Um Excuse Me?!? We’ve Just Met…

April 27, 2011 at 11:58 pm 4 comments

My roommate has recently become addicted to the Sims Medieval.  And by addicted, I mean she’s literally addicted.  Yesterday, we were just sitting in the living room when she yells, “I missed it?!? I had sex and I missed it.”  Now without any context that statement sounds a little…well…serious and personal. But she was playing the Sims, so it’s all good. Well not for her character, a medieval queen who just had a bastard baby with a peasant man. Not exactly a knight in shining armor there.

But like most things in my life it got me thinking….about romances.

See, when I interned at RT this summer, they gave us books.  It was like heaven.  A heaven filled with romance novels.  Down in the basement, there were these boxes of books just waiting for me to read them.  Oh lovely.  And my co-worker, fellow intern and displaced Southern girl with a love for romance–essentially my friend soul mate–Spencer, well she knew of my Highland obsession and my tendency to love historicals.  So one day a book came up for the taking, a historical that looked like something I would like, and Spencer nabbed it for me.  It was Stephanie LaurensThe Brazen Bride.

Never made it to the bride part of the book, just the brazen

So there I am happily preparing to become engrossed in a world of romance, danger, and passion–everything the book promised me–when something in the book brought me up short. It was like running into a romance brick wall.  BAM.  I was out of my happy romance world, thrust out by some thrusting bodies.

Wait, what are you talking about Lizzie?  People have sex all the time in romances.  Why are you being such a prude?  Reason:  I was literally in the first 20 pages and they were having sex! The hero washes up on shore almost dead–they actually thought he was dead–and he has amnesia, but that doesn’t stop our heroine from having sex with his semi-conscious body that first day.  The first day.  Again, the first day.

I was like, “Ummm, excuse me?!? But we’ve just met, and if I’m not mistaken he’s delirious, fevered, and without a memory, not to mention weak, bloody, and one step from death’s door. And we’re having sex with him?!? Seriously?!? I feel so dirty.”  Like my roommate, Laurens’ hero had sex and he completely missed it!

Our “heroine” pretty much takes advantage of the situation, and while she–the character–makes the argument that he initiates the encounter, I still feel it is in bad form to sleep with a man a. who doesn’t know what he’s doing because he’s been bashed in the head and b. who you’ve never even exchanged one word with.

I really don’t care how skilled his hands are. Bad heroine! Bad! Shame on you! And as I often become the character when I read romances I felt like I had just semi-assaulted this poor washed-up man.  The guilt.

As much as I love a good steamy scene–let’s be honest here 89% of you agree with me here dearests–I do have some standards. Gah. Here’s some advice dearest heroines! Heed it or I may add you to my TSTL list!

  1. No sex with someone who won’t remember it the next day due to head trauma.  Call me crazy or prudish or picky but I want my heroes to remember the heroine in the morning. Revolutionary idea!
  2. No sex in the first 4% of the book.  I mean it’s just not proportionate.  I like to at least pretend that the sex means something–even if it’s just irresistible lust, but I want them to at least try to resist it.  Some build up would be nice…
  3. No sex within the first 24 hours of finding them washed-up on the shore near your house.  I feel like they may need some recover time.
  4. No sex if you’ve never even said a word to them. A friendly, “Hi, my name is…” might be nice before everything.
  5. No sex with semi-conscious, feverish, delirious men who cannot really consent…there’s a bad word for this Ms. Laurens, a word that shouldn’t really be applied to our HEROINE.

Now I don’t really think these rules are that hard to follow.  Sex too early in the book? One of my biggest romance pet peeves.  I love the “foreplay,” the uncontrollable desire that the characters fight, the build-up in passion and sexual tension.  If you have sex right away, what’s there to look forward to? I know that’s blunt, but hey, I’m in a blunt mood right now.  Plus, if you have your steamy scene right off the bat? It’s hard to sell it as being anything more than sex, and as a romance reader, I prefer my steam with a large dose of emotion. Brazen Bride made me so frustrated, I couldn’t even finish it.

Yeah, romances have sex it them–most of the time–but that doesn’t mean they need to have it within the first 20 pages.

Romantic Question: How soon is too soon in a romance novel? Do you need more than a casual “hello” before your characters jump in the sack, or do you like me like them to have a sizzling courtship of a sorts?


Entry filed under: Ramblings on Romance, Random Life of Lizzie. Tags: , , , , , , , .

And By Camping You Mean Resort? Am I Really What You Want?

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stephanie  |  April 28, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I have to disagree a tiny bit..and I’ll explain why.

    For many women, reading romance is an escape and a chance to live in a fantasy. For some women, sex with a complete stranger is a HUGE fantasy (I just read it is one of the top 5 sexual fantasies for women)… I can definitely see why the author may have put this in. There’s LOTS of tension that can come after an encounter like that…for all the reasons you mentioned- his injuries, lack of a memory, etc… plus many other reasons.

    Personally, I like sex in books and if I have to wait til the last few pages, I am not happy. There is PLENTY of drama and tension that can come after the MCs have sex. I don’t like constant sex with no purpose, read a few of those and it gets real boring real fast. For me, a good romance isn’t necessarily about the journey of a man and women fighting to get together…it’s sometimes the fight to stay together.

  • 2. Lizzie Poteet  |  April 28, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Typically, I don’t love the sex in the first 20 pages (there are obviously some exceptions were I am like: “YEAH get it on” like most Harlequin Blazes for example) because I don’t know the characters yet. My favorite part is the pre-sex tension between the couple, the witty banter, the feeling each other out, the testing the waters, the…well…the verbal foreplay really. It’s when I really get to know the characters–plus I like words. But in this book–there was none of that. He was simply unconscious and then there was sex. I had no feel for his character of their attraction. I am a late beginning-early mid All The Way reader. Too soon and I feel cheated of my favorite parts…

    Although you’re right too late and I feel cheated of practically everything and super frustrated!

  • 3. Stephanie  |  April 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I just remembered this one short story I read and hated. There was a zombie apocalypse going on and the shirtless hunk from across the street came to help the women from her ex who was outside her house who had turned into a zombie. The guy basically got in the house, they had sex, and then the story was over. No real plot. That irritated me. If the story had continued and something more would have happened….I may have been okay with the sex right in the beginning.

    • 4. Lizzie Poteet  |  April 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      Haha I love the premise though. Zombie apocalypses are just not done enough in romances. Apparently eating brains is not sexy? I dk. There has to be developement with the couple whether it is before the sex or after or the book doesn’t work at all.


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