The times they are a-changing.
Back in the good old days I was forced to read my mother’s True Story and True Confession magazines under the covers with a flashlight. And between the covers of the magazines I was held spellbound by romantic dramas that ran the gamut of adultery, unwed pregnancy, disease and even rape. But those tales of sex and sin pale in comparison to today’s romance novels.
The prevailing definition says that a romance must focus on the developing relationship between the characters. Oh, and there must be an emotionally satisfying happily ever after. Otherwise the stories themselves can be in any subgenre, such as contemporary, historical, paranormal or science fiction.
Today there’s a new subgenre in town, erotic romance, sometimes referred to as romantica. It’s an uninhibited blend of romance and erotica that takes the sexual heat to a whole new level. Some people tend to confuse erotic romance with porn. Nothing could be further from the truth. Where porn is written strictly for titillation, an erotic romance is first and foremost a love story. It has a good plot and well-developed characters that go through hell. Somehow they overcome the conflict and obstacles and it all ends happily for them. How does romantica differ from a traditional romance? There’s greater emphasis on the sex scenes. Now, we can open the bedroom door, and let the readers in so they can experience the culmination of all that sexual tension that’s been building up since chapter one.
The sex scenes are fun to write. The biggest challenge is to keep them unique and fresh so they don’t start to sound like an anatomy lesson or a list of how-tos. I try to focus on the characters and their personalities. Their emotional response and sexual chemistry add a whole new dimension each time they come together.
We’ve come a long way. I think it’s great that the barriers have come down and writers can deal frankly with social and sexual mores and give the readers what they want. Of course if my mother were still here, I’d still be hiding my books under the mattress.