Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: What is your squirm factor?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

What is your squirm factor?

Okay, I've been expecting one of these letters since publishing my first book in the fall of 2003. What kind of letter you may ask? The kind that takes me to task for being too explicit in my love scenes. Why have I been expecting one? Because I know other authors get them and well, I know that I write stories that are blatantly honest and yes...detailed about my characters' sexuality.

Funny thing is, I had never actually received one until yesterday. At which point a reader felt the need to point out that "explicit detail [in regards to sex] is never necessary for good writing."

Plainly, I disagree. In my mind and in my heart...from where all my stories come...some call for very explicit detail while others do not. Her complaint was specifically related to my book READY, but the truth is...she could have been talking about pretty much any of my Bravas. In point of fact though, I am sure there are readers who feel my other single titles and my Harlequin Presents are too steamy as well. I like to be as graphic and detailed about lovemaking in my stories as I am about any other element. Because to me, the sexual relationship between the hero and heroine is as important as their ability to express their love verbally or through other actions. More so sometimes, to be honest.

Frankly, the letter didn't worry me because I firmly believe that not every reader is going to love every story, but her comment got me thinking. You see...while I might disagree with her, I have my own "squirm factor".

For me, that factor is all wrapped up in how intricately entwined with the emotion the sex is. I know other readers and authors have a different measuring stick that makes the sensuality in a story work for them, or not work for them as the case may be. I thought it might be kind of fun to talk about what causes your squirm factor to go into the red zone and conversely, what draws you to a story when it comes to sensuality.

Now, don't laugh...but I'm going to remind you all that this is a public forum with no limitation for viewing that I know of. So, keep that in mind when you are posting your own graphic detail. ;-) My books not withstanding, there are lots of ways to say things without being so blatant my fellow authors decide to toss me off the blog for bringing the topic up.

Hugs and looking forward to your comments!

Lucy Monroe :)


Shiloh Walker said...

MY squirm factor? hmmmm... well, since i write erotic romance, it takes a decent amount.

One of my guilty pleasures is that I do love menages. One or two of those that appear in a book I'm writing, well, that does do something for me.

However I think I start getting uncomfortable when the sharing lasts. My ideal romance ends when the heroine and the hero together. Not plurals... although there is an author or two that has done it well enough that I can still read it, enjoy it. Can't say I don't squirm with it but I do still enjoy it.

now you can definitely still have a good story without explicit detail... :) but there are some of us who just prefer to use the more explicit details.

Fortunately, there's a wide enough variety of readers out there that no matter if you write the nice polite, un detailed love scenes, you'll satisfy people.

And if you write the super hot... you'll still satisfy people. Just a different variety.

Somebody will always find something to not agree with. ~I should know... sometimes, that's me! But that's also just life.

Lucy Monroe said...

Shi...menage are actually one of my "squirm" moments, but that said...I've read some that I really liked. Even, as you said, a couple where the knowledge they were all three going together into the future didn't bother me. What I've realized is that some fantasy may at first make me squirm, but if well can end up touching me even more deeply because of that. I do think that there are just tons of different kinds of readers out there. I write from my heart...I figure I touch readers whose hearts are in the same hemisphere as mine. But even within a fan base, there is going to be a wide range of readers who will have different hot buttons. I know what mine are and I recognize when an author has hit one. My family knows too...'cuz I tend to rant. LOL


LuAnn McLane said...

Lucy I write the steamy stuff too and I agree that for me an open bedroom door is what I like to read and write. Let's face it, the sex between the hero and heroine is such an emotional part of the relationship that to leave it out is leaving out a big part of the story. I really don't understand when people (mostly nonreaders) have this thing against a sex scene. It is one of the most beautiful and natural things we experience as human beings. Why leave that out of a love story?

Squirm moments? Hmmm, anything mean or violent.

Stacy ~ said...

Well, it might not be necessary to throw open the bedroom doors and show it all, but I sure enjoy reading about it - lol. To me as a reader, I don't have a problem with the explicit sex scenes. I think they make the relationship more intense, and shows that it's just fine to have a satisfying sex life in a loving relationship.

Hmmm, since reading a lot of erotic romances this past year, I would say I've found very few things that make me squirm. I think in a close, loving relationship, a lot can happen with the consent of the h/h and as long as it's mutual and there is a HEA, I'm pretty okay with it.

I will admit I'm not a big fan of the more serious dom/sub stories with the humiliation. Anything where there is excessive pain/violence definitely turns me off.

Erin The Innocent said...

My squirm factor really has not a lot of anything to do with sex/love scenes. The one thing that is almost guaranteed to make me put down the book and NOT go back to it, is when the character is cheating on someone. (often I'll put down a book if it's too intense to read all at once but I come back to it ).

In sex/love scenes the thing I'm uncomfortable with is when there is a lack of emotion... wham bam and not even a thankya ma'am sort of thing.

Lucy Monroe said...

LuAnn...I agree totally. I can't imagine leaving the lovemaking out of the love story. But that's me. :) I'm with you on meanness...hadn't thought about it really, but yes, like Stacy said, if there is a strong element of humiliation for either party, I won't want to re-read the story. Even when there is a happy ending.

Erin...I so get what you mean about a lack of emotion. That is definitely one of my squirm factors. And it is one that I've never had overcome, no matter how good the writing. If there is no emotion connected to the sex, I lose interest in the story and when the emotion finally gets's too late for me. But that is me...and I know there are readers who love that particular fantasy and really find a lot of pleasure in the ultimate happy ending. I think we are just so very lucky that in the current marketplace, the genre is so varied, pretty much everyone can find the type of stories they love to read.