i on Romance: Hawt or Not

Posted February 21st, 2014 by in Blog, Features, ionR / 27 comments

Today I want to talk about the hotness factor.


Romance novels have always had varying degrees of steaminess, but I think today we have so many more choices. There are still the chaste novels, all the way down to Christian romance, and we go all the way up to what I call (please don’t judge me), Lady Porn.

I prefer my books to be steamy, but as long as the story is good, I’ll take implied sexuality anytime.

There’s also an implied belief that people who like explicit sex scenarios are lacking that in their real life. That may be true in some cases, but I don’t think that’s the main reason. People like what they like – period.

I’ve been reading explicit books for quite some time, and it’s not the titillation that intrigues me. It’s the intensity of emotion, and sometimes even the driving force behind it.

So what’s your steam level preference? Why do you prefer that type of book? Let us know in the comments! Don’t be shy – we don’t judge!




27 Responses to “i on Romance: Hawt or Not”

  1. Karen d

    Ill read pretty much anything…like you said, as long as the story is good. I don’t mind the hotter scenes but I don’t purchase a book just because it has those ya know? I like a good story and I don’t care if it has no sex at all….as long as its interesting. I will say tho, I choose my books depending on what mood Im in. Sometimes, I just want a sweet (not hot at all) story and other times, I want some steam! lol I hope that makes sense….

    • KarenL

      It does. I sometimes scroll down the list of books and choose one based on my preferences that day. But again, if the story’s not there… it still goes in the bin. (figuratively)

    • KarenL

      Ah, good old Vanilla. I prefer a little syrup, but yeah, story is everything. This is why our readers are so awesome. Story is key.

  2. marcyshuler

    I will read everything from inspirational romance to smexy, but the story has to get to me emotionally. Last year I read UNBOUND by Cara McKenna after seeing all sorts of strong and varied reviews. It was something totally out of my norm, but I loved it because of the emotional depth of the characters’ relationship. Megan Hart is another author that writes some pretty hot stuff, but I don’t read a book for the sex. I want to get invested in the characters and their story.

    • KarenL

      I haven’t read Unbound, but it sounds like I should pick it up. I love stuff that draws you in because of intense character emotions. Thanks for the response and unintentional tips. 🙂

    • Sara HJ

      Marcy I wanted to chime in on UNBOUND by Cara McKenna as well, it was out of my norm as well but totally loved it. I always love it when a book throws some surprises my way.

  3. Sharlene Wegner

    If you take a Jill Shalvis book, that is probably my most comfortable level of hotness. Not too explicit, but some spice! I am OK with implied sex, also. An example would be Erin Knightly or Kristan Higgins. I am not comfortable with “kinky” sex in romance, but not totally against erotica.

    • KarenL

      Probably why you like the KISS titles. They’re only slightly hotter than Shalvis/Knightly/Higgins books. And sometimes equal to. Maisey’s Cosmo read was slightly kinky, but the story carried it – I was quite happy there.

      I tend to go a little hotter than you, but the KISS books are so great story-wise I’m addicted. 🙂

  4. Diana Huffer

    The steaminess of a book depends on the story and the characters. I love hot scenes that add to the intensity of the story. I also love chaste books where the story doesn’t necessarily need sex to be poignant.

    • KarenL

      That’s a great way to put it. The sex level needs to add to the story, not take away, which seems to be what you’re saying. Perfect.

  5. Sara HJ

    It is ALWAYS the story and the characters that drive the book for me. As for Steam level I enjoy both ends of the spectrum and everything in the middle 🙂

    • KarenL

      As always, we’re on the same page. 🙂 Story, story, story! Good thing there are so many great authors to choose from, right?

  6. bn100

    if it’s the type of book that’s supposed to have them, don’t like the fade to black, one sentence ones, or authors that omit them

    • KarenL

      I have to admit, if I’m *expecting* something and they don’t write a sex scene, even a chaste one, it’s a bit disappointing. So I see your point.

  7. Leanna

    I like a steamy book but the sex has to add yo the story. Some books are just fine. The dtory and how well is what matters.

  8. belindaegreen

    To wade in on this topic…I like a good sex scene same as the next guy, if it makes sense to have it there. It must be within the context of the story. I have read books that every other page was a sex scene and it totally detracted from what little story there was. Explicit or not makes no difference if it enhances the story. I need an emotional connection between the main characters knowing that it’s a journey to the HEA at some point. I want to like the characters when all is said and done. Some authors hit the mark every time, no matter what sub genre of romance they write.

    I have also read books that have little to no sex scenes but it wasn’t missed because you connected with the emotions of both characters. You were hooked by the commitment and love shown by both. The author did an excellent job in portraying the tension and dance on the way to the HEA.

    Ok. I’m done.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

    Belinda G

    • KarenL (@Aleveria)

      You’re quite welcome Belinda!

      I totally agree. I too have read books that are just excuses for explicit sex scenes without any story whatsoever. Most of the time once I figure it out I delete it and move on. I have, in that “watching a train wreck” way, read a whole book once or twice – and it is fascinating to think that can be appealing.

      I’ve also read chaste books that miss the mark because there’s no connection between the characters either, but that seems to be much rarer. If you don’t have a story there – well, that’s just bad writing.

      Thanks so much for responding!

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