I know you love it when we talk about the “S” word around here, right? *passes the ice water*
Quit squirming. You should be used to this by now. Just be glad we aren’t doing this on my erotica blog.
I don’t often read reviews of my books unless they’re specifically brought to my attention. But a couple years ago, a fellow writer made a comment after reading my first book that she didn’t think my heroine would really be “in the mood” when a sex scene came along, due to everything that had happened to her (if you don’t read my romantic suspense, I tend to beat up on my poor heroines pretty badly – physically as well as mentally).
Back then, I did read my reviews, and no one mentioned that little issue…but they did comment on how hot the sex scenes were (though I don’t consider them *too* spicy, personally).
Fast forward to this weekend, when I got the edits for a novella I wrote awhile back, and will be releasing later this month. My editor commented that at one point, where something rather bad happens, it happened too quickly (and it just happened to interrupt a budding sex scene, though she didn’t mention that). At another point when the hero rescues the heroine, my editor basically said I cheated the reader out of what should be a huge emotional moment *complete with a kiss*.
Understand that in both cases, my heroine has suffered some pretty decent physical and emotional trauma (because I’m sadistic like that).
Now understand, I don’t normally plan these things – not even sex scenes. I just get in a character’s head, and write. If there’s a sex scene, it’s because I felt that at the time, my *character* was feeling aroused…and those feelings were reciprocated and they both decided to act on it. And I’ve always chalked that comment by the other writer up to her personality being different than my character’s – because if I didn’t think the character would have felt the way she did, and been receptive to the hero just then, she would have stopped it. Do I think all women would have been comfortable or receptive just there? Um, no. But my character did, regardless of what readers may think. I do find it interesting that perhaps that colors the perception readers have of Charlie, making her less “real” or more or less “likable”…but it is what it is.
With this new novella though…my editor has very good points. And I didn’t stop those scenes on purpose – I was taking votes on where the story should go next, and honestly, getting frustrated that it wasn’t working the way I wanted to to work. But the reason it wasn’t working is because I wasn’t letting the characters write their own stories, I was letting the readers write it, and it just didn’t work for me.
The characters wanted more in those two places, and my editor saw that and let me know. Just one more awesome service a great editor provides.
Even so, I’m sure someone out there will think that my heroine couldn’t possibly be aroused in those situations, because it’s just too traumatic, exhausting or both. But I think that for some people stressful situations can actually create a strong physical response (such as arousal), especially when adrenaline is out of control with no other viable outlet. Psychologically, it makes total sense for me that sex would be a viable option for some women dealing with high-stress situations. Not just for physical release, but also for security and an emotional connection to someone, perhaps even perceived control or even a celebration of just living through an ordeal.
What say you, gentle reader? Do you think there’s ever a time where physical danger or injury can lead to a sexually aroused and receptive state? Do you think it’s realistic to think that some women would take advantage of that with a hero (given one was available and also receptive)? Or do you think the majority of women might find that an implausible situation?
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