How Much is Too Much?

Sex, that is.

Now, in real life, I know many a person (usually men) who will say there is no such thing.  But I’m talking about in erotica, here.  How much is too much sex?

I’ve seen plenty of Amazon reviews in which readers complain about erotica books that have too much sex.  The same books have loads of other reviewers who loved the hot story line.

I recently watched a Facebook thread with rabid interest as fellow erotica authors answered the question, “Have you ever skipped over sex scenes in books?”

Many had.  Many hadn’t.  Many didn’t have a problem with frequent sex scenes as long as they helped to move the plot forward, were well written, and were varied.  That’s right.  Seven steamy spoon scenes only seem to steam up the readers in the wrong way.

Many said it depends on the story, on their mood when they are reading, or on whether or not there is a meteor shower in the forecast.

I once posted in an erotica authors’ forum asking if a WIP had the right balance of sex and story.  The work in question was 40K and had three lengthy sex scenes and one dream sequence (the cheater way to get in another sex scene when the characters are apart, or angry at each other, or haven’t met yet).

One guy told me I should re-evaluate whether or not I was, in fact, writing erotica, erotic romance, or straight-up romance.  Another author was like, with a twelve page sex scene, I think it qualifies as erotica/erotic romance.

Whatever the case, whatever the perfect numerical balance of plot to erotica, it’s interesting that it varies so greatly from author to author, reader to reader, and male to female.

I say male to female, because I believe that gay men, even of the fictional variety, would get it on a lot more than a straight couple.  Guys are always thinking with their dicks, and if they are doing so in fiction, they are probably written pretty true to life (that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it).

Finally, I’d like to state that many publishers specifically state that characters in erotica novels are to have sex early in the book, and then frequently throughout.

So, what’s the magic number for readers?  For authors?  For publishers?  And are they anywhere near the same ballpark (every pun intended)?  Your guess it as good as mine.  Perhaps it all comes down to this: some people like hot sauce on their pizza.  Some people put freakin’ pineapple on it.  Eat what ya like, but if I invite you over to dinner, you better be ready to sweat, baby.


About Kimber Vale

Author of romance of all stripes. View all posts by Kimber Vale

2 responses to “How Much is Too Much?

  • Kendra Little

    Good blog post! I find sex for sex’s sake a turn-off in books. I want plot, emotion, character development and a dang good story. Unfortunately there’s a plethora of books out there now that are just sex scene after sex scene with very little glue holding them together.


    • Kimber Vale

      I agree. I want it all–action, intriguing plot, sex, angst, and humor. Doesn’t always work that way, though. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!


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