Romance Novels Lie

You know what you never, ever see in romance novels? No, not ugly heroes. You never see how truly awkward sex can be.

Don’t think to start mouthing off with, “Obviously you aren’t doing sex right then, R.C.” I study sex. Apologies to any of my lovers reading this, but at some point you will read one of my books and see a little of yourself in the sexy times. Writers use personal experience to make each scene as real as possible. Except, no one wants to read the awkward truths of sex.

1. The nude man…with socks.
It happens. It is painfully hard to ignore. At some point, all men get caught with an erection and socks. It isn’t flattering. At all. Fans of the original “Coupling” will know this as “The Sock Gap.” The only time nudity and socks work is if you’re playing naughty schoolgirl. I’ll be honest, a naked woman in socks is hot. This is a sad double standard men just have to accept. Ditch the socks with your shoes, boys, and save yourself some hidden snickering while trying to impress your date.

2. Well, we’re naked, now what?
Sometimes, once the kissing and tearing off clothes stops, you’re two naked people staring at each other, wondering what moves to make next. Groping? More kissing? But, oh damn, your lips feel like they’ve been sandblasted after French kissing your way through the last hour of The Avengers. What? It can be a tantalizing movie. Hello, Loki? Rawr! Anyway…. At some point, both parties need to regroup and plan their attack. Don’t do it once the pants come off! Think as you do a little strip tease. You’ll bypass the nude-and-contemplating weirdness. Trust me, it is for the best. Not even the best actor can change the holy-shit-what-do-I-do-now look into something passing for appreciation of your date. It comes across…constipated.

3. Leg cramps.
They happen and they are very, very painful. There’s no bullshitting your way out of a leg cramp. At some point your date will realize you aren’t moaning, but whimpering. Worse yet, ladies, is the hip cramp. This usually stems from men’s belief that all women LOVE yoga and are built like Gumby. We aren’t. Matter of fact, a lot of women have serious issues with the nerves in their hips, especially around their cycle. It isn’t natural for us to be folded like a pretzel or asked to hold our legs spread, ankles up, for however long it takes a guy to stop thinking baseball stats and come already… which brings me to my next point.

4. This isn’t a marathon.
Prolonged sexy time is okay…sometimes. But making every session between the sheets into a four hour ordeal isn’t fun. There’s the leg cramps, sweat drippage, soggy sheets, hair so knotted it starts to hurt. And not to mention, there isn’t an unlimited lube dispenser up there, boys. Once we’ve had our fun and the thrill of sex starts to fade into, “Fuck will he come already?” We girls tend to close up the vagina shop, even if you haven’t finished your purchase. Staring at the ceiling, or having our faces crammed into the sheets for another fifteen minutes, all the while thinking how much our privates hurt, ain’t fun. Pay attention. Girls, do the same. When he’s ready, give your orgasm a pep talk to hurry up. Its poor manners to grab a toy after to finish.

5. Cleanup.
You rarely, if ever, see condoms in romance novels. It is becoming more frequent, but not enough for writers to tackle the truth of the aftermath…or any strange mishaps discovered during. Like, tricky condoms that don’t go with the guy when he’s pulling out. Or the awful burning sensation of realizing you are allergic to the lube on the condom. No amount of careful washing helps. Then you have the whole, where do we dispose of the rubber, issue. Leaving it in the bedside trash only advertises to house mates that you got some. Finally. The bathroom trash is out, as well. You could always wrap it in a tissue, but if its the only trash in the bin, it becomes a Tell-Tale Heart scenario. Plus, who really wants jizz sitting around?

Maybe I’m overly neurotic about these things. Truth be told, a lot of my time is spent analyzing how sex is presented to the masses so I can pilfer things here ‘n there to use for book fodder. Coming up with an endless stream of titillating scenes is draining mentally. Romance books glorify sex, polishing it up without the weirdness. Which is even stranger since we all know the truth. Doesn’t the lack of actual fact take you out of the book just a little? The main female strips out of her bra and tosses it aside. Those of us ladies with ample chests would stop and think, “Thank fucking god that’s off,” and rub the red marks on our underboob. Or if it is summertime, hoist the girls up, stand under the A/C vent, and air the girls out. The sex is forgotten for comfort. Sorry, guys, you do not beat a good bra removal.

See what I mean, though? Fantasy and reality rarely mesh up when it comes to sex. We’re writing these book, which are inevitably read by virgins, and giving them false information.

Writers, homework assignment! Write a quick sex scene that is brutally honest to the reality of your sex life. Current, past, or a mixture of your entire sexual experience. Compare that to your favorite fictional sex scene. Ridiculous, huh?


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