Romance novels, by their very nature, are about sex. Even the ‘clean’ or ‘sweet’ romance novels have implied sex. It is implied to take place after the book ends, when the formalities of marriage have been observed, but it’s there. It’s always great sex, too, weaving its way in and out of the twists of the plot, sometimes believable, sometimes laughable, but always great.
I know that these novels are a fantasy. The heroines are always young and curvy, the heroes are always tall and muscular; no one wants to read about Bob, with his beer-belly, having sex with his wife, Babs, who’s less than perfect body is the result of having given birth four times. The sad fact is that real life, especially real life sex, just isn’t that interesting to read about.
Does that mean that these books should have no basis in the real world? I don’t think so. Maybe the overall fantasy is left intact, but little details can be added to make it more believable. For example, legs are always smooth and silky. Really? Unless a woman wears a skirt every day, odds are good that she has let shaving her legs go at some point. Never once have I read a description of the heroine’s legs being stubbly! Another detail is underwear. Just once, I’d like to read about her wearing ratty undies because it’s been a crazy week and the laundry has piled up.
The heroes can be just as unbelievable. I can remember one story where they had sex in his hospital bed; among other injuries, he had four broken ribs. I speak from experience when I say that sex was the last thing on my mind with one broken rib; even breathing was a struggle. Maybe men really are that different from women, but my husband agrees with me. Sex, even sex with a new girlfriend, would not be top priority.
So, does this mean I’m going to start writing about Bob and Babs? Probably not, unless the story presents itself in my head. It does mean that there may be emergency calls from work that spoil the moment, unfortunately timed leg cramps, and perhaps, less-than-sexy panties. The goal is to insert a little reality without completely ruining the fantasy. It will be up to the reader to decide if I have pulled it off.