Please help me welcome author of Ride with Me—Ruthie Knox to FMB!
I have to admit, I like it when people ask me to talk about sex on the Internet. This is probably the inevitable outcome of having been named “Ruth” as a kid. I mean, I’ve been named Ruth all along, but it was harder as a kid. There weren’t any other Ruths when I was growing up, or any Ruthies, and this inevitably meant that when I met someone new, they either (a) said, “Oh, that’s my grandma’s/great aunt’s/elderly neighbor’s name!” or (b) made a sad, stale, tired joke about Dr. Ruth.
Because ten-year-old girls everywhere just live and breathe to be compared to grandmotherly television sexperts, right? Right.
Honestly, it’s enough to put a girl off sex for life. But instead, here I am now, a thirtysomething romance author who writes books with sex in them. Sometimes rather a lot of sex in them. How did that happen? I’m still trying to figure it out.
Okay, that was a lie. The truth is, I like reading romance novels with sexy bits in them. I like writing the sexy bits. I like writing about writing the sexy bits, and reading what other people have to say on the subject. I enjoy meta-discourse about sex scenes, is what I’m trying to say. Which is just another way of revealing that yes, indeed, I am a geek about absolutely everything, thank you for noticing.
But I have this theory. When we think of the “typical” romance novel, and especially of Romance of the Past, it’s one with a lot of sexual tension, a few steamy kisses, and an artfully euphemized sex scene at the end. In a book like that, the sex scene seals the deal on the romance. Love: Achieved. Courtship: Complete. Happily-Ever-After: Guaranteed. It’s like an end-punctuation mark on the story—and let’s hope, for the heroine’s sake, an exclamation point.
Often these days, however, the hero and heroine start smexin’ mid-book, or even in chapter 2 or 3. Sometimes they start having sex before they have any emotional connection whatsoever. So what does sex mean in a book like that? What is it for, if not to suggest that mutual orgasms equals a perfect, fulfilling mutual existence forevermore?
I have a few theories.
I think that in real life, relationships form in all sorts of ways. They follow the dating–courtship–kissing–emotional commitment–true love–sex pattern sometimes, but other times they follow the cybersex–emotional emailing–meeting in person–sex–love pattern, and other times they follow the friendship–kissing–sex–ohmygodwhatdidwejustdo–happiness–lifetime commitment pattern.
We humans, we don’t necessarily approach this stuff in order. We fumble around and make stupid mistakes. It’s a wonder we ever manage to reproduce and raise children, honestly, so thoroughly do we botch everything romantic and sexual sometimes.
And romance novels reflect that, to a degree. They are, by definition, about people and their flaws and their ability to transcend them with the help of other people. They are about sex and love and the redemptive qualities of both. I like to think that in the sort of books I write, and in the sort of books I love to read, sex is one of a number of different ways that people get to know each other, to get to know themselves better, and to find their way from a less-good place in their lives to a better one. Sometimes, sex lets brittle, defensive characters be vulnerable, and it helps them figure out how to help each other. It helps them fall in love.
That it also makes for smexy-fun reading is just a bonus.
Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox
Avalible from Loveswept on February 13, 2012!
In this fun, scorching-hot eBook original romance by Ruthie Knox, a cross-country bike adventure takes a detour into unexplored passion. As readers will discover, Ride with Me is not about the bike!
These days, she writes contemporary romance in which witty, down-to- earth characters find each other irresistible in their pajamas, though she freely admits this has yet to happen to her. Perhaps she needs more exciting pajamas. Ruthie abhors an epilogue and insists a decent romance requires at least three good sex scenes.
Find Ruthie at her website.
So what do you think -- do you like sex in your romance? Do you prefer the slow build of tension to one hot sex scene at the end, or do you like to see sex complicate the characters' relationship?
One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to win a digital copy of Ride with Me. Winners will pick up their copy through Net Galley. Good luck to all!
- Answer the question in bold above and please make sure you leave your name and email so you can be contacted if you win!