Last night while reading a few pieces about the debacle in the YA community where authors are attacking reviewers (it’s dismal at best), I decided to check out social media and I saw something that made my jaw drop. An author who writes m/m erotic romance posted she didn’t like writing sex scenes. I kid you not. I would never joke about something like this. And I’m trying hard to write this post without being snarky. I would never mention names, but here is the exact quote, verbatim.
I hate writing sex scenes. Why can’t I just say, “They had sex,” and move on to the rest of the book. 🙂
One reason I find this interesting is because as an author of erotica and erotic romance for over twenty years, I’ve never felt this way a day in my life. I look forward to writing the sex scenes, and work hard to make them move the story forward without being too obvious. The only thing I’ve ever blasted in erotic romances I didn’t write was that there weren’t enough sex scenes. I can’t help find it fascinating that m/m erotic romances will be constantly chopped apart for too much sex, and yet the erotic romances with too little sex are praised to the heavens. Evidently, there’s a reason that passed me by.
Readers who buy and read erotica of any kind, from romance to hardcore BDSM, are buying this partly for the sex and partly for the storyline. It’s a combination that goes hand in hand and if an author cheats or skimps on one or the other it’s going to show. When I see this all I can think about is how screwed over the reader is.
Another reason why this statement was interesting to me, to the point of disturbing, is that if an author doesn’t like writing sex scenes, and she would rather just write, “they had sex,” and move on, why on earth would this author be writing erotic romance or erotica in the first place? Jonathan Franzen obviously doesn’t like writing sex scenes (I’ve read “Freedom”) and no one can fault him for this. So he writes what he loves and deals more in strong characterization and emotional conflict than sex. And I’ve never felt cheated by anything Jonathan Franzen wrote in spite of the questionable sex scenes.
Sometimes I wonder how many erotic romance authors are writing erotica because they think there are more publishing opportunities in the genre than in other genres. And then I start to feel sorry for the reader again. Because if this is the case, these authors are shortchanging themselves and the reader.
Maybe the comment I saw was posted in jest. There is a smiley face at the end. But would a dentist post “I hate pulling teeth, I wish they would just fall out on their own,” on social media? If he did, I might take him seriously and I wouldn’t be paying his office a visit anytime soon.
At the very least, if you’re an erotic romance author and you don’t like writing sex scenes, be smart enough to keep this information to yourself. It’s not something I would joke about, especially when intentions can be misinterpreted so easily these days on social media.