Question: Do You Ever Wish There Was No Sex?

Posted October 30, 2014 by Carmel in Question / 114 Comments


I am first and foremost an action junkie which means that my go-to genre is Urban Fantasy, and although I wouldn’t go so far as to say that sex scenes are rare in these types of reads, they are secondary. Oftentimes it’ll take several installments before the protagonist gets it on, these encounters are usually brief, or happen off the page, and I’m ok with that. I’m also a werewolf fanatic (DUH!!), and I quickly discovered that Paranormal Romances frequently feature my favourite supe because of the whole ‘mate’ thing, so I’ve been adding more and more PNR titles to my shopping basket in recent years. Originally, I was amazed by all of the steamβ€”couldn’t get enough of it in factβ€”however my fascination with romp was short-lived.

That’s not to say that I still don’t enjoy a good nookie scene, or that I don’t feel disappointed when there isn’t at least one in every novel I read. I just find that when you’ve devoured as many of ’em as I have, they tend to get repetitive after a while. Now, I’m sure that there are plenty of Erotica / BDSM addicts out there who will disagree with me, but personally I think there are WAY more possibilities in a fight sequence than a romance one. The majority of the titles I tackle feature mostly vanilla sex; yes, there are fangs and fur, however as a whole the relationships are M/F, there are no toys involved, no S&M kink, etc. So, after a while they kind of all blend together because the authors are limited by the genre. I know, I know, there’s an easy solution to thisβ€”BRANCH OUT! Again, I like action, and although I do occasionally dabble in Erotica, it ranks low on my list.

I prefer sexual tension over the act itself, and token steam is a pet peeve of mine. It seems like writers feel like they have to include at least one R-rated moment in order to satisfy their readers, and a lot of the time they will force an horizontal dance before the characters have built-up enough of a rapport for it to be believable. In short, yes I do sometimes wish that there was no nookie, especially when it adds NOTHING to the main couple’s relationship, or to the actual novel for that matter. I haven’t gotten into the habit of skimming yet, but I’m on the brink, I can feel it, and romp scenes are going to be the first victim.

I’m going to ask that you forgive the comment spam ahead of time; I will weed through it, and delete offenders, but any post that contains this many dirty words is bound to attract non-bookworms. LOL

Do You Ever Wish There Was No Sex?

Carmel Signature

Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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114 responses to “Question: Do You Ever Wish There Was No Sex?

  1. I can take or leave it. For me it is more about the author. Some no matter how good they are at writing everything else just cannot write sex in their books. I do lots of skimming in these books.

    • The author’s writing style is for sure a factor in romance books, but as a whole you’re right in saying that the steam isn’t going to make or break the story.

  2. i like the build up and the tension way more than most of the actual sex scenes. The tension makes the “sexy” for me. I can pretty much imagine anything else. LOL.
    Since I’m way older than you, I’m already skimming most sex scenes.

    • Ha! You raise a good point about being able to imagine everything else except the tension. Skimming sex scenes, something to look forward to in my old age! πŸ˜‰

  3. I have actually thought in some cases that there was too much sex in a story. And that’s never good! And I agree with you that the story and the character development, as well as the chemistry and, as you said the sexual tension, can be more important to my overall enjoyment of a story than seeing the characters actually getting it on.
    That being said, a well-written sex-scene that makes sense both when it comes to the overall story and the characters involved can make me love a book even more!
    Great post, Carmel!
    Lexxie recently posted…Up Close and (un)Conventional #9 – Privacy

    • I’ve read my fair share of novels that had too much sex in ’em, sometimes you get to a point where you’re like where’s the story?? A well written scene does have a way of making me feel weak in the knees though!

  4. My view in sex in books is I like it like any other fangirl perv, but I like it to be done right most of the time, building up with the sexual tension to the sex stage, b/c it makes it more enjoyable to me, when we have that build up. But I don’t think I”ve ever not wanted it in books I’ve read.

  5. I am right there with you!. I almost immediately dislike a book if it starts off with a sex scene. I want to see the romance build first. I want to see the struggles and the get to know you scenes. I want to feel that. I like the shifters cause they are mated for life. It’s different in those stories. Anyway, that’s my two cents

    • YES! Starting a book with a sex scene is just bad form IMO, unless the previous installment ended with the characters just about to do it, and even then, I’d still appreciate a refresher.

  6. Hi Carmel!
    My view is that if it feels forced or doesn’t add much to the plot or if it feels contrived/set up on purpose just to get two people into bed, then I’m not a fan. If there’s no build up or it happens too quickly or randomly, I tend not to be a fan in that case either.

    In general, I tend to prefer urban fantasies with less sexy time and more interesting plot elements. That said, I agree that sometimes the building of tension between the characters can be more exciting but whenever that’s the case, I prefer some sort of payoff but it doesn’t necessarily have to be over the top πŸ˜‰

  7. When it comes to UF, I can take it or leave it. But if it’s a romance, of any kind, I prefer sex. Done right, sex is the ultimate expression of love (even if the characters are only in lust when it happens) and it deepens the conflict and propels the plot forward — when done with a purpose, not for the sake of having a sex scene in the book.

    I’ve read books that I’ve felt had too much sex (or more like, “Oh, we’re doing this again? Really? Well, okay”) and I’ve read books where the sex was forgettable. To me, the sex scenes are about the emotions, not the mechanics. (Even though the mechanics are lovely and I prefer graphic over flowery any day.) So no, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted no sex in a book. (Which is funny, since the books I’ve written don’t have sex. But they’re also not romances. And writing and reading sex scenes are vastly different.)
    Amanda recently posted…Through the Veil by Christi Snow {Kelly’s Review}

    • I always expect there to be at least once sex scene in any title that falls under the romance umbrella too, and yes, definitely graphic over flowery any day of the week.

  8. I’m a junkie for sexual tension! That’s why I love the Fever series so much. I really don’t have to have it. I also like it when when it fits the plot and is not just thrown just for the sake of having a sex scene.
    I used to enjoy it way more than I do now…I find myself fast forwarding a lot of it…LOL So even if is an erotic book it has to have a good plot.
    lupdilup recently posted…Archangel’s Shadows Audiobook by Nalini Singh (Review)

    • With the amount of romance you listen to, your finger must constantly hover over the FF button. The FEVER series is top notch for its tension, can’t wait for BURNED!

  9. Even as a teen, I do read a few new adult/mature young adult/adult books every now and then that do contain sex scenes. I’m okay with them, as long as they don’t seem like useless fillers. If they have no relevance to the story whatsoever, I would skim. Like you, I prefer all the sexual tension BEFORE the deed (of course). I like being kept on my toes, which is how I feel when the main characters banter and get to know each other. πŸ™‚
    Aimee recently posted…Review: Virals by Kathy Reichs

    • Hands down, I’ll take witty banter over a descriptive sex scene. It seems like more and more YA authors are amping up the steam in their stories, or maybe they are just borderline NA? Either way, I’m on board!

  10. OMG, I almost choked drinking tea after I saw this title. πŸ˜€ Really, eye- catching!

    As a big fan of erotica and sex scenes in my books, I still have to agree with you. In some books you get a feeling that author used it just because everyone else is doing the same thing. Also, about things being repetitive after a while – SO TRUE! I caught myself so many times yawning at that parts or sometimes even skipping them all together.

    Great discussion post!
    Glass recently posted…Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2) by Robin LaFevers

    • You can never go wrong with a sex-themed discussion post. LOL Peeps love talking about it even more than reading it. I hope you didn’t burn yourself with your tea. πŸ˜›

  11. “I prefer sexual tension over the act itself, and token steam is a pet peeve of mine.” THIS. In all genres.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love a really good erotic scene in the right author’s hands but for me as a reader most of it just blurs together. I’m happier with closed-doors or none at all. Which probably has some of my review readers raising their eyebrows. (Just because I say the sex was hot in my review, doesn’t mean I liked the scenes, just that it was suitable to the story).

    That said, sometimes a scene is particularly enjoyable and memorable because it was a hard-won part of the overall fight or includes great dialog. Lisa Kessler’s NIGHT CHILD comes to mind.

    But I do enjoy a good read now and again where the characters just have intense sexual chemistry and the scene or scenes are all special because the physical act says something about who they are as people and how they are coming together as a pair (Katee Robert is very good for this as is Laura Kaye).

    Overall, for me it’s all about whether it furthers the story in some way. Gratuitous sex is the most boring of all. I skim enough as it is. lol
    Rhianna recently posted…Blog Tour: LOVE ME TO DEATH by Marissa Clarke [Review + giveaway!]

    • It’s rewarding when a couple finally does the deed after a long and arduous journey to get there, because as readers we have become emotionally invested in the outcome. This is one of the main reasons why I HATE insta-love, it’s impossible to build chemistry in 1 chapter.

  12. Amber Elise  

    I love dialogue first and foremost so my kryptonite is sexual tension and witty flirty banter between the potential couple. I would rather have a series that starts off with feelings -> flirting -> sexual tension and then has sex at the end of the series. This is because sometimes the scene is not as rewarding, and sometimes I feel that if they have sex super often then it just becomes repetitive.

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    • I completely agree with your thoughts on how a relationship should progress between two characters. The chase is ALWAYS better than the reward, and way more enjoyable to read about too.

  13. I know you’ll be shocked, since you said yourself I “get around” πŸ˜‰ LOL but I don’t always have to have sex or steam in my reads. I do like sexual tension equally as well. And I like no sex/steam/tension too. Depends on the book. I really do want a story to go along with those elements though. And I have read a few books where there was too much sex (totally skimmed) or “token steam” as you called it. If it doesn’t fit with the story, I’d prefer it be left out. There. Surprised?? LOL
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**New Adult Review ~ True ~ Erin McCarthy**

    • Please give me a moment while I pick my jaw up off the floor after reading your comment. Hehe! The no-sex thing coming from you was beyond surprising. πŸ˜›

    • I don’t need an author to describe in intricate detail a romp session because my pervy brain is more than capable of filling in the blanks on its own. So, ues, off-scene is a-ok with me.

  14. Berls from Fantasy is More  

    Oh absolutely! I actually recently read a book and skimmed all the sex scenes in the last half (they were badly written though). I enjoy paranormal romance and erotica, so I don’t dislike sex in my books – but I do gravitate more towards the action and sexual tension. The anticipation is often so much better than the deed. But it also has to do with my expectations going in. If I expect action and it’s being pushed to the background by sex, it bothers me in a way it doesn’t when I pick up a paranormal romance. So some if it is marketing – give me what you promise please! Great post!
    Berls recently posted…Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis | Book Review

  15. Mogsy from BiblioSanctum  

    OMG yes, when some sex scenes are just so awkward and done so badly I just wish they’d never happened. Or that I could scrub my mind of it afterward. I know you read a lot of UF and PNR though, and usually in these genres the authors know what they’re doing. Not so much for some of the general fantasy/sci-fi I read, it can really be hit or miss. Sometimes it’s painful to see the authors make a good attempt but the scene ends up falling flat on its face πŸ˜›
    Mogsy recently posted…Tough Traveling: Monsters

  16. Sometimes the gratuitous sex scene seem out of place and maybe not even necessary but then there are times when it’s needed within reason of course. But the story doesn’t need to have it. I’m like you…I prefer the tension more than anything else. There are some books out there that are just plain lady porn and I’m surprised by the popularity of those because there’s no story or even character development. So I guess the answer is no, not always. Great question!
    Cristina recently posted…Bookish Character Costumes

    • You’re so right about a kiss being able to win-out over a romp session. I’ve listened to a few in audio, and I was at work at the time. Awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it. Hehe!

  17. Leila from LeilaReads  

    Great minds think alike: All the time!!! In movies as well. I agree that it shouldn’t be gratuitous or premature. I actually enjoy it most when it helps move the plot forward. Heck, if I’m just looking for sex there’s a bunch of free erotica on Amazon. You’re right about sexual tension. It’s way more fun than the actual “nookie” as you call it (haven’t heard that word in a while) πŸ˜›
    Leila recently posted…That’s What HE Said Thursday #8

    • You’re dead-on with your Amazon erotica freebie point! These scenes do indeed need to serve a purpose otherwise they’re just senseless boning. LOL Did I just date myself with my use of the word nookie? πŸ˜‰

  18. oki with the last book i reviewed this topic is perfectly fitting!
    I guess my answer would be yes,i don’t see the need to have those scene highly described and a lot of them ina book.. i prefer to see the romance grow slowly than to see them jump on each other immediately.

    i can read some sex scene of course but i hate when they are written with foul and vulgar language; for me it makes no scene and put me ill at ease…. also i hate when teh story seems a excuse for teh sex scene i want content! plot, action, suspense romance more than i wish to read about sex

    sorry if some authors are disappointed with my answer
    miki recently posted…Fueled by lust : Drusus ( book1) by Celeste Prater

    • I know, right? It’s like we’re on the same wave length! I don’t mind some foul language, but there are certain words that I’m not a fan of, I don’t care what the context is. Then again, having an author use the same term constantly is no fun either.

    • I find it funny that so many erotica readers are siding with me on this one; I was expecting that y’all would fall on the opposite side of this argument. I even mentioned that in my post!

    • Mission accomplished! My post title caught your attention. Hehe! We’re in agreement, sexy scenes are good when there’s a reason for them, but otherwise… pass.

  19. Nah. Not really. I like my books to have some in it. It’s not a requirement but a preference. I went through my UF phase and od-d on fight scenes. I get bored with those after a while now. If an author doesn’t know how to write a sex scene to make it different or unique yeah I’d rather they skip it all together. I was reading one recently that I ended up DNFing because the sex scenes were so awkward and tried to have the hero do some “dirty talking” and didn’t quite seem to know what that meant.
    anna (herding cats & burning soup) recently posted…The Bucket List (5)–pumpkins, having to touch nature & the cross stitch from hell

    • I visit your blog at least once a week, so I’d expect nothing less from you. But, we’re in agreement that some authors are better than others at writing steam. Speak for yourself about fight scenes though, I can’t get enough of ’em.

    • Amen, sister! There’s plenty of free porn on the internet, I don’t need it in my books. Horizontal dances can add to a story, but they shouldn’t be the main focus IMO.

  20. Even if I read sexy books I’m like you where I like the tension better more than the act itself. And yes, it does get repetitive so sometimes (or most of the time) I skip the sex scenes. I mean how many ways can they reinvent the wheel, right? I think I’m not missing too much which is why I’m more of a fantasy reader than contemporary romance.
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Naughty Nooner: Seducing The Groom by Cheryl Holt + Giveaway

    • I have yet to read a single contemporary romance title, the genre just doesn’t appeal to me, I’m sure I’ll give it a go one day, but for the time being I’m happy living in paranormal fiction.

  21. I don’t mind it but quite a few of the books I’ve read lately are nothing but sex. Or sex as an excuse to solve everything and I do hate that.

    I’m not a huge fan of reading BDSM either but in the hands of the right author it can add to a story. It’s rare though (for me anyway). Cara McKenna is a favorite in that genre.

    • Sex solves nothing! I checked-out Fifty Shades and Sylvia Day’s series because I was curious, and they were good, but not something I’d want to read regularly.

  22. Oh, my goodness Carmel… I miss your blog! And definitely, I love PNR too and some of my all-time fave series are PNR but nowadays I just skim through the sex scenes. I don’t really need a play-by-play of the deed, unless it’s a crucial part of the story. I was primarily a romance reader and I also have my favorites in that genre and I’m used to sex scenes but I’m just so sick of books that’s all just sex. No plot, just sex. No thanks!
    Amir recently posted…HarperCollins Preview (+ Int’l Giveaway)

  23. Ummm….NO! LOL I don’t expect there to be a ton of sex in my UF books but definitely in my PNR. For me it’s not so much about the sex scenes themselves (although I won’t say no to one!) but the relationship between the characters…if I’m invested in the romance then I want some smexy scenes in my story but I don’t always NEED it. πŸ˜‰
    Lori recently posted…Blog Tour: BLOOD GATE by Amy Lee Burgess {Character Interview + Giveaway}

  24. I don’t mind sex as long as it isn’t too much. LIke I don’t want to be reading an UF book and then there is like four sex scenes – to me that’s too much that tips it over into the realm of PNR or getting close to erotica (depending on how graphic the sex is I guess) but hey if I’m in the mood for more sex in a book then I’ll pick up one of those books instead. I agree tension versus the act itself is usually preferable.
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Fan Art Up! (29) – Bad Girls vs Cute Girls

    • If there’s more than two romp sessions in an UF novel, I begin to lose interest, unless it furthers the story which is rarely the case. It’s expected that they are plentiful in genres like erotica, aaaand that’s one of the reasons why for the most part, I stay away from those titles.

  25. I’m not an erotica fan, that’s for sure. I’ve been reading a lot of new adult books so sex it unavoidable and based on the going gap between YA and NA, I prefer reading NA more often because I’m not a little kid anymore LOL YA seems to get repetitive for me, I would still read YA but only because it is unique or out of the ordinary. Most YA books are just so-so. I’d rather read NA books because it’s still new to me. πŸ˜€
    Chyna recently posted…Chapter 10 of 12 is over!

    • I prefer NA over YA as well for the exact same reason, just so long as the author leaves some of the former’s genres tropes behind. You’re right about NA still being shiny for readers!

    • So, I take it that you’ve gotten away from reading romance altogether then? I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point, but it definitely does get tiresome when you stack ’em back-to-back.

  26. I know whatcha mean. I like it all, but I like variety. I am totally down with no sex in book. If I want sex to be a sure thing, then I know what books to get it from. lol. But yeah, the heat and chemistry between them can be way more satisfying than reading details of them doing the deed.
    Christy recently posted…Bright Side by Kim Holden

  27. Ah it’s a good question. I think it depends on the book but I agree with you. When I saw the question, I immediatly thought of the Anita Blake series and well this one really need less sex. It’s ok to have some but a whole book? it’s not the same. SO well yes, you’re right!

    • Hamilton’s series is a very good example! I’d give Anita another chance if she stopped having sex altogether, but we both know that that is NEVER going to happen. LOL

  28. I think that adding sex or a relationship isn’t always needed in a book. There have been a few times where just basic romance has taken over the book and I wished it hadn’t. Then again some tension and people falling for each other and eventually having fun times can really be good for the story. I guess it all depends on the book and how it drives the story. It really doesn’t bother me if there is or isn’t sex in a book, as long as it doesn’t take up a TON of the book.
    Kelsey recently posted…Review: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan

    • Skimming is always an option, however I read ’em just to see how the author handles it. Not all writers deliver on that front, so sometimes those scenes give me something to rant about in my review. Hehe!

  29. I do find the sexual tension and chemistry much hotter than most sec scenes. And I agree there’s a lot of potential to be had with creating awesome fight sequences!! I’ve read some books where the most memorable parts were the fight scenes and it’s actually quite rare (most seem to focus on action and trying to shock us but try too hard if you know what I mean) but anyways off topic there I guess >.< I do find that often a book tries to make the romance so hot/sexy that it fails to make a connection with the couple. I want a romance that is more than just physical to really invest emotionally in their relationship ya know. In the end I think it all depends how it's written and if it even has a point other than just to put some sex in a book lol
    Giselle recently posted…Want To Review For Xpresso Reads?

    • It’s rare that I’ll rave about the steam in my reviews, mention that aspect yes, however it`s usually the action that is front-and-center for me. And yes, I hate it when those scenes are over the top when the author failed to make the characters’ chemistry believable.

  30. Sex scenes are kind of boring. I am also reading a lot of paranormal books because I like parts of them, but they do have way to much sex in them. Thy also have to much romance. I try to keep to the paranormal and not paranormal romance, but they do kind of mix.
    I have read some of the Merry Gentry books. They are suppose to be paranormal romance, but they are more like paranormal porn.

    • The Merry Gentry novels are written by Hamilton, so no big surprises there. LOL I can’t bring myself to take her writing seriously after Anita. There are a lot of subgenres in paranormal, and if you’re not diggin’ the sex, you should definitely read more UF than PNR.

  31. You know for me it is about the plot and the action and the awesome stomp. So.. some sex is ok, sometimes it gets to be too much though. I hate when it is obvious the book is trying too hard to include a sex scene where it wasn’t needed. I also don’t like books that seem like they will be about the action, and end up being more about romance. If a murder or kidnapping is introduced in the first chapters, and then not revisited again until 75% into the book, I’m gonna be upset, just sayin. Great topic! πŸ™‚
    Julie recently posted…Sharing the Bookish Love – Oct 31, 2014

    • Precisely! Sometimes the chick with a sword on the cover can be super misleading when she spends the bulk of the story naked. I hate it when readers are mislead by a title’s marketing; no one wins, so why do it?

  32. Roro  

    Yes. Sex has to be a part of the plot . If there are just sex scenes for only just sex and no character growth or character bonding/trust I’d rather watch porn . M/m porn because straight porn freaks me out whereas I’m completely fine with fiction . Haha

  33. You know, this is weird. I have been reading the Kate Daniels book, and enjoyed books 1-4 greatly because there was so much sexual tension between Kate and Curran that it was just fricking explosive. But when they finally did it and became mates, their scenes became a little boring and repetitive for me. So, I agree with the others, yes to the teasing phase, kinda neutral when they’re finally “it” haha.
    Faye M. recently posted…ARC Review: Stray by Elissa Sussman

    • I totally get where you are coming from, so much build-on, and then they FINALLY do it, and you’re like WTF? At least you’re reading Andrews’ books though, that makes me happy, and weren’t you only on the first installment like last week? πŸ˜‰

  34. This is such a wonderful discussion post Carmel! I for one don’t mind a really good nookie scene (hehe, I stole your word) πŸ˜‰ every once in a while but when I read NA I get kind of frustrated because of all the sex that’s all so repetitive. That’s my main issue with sex in books these days, it’s just all repetitive. I don’t mind when a book doesn’t include a sex scene or make it off the page or whatever. I’m perfectly fine with that but when I read a series and everything third chapter is just sex after meaningless sex I get bored. If it adds nothing to the plot it just feels wrong and forced. Like you, I love sexual tension. I love when my characters ooze out chemistry. I love the anticipation of the big bang (Pun intended) THAT’S what I love in my books. It’s so much more fun to read. Lovely discussion post πŸ™‚
    Lily recently posted…Thrive (Addicted #2.5):Review

    • Sex by definition is repetitive, so it’s hard to avoid that in scenes which is why I prefer it when those encounters are brief or happen off-page. My imagination is just fine thank you very much. LMAO! Thanks for the discussion post love!

  35. julie from m5monkeys  

    I enjoy the tension building up to the sex scene , but there are times when there can be too many sex scenes. I totally get what you are trying to ask …I think it depends on my mood because sometimes I really like to read them and other times Tension is where I am happy πŸ™‚ I like it to fit in the plot or else it just too much
    julie recently posted…Dreamer’s Pool

    • I don’t mind if there’s a lot of sex when it’s supposed to be there, like in erotica titles for instance, however the plot has to be interesting as well.

  36. It’s funny because I was just having this conversation with my husband after reading the latest Ilona Andrews novel – Burn For Me. I’m more of a…well, I guess a book prude, because for the most part I’m not into the sex happening on the page. There are well written scenes and I enjoy those but I don’t need a ton of them. The werewolves sex scenes tend to be the least interesting for me too. The possessiveness in them can walk a fine line between intensely sexual and crazy stalkery. I will say I loved what happened in Burn For Me though and won’t be sad to read more.