Skipping the sex scenes

First, due to popular request, here’s a pic from a few years ago when my children and I trick or treated as Hermione, her cat Crookshanks and Professor McGonagall.

Now back to my regularly scheduled post…

I’ve heard some readers say they skip sex scenes, but I’ve never done so. Once I’ve decided to read a book, I want to take it all in the way the author intended it. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’ll miss something. At an RWA workshop given by Julia Ross, she said something to the effect that if readers skipped her sex scenes, they’d have no idea what was going on. That’s how it should be. Sex scenes should not be skippable!

Sometimes I’ve found my attention wandering while reading a sex scene, though usually this happens in a book in which I’m already losing interest and may not finish. This happens if the hero and heroine seem like a generic romance couple. I love deep characterization and I don’t believe one can isolate the body from the mind from the heart. To me, sex scenes are a way to show the whole tangle, and that’s what makes them so much fun to read and write. In a well-written sex scene, the sex is never just a physical act and the characters remain true to themselves. That makes the sex more real and more exciting. What they do can be inventive or not; it just has to make sense for them.

So maybe some readers skip sex scenes when the characterization falters. On the other hand, I’ve heard some of the sex-scene-skippers say they just don’t want to be in someone else’s bedroom. I think that’s a matter of reading style. If you like to read about the hero and heroine, you might feel like an intruder. When I’m reading romance, I want to be the heroine and fall in love with the hero. So I don’t feel like an unwanted third party, even if the scene is in the hero’s point of view (which I really like reading and writing sometimes).

How about you? Do you ever skip sex scenes? Why or why not? Do you like sex scenes written in heroine or hero point of view, or either?


About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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