In the world of romance writing there are three distinct types.
- Sweet Romance
- Sensual Romance
- Erotic Romance or Erotica
Sweet Romance is squeaky clean. There is no sex between the characters. All passion is expressed with kissing, hand holding and perhaps brushing a hand along a face. Suitable for young teens, readers with strong religious or moral principles, and some elderly readers.
Sensual Romance does include some sex scenes, but the language typically isn’t harsh and the scenes typically aren’t described in an overtly graphic way. The emphasis is instead on the emotions and feelings of the characters, and the scenes are included so they can consummate their relationship. In other words, the characters aren’t having sex just because they can. The scene is included because it is a part of the storyline, but the plot does not revolve around the sex scenes. Oftentimes there are only a few sex scenes within the entire story.
Erotic Romance is all about the sex. The descriptions are quite graphic and the story may include variations such as threesomes, orgies or bondage. Two characters falling in love and eventually consummating their relationship isn’t necessarily what the story is about. It’s all about the characters having sex and a lot of it.
When I decided to switch genres and write romance novels I made the decision to write sensual romance. To me, it is the most logical approach. It reflects our current society and it’s what today’s readers expect. Sweet romance would have been fine if it was still the 1950s but, for better or worse, we now live in a different time. My leading characters do make love, but not until after they’ve fallen in love and are emotionally invested in the relationship. Once their relationship is consummated I usually don’t write another sex scene between the two as it would then become redundant. I will however, have other scenes with foreplay followed by pillow talk. This rule, however, only applies for my two leading characters.
From time to time I may have a leading man or lady get involved with Mr. or Ms. Wrong. On those occasions I’ll approach the sex scenes a little differently. For example, in my upcoming novel The Deception, Carrie, the female lead, has just ended a long-term relationship. She then meets Scott, a married man who’s tricked her into thinking he’s single. Scott knows Carrie is emotionally vulnerable so he takes advantage of her. Because Scott is a Mr. Wrong the sex scenes between him and Carrie are a little racier. Both characters know their relationship will not be a permanent one, but even then my sex scenes aren’t overly graphic. I’m more interested in what the characters are feeling during the scene. Incidentally, Alex, The Deception’s leading man, does not appear until after Carrie’s fling with Scott has ended. One thing I will not do is have my characters bed hopping.
If you’re looking for sweet, squeaky-clean romance I’m afraid you won’t find it in my books. However if you’re looking for something believable that will leave you, the reader, satisfied, I’ll think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.