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Does a Romance need Sex Scenes?
Marissa Priest
Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 8:58 PM
Joined: 10/18/2011
Posts: 3

I've been having this debate with some friends over the inclusion of sex in my novel. There's a growing romance, and I didn't want the characters to have sex. Mainly, because it's a Victorian setting and my MC is a very strict Catholic who is struggling to keep her faith. My one friend says that it wouldn't be historically inaccurate, even then I feel uncomfortable doing it. My other friend says that it won't sell without any sex. Despite all their arguments, my character would not be happy with having sex. That, and I don't want to give it all away in the first book! So, does a book with romance need to have sex to make it good?
Charl F king
Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011 8:01 AM
Joined: 11/20/2011
Posts: 24

Sometimes just the idea of sex can be more titillating. It's how the protagonist feels as she meets or interacts with her love interest, and the author's ability to convey that feeling to the reader. But yes, sex sells.
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 4:07 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 353

Marissa -

It depends upon the kind of romance and the marketplace. Traditionally romances tend to feature sex scenes, but if you're writing for the CBA market (Christian Booksellers Association), you may be able to get away with a relatively sex-free book. There are also some romances that are more tame than others.

Do you regularly read the Smart Bitches romance blog ( It's a great one for meeting more romance readers and writers. I'd also recommend hanging out at Romance Divas ( for even more romance help!



Alexander Hollins
Posted: Monday, January 16, 2012 2:51 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 412

Jane Eyre. One of the best romances ever, imo. No sex. I would read a sexless romance if the romance and story were good.  BUUUT, most people look for romance novels for the payoff, imo.

Jaycee Ford
Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014 11:12 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 17

Maybe this is what the dividing line between a romance and just a love story would be. All romances are love stories, but not all love stories are romances.
Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014 12:29 PM
Joined: 8/14/2014
Posts: 5

Depends on the story...Does it NEED a sex scene? Would it be unrealistic to NOT have a sex scene there?
Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2015 1:03 PM
Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 16

as a published author of several "romance" and many "erotic romance" novels I will tell you that I am personally trying to inject (!) more eroticism via LESS explicit sex. To me, leaving just enough to the imagination is more of a turn on that at "insert rod A into slot B and thrust." I am really bored with all the repetitive sex formula novels out there now.
Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2015 12:20 PM
Joined: 3/23/2015
Posts: 12

It depends on the people you are catering your writings to, let me give you two examples of two well-known books we discussed in our bookclub. First is The Fault in Our Stars contains sex scenes between the two main characters, however since it was mainly for teens and young adults, it was not further elaborated (as to how they did it). The next one is Fifty Shades of Grey, which is obviously known for BDSM scenes, which leans toward erotica. This book (if that is what you even call it) mostly (or at least tried to) cater adults.

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