Sex and the heroine

red shoes 2

I have had a long discussion with fellow writers about the heroine in my current work in progress: Hot Pursuit, #3 in my Hot series, after  #1 Hot Property and #2 Hot Gossip .

This was my question:

Lately, my heroines have become more sassy and independent, not denying their need for sex, even if it’s not about everlasting love and marriage.

The traditional heroine in romantic fiction is gentle and sweet and often comes across as a victim until the hero rescues her. She doesn’t initiate sex and is always a little coy when a man makes a move and the resulting lovemaking is often something she is pulled into against her moral principles. Some of my earlier heroines have been a little like this.

But when I started writing the Hot series, I thought I’d portray a more modern woman, who enjoys sex and is not afraid to show it. She can also have a fling with someone she fancies with no strings, until she finally finds ‘the one’.

In my current WIP, the heroine has a purely physical relationship with a man who’s drop-dead gorgeous, younger than her but not her match intellectually. Of course, later on she will meet someone with whom she finds that true love but her path is littered with temptations and complications. The heroine has a a sexual relationship with a man who doesn’t want more than that. So by mutual agreement, they see each other, have fun and their dates always end up in bed.

But  at the same time, she has a deep friendship with another man, who doesn’t ask for sex but leans on her for comfort and companionship. This man is troubled and damaged. She shares things with him she could never share with her lover. That relationship is platonic but very deep and loving in another way.

So, the question is: will this new kind of heroine, much closer to what many young women are like today, be sympathetic to the reader? Will it be acceptable that the heroine has needs and isn’t afraid to show it and that she jumps into bed just for fun from time to time? She’s a Sex and the City kind of girl. More Marilyn Monroe than Audrey Hepburn. More stilettos than sensible shoes…

This allows me to write some hot sex scenes… ;)

My question is: will this woman be sympathetic and more realistic? Or will readers hate her and label her as a slut?

Of course,  there are books in the romance genre from sweet romance (with no sex)  to erotic romance where they may be having sex even before the first date and everywhere in between. There will be readers who will see her as more realistic and sympathetic, others who won’t.  Tastes differ. Opinions vary. It’s still an interesting question to me.

I’ve had conflicting reactions to this query.  I’d love to hear more on this subject.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thatguywhocallshimselfcarlos
    Feb 17, 2014 @ 22:56:32

    Of course we will.


  2. thatguywhocallshimselfcarlos
    Feb 17, 2014 @ 23:00:32

    Oh wait, I take it back. I answered the wrong question.


  3. susannefromsweden
    Feb 17, 2014 @ 23:06:15

    would you care to wind back the movie and start again?


  4. thatguywhocallshimselfcarlos
    Feb 17, 2014 @ 23:27:08

    It might help. But seriously (ahem) once those of us born in the late 19th century (which lasted longer in New England than elsewhere) get acclimated to your proposition that women enjoy sex (an appealing proposition, but as a generalization, possibly somewhat dubious, unless appropriately qualified by circumstances, whose variability is almost completely unpredictable) then my answer would be “Yes, and no.” We find them sympathetic, but not entirely (or only occasionally) realistic.”

    And some readers will hate her Who knows why?

    Why do you ask such difficult questions?


  5. susannefromsweden
    Feb 17, 2014 @ 23:57:17

    Because it’s an interesting subject. And a conundrum.


  6. RDoug
    Feb 18, 2014 @ 17:43:57

    Best of luck with your latest “Hot” book. Let’s hope your take on the modern romance heroine strikes a chord.

    Speaking of sex, I was reminded of a joke whilst reading your blog:

    An old man is at the local drinking establishment listening to two young studs bragging about their sex lives.

    One says to the other, “Man, I am exhausted. She’s insatiable. All night and all day it’s nothing but sex, sex, sex. I barely have time to catch my breath before she’s begging for more.”

    The old man leans over and mumbles, “Marry the gal. That’ll put an end to that crap.”


  7. susannefromsweden
    Feb 18, 2014 @ 20:42:28

    Lol, Rdoug! I might add that both my heroine and I loved that joke.


  8. mikeangelgumshoe
    Feb 18, 2014 @ 23:14:11

    Like my protagonist said to one female he bedded: “I especially liked the time you moved.”
    I edited this out but am saving it for a future Mike Angel Mystery


  9. susannefromsweden
    Feb 18, 2014 @ 23:22:36

    If nobody steals it first. 😉


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