Close the bedroom door or invite in, which do you prefer a book to do when it comes to sexy time?
Well, I think it depends on the kind of book I’m reading. I’m not really into reading erotica, so unless I specifically pick up that kind of book, I don’t expect an overly graphic sex scene. If I’m reading a YA, this is a delicate balance because of the audience reading the book. I expect YA sex scenes to be either a cut scene or a very vague description of feelings. I don’t mind being invited in, if it is tastefully done. As for a regular adult or new adult type of book, well you expect a scene every now and then, right? Again, unless I’m reading erotica, I don’t expect – or want – descriptions of specific body parts. (Please don’t ever describe something to me as thick and vein-y, for example. Gag!) But I certainly don’t mind being invited in, especially if the scene solidifies the relationship between the characters.
This very question was recently discussed at Houston Teen Book Con by a panel of authors. Some authors claimed that they purposefully wrote sexy scenes in their teen books (YA-MA anyone???) and other authors said they would jump cut from the “right before” to the “just after” or even the next day. So which do I prefer? I don’t have a definite answer here. One thing that I absolutely hate is cheesy love scenes that you typically find in traditional romance. Sometimes those books are simply ridiculous. I also am not really a big fan of “how taboo or steamy can an author make this scene” type books. I want to know my characters intimately. Sometimes that calls for full disclosure, and sometimes it does not. There are no hard and fast rules. I would say if it is about awkward first love, then jump cutting is kind of cheating. I want to experience all the awkwardness with my characters and laugh and remember what it was like to be a in love for the very first time again. However, in some other books, a nice lead up and a politely closed door are okay as well. It is all about what enhances the story. The scene should really reflect on the characters themselves. I have read some books in which a character does a complete 180 in the bedroom. And it wasn’t necessary to the story. It felt strange reading it, like it was there for pure sensationalism and nothing else. However, I have also been deeply involved in a character’s struggles and back story only to be left cold when her and her love interest finally get to “the good part.” Sometimes it just feels right to “jump cut” and other times it leaves me disappointed. All in all, I would say this is where the author’s finesse as a writer really comes into play. A well written book will make you remember how you felt, but not necessarily what you read. Sometimes the sexiest scenes are ones in which the author leaves a little something to your own imagination.