To write the love scenes or not, that is the debate today… One of my big self-debates lately is whether or not to include some racier s-e-x scenes in my upcoming series of books.
Con – People Who Know Me Would Read It
My genre is paranormal romance. When I wrote my first book, Blue Violet, I decided to aim it more at the Young Adult genre so that I didn’t have to write in the more graphic scenes. Honestly, the biggest reason is because, especially for my first book, I knew that family, at least, would be reading it. And how embarrassing for my Dad to read scenes like that when they came out of my imagination. Ick!
Pro – Target Age Group
The books that I tend to prefer are more in the New Adult range, and my Svatura series has really morphed more into that space. In my opinion, Young Adult is aimed at the 13-19 age range and New Adult is more the 17-25 range. Those could widen a bit on either end, and yes, there’s overlap, but you get the idea. The type of love scenes associated with those age ranges are fairly different.
Pro – What I Read
I’ve been reading what I call “trashy romance novels” for years – even when I was in that Young Adult space. And most of the paranormal romance books I read have some pretty graphic love scenes. In fact, I’ve noticed that over the last fifteen years or so they’ve become even more so. I personally enjoy the books that do include the heavier stuff. However, I wouldn’t say I enjoy them any more or any less than books that are on the more conservative side. But in the New Adult/Adult age group, it’s definitely more prevalent and possibly even expected.
Con – Potential Risk
Another debate in this space is that a lot of my favorite Indie authors who do write in graphic scenes are starting to be banned by some of the book retailers. I’ve seen a couple of Facebook posts from them recently asking for people to be vocal about wanting to read their books. So do I put myself at risk adding this in or not?
Pro or Con – Character Intimacy
It is my personal opinion that – for the more adult age group – a well written love scene can create more intimacy between the characters. Can it be done without the added scenes? Absolutely. I feel like – especially after feedback from my readers – I’ve managed to do that in the Svatura series just fine. But the books that have them, and do them right, do seem to pack more of a wallop.
On the flip side some books concentrate only on these graphic scenes and true character intimacy is completely missing or takes multiple books to create. *Cough* Fifty Shades of Grey *Cough*. So it’s possible to go too far with it. Or some books rely on that type of scene as the only intimacy thinking that it brings the characters closer together when really, it’s just sex. It’s a fine line to write!
What Do You Think?
My new series – the Shadowcat Nation – will be much more obviously in the New Adult/Adult space. So the question is, do I write in those love scenes? It’ll still be weird knowing that friends and family who read my books would read that stuff. Strangely, now that I’m a more established author, that doesn’t bother me as much any more. (Although I’ll still probably request that they skip those scenes. Lol.)
Readers and authors alike – what are your thoughts? I would be really interested to hear from you guys and see what you think. Do I start adding in some heavier love scenes or not?
I fit age wise into the YA age group but I tend to read more in the NA and adult aged books and I think if you wrote it right it could do fit but you would have to be careful
Good feedback. Thanks so much Mathilda!
I have been reading paranormal and fantasy books forever. Now my two oldest daughters are in the Young Adult range.
I agree that books have become a lot racier over the last 15 years.
As a Young Adult I found explicit love scenes embarrassing to read, and I felt like a voyeur, and a bit sleazy and dirty.
Today I prefer a steamy story!!
However, if badly done it still feels tacky and sleazy. I feel it diminishes me to read it. It is a cheap and shriveled version of what love is. I wouldn't want my teens to read it, or absorb any of the shallow attitudes in the tacky stories.
Done well, explicit love scenes can express the earth-shattering levels of intimacy in new love. They are beautiful and fragile and powerful and exhilarating. A turn-on of the heart, not just the body.
If the writer can capture the excruciating joy of new love, I definitely prefer a book with the steamy scenes.
So if you can do it, then go for it!!!
Writing this stuff well is something you can be proud of. Yes, you are baring your sexual self to your friends and family. But if you are dancing on the dance floor, are you not showing your sexual animal to your friends and family as well?
At least with a book it's their own choice if they read it!
Great comments! I completely agree that they can go way too tacky or sleazy. And I love some of your wording – that gives me a great perspective to keep in mind when I try my hand at bringing up the level of intimacy that I'm writing. Much appreciated!!