Is it just me, or is there less explicit sex in western historical romances than in other genres?
Maybe it’s just the ones I pick up, but it seems more and more western romances dwell on the romance of the thing, rather than the mechanics of the thing. Is this a pattern? Or has it always been that way? Look at some of the great western romance writers—Jodi Thomas, Mary Connealy, Debbie Macomber, Linda Lael Miller, and others I can’t remember right now, in addition to the fabulous authors on this website. Seems most of their stories are more character-driven than sex-driven. I wonder why?
Perhaps because the archetype of the western hero is so firmly ingrained in our minds that to reduce him to just a roll in the hay (even though he might be the world’s best at it), diminishes the myth of the cowboy somehow.
Or, perhaps because the Old West and the people who inhabited it—in real life and in fiction—are part of our shared history and have become almost like extended family. And if so, do you truly want to watch from behind the curtain when family members are bucking the bronc, so to speak?
I don’t. The minute I started writing Book I of the Blood Rose Trilogy, PIECES OF SKY, the characters became my family. And even though the mismatched romance between a hard-bitten rancher caught in a blood feud (Brady) and a pregnant English hat maker (Jessica) is central to the story, I wanted to put equal emphasis on other aspects of their characters—past mistakes, regrets, fears as well as desires, not to mention the hardships of living in a harsh place (New Mexico Territory) during hard times (1868). They had a lot to overcome to earn their HEA, and sex was only part of it.
The same with Book 2, OPEN COUNTRY, when Brady’s brother, Hank, awakens after a train derailment to find himself married to a stranger (Molly), the father of two children he’s never met, and embroiled in a post Civil War conspiracy. Dropping a rope on his reluctant wife was only half of his problem. It wasn’t always a tiptoe through the sagebrush back then. Those were tough times, and there was more going on than wardrobe choices and getting the heroine in bed. (OK. I could be wrong there. Men haven’t changed that much.) Even so, how many times do we need detailed instructions on how to fit tab B into slot A?
Relax. There’s plenty of killing and cussing in my books, so I’m not a complete prude. A realist, perhaps. And maybe too visual, because the thought of watching two people I care about roll around in the hay makes me itch. And seriously…how many of you could write a graphic sex scene without bursting into raucous laughter? There’s something about a man’s bare bouncing butt—well, never mind.
So. How necessary are graphic sex scenes in western historical romance? Do you prefer closed doors or open doors? Do you find yourself skimming TO, or THROUGH the sex scenes? Leave a comment and your name will be entered into a drawing for a sensual-but-non-sexually graphic copy of PIECES OF SKY and/or OPEN COUNTRY. Thanks for dropping by, and especially thanks to PETTICOATS & PISTOLS for inviting a nearly almost semi-famous western romance author to stop in today.