What is the right amount of sex in a story?

Some of you are aware that I have delved into the Genera of Paranormal Romance. As such, I am working with a completely different group of proofers, as there isn’t a lot of crossover readers from Fantasy and Sci-Fi. One of the things that has boiled up from their reviews is that I needed to take the sex scenes to the next level. One proofer even commented that my current scenes were like two virgins on a first date.

Now why this is relevant to all my readers is I took a bit of heat in the Alice books because they had more sexual detail than some readers preferred to see. Other readers complained I stopped too soon. In conversations with an agent, he recommended I roll it way back on general principle, and thus the Ranger books are very PG.

This new feedback has me questioning the early criticism and maybe I should not have backed away from my first attempts after all, I just needed to better set expectations in the description? To help answer this question I have attached this poll, looking for reader feedback on this very perplexing question.

Coming Soon
Do I need to sex up my stories?
Do I need to sex up my stories?
Do I need to sex up my stories?

9 thoughts on “What is the right amount of sex in a story?

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  1. While i thoroughly enjoy the ranger series, i also feel like it was almost to little to where you could have left it out and it would have been the same but i also feel like your writing tends to not have the hardcore erotic fiction readers, so while i selected yes i feel it should be more of a, yes add more details but dont try to push it to hard to where i may turn readers off cause it got to heavy. If you can understand that, not sure if i explained it well or not.

    1. I think I do 🙂 I believe you hit the nail on the head, Ranger was a middle of the road effort. I should have either cut it out or embellished it a bit more?

      1. Yup exactly. Personally i think you should have embellished a bit more due to the fact it was brought up when Cassie’s nymph side was being discussed and that nymphs and dryads in irl myths and stories are virtually always described as almost sex addicts. But with the Alice series i felt that the way you wrote it was good for that series.

        1. Yes I really struggled with Cassie. I think there should have been more sex in that book but I was trying to tune it down after the ALICE comments.

          1. I agree with Jacob, a little more detail would be nice, but I wouldn’t go full on porn. Maybe more PG-13 than PG. But I also agree that setting expectations is a big part of it. If you do end up going more graphic in your novels, let people know ahead of time as those that want to pass their books onto their children can make up their mind then. On a side note what is it with our country that killing is ok, pass those stories on to children but sex is such a no-no? And I’m not talking graphic porn sex, just sex in general (PG to R).

            Anyway, looking forward to book 3!

          2. Yes I have no intention of going full 50 shades on any of these. To better explain what happened, I wrote ALICE and tried to make the people have a real life experience, not over done. I attracted the attention of an agent who liked the work but was concerned in the current climate of the time (2014-2015) the sex references might become too controversial. So as many have noticed, I dialed it back.
            Fast forward to present and I am working on two new books that play in the Paranormal space, and my proof reader feedback from fans of the Genera is to sex it up. It made me question if I had error’d on dialing it back in the previous works. so far the Poll has been almost 50/50 between keep it as is or sex it up a bit. I’ll let it run a while an see if that holds.

  2. I am late to the party on this, but I’m gonna give my two cents anyway. I’ve read the Alice series a couple times, but the Ranger series only once ( although I think it’s time to get the e-book 😉 ). The essence of the series is the ultimate male hero fantasy. It’s an adventure. To the extent that sex is a real part of life, show a holistic view of the character within the context of the adventure. Show it real. Sometimes sexual encounters are awkward. Sometimes it’s not fulfilling, even between a long married couple. Sometimes comedic situations happen.

    It does not need to be erotica; there are plenty of other places for sexual fulfillment. The way that you fade to black when the clothes come off is my preference.

    In summary, sex should add depth to a character because of how they handle the before and after of the sex, especially emotionally. The act itself isn’t worth dealing with.

    – that one guy on the Internet

    1. I like your description. yes I agree wholeheartedly. There were parts of Ranger where I was tempted to add a bit of spice, but at the time I was self editing under the advice of someone who was trying to get me a traditional publishing deal. since then I think the market has swung back toward a more ALICE style of inclusion.

  3. Given the recent proliferation of harem novels within the last year or so (I would count AL;ICE among the first examples), I would say that you should go whole hog if you believe you can write a sex scene that would be worth reading.

    1. LOL thanks! yes there has been some question about me doing a rewrite of the original 4 with no self editing.

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