Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sex on Page 5

Before we get to the sexy part, first an update: A few weeks ago, I post the article Take an Idea, Leave an Idea about writing prompts and the response was wonderful. Since then, I created a writing prompt board on Pinterest and added many strange and wonderful ideas. Please take a look and share:

Continuing in this vein of writers helping writers, I want to start a series of discussion openers. Feel free to use these at lectures, conventions and book clubs. As always, I encourage you to start the discussion by commenting here.

Today's Author/Reader question of the day: How do you feel about characters that meet on page 1 and have sex by page 5?

I didn't pull this question out of the blue. I've been reading copious amounts of urban paranormal fantasies, since this is what I like to write. Some are adventures with a touch of romance while others
use adventure to further the main romantic plot. I prefer the former, but that's just my opinion. Either way, I've noticed that the heat levels vary greatly in this genre. Some heroes and heroines fight the burgeoning romance until Book III. Others meet on page one and have sex on page 5 (and then again on page 16, page 28, 42, etc).

And while I'm all for a good sex scene in a fantasy novel (in fact, many of my dark fantasies are not PG rated), I'm not sure how I feel about all this sex in my reading. Okay, that's a lie. It actually bores me. I've stopped reading books (which a rarely do) because of this. When the characters fall into bed right away, I feel cheated out of a good story. Where's the romance? The sexual tension? The flirtation? Entire series have been dedicated to this flirtatious build-up (the 80's hit "Moonlighting" comes to mind, but then I'm dating myself).

Are we doing a disservice to romance by bringing in too much sex too soon? As a reader, what are your feelings about this? As an author, have you had editors send back manuscripts asking you to sex them up? What does this say about the trends for romance and all its sub-genres?

Kim McDougall is an author and video producer. She writes Between the Cracks fiction, stories that fall through the genre cracks. Visit her at


  1. Hi! I have strong feelings about this. If sex is such a driving factor that it has to appear on pg 1 or even page 5 or 15, then the genre had best be Erotica. Or Porn. Otherwise, I don't see it having a purpose to drive the story other than to be salacious. No offense to Christine Feehan fans but I stopped reading her books because her characters were having sex every 15 pages or so. And no matter what you say, after a while "dark eyes and hot flesh" becomes boring and redundant. I'm okay with a culmination scene but like you, I want tension, a lead-up, a chance to wonder "will it or won't it" happen. And for goodness sakes, when it finally does happen, decide if you are going for graphic detail or general description. Never do more on this than is necessary. I've stopped reading books that have lots of sex only because I don't see the reason for it and it bores me now too. I'm in for plot and character.

  2. I agree. I've stopped reading books by some of my favorite authors because their new series have been all about sex with little thought for plot and character. I'm wondering why they think this will fly. Are there readers out there who actually ask for this sort of thing? Are editors the driving force behind adding more sex to fiction?