I’m still recovering from a wonderful trip to the Romantic Times convention. By recovering I mean catching up on sleep. Yes, still. And I got back last Monday night. This was my first RT and a fascinating experience. I met amazing author Robin Schone (an icon to me). I had the great opportunity to be on a panel about erotic romance. I realized (at 5:00 in the morning the day of my panel) that I wrote erotic romance because I craved knowing what happened between the characters behind the bedroom door (or carriage door, stable door, oak tree, curtain in brothel, etc….) The sexual interaction was just far too important to leave to…well, to leave out altogether. It was just so unfair that two characters with issues, conflicts, and problems would shut the bedroom door and emerge later with a heavenly afterglow. So I decided I would explore that—I would write erotica.
My favorite scenes to write are the ones where the characters don’t necessarily have great sex, simultaneous orgasm, and blissfully float around the room. Why? Because a character is much more vulnerable when sex doesn’t work out. In the book I finished in January, Black Silk (April ’08), I wrote a scene where the hero doesn’t reach orgasm during sex. My heroine is stunned. Doesn’t that always happen for men? What did she do wrong? And of course, since they are newly married, she’s not going to simply ask him. No, she’s going to worry. That was a much more powerful and exciting scene to explore than one of perfect sex.
In my current WIP, I’ve been wondering what was missing in my sex scenes and I only just put my finger on it. It’s humor. Sex can be sensual and erotic but there’s no way twining limbs and body parts doesn’t end up being funny. Someone gets hit with a limb and someone gets squashed. In my first erotic historical, A Gentleman Seduced, my poor hero is determined to preserve my heroine’s virginity. As she blindfolds him, drops to her knees in front of him and enthusiastically explores, he decides he should be nominated for sainthood. Definitely sainthood. It was his humorous banter in his head that I loved about writing that scene.
I once dated a man who wanted to try handcuffs, but I refused. Not because I had anything against being tied up, but I knew that some disaster would happen and I would be the woman who gets left chained to the bed with no way of phoning for help. Or if I did manage to call for help, I’d probably end up accidentally calling my mother. I’d read Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game. I was not going there.
So, for all of you out there, do you like to read about realism (and humor) in your erotica or do you look for fantasy encounters? Or a little of both?
(The picture of the eighteenth century handcuffs is from http://www.dresslikeapirate.com/.)