Saturday, October 9, 2010

How Much Sex is Too Much?

LaunchVBTgraphic Thank you so much for having me on your Naughty Little Vamp blog during my Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour. I'm so glad to be here, especially because today I won't be talking about vampires, but I will be talking about―wait for it―SEX. Oh my! For writers who write romance there is one burning question that often haunts them, makes them cringe or stumble, or leads to complete paranoia: How much sex is too much?

I hear this from writers who aren't even writing romance but want to include a sexual relationship in their novels, yet my advice remains the same, no matter who I'm talking to. People want sex. Readers want sex. But not all of them all of the time.

As a writer, you must do some ball gazing. Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. By ball gazing I mean crystal ball gazing. It's your job to do some predicting. But not all of it is guess work. First, you need to understand the difference between adult (16+) romance and erotica.

Writers should determine their audience first. If you're writing teen romance for the new Harlequin Teen imprint, then detailed sex or erotica is not what you're after. These readers want sweet romance, the first kiss and first touch kind of romance. If the characters go beyond this, it should be lightly insinuated rather than described in great detail.

If you're writing for adults, then the sub-genre or imprint often determines the heat level. Publishers often have guidelines you can follow and many will even tell you how many sex (and foreplay) scenes to include. Most romance publishers have varying degrees of explicitness in the sexual scenes, and they're each suited to a particular sub-genre and therefore a particular audience. When in doubt, ask another romance author.

Just as when you were on your first date, know how far to go and when to stop. But don't get overly paranoid. If you freeze your characters at the point where they're just removing their clothes just because you're afraid what your mother or daughter or grandmother or best friend's dog's chew toy might think, then you aren't listening to your characters or your audience. Maybe your mom will be like mine and will just skip over the two pages of sex.

There should be balance in great sex. I'm not talking about a high wire act over a canopy bed. I'm talking about balancing the description of the sexual or sensual act with the emotions of the characters. When I read a romance, I want to be emotionally satisfied. I want the "ahhh..." moment, the one where the hero finally kisses the heroine. Or touches her for the first time. Or makes love to her when the chase is over.

Some people may read a romance novel and feel there's too much sex. Some may feel there's not enough. A writer can never appeal to everyone all the time. Be true to the romance. You owe this to your story and to your characters. After all, you don't want them physically exhausted by the end of chapter three, do you?

lancelotslady2010FINALMED In Lancelot's Lady, you'll find more sensuality than explicitness. Yes, there is some sex, or as Rhianna and Jonathan prefer to say "lovemaking". But there is poignant sweetness too. They have to deal with a lot of personal demons before they can finally give in to their desire for one another.

I would recommend Lancelot's Lady to anyone over 16. I hope you'll find at the end of this story that there is just the perfect amount of sexuality. I hope that when you read Lancelot's Lady, you'll be swept away by their sensual scenes, set adrift on their emotions, feel that thrill of escapism and fantasy, and cherish the romance.

Lancelot's Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..."

Cheryl 2007 best medium You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at and Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.

What type of sensuality do you prefer in a romance novel: mildly sweet, sensuously warm, hot and steamy or sizzling jalapeno?

Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.


  1. My first thought was, "never enough", then I noticed you were talking about writing. Okay, in that case it may stand back and allow some plot. Just joking. I prefer to have a reason for sex for my stories and protagonists, it must be a part of their characterization, and that in turn defines the heat level. To answer your question: if it's "romance", sensuality and passion is the point. Sizzling jalapeno is perfectly okay for hot action stories - if the hero(ine) has just been nearly killed and now wants compensation, it has to go all the way, hot and dirty.

    Hope that helps,
    Valerie J. Long

  2. Love your thoughts on this, Valerie. :-)

    And I was hoping to catch some people with the title of this post. lol


  3. Excellent advice. In the end, I think you have to be true to the story. Listen to what your characters are telling you. They'll often let you know what's 'hot' for them. A first kiss can be easy for one couple in one book and the epitome of sensuality for another in a different book. Just by your characters preferring the term 'lovemaking', I would expect less sex and more sensuality. :)

    jmfictionscribe at

  4. So very true, JM. Great comments!


  5. I can honestly say that I love all of the above. sugary to smokin'. I just want the plot and connection to be there. Not sex for the sake of throwing sex in.

  6. oops sorry it is late for me forgot my addy

    pams00 @

  7. I am playing catch up!! I had a wedding to go to and got behind. Sometimes even stalkers take a break!!!

    P.s Thank you for stalking me!!!

    sarahcoulsey03 at gmail dot com