I Like Big Tongues and I Cannot Lie

Hey, all this talk about massive schlongs has made me think about a related issue: When did oral sex become de rigueur for romance novels? Because it wasn’t always this way. I remember reading many, many books in the Good Old Days in which the heroine was lucky to have her nipple lapped at before Lord Massivecockershire rammed it home. I remember reading Special Gifts by Anne Stuart when I was 14 years old and nearly passing out because it had this incredibly graphic oral sex scene in it. I went for a while without encountering any until I picked up a Lisa Kleypas novel. Nowadays, when I pick up a romance novel, I expect to read some oral lovin’ if there’s any sex in it at all—to the extent that I feel as if something’s lacking when the heroine doesn’t get any head.

Anyone want to weigh in on this? Is my memory about little to no oral sex in old romances wrong? Was I so young that I missed the act entirely because I didn’t understand what was being described? Was oral sex the old anal sex, as in “naughty things the author is not allowed to write about because we think the public will be grossed out by its ickiness”?


Random Musings

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  1. 1
    E.D'Trix says:

    Oh, I totally agree. Oral was never really a part of romance in the 80’s, except in very rare instances. (I loooved Special Gifts, still have it on my keeper shelf!) And if it was referred to, it was in such obscure wording and so hush-hush, that you often had to re-read the scene to make sure it wasn’t about an especially passionate french kiss. I swear to god, I was reading a Diana Palmer and was shocked, thinking that she had actually put in an oral sex scene. After rereading about 5 or 6 times, I realized that it was just a really passionate kiss and a trip to 2nd base. Nowadays a hero isn’t fulfilling his hero-ly duties if he can’t give fantastic oral sex. Now why is the “Colonel Angus” skit from SNL running through my head…?

  2. 2
    HelenKay says:

    You’re absolutely right.  Used to be there was only one thing happening below the heroine’s waist and sometimes even that didn’t seem so interesting.  Romance heroines are much luckier these days or the men are smarter.  One of those.

    I do have to say the fact E.D’Trix couldn’t tell if Palmer was writing an oral sex scene or not says a lot about Palmer’s writing abilities.

  3. 3
    white raven says:

    Was oral sex the old anal sex, as in “naughty things the author is not allowed to write about because we think the public will be grossed out by its ickiness”?

    I think that about sums it up.

  4. 4
    KarenS says:

    Oral sex is definitely a millennium phenomena, the nearest I ever got to it in the late eighties/nineties was in Harlequin’s Temptations books.  Glad to see that things have changed. Oral sex is such a big part of most people’s sexual adventures, that it would be criminal not to include it in romances.
    Long live giving head and muff diving I say.

  5. 5
    Sarah says:

    Please, with the new “Blaze” line from Harlequin, we’re lucky the heroine doesn’t get backdoor action on page 2.

    I also think it might be due to general desensitizing on the part of the readership – it takes a lot to make us go, ‘Oh HO now that is original!’ I mean, think of how many sex acts you see on tv around 8 or 9 pm during prime time tv.

  6. 6
    Crystal* says:

    Oh yes.  Bring on the oral gratification.  It used to be so rare which was a shame.  And now it’s all over the romance scene. 
    I think this has to do with women’s feelings about sex itself.  We’ve grown up, dammit, we like that tongue, and we’re not afraid to admit it. 
    Heroines are not just a hole to slide into, they are women who deserve satisfaction as much as the next guy.

    On a related note, I think masturbation should have its place in the romance books.  Um…not inspirational.  *snickering* 
    A woman’s pleasure means so many things nowadays, and I say it’s about damn time.
    Bring it on. 

  7. 7
    Keishon says:

    Oral sex is everywhere and usually, it can take up about ten pages which I skip. I’m a big fan of quickie ;-) Just hit it and get it over with. I’m not a huge fan of long, drawn out love scenes.

  8. 8
    arp says:

    Few general comments:

    1) I remember a LOT of oral when I was reading in my younger years, hell, Connie Mason’s books seemed to have it like every three chapters. Nan Ryan wrote this s-t-e-a-m-y (Aztec?) novel, with an e-x-t-r-a-s-t-e-a-m-y scene involving a tongue, a love nubbin, and a gold medalion. Yeow.

    2) Speaking of sexual deviancy, can anybody think of any novels that had horses participating in the nookie as background and/or stimulus? I remember the Nan Ryan novel, hero tied heroine to him in a barn and dove in while horses were stamping around in quite a frenzy, and a Karen Robards novel where hero took heroine out to a stable to make her watch horses mating. She got quite hot-n-bothered.

    3) Does anal actually happen in romances now? I read so little of the current batch that I’ve no idea.

  9. 9
    arp says:

    and 4) I’d rather see male masturbation than female masturbation, though both get thumbs up. In the novel(la) I’m currently doing-anything-but revising, the one scene I wouldn’t part with was hero flogging the bishop.

  10. 10
    Candy says:

    I’m not sure I’ve ever read any books in which the protagonists got hot and bothered watching horsies get it onnnnn. A Stella Cameron book (I think, I can’t remember for sure) had Skanky Villain Sex involving some dude getting a blowjob from the skank-ass ho villainess while watching his horses bump uglies.

    I’ve definitely read books in which the protagonists did it ON the horse. They were a Johanna Lindsey book (Savage Thunder? Can’t remember) and Laura Kinsale’s Prince of Midnight.

    I’m all for heroes whacking off more in romances, if only because I’m so goddamn tired of them complaining about their never-ending turgid state every time they so much as glimpse the heroine in the distance.

    (OK, I find it sexy to read about, too.)

  11. 11
    arp says:

    Jocelyn the Redhead Duchess and Savage Thunder, both title and hero of book. I don’t remember whether they actually fucked on the horse, mostly I remember him offering up a finger to anchor her to the mighty steed’s back.

    And btw, what is up with heros only sparing one finger to diddle their women? It’s ALWAYS only ever one.

    The first time I ran into LK in chat, I asked her, “Didn’t you write a novel with a couple who did it on a horse?” She told me she wrote the horse scene in as a joke for a friend of hers. ;)

  12. 12
    cw says:

    Heh. Here I thought that the protags getting hot watching horses mate has been overdone to cliche. :D

    The one that comes to mind right now is the Linda Howard—MacKenzie’s Mountain? Yeah, and in fact, this is after a near-rape, I think. Even better. /snark.

    I’m with seeing more male masturbation, too—well-done, it’s hot, and two, I’m a fan of pro-active guys. :D

    Doing it on horseback—man, I can’t imagine anything more awkward or painful, and that’s at a WALK. Sort of like trying to do it on a moving bike that’s not a scooter with a wide seat. Stationary, I can give. Moving, please. You’ll mate yourself right into a Darwin award.

    (although my spamcheck word is “wrong”, so if anyone has any experience of this,  share. :P)

  13. 13
    cw says:

    Oh, forgot to say—oral and foreplay has come a long way, baby. When I read Woodiwiss’ FLAME AND THE FLOWER, the heroine was surprised when she felt pleasure from her breasts—because her (ahem) rape baby was suckling. I was aghast. The hero was like, foreplay? What? He was like a gas station. Pump N Go, baby. I know it was supposed to show how much he wanted her, and since she was forced she “wasn’t responsible” for the sexual feelin’, but I’m glad we’ve (sort of) evolved past that.

    I still don’t understand women who fake orgasms.

  14. 14
    Wendy Duren says:

    Male masturbation?  Oh, hell yeah.  Bring it on.

    Oral sex?  I remember this one so well.  Sandra Brown was doing it in the mid to late eighties and that was enough to convince me to find a boy who would do that to me.  Or, at least ask me out on a date.

  15. 15
    Candy says:

    Sandra Brown was doing it in the mid to late eighties and that was enough to convince me to find a boy who would do that to me.  Or, at least ask me out on a date.

    Oddly enough, that was my reaction too after reading Special Gifts. Heh heh.

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