The Goldilocks Dilemma


 

Not too hard, not too soft; not too hot, not too cold — but just right. Like Goldilocks, as a romance reader (and writer) I’m always looking for the perfect balance. Goldilocks may not have been trying to get laid by the three bears (I think she might have been barking up the wrong trees in that case!), but she had the right idea about getting it just right.

I recently read a historical romance that had a great plot and was well written, and which I enjoyed — except for the fact that there wasn’t enough sex. Most importantly, their first time was cut to black, which made me screech, “WHAT?!?” when I turned the page and realized it was a new chapter that wasn’t picking up right where we left off.

Maybe I’m just a dirty girl who likes a lot of smut in her romance? However, I really think that you can learn a lot about characters through sex. Furthermore, in this day and age I’m kind of mystified when authors choose to go to black for an important sex scene. I don’t mind fading to black to avoid repetition, but for their first time? That’s so vital to me as a reader.

Now, about the repetition. On the flipside of the previous book mentioned, the book I finished yesterday was sex scene after sex scene after sex scene. The second half felt like it was almost all screwing, and the story was basically the two characters being in love and happy and thinking that their respective boyfriend was awesome and wonderful.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

The writing was good, the sex was hot, but…there was no drama! I really started to get bored with all the sex, and was waiting for something to happen. Nope. The characters met and liked each other, and there was internal conflict for one as he realized he was gay — but not for long. They got together and started going at it like bunnies, page after page. After a while, it just gets old, especially with a lack of conflict (which I’ll discuss in a future post). Yet this book is very popular, so I guess I’m out of step.

For me, I need a balance between plentiful, hot, descriptive sex and an engaging plot with drama and conflict. If it’s just happy fun times and sex, sex, sex, there’s no hook.

What about you? How much sex in a romance is too much or too little? What’s the winning formula for you?

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