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Opinion – Where I Rant about Erotic Romance

Even though I haven’t reviewed many erotic romances here on the blog, I do read and enjoy them. But I have a problem: Finding erotic romances that doesn’t feature double peens has become quite difficult.

It seems these days, most erotic romance automatically means menage scenes. Variety is always good, but when you have a genre that’s over run with menages, it does get quite tiresome from this book pushers’ POV.

With contemporary romances on the low, and erotic romance being crammed full of multiple peens, I’m getting quite bored of what’s available. I want to be able to read a erotic romance without the heroes best friend, cousin and even brother taking part. Also, please let there be less kinky BDSM happenings in a sex club. Surely there is BDSM that can take part in other places.

I may get slammed for saying this, but why is it always males sharing the girl? I can’t even count on one hand the number of books I’ve seen with a f/f/m relationship. And how many times have you seen books with a sister sharing one man? I think zero.

I don’t believe I’m the only one in wanting to read some erotic romances without double or triple peens. I do believe that the erotic romance genre is over run with menages. Sometimes there’s an erotic romance, and without warning there’s a menage scene. Are publishers telling authors that menage is the way to go? Is there any reader demand for what I’m asking for as a reader?

As much as I love what romance offers, I can’t help but feel that somehow, courtship romances (no matter the heat level) are becoming extinct, And that makes me a little sad.

Also, talking about f/f/m books above, can anybody recommend some f/f titles for me to read that features a HEA? Muchly appreciated!

By Lou

One thing that Lou loves most is her HEA in romances.

25 replies on “Opinion – Where I Rant about Erotic Romance”

Some days I think if there’s no BDSM, multiples or sex clubs — if you just have a lady and her dude making the big happy — it’s no longer considered “erotic”. That’s VANILLA with some dirty words thrown in :). But we likely all have our own definition for what crosses over into “erotic” and what is merely hot. Some of my work is written with a level of heat that was once considered “erotic” by some publishers, and at others, especially now, it’s not hot enough.

@Jody W.: lol this is where I think publishers have considered a lot of erotic rom must have menages which annoys me. I’ve read some books that I consider erotic rom that haven’t featured menages. I’ve enjoyed quite a few books that have featured BDSM also. These days I just want them without the multiple partners *grins*.

A good example of what I’m looking for is Bethany Kane’s Addicted to You, and Jaci Burton’s Play series. Also, I can’t remember the author or title, but there was a book that I enjoyed which surprised me as it featured a heroine and hero who enjoyed playing fantasy of forced seduction.

I think its all about trends which are symbiotically linked to sales. All there needs to be is a ff/m that gets raved about and becomes the ‘it’ book, then more will follow. I don’t mind multiple partners as long as it doesn’t have the gang bang feel. I think there are a lot of issues at play where the publishers haven’t seen the numbers (sales) to justify more variety in romantica. I would love to see erotic adventures a la ‘Sex in the City’ but the HEA/HFN angle restrains the possibilities there and if you just label it just ‘erotica’ then it’s icky ‘porn’. I thought La Bonne by Michele de Lully was really good (f/f/m).

I think it is interesting that F/F/M romance isn’t explored more compared to M/M/F romances – although I agree with the criticism about the too many peens or that the menage is just focused on the female character rather than a true menage.

I really miss the early erotic romances in the late 90s or early/mid 00’s – When I browse now its mostly club scene books or menages.

Hey Has- I have the same problem. I’m so sick of menage and all the extra kink. I find it really boring since the focus is usually on the kink and less on character development or romance. It’s basically erotica, which is fine in itself.

I don’t know why but menage really sells, which is why it’s still being published and pushed on the reader. So I guess there is a huge audience for it.

About f/f/m, I’ve read a lot since I actively looked for it. This is the link to my blog f/f/m book reviews. In almost all of them there is a HEA for all three. And because it’s 2 women and a man there aren’t a gazillion peens involved. And also they are stories not using 2 women for the male turn on POV, which I hate.

http://bi-curious-romancenovel-chat.blogspot.com/search/label/f%2Ff%2Fm

Not included is La Bonne by Michelle de Lully. This is EVERYONE’S f/f/m favorite.

In f/f what are you looking for? Contemps? Erotic or not erotic?

I hear you. I am not really a fan of menage or sex that happens in clubs either. I wouldn’t say that I struggle to find things to read that aren’t in this category, and I’d be happy to suggest some great ones, but it does seem to be the popular thing to publish nowadays. That said, what I do love is when I read something that technically has those elements but feels totally fresh. Like I will read it and love it and only afterwards realize hey, that book had all those tired tropes, and yet I was so caught up in it that it didn’t even register. Even though it’s not a new book, Comfort Object by Annabel Joseph was like that for me. The menage was so deeply embedded in their relationship and the plot that it didn’t feel like this-random-thing-we-added-just-to-have-more-male-sexing. Another author who makes menage fresh is Cara McKenna, like in Ruin Me, because there is so much emotion, so much tension. It’s the antithesis of tab-A-slot-B.

Speaking as someone who read contemps for a publisher: good contemporaries are hard to find. For some reason, they’re a bit like unicorns: the authors need to really nail character development and dare I say it, the structure of a romance is so prescriptive that it really inhibits that. We see the same heros and heroines in the same situations, thinking and even saying the same things. Dull. Sexism is often a huuuge problem too–lots of “snarky” judgements made about “stupid” other women in particular. Personally speaking, I think many aspiring contemp romance authors could get a lot out of stepping outside the genre and reading some commercial fiction or women’s fiction. Learn how the characters are built there etc.

I like menage if there’s a reason for it–as Amber put it above me, if it’s embedded within the storyline. What I don’t like are menages where we get two massively under-developed (but over-hung, ahem) guys after the same woman. I want to know both of these men, that’s what makes it hot. How often are they usually just the same, even down to their speech patterns? (I’m also a bit bored of “lifestyle” BDSM, as if it’s the only kind there is. But the market is evidently not bored of this, lol).

Menage does sell though. F/f/m not so much. See my above comment on sexism: a lot of the female audience, it seems, has major hang-ups over the appearance of female “competition” within a romance.

(Re. courtship: a lot of erotic rom publishers actually ask for sex within the first few chapters. It’s interesting; we’ve gone from having tame-ish romances to this new breed of erotic romance, and it’s like there’s a competition to make it as erotic as possibe. Yet the most successful books, often, fall in the middle ground between).

@Lou:
I wonder if you are thinking about Cara McKenna’s Willing Victim?
I’m a huge fan of Cara McKenna/Meg Maguire. She has a book called Caught on Camera (I think it may be Harlequin, but not sure) that is super steamy and super intense. Her Cara McKenna books are a little more erotic than romance because they tend to end with a little more uncertainty than a true HFN, but they are so emotionally compelling. Someone else recommended Ruin Me. It’s a phenomenal read, but I wouldn’t call it menage per se. As the other commenter said, it’s so much more than that. I can’t recommend her book enough.
Personally, I think the problem with so much erotic romance is that there is no emotion or character development to get the reader invested, especially in a lot of menage books. Just titillation. There’s only been a few books were I’ve actually cared about the characters and their outcomes.
A couple other authors that might work for you are Lauren Dane and Olivia Cunning. Dane’s books are a little too low conflict for me, but the characters are real. Cunning’s books are more fun, a little more silly, but definitely entertaining. I think both have used menage to a point, but not overly so, and it the books are usually about the main h/h. Except for the first in Dane’s Brown Siblings books, where there is an actual polyamorous (not just menage) relationship.

Thank you all for coming over and commenting! I’m so happy we have a discussion going. I was wary that I would get slammed for the post.

@Sylvia Sybil: Thank you Sylivia. I’ll check it out and bookmark the page.

@CK: I’m not too sure about the trends. I’ve noticed that a lot more notice and love is shown towards the heroes throughout all the sub genres in romance. When I see erotic romance with multiple Ms or Fs going on, I feel that is pron territory. I used to read a lot of menages a year or so back, but stopped after realising that the story was centered around the smexing rather than the emotional depth. And then there are the m/m/f where the female is stuck in to complete the m/m. I wasn’t a fan of Sex and the City, but I can definitely see the appeal for readers.

@Has: It’s because the heroes are most talked about than the heroines. Yes, I would love to find a BDSM erotic rom that didn’t feature it in a sex club lol

@Jenn3128: Thanks for the rec! @LVLMLeah: Thank you for sharing your link. I’ll definitely have to check out La Bonne by Michelle de Lully. @Amber Skye: That’s why I don’t read them these days because in a way, menages feel formulaic. You can guess what is going to happen. The menage is the main focal point and after a while, it became very boring for me. I like a lot of heat level in my romance, so trying to find a erotic rom between a heroine and heroine is quite hard. I’m happy that there is so much great choice within m/m which I’ve been glomming lately.

@Lucy V Morgan: Oh trying to find a contemporary romance that doesn’t feature small town heroines is incredibly hard to find. Shannon Stacey, Victoria Dahl and Jill Shalvis are some of the contemp authors I enjoy, though I wouldn’t class them as erotic romance authors. I’ve never thought of it that way in regards to female competition. Something to think about for sure as like you said, there is so much m/m/f rather than all females or two females. It’s thanks to epublishers that we have this new diversity in romance where they took risks on edgier romance, and it paid off. Look at trad pubs now following suit, albeit slowly, but they’re going there.

@Sara: Yes, that’s the author :D. I really enjoyed it which surprised me because of the fantasy involved, but the author I thought did a fantastic job in developing the characters. I really got their personalities. Ah, I didn’t know she was Meg Magguire. I have a problem with her work as the latter because of the violence aimed towards the the heroes by the heroines. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

I’ve read a few of Lauren Dane’s books and enjoyed them, but the last two books I wasn’t keen on. Again, I agree that there is not a lot of emotion in menage. It’s wham bang thank you mam, and there’s no afterthought of how the trio are going to live. It’s all to happy happy for my liking, which is a weird thing to say since I’m big on HEA in my romances lol.

@Lou I may be biased because I wrote a novel about a menage going wrong (very wrong, lol). But it seemed like the realistic thing to write…

And the sexism goes both ways ie lots of “oh, men!” insinuations and as you noted, it seems okay for heroine to throw her fists around much of the time. It’s like feminism blown backwards through a windtunnel.

For what it’s worth, good character development is a staple part of good erotica. If it’s *just* sex then it’s just bad writing. Erotica is, by definition, a story “about” sex e.g. a sexual awakening or discovery within a character. It may or may not have a happy ending like romance, but good erotica gives you something to think about, and a book which is just one encounter after another is a bad example. I don’t believe in “porn” stories–just in crap writing, to be honest.

Menage does sell though. F/f/m not so much. See my above comment on sexism: a lot of the female audience, it seems, has major hang-ups over the appearance of female “competition” within a romance

They haven’t really read f/f/m then. Or they’ve read a m/f in which another woman was put into the plot to cause jealousy as a friction between the main couple.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a true f/f/m in which there was competition between the women for the man. In almost all cases, the women are really into each other and the man goes along with it. I think in only one book I read it was to make a man jealous but then the women actually liked it.

There was one in which the woman was pushed to do it by the guy, but that wasn’t a menage HEA.

@ Lou- If you want really nice f/f with HEA and quick to read then Marie-Elise Bassett’s Historical books are good. The writing is easy flowing and the relationships between the women develop nicely. And the sex is just sweet, soft and erotic.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/188-9442193-5279016?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+elise+bassett&x=0&y=0

@LVLMLeah:

Ah–sorry. I was referring more to the attitude towards other female characters in books as a reason for there not being so much f/f/m about. I’ve actually never read an f/f/m so I can’t comment on those. Apologies for not being clearer!

Just seems to me that in a lot of romance/erotic rom, if there’s another woman around who wants the hero, she’s nearly always cast in a negative light.

@Lucy V Morgan: Yes! exactly. I do think there is this trope of ‘any other woman is competition’ whether that is directly from readers, writers or publishers. I find that trope infuriating becomes it belittles everyone involved.

@LVLMLeah: Thanks for the link. I will definitely check some of the books out.

Ok so I have not read many but I have seen the blurbs, and the reviews. Books where there are like 7 brothers sharing one woman. Now wouldn’t that be too icky. I guess no one wants to write the normal vanilla stuff any more

@Lucy V Morgan: It would be interesting to see a menage feature problems and not end on a super happy note. I know a lot of menages don’t end with the full trio having a happy after. It seems a lot of the time a third person is thrown in to kick up the tension and sex factor, and the male is usually the best friend, cousin or even more squicky, the brother. Everybody knows it’s allowed because it’s a male. You have a story where two sisters are sharing a man, and I bet there will be a completely different reaction — and it won’t be a good one.

@LVLMLeah: Oh thank you! Have put those books on my wishlist, and even more awesome that the Kindle prices are really cheap.

@blodeuedd: I find that incredibly icky and it’s pretty much a gang bang. I did read a scene that was hilarious in a m/m. It was a daisychain, and all I thought was man, that must be super uncomfortable. I admit that there was a lot laughter from reading that 😀

Okay, I admit that I only read ONE erotic romance. I read it front to back, but I didn’t really like it. Why? Because of the double peens – and TRIPLE! oh my god TRIPLE peens – in one teeny tiny book. Okay, maybe I should have seen it coming, but I was not ready for so much for my first book. I guess this is why I just stick to regular old historical romance?

But thinking back to that one book I read, yep, the female was definitely just shared with guys. Every kind of guy possible, but never a woman. Huh.

Thanks for the highly entertaining blog post.

>>I guess no one wants to write the normal vanilla stuff any more

It gets written, blodeuedd, but never gets much word of mouth :).

And I don’t see anything in the original article that’s objectionable! I’m glad nobody slammed it too. Thanks for the mellow discussion!

So sorry I missed this discussion last week! La Bonne is great. I also really enjoyed Love Me by Kelly Jamieson, which is short & sexy but portrays menage in a realistic way. It’s a catalyst for the couple to reevaluate their relationship.

You might also try Forbidden by Em Petrova. It’s an erotic antho with three stories (m/m, m/f, and f/f). The f/f story has a HFN ending. I liked it.

Have you read Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun? That is my favorite ER. Not a menage, but a must-read!

@Cialina: Thanks commenting Cialina! I remember when I read my first erotic romance (excluding the wolf and the dove from when I was a teen) and I remember raising my eyebrows at first, but I then found the darn good erotic romance stories and was so glad I took a chance. Everyone likes different heat levels in their romances, and whatever you like, there’s no wrong way about it :).

@Jody W.: Heh, I did think I was going to get some remarks about complaining about the peens :D.

@Jill Sorenson: Thanks so much for joining in Jill! I always keep an eye out for your reviews over at DA. Thanks for the recs! You’re the third person now that’s mentioned La Bonne. I read Liberating Lacey, and LOVED it. I then ended up buying all of Calhoun’s shorts lol.

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