Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guest post with romance author Caridad Pineiro


Now that I’ve got your attention, is it truly sex that draws us into our romances or is it something more?

I was recently part of a discussion where an author insisted that romances for women were the equivalent of what porn was to men.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t normally read my romances one-handed.

Sure the sex scenes make a story interesting, but in a way, I almost hate calling them that because for me they’re not just sex scenes. They are love scenes, expressions of the emotions that the characters feel for one another. Without the emotion, the scenes are somehow flat for me.

That’s the essential difference between women’s romances and men’s porn contrary to the assertions of some. Women get wrapped up in the development of the relationship between the hero and heroine and reading about the physical fulfillment of that love is icing on the proverbial cake. But without the love…

Is there any proof of my theory? Well, I know many romance readers who skim past the love scenes or have started young adult or inspirationals because for them it’s all about the relationship and not the physical intimacy.

Part of the proof to my theory in my mind.

What I find somewhat ironic in that “romance is porn” statement is that since the 60s feminists have been imploring that women explore their sexuality without guilt and take control of their love lives. Despite that, reading novels about empowered women who do just that is equated by some with pornography for men.

A puzzlement for sure. Here is what I know for myself: Exploring relationships of both the emotional and sexual kind in the world of romance is truly an interesting thing for me as a writer and as a woman and as a feminist. It requires really delving into the motivation of the characters and understanding their psychological wounds and needs. It’s about the romance and if there are some love scenes involved, that’s good, but if there aren’t, that’s good, too.

That’s the nice thing about romance and romance readers: They are quite an open and accepting lot of women and men.


  1. The build up of a relationship, the inter action between the two main characters all that makes a romance novel what it is, plus a little suspense in there. It is certainly not porn. You said it quite well Caridad!

  2. I read it for a variety of reasons. The whole story is important to me although I must say my husband can tell from across the room when I'm reading the passionate parts. He usually looks over and says "Hey is that a good part" with a sly little grin...I usually reply you'll know in a minute..lol
    musicalfrog at comcast.net

  3. To me, romance for women = military fiction for men. Both are escapist fun, but romance gets a bad rep because it's mostly written by women and has been a great seller as a genre. Calling it porn for frustrated housewives is just a way to try to take power away from women. It give non-readers the green light to raise eyebrows and make us feel embarrassed to be reading something just for fun. (Of course, cheesy covers help feed that misconception.) Long live eReaders :)

  4. I definately agree with calistokerrigan (and Caridad). I would definately not equate romance, even explicit erotic romances, with pornography. As a reader, I have to be emotionally invested in the characters' relationship to find the sex scenes of interest. Without that, they're just boring to me.

  5. I think what that person may have been hinting at is the results of many studies which have shown women find the written word more erotic than porn. Does that allow the assumption that erotic romance equals porn? Nope. The conclusion is not there. The only thing the studies I've heard or read of have shown is that women prefer to read erotic romance than see it translated onto the screen. Can you imagine the magical penises of the Cat Star Chronicles on the big screen?

  6. Hi Caridad, I totally agree with you. In my opinion most men are all about wam bam, thank you mam without feelings - reason for their porn magazines.

    As a woman reading romance novels, it is all about the build up and chase of the romance that draws me, not to look at nude bodies, not that I dont mind but it's the happy emotions that remind me of my own happiness with my hubby that I like to read about. I've been married 14 years and though we are done with our chase it is nice to read about someone elses chase and remember what mine was like.

    On the sexual side however, when i read something I personally havent tried it intrigues my interest and who knows I just might have to try that one move - LOL so I guess it could be a learning experience just from reading a book. LOL

    Thanks for the post - I loved it.

    Ronda Tutt

  7. If done right, the love scenes in a book enhance the feelings that are already there between the hero and heroine. It is like the icing on a cake. You don't have to have it; but, it does taste a little better.

    Happy Reading, Writing, and Blogging,
    Boan Fide Reflections

  8. Thank you all for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate hearing from you on this topic, because as Calistokerrigan said, I often feel that denigrating romance in this way is how some take away power from women.

  9. You will never convince my husband that I read romance for the romance and not the sex scenes! The funny thing is, I have always been a reader but I only recently started reading romance. I have been reading steamy, sexy romances for even less time. I really do love HEA that make sense and make me feel good for the characters.

  10. Women are stronger than we know and some of the romance reads out now are even more proof of that Caridad. Any time you have a female character in a book who can out fight, out think and out last a man it proves the point that a romance novel is not all about what happens when the clothes come off. There is quite a bit to be said for all the genres of romance, my personal favorites are paranormals because they allow us to stretch our imaginations with the characters and the stories, if there is hot sex in there along with the action and adventure great if not fine too as I want to be caught up in what is happening without feeling too restricted by stopping for sex along the way.
    Thanks for the interesting post and thanks for having Caridad stop by Laurie, she always makes me think!

  11. In my opinion its the growing of the relationship between the characters, the teasing, the bantering, its all there to build emotion that does ultimately lead to sex. I'm not going to deny, I love my sex scenes, but in no way shape or form can I relate it to Porn.

    I have read many sex scenes out to my husband from books to gauge his reaction and he just laughs it off. Even he agrees, they're not in anyway the same as the kind of porn that a man reads or views.

    Great topic for discussion, really enjoyed it!

  12. I think that sex in a story can be lovely when it is well written and is part of the story :) Thank you for sharing today.

  13. Thank you all for coming by and sharing your thoughts on this topic. I agree with so many of your comments and think that romance is often denigrated as a way to belittle women. Thanks again for dropping by!

  14. Oh I agree with @Sam S2. I read them for the same reasons. Porn is way different then romantic sex scenes in books. I can't stop reading them for the romance part. As we know life is not very romantic and with kids it's hard to fit that in. So, reading helps that a great deal.
    Thanks for the lovely interview! I can't wait to read more by you Caridad!
    Thank you so much for the Swag. You made this mom's day!

    mary_reiss @ hotmail.com

  15. Sex scenes are important in romance novels to me. The build up of emotion leading to that mutual expression of desire can make the book. Not that the sex scenes need to be explicit. Just a connection.

    rootml1 AT hotmail DOT com


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