Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ask Andrew - Where to Put the Sex in Books

Hi Andrew,

I have a question about sex in books. I've noticed that right around the 50% mark is when the MCs will have sex for the first time in most of the book I read, even if it's an established couple.  There are exceptions of course, but that's usually when it happens. Why is that?


Dear Bonnie

You are very right.  Most books that I've read fall into that same category.  Romance readers by and large have an expectation regarding what they read.  At the beginning of the book the characters must meet and get to know one another.  If there's an established couple, there has to be something that is threatening their relationship or keeping them apart.  They need to get to know one another, build attraction, and share a first kiss.  From there the tension between them grows until they break down and finally give in to the attraction that's pulling at them.  Of course it can't end there and there has to be additional tension, maybe even something to pull them apart. 

Most romances are a find of fantasy and we like them to feel real to us while we're reading them.  So at the beginning of the story we're establishing the characters, introducing the conflict and setting, as well as building whatever world they live in.  All of that takes words and pages in the story that readers hopefully don't really notice within the framework of the plot and relationship.  Besides, part of what pulls the reader are the vaious buildups in the story and one of those is invariably toward sex.  Not every story falls into this pattern.  Some have sex earlier and use the ramificaitons of that as part of the tension.  Others are more erotic and sex earlier is part of that type of story.  But this is what I've found. 

I hope I helped
Hugs and Love

Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

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  1. Wow this was a great question and answer. It was something I was curious about also. So thank you both.

  2. Funny on my Kindle the average first kissing or sex is 25%. LOL But it's really what works for the characters page 1 or 101.
    Good question.

  3. Thanks for answering my question, Andrew.