My view is that anything that gets people reading and gives them pleasure is fine but what do you think?
That brings me back to my initial question: How much sex is too much sex? I would love to hear your views.