Expectations In Romance

?????????????????????????????????????????????????As anyone who reads romance knows, there is always a happy ending. The heroes or heroines never die, and they never break up. Sure, they may never marry, but as a reader you know they will be together forever.

But I’ve noticed over the last several years there are other trends in particular of romance.

Back in the seventies through the nineties, the couple would wait until three quarters of the way through the book before having sex. Of course, there were exceptions, but then they often didn’t do it again until toward the end when all misunderstandings were cleared up.

Then in the new millennium, they started having sex in the middle of the book. GASP! I remember I could open some books directly in the middle, and there would be the love scene. It was so funny, not the love scene, usually pretty hot, but that I could find it so easily.

Even now I can read a mainstream (traditionally published) romance, and it will go like this: sexual tension, kissing, petting, almost a home-run but there’s an interruption by an external force or by a realization (She’s a virgin! She’s my brother’s fiancée! He’s the wrong brother! He’s a rake!) and maybe happens more than once. Eeek! So again, it would take until halfway through the book to have sex.

I so hate that. Sure they can’t go like bunnies all the time in a romantic suspense, (otherwise, that would be erotica), they do need to run and worry about something other than the hero being able to get it up. The horror! So with their clothes on, most of the time – I’ve been known for making my heroes go without – they need to have other types of action happening around them and to them.

There are other trends that I’ve seen romance writers do. Heroines are wetting their underwear/thongs a lot. Surprised the girl doesn’t have an infection. Heroes have that bead of moisture on the end of their penises. Not every man has that happen, every time. Then again, I haven’t been with every man.

I know why these trends happen. One writer will read another writer’s book who mentioned a bodily function or reaction the other hadn’t thought of before. So in her next book, she mentions it and then the race is on! Everyone is wetting panties and having beads everywhere.

So writers. If you read it in one, two, or three books, does it make it true or necessary? Please make your book’s a little different. Mix it up. Think about your own experiences and expand.

And if you’re a virgin and writing about women who have a great sex life, kudos to you! You’ve got a great imagination, but you might be surprised that it is a whole lot different than you believe. Actually, usually a whole lot better, though a lot messier. And a woman doesn’t multi-climax every single time.

If you do, you’re unique and I hate you.  (HA!)

Of course, it is fiction that we write.

7 thoughts on “Expectations In Romance

  1. Hi Carla,
    Loved reading your thoughts on books that have been published in the last few years. And, wet thong, yuk, is among them. Personally I would have to change immediately. And, a lot of other things that happen in romance books. But the bottom line is, I know these are make believe and that’s why I read them. To escape from everyday life, stress and such. So I will keep an open mind and continue to read Romances, which is the only genre that I read.
    Many thanks,
    Ginger aka robertsonreads


  2. I think it’s fun to try to come up with “new” ways of expressing what is going on in the bedroom- yes, lots of wet/soaked things lately. I remember the “silk over steel” phase. lol. Sometimes I’ll take a cliché and turn it a bit (I hope that also injects a bit of humor). But, one thing I realize? I read like a writer now. And that’s different than when I read like a reader. Does that make sense? I still enjoy, but I tend to analyze things more (I’ve got an article regarding that for you this month. haha). But, in general, if the writing is good, I think it’s ok if a popular description is used. It doesn’t detract from the book for me.

    Speaking of analyzing…let’s say I read 300 romances a year for 10 years. That’s 30,000 different ways to describe what’s happening (Ok, it’s really 3,000 but I like math jokes). I don’t think I can brainstorm 3,000 different descriptions of making whoopee (to date myself and use an old game show phrase!).

    Also, there’s a “comfort” factor involved. I read 2 types of books:
    1) I want something and a certain type of book is going to give me that every time. This is the majority of my reads. So, it’s ok to have some repetition because THAT is always sexy. And I’m a happier human when I’m reading books I love.
    2) A book has made me wildly curious because it seems fresh and different (not too many of those, but I can’t say enough about Lynetta Halat’s Used. I hope the 2nd book is just as good). These are not comfort reads. But, something was DIFFERENT about the tag line. Or the blurb. Or the first paragraph. These are few and far between because I don’t like potentially wasting time. I will quit these books if they don’t meet my expectations.


    1. True. I’ve read an interview with one of the Ellora’s Cave’s editors, and she said there are only so many ways to do it (legally) and only so many words you can call a penis without laughing. But the bead and wet panties things are new to romances – probably last five years or so. Just guessing.

      Like everyone, I do read the same type of books over and over again because they meet some internal need. I love force marriages, cowboys, and secret agents (all can be modern or historical). Hmm, I guess I may have a new idea for another series here. LOL!


  3. Loved your article !!! So true. I personally have issues with the “virgin” thing: my first time was extremely messy and not that great therefore I cannot relate at all to that first time as heavenly bliss (sorry!).


    1. I always found that rather interesting too. Though I’ve heard if they fooled around a lot, that can keep it from hurting so much. Then again there are some women who love pain. Go figure.

      The first book in a new series I’m planning to write the end of this year, the heroine is a virgin. Let’s see how I have her handle the first time. I don’t believe she will be climaxing after the deed, but that doesn’t mean she can’t before hand. (Pun intended.) *Snort*


  4. Don’t hate me, Carla but you can call me ‘unique’! And not just solo but with my Love no less! LOL! And while it sure isn’t romantic one of the reasons is the medication he takes for his epilepsy, it keeps him going and he’s able to hold off his orgasm for quite some time. Yes I know TMI. But it’s one of the reasons I have to keep him–I’d expect all men to be like that! ROFL!

    And OMG I snorted water with regards to wet thongs/underwear. Whenever that happens to me, the first thing I want to do is take them off or at least change them. Heck if that happened constantly like they do to some heroines, you be sure I’d have a spare thong or two within reach! Oh and why does it seem all heroines wear thongs? And they match her bra no less!

    But I’d take a heroine constantly getting wet over the ‘let’s pause the action of the bad guys coming after us to have sex because after all having the hero and heroine have sex is more important than say, Not. Getting. Killed.’ and if they do get down and dirty in the cave/abandoned house/under the lean-to in the secluded woods, they always climax. And they do it together no less! Oh and they always have time to put their clothes back on and usually one of them is full of regret afterwards, which also drives me bonkers. Just own it! You just got down and dirty with someone in a place and time that was not the best and you regret it afterwards? Sheesh.

    Oh that reminds me of a soap opera I used to watch in the 90s…Many many years ago on this soap there was this couple who the audience was craving for them to finally get together, including myself. The writers did such a great job building up their sexual tension, had the viewers going for a good year or so and then they dropped the ball when it came down to them doing the deed.

    The couple went on a cruise but before they did they discussed about them making love while on the high seas. Talked about birth control because this would be her first time. She got fitted for a diaphragm beforehand and he also brought condoms. Alas and alack there was a bomb on board and the ship blew up but they managed to escape to an island where they shacked up in the cave.

    Of course with nothing to do–because why would they think about being rescued when love/sex is on your mind? So they start getting hot and heavy when the hero pulls back and says, “wait, I don’t have any condoms!” And I thought, oh cool the writers are being smart about this. Wrong! The heroine then says, “It’s okay I have my diaphragm.” “What? Where?.” “I already have it in.”
    Okay. EWWW. While the day the ship blew up was going to be the day they planned to make love there would be no reason for her to put in her birth control that many hours ahead! And even if say she did, you would think the first thing she’d want out of her was that diaphragm! OMG! All I could think about when they were having sex on the dirty cave floor was all the infections she would be getting! Completely ruined a year’s build up! It pissed me off so much! LOL!

    So yeah it does irk me when a writer gets a couple together even if it doesn’t make sense when they do it. I used to throw my book at the wall when that happened but now with e-readers I’ve refrained because I can’t afford getting a new one! 😉

    Thankfully your characters are not even close to that, Carla! They have brains! 😉


    1. ROTFL! My goodness, you’re as bad as me on telling it like it is. Love it! And yes, I loved watching soap operas, especially General Hospital (2000 – 2010), and I learned a lot about sexual tension. But you’re so right. They’re horrible about letting a person down when it came to “the scene.” Was that All My Children with the cave business? I remember seeing previews of something like that.

      Anyway, I did let my two characters go at it during a not-the-time-for-it scene, but I couldn’t resist nor could they. HAAA! I really wanted all the danger around them when circumstances caused them to take care of a more driving need. HA! That was in CIRCLE OF DANGER.


Comments are closed.