I will admit right now that I like a good sex scene or two (or four, or 10) in my romance novels. And the juicer the better. In addition to the obvious voyeuristic enjoyment of reading about two hot people getting it on, I think these scenes can bring a lot to the reader’s understanding of the couple’s relationship and their individual personalities. If done well, the intensity of these moments can lead to big emotional impacts – realization of love, an understanding of each other in a different way, a trust or bond forming, etc.
So I am always bothered when I read a book with Imaginary Sex. These scenes typically show up as dream sequences, or sometimes fantasies, where one character imagines a sexual experience with the other. The worst offenders are the fake outs. It is like the Bobby Ewing in the shower of romance novels. You are reading along, enjoying the hotness and suddenly… the character jerks awake only to realize it was all a dream. Ha! Nothing you just read was real! None of the emotion, none of the dialog, none of the meaning. It makes me crazy because I feel like the whole thing was a waste of time because it wasn’t really happening.
I find these scenes seem to show up most often in books where circumstances keep the main characters apart and the author seems to be looking for a way to get some sexin’ in earlier in the story. They seem to crop up less in m/m, probably because most of these guys hop in the sack pretty fast (or at least are getting some good action). But it still seems to be a fairly common device to get the loving started early.
Now one thing I don’t mind is Imaginary Sex’s close cousin, the Remembered Sex. This usually occurs when we have faded to black on the actual sex scene and one of the characters recalls it later (usually during some “alone time” in the shower!). In some cases these scenes come across a bit passive – you are reading about it past tense rather than in real time. But at least the memory has really happened.
So what to you all think? Do you like the Imaginary Sex? Get bugged like me? Take the hotness any way you can get it? Think I am crazy for even thinking about these things?