We’ve all read them – those books where the sex just doesn’t make sense. Recently, I’ve stumbled across several that made me cringe.
For example, in Laurell K. Hamilton’s latest (and I know, I said I’d never read them again, but I can’t help it – it’s a compulsion at this point!), the main character Merry Gentry gives birth to triplets. About a week later, she’s having sex. With multiple men. To be fair, it isn’t penetrative sex, but still. No, thank you.
In a fantasy novella I read recently (name withheld to prevent major spoilers), our intrepid hero stabs his ex-fiance (don’t worry, she’s a bad witch) and kills her, then stabs his uncle through the heart (he’s bad, too), pinning him to the floor. He and the heroine then proceed to have sex next to two dead bodies. As soon as they are done, her father walks in, and grants them immortality. Because why not, I guess.
And in Tessa Dare’s Three Nights with a Scoundrel, the hero sits the heroine (who is deaf) on the piano in a house he is looking to purchase, realizes that the vibrations are….having an additional effect than just having her “hear” the song he’s playing, and decides they need to have sex. On the piano. In the house the realtor left them the key for, with the promise to lock up when they were done. Honestly, now I’m trying to remember if they locked up when they were…..done.
And it’s not always just the sex itself – there are moments that are just inherently not sexy. Like decontamination showers. Lost in a frozen wasteland. Funerals (at least wait until after, please?). Being kidnapped by terrorists (like, actually in the process of being kidnapped. Not the time to stop for a quickie!)
(On a side note – let’s just ignore how actual, historical pirates were generally not very sexy – being kidnapped by pirates in a romance novel is just about the best thing that could happen to your historical heroine. Blame it on the good, old-fashioned bodice-rippers.)
I’m not the only one, though. I’ve heard stories of sex on horseback (oh, so many), in children’s playgrounds (it was in a slide. Why?), and sex in a fighter jet (just….how?!?). Here’s what some of the other AAR staffers have to share about awkward sex and inappropriate moments.
Jenna – My example involves sex at a most inopportune moment. In Linda Howard’s Mackenzie’s Pleasure, hero Navy SEAL Zane Mackenzie has just rescued heroine Barrie Lovejoy from Libyan terrorists who had kidnapped and tormented her. The two are forced to remain in hiding before they can escape. Barrie is terrified that if they are captured, she will be raped, so she begs Zane to have sex with her so her first time won’t be a rape. They have crazy, orgasmic sex while hiding from terrorists in some hell-hole, knowing that at any second they could be discovered and killed. I don’t think that having hot sex with kidnap victims you’ve just rescued is taught in BUD/S.
Bylthe – While I’ve seen my share of improbable romantic suspense “we’re being chased by a killer, but now seems like as good a time as any to get naked” sex, I think the one I actually found the most ridiculous was in Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond. The hero has a broken leg and still manages to have sex with the heroine IN A BATHTUB. The logistics are mind boggling.
Lee – In a recently reviewed romantic suspense story, there’s a scene where the group escaped from the wild and crazy woodman and the older pair stops to have wild and crazy sex in the hot springs. Unbelievable!
Caz – I’m sad to say that I’ve read many a sex scene which has left me scratching my head, and can’t remember much about any of them, but the one that sticks with me was in an historical from a début author that I read last year. (It’s A Little Night Mischief by Emily Greenwood – my review is here http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=9556)
The hero and heroine are, for some reason I can’t remember, sitting on either side of a locked door, and he brings her to orgasm simply by talking to her. I can’t figure out if this is an early manifestation of Tantric Sex, or an attempt to do something different that crossed that line between “hot” and “laughable”. To this day, this is known as “the infamous doorgasm scene”.
Haley – I think the most memorably bizarre sex scene I’ve read would have to go to Marsha Canham’s Across a Moonlit Sea. The hero and heroine get it on thirty feet above the deck of the ship like they’re acrobats or something. The way is was described made no real logistical sense to me, personally, but it does offer the opportunity to describe it as “frigging in the rigging”, so that’s fun. Overall, though, that is actually a really fun, bodice-ripper style pirate romance.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean we didn’t enjoy some of these books. Personally, I’ve read many, many great books with WTF moments that in the end I really enjoyed, and even re-read.
And I’m ignoring many of the cliches like public toilets and beaches that are just a thing. I never did get the whole beach thing – talk about sand in uncomfortable places!
What about you? What are your head-scratching moments? Sex scenes or sexy moments that make you wonder?
Books mentioned in this article are available here: