Monday, February 1, 2010

Human = Love, & Vote For A Quote

In many paranormal erotic romances I've read, there is often frequent, non-monogamous sex, especially early in the book and often in the first scene. Sometimes even gratuitous sex. Complementary body parts flying around, diving into whatever orifice is readily available, because that's what shifters or vamps or demons "need".

Don't get me wrong. I love to read and write paranormals. I always get a kick out of this truism of the genre though, not only because it's sometimes fun to read a down and dirty scene without a bunch of emotional baggage, but also because it's a somewhat obvious trope. They aren't human. Therefore, sex is just

Paranormals aren't the only place you see this play out. You could also insert other genres here, including macho men occupations such as military, or ex-military special forces types (lots of those running around apparently), cops, etc, where the 'humanity' has been stripped from the heros, the better to do their jobs, which usually involves the need to kill without qualm.

However, don't forget this is a romance. So sure, there will come a time in the story when love begins to rear its ugly head, and won't THAT be a fight for all involved. The protagonist will be disparaged by another non-human entity (or fellow macho man...or their own subconscious...or sometimes even the object of their affection), will be sneered at for being too human. Love is seen as a weakness, a failing, a vulnerability to exploit.

Ah, but love will triumph. And while the no-strings rampant sex always reads like it's on fire, there is no comparison to the incendiary sex immediately following the realization (and before the end of the story, the declaration) of love. The tenderness, the emotion, the connection between the participants is unprecedented, unparalleled, unrivaled. A satisfying completion for all involved, including the all-too-human reader...


Some thoughts from people who say it much better than I ever could. Vote for your favorite; the winning quote will be used in my future book, Sex On Summer Sabbatical.

"Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex."
— Hunter S. Thompson

"Sex is the consolation you have when you can't have love."
— Gabriel García Márquez
"We can live without sex, but we can't live without love."

— Shane Claiborne
"If Jack's in love, he's no judge of Jill's beauty."
— Benjamin Franklin
"There is a no man's land between sex and love, and it alters in the night."

— Norman Mailer
"Well, in that hit you miss. She'll not be hit

With Cupid's arrow. She hath Dian's wit,
And, in strong proff of chastity well armed,
From Love's weak childish bow she lives uncharmed.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide th' encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold.
O, she is rich in beauty; only poor
That, when she dies, with dies her store."

Act 1,Scene 1, lines 180-197
— William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)


  1. Great post! PNR, I think, allows us to justify those fantasies that most of us would never, ever act upon. I read The Wolf Tales books by Kate Douglas, and all her Chanku have sex with everybody. They need it; they have to have it. That constant lack of monogamy isn't something that I can understand in real life, but I do sometimes enjoy these non-emotional scenes in a novel. While I can enjoy it in PNR, it's something that is hit or miss with me in contemporaries. I enjoy reading books where the characters for permanent menages (once again, something I can't fathom in real life), but I don't like it when a couple hooks up with a third for a one night stand. I have more difficulty suspending disbelief for that.

    Since I teach Romeo and Juliet, I should probably vote for the Shakespeare quote, but I'm going to have to go with the Norman Mailer quote. I love it!

  2. Devon,

    Great post. And I'm with Eyre in regards to the quote. The teacher in me wants to go with R&J. However, as this is Romeo talking about Rosaline (who he forgets about one act later) I'm going to go with Norman Mailer.



  3. I've always been partial to:
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin .. it's the triumphant twang of a bedspring." ~ S. J. Perelman

    Wonderful post today Devon. Not certain how I am going to follow up on you and Lisabet yet. : )


  4. Excellent post, Devon,

    I guess that I haven't read much of the shapeshifter genre to which you refer. (I think that I'm glad.) I've never found purely physical sex to be the least bit interesting. I also hate books where it's clear that the author has thrown in gratuitous sex because someone told her that would help her sell her book.

    "Gratuitous sex" to me does not mean extreme or multi-partner or promiscuous. It means sex that does nothing to reveal the characters or to propel the story forward.

    I think I'd pick the Hunter Thompson quote!


  5. Devon,

    Sorry to be so late reading and casting my vote! I vote for the Norman Mailer quote. As for the tropes of paranormal (or any other sub-genre) romance, I think you hit the nail on the head. I'd love to see a paranormal romance where the creature involved actually needs love to survive. Wouldn't that turn things upside down!

  6. Eyre, yes that kind of flexibility is why writing PNR is a lot of fun. Rules are yours to make. But I agree it's much harder to swallow in contemporaries. :)

  7. Hi Ash and Michelle, thanks for the feedback on the quotes! It was to prowl through them to find my favorites, and even more interesting to see what other people think about them.

  8. I agree, Lisabet, and reading stories that have sex scenes which happen for no apparent reason drives me a bit crazy...after a while I start skimming and skipping ahead to get back to the story.

  9. Helen, I LOVE that thought. And as I'm in the midst of writing a paranormal series, I might just steal that idea and run with it.

    Stop thief!


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