ionR: Should historical-romances feature erotic love scenes?

Posted March 26th, 2016 by in Blog, Features, ionR / 28 comments

*ionR: Should historical-romances feature erotic love scenes?



Today we are discussing whether or not readers think that a historical-romance should or should not feature erotic love scenes. Please join us.
I will make a confession and announce that I am devoted reader to historical-romance novels. I find there is something imaginary, desirable about a rogue, a duke, a pirate or even a knight that is highly appealing. In fact if you were to explore my upstairs library (two guest rooms combined) it would be easy to define which genre is my favorite, historical-romance. From dancing on ballroom floors, to mighty steeds and let’s not forget a fairy tale ending there is something in this genre that demands to be read. Yet, lately I have discovered a new trend among historical authors and that is adding erotic love scenes to many of these eras.
Yes, that was correctly read as erotic, love scenes are currently sweeping throughout the genre and taking readers such as myself by storm, quite literally I might add. To be bold in my writing I am not thrilled about this idea. To be clear I do enjoy an erotic romance from time to time, but both the plot and the characters have to be written in a contemporary style for me to enjoy such stories. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t read my share of erotic, historical-romances and have actually liked some of what I have read because I have. Still, it’s rare for me to favor these novels. Why? The behavior just seems out of place in a historical-romance (IMO).
There are a great deal of factors that can cause this dilemma. The largest issue is that authors are beginning to think outside of the book. I have to give points to such authors for thinking of new ways to attract readers. The real question however is-does erotic historical-romance lure readers? Let’s explore a few of both the pros and the cons.

The Pros:
  • Readers are certainly in for something uncommonly unique in the reading of the rated X love scenes that have not been uncovered before in the genre.
  • Authors that dare to write such suggestive bedroom action generally know the proper direction to take their romances from steamy to smoldering hot.
  • Erotic behavior has always been around and so it seems almost natural that certain novels/authors want to bring this conduct to life in any genre and by doing so could possibly bring their novels to more relatable terms among modern readers.
The Cons
  • The X-rated scenes tend to be over kill in the novels. Personally, I can only take so much sex before I am ready to shut the book for good.
  • Most stories written in this genre involve heroines that are unwed, high members of society and so it seems unfit that such ladies would be eager to tour erotic X in the bedroom with a hero that has a scandalous reputation.
  • Emotional/physical abuse are often overly featured in erotic romances and this abuse does apply to some historical-romances that I have read. Any abuse in my opinion needs to be omitted, but it is hugely out of place in this genre.

Whether or not that you have read such material or even consider yourself a reader of historical-romance there is an opinion. Erotic, historical-romance has sparked a immense debate among readers.
So it’s time for you guys to tell us what you think because you know we love reading your thoughts.


Do you think that historical-romances should feature erotic love scenes? Do you enjoy a erotic romance? Why or why not? Please let us know.


Leone @bookishromantic

*ionR: I on Romance Books & More…

28 Responses to “ionR: Should historical-romances feature erotic love scenes?”

  1. conniefischer

    I’m glad you asked that question. I will respond with a resounding NO! I read historical novels for the reality of the time period. While there may have been an exception or two years ago, I am sure that a hero/heroine getting to know one another did not mean jumping each other’s bones on the second date. I am certainly not a prude, but please, authors, if you write historical, stick with the reality of the time period.

    I read and review lots of books and historical romance novels are my favorite but I will be honest and say that if I find an author has written erotic scenes using a good percentage of the word count of the entire book, I roll my eyes and find I cannot give the book a full rating of five stars.

    Thank you!

  2. Gerd Duerner

    Do you think that historical-romances should feature erotic love scenes?
    Nope, don’t hink so.

    Do you enjoy a erotic romance?

    Why not?
    Dunno, I guess I’m just growing too old to still understand sexual attraction and, well, “stuff” (if ever I did), so frankly I prefer reading about romance in my romance.

  3. stina lindenblatt

    I grew up on Shirlee Busbee and Katherine E Woodiwiss and I remember them being very erotic (especially given that I had been 16 years old at the time and had never read erotic romance). I thought they were graphic. Maybe not as graphic as I write and as erotic romance authors write (which I’m not), but it was definitely on the graphic side of things. I haven’t read historic romances by any other authors more recently (other than one other, but that wasn’t the kind of high suspense HR that I used to love…and there was no sex in it).

    If I were to start reading them again, I would want the sexiness of the Shirlee and Katherine books I used to read, with tons of suspense. 🙂

  4. Teresa Williams

    Loved your response .I love cowboy romance and I started out with Carolyn Brown Now I read Cat Johnson,Victoria Vane ,Jodi Thomas,Lori Wilde.Jill Shalvis,BJ Daniels,Robyn Carr,Joan Johnston.Brenda Novak ,Diana Palmer, and Vicki Lewis Thompson.They have just enough sexiness.

  5. Nancy Luebke

    I’ll say no, because I think they take away from the storyline and I know that I skip over a lot of it. In the end I find it a waste of what I paid for the book. My return challenge would be to make it more exciting without grapic erotic love moves. That is why if I know for sure it is erotic, I do not get those books.

    • Leone (@bookishromantic)

      Hi Nancy! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us. I agree with you that it is more of a challenge for authors to create a more entertaining novel without such erotic love scenes. Great thoughts!

  6. joab4424

    I absolutely do not think historical romances should have erotic love scenes. I like historical romances and the fact that they usually are true to the time they are written about. I don’t think erotica expresses historical romances accurately. At least not in the way I think about it.

    Since women were never to have had sex before marriage until recently in history, the scenes would be between unmarried couples and that doesn’t fit with my impression of historical romances either.

  7. Monique D

    I totally agree with you. Unless it belongs in the story, think Lavinia Lent and Nina Mason, I like my historicals rather “clean”. I don’t find most of the erotic stuff believable in a historical context. I’d even prefer inspirational because it’s more historically accurate. And yes, I do read contemporary erotica.

  8. Monique D

    And. What irks me the most is the heroine who doesn’t care about being ruined for whichever silly reason. I mean, there’s a reason why the term “ruin” was used. It’s just plain stupid! Sorry!

  9. Patricia Wissore

    I actually wish some of the graphic sex was pulled back in the HR I read. I love the story more when they leave something to the imagination. Plus, it annoys me that when it was taboo to even flash legs, hug, and hold bare hands, that you have unmarried ladies performing all sorts of sexual positons and doing so agressively at times.

  10. Hadassah

    I personally to not prefer erotic romance in HR. To me, history (real and fiction) has this particular picture and impression that seems so proper and elegant. I not that having a little romantic scenes is bad. But when it is A LOT of erotic scenes, it kills the book for me, because I am still not very comfortable with that genre.

  11. Banana cake

    I don’t generally read historical romances but I think that a lot of the stuff you see in a contemporary romance wouldn’t be appropriate in a historical novel. I would also guess that a lot fewer people had pre marital sex.

  12. kermitsgirl

    I enjoy all degrees of heat in my Historical Romances (my go-to genre), from Christian romance novel ministers finding their life partner to the really raunchy ravishing pirates finding the buxom wench they want by their side on deck. I think erotic scenes can work very well, if done properly.

    I absolutely agree that sometimes it just seems out of place – like, seriously, why would (Regency) Lady X *want* to go to some hush-hush sex club to lose her virginity (it seems usually just because she’s bored), which was often the only marketable thing about females in that time, especially when upon discovery the Lord husband could shame and divorce her? Why would a (Wild West) schoolteacher quickly offer it up to a man when it could cost her not only her reputation, but her livelihood?

    However, there are plenty of post-marriage erotic scenes that I think are great! When high-born women were told that marital relations were something they would just have to close their eyes and endure, and their husbands are having none of that? LOVE IT. Or when a Lady finds out her husband is still seeing his mistress and merely doing his duty when he comes home – and she seeks to change the situation? Can’t get enough.

    I also believe there were certain times in history when premarital sex was more acceptable, although perhaps not spoken of openly – Ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome come to mind – and novels set in these are definitely Historical Romances. Additionally, while certain classes were expected to remain chaste prior to marriage, that doesn’t hold true for other classes. How many times have we read that Lords lost their virginity to the milkmaid or some such thing?

    Other acceptable situations include, but aren’t limited to: a mistress that falls in love with her Lord lover, and his eschewing the acceptance of the ton for her; a naive young woman trying to be compromised to trap a man into marriage and getting more than she bargained for; and, a woman terrified of being sold to the highest bidder for her virginity and therefore seeking to remove that condition (in this case, I recently read a pirate novel where the girl was on the run from a violent, abusive Duke who had killed virgin prostitutes while deflowering them, so it can work).

    It’s all a matter of authors writing erotic scenes to fit the times, and not just writing them to appeal to the booming erotica market. I do feel that the level of heat should be indicated on ALL romance novels now, because there are people that only read for the holding-hands romance, and some that only read for the bedroom scenes. It can be disappointing for either group to get “fooled” into reading something they weren’t expecting and didn’t want.

    And for those saying it doesn’t seem likely that certain situations would happen, I need only point out that in Pride & Prejudice, Lydia Bennett was a renowned flirt who probably went further than she should’ve behind the scenes – and also spent some time in London, unmarried, with Mr. Wickham! So the situations were there, just not described in detail as a modern author would do.

    • Leone (@bookishromantic)

      @Kermit’sgirl thank you for sharing such a detailed thought on this topic! I love your example of Pride & Prejudice as such details from more classic authors in comparison to modern day authors are much different. An excellent thought on this discussion and very well written! 😀

  13. Suzie

    I am not a fan of erotica, the storyline is important to me — if there are pages of sex in every chapter , which I skip. I am left feeling cheated. I won’t buy a book that is labeled as erotica in the historical genre.

  14. Zeee

    It depends on the plot and how the scene is written. There are more HR authors who make their scenes extra steamy. As in, bordering to erotic but not quite getting there. Those are the ones I expect my HR books to have. Also, the frequency of these scenes should be fewer as compared to an Erotic HR title, because there is a marked difference.

    I actually rated an HR title lower because of the erotic scenes (including bondage, spankings). This book was marketed as an HR and I got an Erotic HR title, which was not what I was expecting.

    I have read, and loved, my fair share of Erotic HRs and some are actually written very well. For these titles, erotic scenes are a must BUT there has to be a plot and and HEA. The sex has to be an integral part of the romance.

  15. Author Linda Weaver Clarke

    You were correct when you said, “The behavior just seems out of place in a historical-romance.” That is so true. Why do I read historical romances and regency romances? The men are fascinating because of their sense of propriety and chivalry toward a woman. The rogues, the gentlemen, outlaws, and the cowboys all had a code. In my research, I found that if a cowboy laid a hand on a woman inappropriately, then he would be jailed and some were even hanged for his behavior toward a woman. The women back then were shown respect. To me, it’s the kissing scenes that draw my attention.

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