Explicit Sex Scenes, Hidden Romance
After writing erotica for more than 10 years, many secrets have been revealed to me. One of the biggest is that my particular audience wants big, bold, audacious sex scenes. Long after they have finished reading the book, they want to remember their favorite couple making love.
What they don’t want is to be beaten over the head with a romance. It seems counterintuitive that readers of romance/erotica would prefer sex over romance. After all, aren’t the vast majority of romance readers women? Yes, and they know what they want.
Women are not afraid to get a little dirty. Men also like erotica but they don’t want a word picture painted for them, they want actual pictures to tell them the story. That’s why Playboy did away with pictorials and then brought them back a few months later.
The ladies though, do want a word picture. Not every detail is needed but enough to set the scene. Then they can let their imaginations run wild as your characters make love in their minds. Over and over again, they want to think about the characters getting it on and it ending the same way each time: with both characters sexually satisfied. It’s a fantasy for them. A way to escape a real-life where the husband just wants his dick sucked or can only last two pumps before the kids come in and ruin sexy time.
A little known fact is that women actually read more gay erotica than gay men do. For the reasons stated above. Plus, in gay erotica, both characters actually do get off. And in many ways, the woman can imagination a caring man fucking her.
My newest project starts with the main characters having sex for an entire chapter. There were groans from some guys that they can’t last a paragraph, let alone a full chapter. Both men identify as straight but are drunk when the hookup happens.
My plan is to turn them into a couple as the plot chugs along. That’s not much of a spoiler. But I am keeping the romance more or less hidden in this book. Why? There was a challenge that was presented, tell a love story without it being an obvious love story.
Another reason is that in Gay Romance, there is a trend right now that suggests audiences like being surprised with romantic surprises rather than expecting them. My characters will continue to identify as hetero for a good portion of the plot. All the while, they will be building towards the ultimate destination: being together.
Is Romance Dead?
Ask Harlequin if romance is dead and they will laugh their billion-dollar asses off. Romance is always in style but the type of romance changes with the times. Right now, the billionaire and the bad boy tropes are on their way out. Heroes and good guys are among the popular subgenres.
Many publishing houses start with a romance division because romance will pay the bills, while they search for the great literary novel. And there are so many romance writers out there looking for a publishing home, that there will always be content to line their bookshelves.
So yes, there is a love story in my book. But I want you to remember these “straight” bros getting it on, more than I want you to remember the love story.