Friday, January 4, 2013

Too Much or Not Enough--on Sex in Romance Stories--by BG Thomas

So when is enough, enough? Or isn't it? Or is fade-to-waterfalls good enough? Or even too much? Those are questions I have as not only a writer, but a reader as well.

I like sex. I like to have it and I like to read about it. But I think it has value for different reasons...

There is the need (desire?) for porn and a rush to Nifty Archives or Men on the Net, and that is all fine and dandy. Then I have my need (desire) to see what my heroes are up to when they have a need (desire) for loving or just plain getting off.

I'm from Missouri, show me. I want to know what the heroes of a book are up to, either mine or when I am sitting back, reading a good M/M romance. I want to know what they like, what their preferences are, what turns them on and if they are vanilla or run to kink. Why? Because I think it tells us more about the characters.

Are they very common lovers doing the old--kiss--kiss some more--kiss the neck and suck some nipple--maybe shove their erections against each other and after orgasms, they're all done?
Are they more adventurous and want to explore each other's bodies with lips and tongue? Not afraid of burying their face in a hairy armpit or sucking fingers and toes or nursing balls and maybe...just maybe...letting their mouths go just a little further south?
And what about more? Getting a little kinky?

Sex is fascinating to me--most for the most part, I want it as an extension of the characters and who they are and how they feel about each other. If I'm wanting horndog reading, there is always wank stories on the Internet.

At Jessewave, an poll was taken about sex and what the readers wanted. Readers were asked if they want nothing but sex, no sex at all, or a balance. There were most options than that, but that was what it came down to. I was pleasantly surprised at the answers.

53% wanted a balance in their books, a good story but liked hot sex as well.

37% said they think the should advance the plot, but otherwise it's just porn.

I was relieved. I was afraid the poll would fall under they fade-to-waterfall side, or the plot-what-plot side. By at least one poll, me and the readers see eye to eye. It was a good guide on what to write. Check out the poll (and take it?) right here:

In one of my recent stories, I have two sex scenes. The first is a one night stand and I wrote it from that angle. A guy who doesn’t consider himself sexy or attractive gets a chance to spend some bed time with a total grade-A fucking stud. It was written as this guy getting a chance to do what he’d only jacked of thinking about before. It is sex! He lets himself go and really goes for it—a naughty wild time.

The second scene is where he finally consummates his loving and sexual feelings for the love interest. I came this close to skipping the second scene. I wanted sweet sweet sweet!

But then I thought I would be cheating myself, my characters, and the reader. I had shown my hero doing the nasty. I wanted them to see that he can be different with different men in different situations—and that loving sex doesn’t have to be boring or vanilla. Or if it is vanilla, it isn’t Always Save but can be something from Häagen Daz or Trader Joes.

Thankfully, readers who have written me seem to agree.

I think it would have also been sad to only show the sexually compulsive side of my hero. We needed to see he knows how to make love.

I don’t get squeamish. I write sex. But I don’t write porn. Not any more. I used to, years ago. There is a difference.

I’m not a Always Save lover. So there is going to be a few things that aren’t quite Harlequin 1960s sex scenes. My characters aren’t afraid of sweat, or sucking toes, or rimming. They’ll use a good bit of the later and forgo lube—and yes it is possible! I am amused by a recent review where a lady stated unequivocally that you can’t have anal sex without lube. I fell out of my chair laughing. Yes Virginia, you can. And men do have a natural lube. It might just take longer. I mean first there is pre-cum, which on some men is extensive. Also, the bottom does lube up. Just not like a woman. So with some spit and precum to start the ball rolling, wild and wondrous sex happens without AstroGlide, I-D Glide, K-Y or even Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. I mean what do people think gay men did before all these lubes showed up? People do know that most of them are a fairly new invention, right?

Has anyone seen “Brokeback Mountain” and the first love scene? Did Jack tell Ennis, “Wait! Wait! I’ve got a little tube of Astro-Glide in my back pack!”

But sexual technique only touches on sex in scene. Sexual preference is only a part of it. A gay man just starting to have sex might be repelled by an act that he some to love above all things. I can’t tell you how many sexual newbies I’ve talked to that are horrified by the idea of rimming a man, who come to love it beyond orgasm itself as time goes by.

Or swallowing. A buddy of mine said that was what he’d been longing for his whole young life and when he had sex with a man the first time, he took to it like a duck to water? For others it is an acquired taste. For some it isn’t important. For others it is vital part of making love to a man and/or showing him you love him.

And this isn’t even touching on the subject of topping, bottoming, versatility, and aversions or preferences to either!

Sex tells us a lot about our heroes. A whole lot.

I find in my reading that I’ve done two things while reading sex. Wait for it with baited breath, or skim it or skip over it when it arrives. It depends. One popular author’s sex scenes bore me to tears and I think, damn! Do these guys do anything BUT have sex? Another author presents scenes I want to read over and over. Some books disappoint me by never giving me a sex scene at all. Subjects I’ll touch upon in future reviews, but not today.

If I want porn I will go to the Internet or look for titles like, “Mixed Sluts” or “Uncut Studs” or “Dick-Tation.” There is a place for that I am sure. I won’t knock an author for their tastes. Especially when I cut my teeth in the 90s writing for magazines like FirstHand, Bear, and FS Quarterly!

But when I read (and write) romance, I want the sex.

What about you? I’d love to know. After all, I have books to write!

Yours Always,
BG Thomas

PS: This is probably my favorite movie of all time, and certainly some of the hottest and romantic gay sex in a movie ever. If you don't know it, you MUST see, "Shelter."


  1. Yes, you have expressed almost exactly how I feel about sex in stories. Our sex lives are not our whole life, but they are definitely a reflection of our relationship and reflect our life experiences and personality to an extent as well. Fade to black just leaves a big black hole in the story to me regarding the characters and the story development.

  2. Great post, as usual. There's a comment for you here: