Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Kissing Bits...



What about you? Do you like the kissing bits, or do you skim the pages when you get to the kissing and sex scenes?

I used to read books straight through, not skipping a page. Now, I find I skim through the sex scenes more often than not. Why do I do that? Isn't that one of the payoffs of reading romance? You get to see what goes on behind closed doors. Hey, I can admit it, a sexy scene is a good thing every now and then. I'm focusing on straight contemporary and historical romance here. Erotica is a different bird that, well heck, I buy it because of the sex scenes. Doesn't everyone? (And please, if you don't buy erotica for the sex, then you must tell me why not?)

But have we done it all on the page?

The main reason I'm skimming pages is because I've read that scene before. Or it's similar to the last ten books I read. Rarely now do I find a book with a sex scene that makes me slow down and read every word. Think to myself, wow, this is great. It's unique. It's original. It's making me think and it's entertaining me.

I'm not saying it needs to be wild and wacky stuff to lift my eyebrows. Heck, I prefer the vanilla stuff, thank you very much. But tantalize me with words, beckon me with pacing, bleed the emotion onto the page, and I'm so there.

So are you a read-every-word kind of gal, or a skimmer? What do you think it takes to really make you slow down and indulge in a great kissing scene?

I've got a fun prize to give away in celebration of our two year anniversary. First, I'll send the first three books in my BEWITCH THE DARK series out to you (the July book isn't even in stores yet!), a handmade bookmark, and I'll send a neat package of Zum products like soaps and washes and moisturizers. It's my favorite place to shop online. I love the goat's milk soaps and the lemon lavender hand lotion!
I'll choose one winner from today's comments. Return tomorrow to check out the winner!
Thanks for cruising with us!
Michele

Ever wonder what your favorite author's toes look like?  Stop by my blog all month for guest toes!

58 comments:

Marilyn Brant said...

I love it when a kissing scene is so well written I want to slow down and enjoy every word... That's always the hope, and I've noticed it happens for me when the internal monologue and dialogue is especially unique and true to the characters' personalities--so that every sentence in the scene illuminates their emotions and to skip or skim would mean missing something important to the story.

Congrats on the 2 years!!!

Jane said...

I'm usually a read every word kind of person. I do skim when the book isn't grabbing my attention from the start and I want to jump into the good parts. An emotional connection between the characters is essential in a great kissing scene, but sometimes lust is enough.

Laurie M. said...

I read the sex scenes in almost every book I read. This is THE romance in my life right now so I enjoy reading them. I'm pretty picking about reading highly rated books so they are all written well enough that I am interested in the nuances of seduction and the words used to communicate this to the reader. I absolutely love words and admire a talented author's ability to weave them into an interesting and engaging story each time I open a book. I stand in awe of writers...

Anna And Sean said...

I have to sat that it depends on the book, or should I say author. I like a good sex scene as well as the next gal, but it has to really fit with what the plotline is. I also have to be really involved in the characters, otherwise I could care less if they kiss or not. The more I read the more important character development becomes for me. I know that when I read Emma Holly I am going to get some of the best sex scenes ever written, risque yes, but way worth reading. Hell, you could probably get some tips for walking on the wild side. I also know that when I read J.D. Robb I am going to get mild sex but more emotional because I have a readers vested interest in the main characters. That is why I like the novels that are connected...like the Bodyguards, Bulletcatchers and Navy Seals stories (the list of my favs could go on forever so I just picked a few). You get the opportunity to know the players so you actually care if the kiss and have sex. However, I have to say that if the writer chooses a "spin" to the sex scenes I find that I am much more inclined to read the words. You know, if they keep it light and humorous to match that type of book or if they go really alpha male/dark and dangerous. Okay, since I have written a novel I will sum it up and say that as a reader I do not feel that authors have done it all because if that was the case I would be forced to pick a new genre- but keeping my interest depends on strong characters and captivating writing. Whew! All done!

Margay said...

I think the key to a good kissing scene is the writing, the pacing, and how it relates shows up in tho the story - and even where it shows up in the story, to some extent. For instance, if it shows up on the first page, I think that's way too early in the story. And if it's a sex just for the sake of having a sex scene, it makes me skim over it. For me, it has to come at the appropriate time - draw it out a little bit, have a lot of foreplay, build the anticipation level and then - wham! sock it to me. That's the scene that's truly hot. That and if they talk a little during it rather than having it just a ripping off of the clothes and going at it - especially if there's a little humor involved. There's something kind of appealing about characters who can laugh together when they're in such an intimate situation.

Maureen said...

I read the whole scene when the couple have great chemistry and it affects their feelings and the story. I'll skim it if it doesn't seem to fit or if it is not really affecting the story.

Amy S. said...

I usually read a book all the way thru. Now, if I can't get interested in the book, I will skim it.

cas2ajs said...

I also read the scenes, especially if I have come to care about the characters. It's just another example of how they relate on different levels in the story.

Cheryl S.

Keri Ford said...

I always, ALWAYS read the kisses and first sex scene. The others? It depends whether or not the scene is put in the book to unravel some tension or just smacked in there because the author thought, more sex, more words!

Couple of my not-the-first-time favorites: those quickies against a bookcase to ease stress and make up sex after a huge fight (the ones after a little spit is where I start scanning, unless the author is really, really good at it.).

CrystalGB said...

I usually read every word unless the story is not keeping me engaged.

Helen Brenna said...

I love reading everyone's thoughts here. Very interesting.

I never used to skim and always had to read every book I started to the finish. Either I lost my patience a few years back, or time became more valuable to me, or some combination of the two, but I both skim and put down books, never to pick them up again, if I lose interest. Doesn't matter if it's a kissing/sex scene or something else, they all have to keep my attention.

I'd like to add to Michele's question. Do you feel disappointed if there isn't a sex scene?

My NASCAR books are PG-13, so the bedroom door gets closed. Hopefully, there's still a lot of sexual tension, but does that not go far enough?

Dina said...

I usually read every word to savor the story, but every once in awhile I skim, maybe it's because I only have a few pages and want to finish, but I do enjoy a nice written kissing scene or just the lead into it works and I slow done. :)

Cindy Gerard said...

I'm a read every word kind of gal BUT if I start a book and the writer just doesn't grab my attention right off the bat, I'll never make it to the love scene. I've got to be invested in the characters and like them well enough to WANT them to get to that first kiss or I'm outta there. But I do love it when the magic happens :o)

AuthorM said...

I'll admit to doing some skimming. It really depends. Every scene in a book should add to it and not be tossed in, whether it's a sex scene or not. And don't get me started on throwing in chandalier-swinging just to heat things up -- vanilla can be just fine and just as hot. We don't need every character to have a fetish.

From a reader's viewpoint, if the book's supposed to be erotic I expect and look for and usually read all the sex. If it's not, then the book doesn't have to have any sex in it at all, if that's the story being told.

From a writer's viewpoint: I try hard to write scenes that I enjoy and don't want to skim over when I'm re-reading them. Because if *I* have to skim them, I know a reader sure will!

M

Michele Hauf said...

I'm loving these comments, too! Everyone does have such different opinions. I guess I"m in the minority for skimming, though.
And Helen, yes, I'm disappointed if there is no sex scene. Especially if the cover alludes to inner steaminess. :-) But then if it's a high-action story, sometimes it isn't necessary. Do I do need lots of emotion and the build up to them, at least, kissing.

Liza said...

I usually read every word of a book. The romance in the books is my romance right now. I enjoy reading the sex scenes to see the characters connect on a more intimate level. I also don't mind if there aren't sex scenes in the book, or even it they happen behind closed doors. Makes me think of some of the first romance novels I read years ago. Plus my oldest niece (16) is getting into romance books and I like that she can read some without lots of sex scenes. Of course, she wants to read just what I'm reading, so I have to think like her mom a bit when I'm saying yes to a new book.

Tarot By Arwen said...

It really depends for me. I just read a sex scene last night that made be go WHOA and it was in a mainstream massmarket romance. And I'm talking about acts that used to only show up in erotica. I actually had to stop and remind myself that this was on the shelf at my local bookstore.

Don't get me wrong! It wasn't a bad scene, but it was very very very graphic without using the typical language that marks an erotica. And sex isn't the main (you should pardon the pun) thrust of this story.

So if the kissing is done well, then absolutely bring on those crushing lips and heaving bosoms!

Anonymous said...

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clbarta

flip said...

Depends on the book and the author. Some writers write the best seduction and sex scenes. I just read two masters this weekend, Rachel Gibson and Loretta Chase. I read every word. In other books by other authors, I might skim the sex scene. Some writers aren't very good at the seduction and sex scene, but they are great at characterization and plot.

MsHellion said...

I *love* reading the kissing bits...and all the other stuff too. But if it's a non-well written scene, I'll skim...or skip entirely. There was one book I read recently that I just didn't believe the characters getting into bed together. They had the most tepid chemistry imaginable, so reading them have sex was like watching a brother and sister get it on. *shudders* Yes, that's what I'm saying.

But man, when the chemistry is right...and the voice is engaging and just slightly...different, true to the character...it is something to be devoured!

Michele Hauf said...

I hear you on some of the mainstream romances reading very much like erotica lately. It's fine, if I know to expect it, but it can be a bit of a shocker if I don't. Not that I don't mind reading some great erotica. :-) I just have to know it's...well, coming.

clbarta, is you click on the words 'Zum products' in the post it should take you to the sight. Or try this URL: indigowild.com. Love their stuff! And most of it is natural and organic. But then, I'm a soap freak. I have dozens of different bars at any given time.

The Book Girl said...

I am a skimmer. I used to read every word, but now unless I feel really connected to the characters I skim. I think it comes from reading so much romance. I find when I take a break and read something else (like urban fantasy or mystery) then I will go back to reading the steamy stuff for a while.

Keri Ford said...

Helen, I can go with/without sex in my books. But if I read an author's book with sex and picked up a second one without it, I would be disappointed and probably pause before buying the next one.

It makes me nerves when there's no sex cause I feel like one my characters are about to get killed off (picked up a book once, thought it was romance with no sex and them BAM 50 pages left to go and the hero is killed--burned my bottom and left me nervous)

Playground Monitor said...

Uhm... what Cindy said. Make me really like these people and I'll read about them painting the bathroom together. I love a well-written sex scene where the emotion jumps off the page.

OTOH, a sex scene that's just "Put Tab A into Slot B" with no emotion will stop me dead in my tracks. Sadly, that's been the case with the few erotica books I've read, which is why I've stopped trying to read it. I know that's not the case with all erotica, and I know that the Tab A/Slot B approach is fine with some readers. Whatever cranks your tractor... But it doesn't work for me.

Marilyn

Nathalie said...

I totally agree that some parts are jut stereotyped that I pass through them rapidly. Some are very sexy, but sweet in the same time, I slow down to read the passage especially if I enjoy the chracters.

Maguy said...

I am a word-to-word reader and I like to enjoy every word of a book, so the more intimate scenes are no exception!

Karen B said...

I skim often if the first few sentences/paragraphs don't grab my attention. Then there is what I call the lazy author syndrome - each kissing and/or sex scene is written almost identical, ie same words, expressions, descriptions, etc. If they can't be inventive, then just leave it up to our imaginations!

Amy said...

Tab A into Slot B is not interesting.

Sex scenes that seem to come out of nowhere are not interesting. And several have made me put down the book.

The emotional responses to what's happening in the scene is interesting. And emotion does not preclude hotness in a love scene. Even in a fun love scene.

Michele Hauf said...

Whatever cranks your tractor.

:-) How much do I love that one?

Helen Brenna said...

Whoa, Keri, that'd bum me out too. I have to admit I love the promise of HEA in romances.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm definitely in the minority here, but I ALWAYS skim. Every book, every time. And with sex scenes (I use the term advisedly) I actually just skip pages until they get back to talking. When I first started reading romance it was exciting to see all the many ways people went at it. Now I feel more like a voyeur, and it makes me uncomfortable. On the other hand, there have been some lovemaking scenes that have had me reading every word. And going back and re-reading them. For me, it's a question of being engaged by the emotions of the participants. If they're just swept away by passion, and all their thoughts are on their physical responses, it's not as engaging to me as when they exhibit tenderness, or rage, or despair, or other non-sex-related emotions. But it seems that more and more, authors are being pressured to have a scene on p. 87that lasts for two pages, and then on p. 153 another scene lasting 3 pages ... and I just can't get interested. LynneW

anne said...

I used to read every word but I have changed and just skim. It is sometimes repetitive and does not catch my interest. I love the buildup and the characters personalities but sometimes the scenes are disappointing and trite.

Betina Krahn said...

Interesting. A surprising number of us used to devour every word and now often just skim. Especially the sex.

I worried that I was the only one. Or that I was becoming jaded from reading so many romances. But if I like the characters and have bonded with them, I read the sex and thoroughly enjoy it. If the characters/author haven't pulled me in, then I skim.

These days, I like action and adventure as much as romance, so I can live with only one sex scene in a book. But it had better be a good one.

And does that mean that the emphasis editors are putting on sex and erotica is leaving a big part of the market cold? So to speak.

ruth said...

I used to devour every single word but I don't anymore. Perhaps I am looking for something else or it is just a new phase. I enjoy characters with depth and then action and suspense.

Cathy said...

I never skip over a great kissing scene, especially when it's proceeded by sexual tension and amazing chemistry between the characters.

diane said...

I prefer adventure and a buildup which concludes in a wonderful ending. A really great setting for a scene will appeal to me. I read many but do a great deal of skimming.

petite said...

Depending upon the writing and the attraction between the characters I will read a scene but more often I skim. I appreciate great writing, realistic characters and a great storyline.

Susan said...

I am a read-every-word gal! Even if I don't much care for the book I'm reading I have to read every word. *shrug*

I think it depends more on how much I'm invested in the characters then anything to make for a great kissing scene.

robynl said...

I'd say I am both, lol. I do sometimes read every word and other times, if it seems familiar, I will skim. I, too, like when there has been sexual tension between the characters leading up to the scene.

jenna said...

I do read each book from cover-to-cover since I get involved within the pages of the book and the lives of the individuals. This time spent reading is my entertainment and escape.

Virginia said...

Most of the time I read to book word for word. Now if it is a book that I am not getting into I will skim it.

Playground Monitor said...

LOL Michele! We have all sorts of colorful sayings here in the South.

"Their gazes met and every drop of Bubba's blood headed south of his Harley Davidson belt buckle. Before Wanda May could respond, Bubba was all over her like a chicken on a June bug."

Snicker...

Marilyn

WK said...

I haven't read the other comments yet, I wanted to offer my thoughts without reading theirs.LOL

I do sometimes skim. But then I read ALOT of Christian fiction and Christian Romance and suspense and so on. But some scenes to me are just "sex". And I want more than sex. I want love. So if they seem to be just a sex scene thrown in to be a sex scene in the book, I'll skim. I'm one of those who adores the old movies were you see them kissing, clothes on the floor, and a closed door. The rest is up to me to decide on. And there are times I want that in my story. Sex doesn't always keep the pace of the story right. Sometimes IMHO it's out of place, and takes me out of the emotional story or the plot of the story. Then there are times when it works, makes sense, is part of the story. I hope I'm making sense here.

But yes I'll skim sometimes. I do feel that sometimes the stories use "bad" words and extreme sex to appeal to some and in the process they lose part of the story and some readers.

Then there are times when I want the sexy scenes, the sexier the better. I guess I just have to be hard to please.

Wendyk

pearl said...

Many times the scenes totally turn me off. In other words I relate with the characters and their lives, relationships and can become so interested in the story that suddenly the sex scenes do not belong. Perhaps the author feels it is n3ecessary to include them but sometimes it is better left out. I skim and sometimes just check them out for fun.

traveler said...

I never did skim but suddenly became bored or else just needed to skip scenes which I found either boring or not in the least appealing. I tried to enjoy them but found them sadly lacking in reality. What makes it a riveting book is reality, scenes with beauty and depth and characters with whom I can relate.

Debra Dixon said...

I'm with Keri. I always read the first kiss scene and all the lead up to the first love scene. But if it's wall-to-wall sex after that it loses some of the magic. It can be like a thriller that almost kills the hero over and over and over and over.

So, some restraint is necessary in a romance. For me, I love the chase. I want the author to build to that moment by breaking down the defenses the characters have and bring them to that moment when they must trust and take the plunge or can't help themselves. :)

Erotic romance is a bit of a different situation and has a different reader expectation. If I skip those scenes then that's a clue that I won't be buying that author's books again. I find I can't read erotica book after erotica book. They need to be spice and not salt.

tetewa said...

I usually read every word of a book and don't skim. I enjoy reading the kissing bits in a story and as an avide reader of all genres, I've read many erotic authors books as well. If a book doesn't hold my attention I don't skim through it I will just stop reading it completely.

flchen1 said...

I tend to skim those scenes unless they're somehow crucial to the plot development or they are incredibly well written :) Sometimes the sexy scenes aren't so sexy, and if so, not really worthy of the time ;)

Ellen said...

I have a tendency to skip kissing scenes and sometimes even the sex scenes.So many of these are the same as every other writers scenes or nearly so. But I don't buy erotica.

Estella said...

I'm a read every word gal. Guess I'm afraid I'll miss something if I skim.

Michele Hauf said...

I'm so happy everyone is coming out of the woodwork to comment this week! (Okay, prizes ARE a good lure.) :-) But we're having some great conversations. Hope you all stop by next week, too!

georganna said...

I confess. I'm a skimmer, sort of. I usually skim through a new book, find out bits and pieces of the story, then go back and thoroughly read the entire book - as long as it is well written. Weird? Yep.
I agree that sometimes these 'Kissing scenes' seem 'same old, same old', but if the story line grabs me, then I read every word of it.
btw - "The Princess Bride" is one of my all time favorite movies.

Lori T said...

Congrats on the two years!!

I am a read every word kind of girl....usually. I really do like a good kissing scene...especially when you can feel all the emotion and you cannot bear to miss a word.

There are times when you do think I have read this before and at that point the skimming begins.

And sometimes the kissing scene is better than the sex scene that follows.

Again, congrats on two years.

Anna And Sean said...

In response to Michele Hauf:
Although I haven't been a very active participant, only posting one answer in response to the daily question, I have checked back to read the blog responses periodically during the day. I really enjoy the many different perspectives bouncing around. It is interesting to see how each person views the topic, and the participation level is amazing. We do not know each other and yet we all have something in common... books. It's kinda like meeting your girlfriends for coffee or something. I particularly enjoy the reader and author interaction- the point of view shift is cool, especially with a topic like branding. Not to sound hokey but I like that I can "talk" with the authors that I spend so much time with- I have probably read almost every book from the RWTTD authors. I read a lot (fav past-time) so this blog helps me connect with the writers I love so much.

RWTTD is on my bookmarks bar and I know that I will continue to check the blog even after the side benny of prizes is gone. Thanks to all that keep this blog going!

Lily said...

When I was younger I used to read avidly and maybe even re-read those sensual parts. Now... I just want to get to the end of the book, so it is usually passed quickly!

acdaisy95 said...

I'm more of word by word reader, otherwise I might miss something.

Helen Brenna said...

Yay, Anna and Sean! That's exactly what we're trying to do here!

I love connecting with readers and I know all the rest of the Riders do too.

limecello said...

Hi Michelle,
You know what? I found myself thinking the exact same thing, recently. I'm reading a book now - that... should be interesting, but 80% of it is sex, and... the characters don't really like each other, and their only interaction is sex. It's ... not what I prefer, and I'm finding myself skimming.