Too Much Sex is Bad, mmmkay?

Step 1: Instead of ass say buns, like “kiss my buns” or “you’re a buns hole”

Step 2: Instead of shit say poo, as in “bull poo”, “poo head” and this “poo is cold”

Step 3: With bitch drop the t because bich is latin for generosity

Step 4: Dont say fuck any more because fuck is the worst word that you can say

So just use the word mmmkay!

Big flappedy-flap-flap going on about those naughty words certain romance authors like to use and those naughty acts these same authors like to write about.

A quote from a letter to the editor published in the RWR:

“There’s a big difference between sensual romance and erotica, and I think we made a big mistake in lowering our standards to accept such a publisher.”

Ahhhh. Right. Must not lower those professional standards. Nope.

Let’s play a game. Guess which type of passage I MUCH prefer reading (and which sounds more professionally-written, period):

A. She had even pretended to be a man while on the opium-carrying ship! Even though dressed again like a man this night, she at least admitted to being a woman, which she most surely was!

B. Trembling now, Eric tried to breathe as steadily as his friend. His own erection felt like a club, hot behind the cloth B.G.’s feather-light caresses tugged. His employer was always gentle, always careful not to hurt. It was the only complaint Eric ever had.

Passage A contains no mention of sex at all, but frankly, I find it much more offensive that a book containing sentences like that (and trust me, the book this was excerpted from was FULL of gems like those) was published.

Now sit down and brace yourself, because this may come as a BIG FUCKING SHOCK (whoops, sorry, BIG MMM-KAYING SHOCK), but I generally don’t judge the merits of a book solely on sex scenes or whether naughty language is used. If the characters engage me, if the craft is solid, if the plot is entertaining, I’ll enjoy the book whether it had 20 sex scenes or none at all. What a revolutionary concept!

And actually, if the romance novel (especially a contemporary) contains explicit sex scenes like, ohhhh, say, humping of the ta-tas, and the characters don’t dare to so much as say “cock” or even “penis” and instead use ridiculous euphemisms like “arousal” or “manhood,” I WILL laugh at inappropriate moments, read the passage out loud to my husband so HE can laugh too, then proceed to make fun of it in excruciating detail in on a website I run with an equally snarky partner. There’s a time and place when no-nonsense descriptions and those naughty Anglo-Saxon words come in handy, people.

I understand that reading about throbbing staffs and moist orifices being violated in a variety of graphic ways does not float everyone’s boat. That’s cool—there are PLENTY of books out there with non-graphic sex scenes. But why these prudes gotta ruin my shit and try to make it harder (huh huh, I said hard) for these books to be published? Leave me to my happy, pervy, foul-mouthed fun, goddammit. I’m certainly not lobbying to have romances that use too many exclamation points or ellipses be banned, no matter how much it offends my tender sensibilities.

Anyway, I’m not going to say any more, because Sylvia, Shannon, Monica and HelenKay have done a more than adequate job of stating how I feel, and repetition is tiresome.


Ranty McRant

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  1. 1
    Sarah says:

    Ok, I have to sit down and have a cold glass of water after that second paragraph – AND I know what book it’s from. AND AND AND I know it is in my bag for afternoon/evening reading!

    Whoo hah!

    What always bothers me about the erotica-is-not-literature crap is that these same people are often willing to put up with violence against women, children and animals in books because that’s villainy. But realistic sex is not ok!

  2. 2
    Darlene says:

    I know the second book and it was wonderfully hot—anal plugs and Schrodinger’s Cat? Bring it!

    The first example didn’t do much for me, but then it didn’t seem to be illustrating the point.  Wouldn’t a better passage be one about “laving tender mounds” or somesuch?  Which reminds me of a book I read where the spell checker had “lathing her breasts”, which sounded more painful than sexy.

    But hey, to each her own.

  3. 3
    Jo says:

    I don’t know what that second paragraph if from.  Which isn’t right.  Not right at all.

    I’m so tired of other people trying to monitor my behavior and my thoughts.  Pay attention to your own fucking lives and leave mine alone.

    Not that I’m upset about this or anything.

  4. 4
    Candy says:

    Darlene: The first paragraph wasn’t meant to illustrate badly-written sex scenes, it was to illustrate what (in my opinion) is bad writing. I mean! Could she have used! More exlamation! Points?!? And what’s with the redundancy! She’s a she! That would indicate she’s a woman! Why state the same thing three different ways in the space of two sentences!?!?

    Bad writing is bad writing is bad writing; the presence or absence of sex is moot to me. If I had access to the book passage A came from I would’ve typed out a whole bad paragraph instead of just inflicting two paltry sentences on you; as it is, I had to go digging around in an old review I wrote to excerpt it.

  5. 5
    Darlene says:

    Candy—Ah, got it.  Thank you for sparing us more of this prose. Two lines was quite enough.

  6. 6
    Candy says:

    Actually, thanks for bringing it up because I realized my point wasn’t particularly clear, so I added a little paragraph to clarify things.

  7. 7
    white raven says:

    That second paragraph was smokin’! 

    The first?  I never knew you could pack that much redundancy into a few sentences.  And all the shouting – geez, can you say exclamation point abuse?

    I read that letter in my copy of the RWR.  *commence eye-rolling*

  8. 8
    Reagan says:

    Oooh, if paragraph two is from an actual book, I’d love the title/author.

  9. 9
    Jo says:

    Clearly, I was unclear in my post.

    What is the second paragraph from?  Please?

  10. 10
    Candy says:

    Hahahaha. The book is Strange Attractions by Emma Holly. If you think that part was hot, wait till the action REALLY gets rolling. Whew.

  11. 11
    sybil says:

    1. I love South Park the Movie!

    2. Who are the people out there reading Cassie Edwards?  I mean not that it is wrong but… uh.. never mind

    3. Emma Holly fucking rocks.

    4. To the writer, that I am thinking is Georgina Gentry but not sure.  If you don’t like a book, don’t fucking read it.  And if books sale over your book, deal with the fact that it might be your books.  Try harder, do something different or don’t and enjoy the readership you have.  But deciding that something must be wrong with the other books is stupid and makes you look like an asshole.

    5. Porn is just a word.  It can’t hurt you.  If you think you read porn – yippie.  If you think you read erotica – yippie.  If you don’t like reading about sex – you are at the wrong site and reading the wrong genre.

    I am sure I have more to say but I really need to go finish The Lady in Red so I can send you my review about how it sucks.

  12. 12
    AngieW says:

    This entry was only made better by the fact that I was “hearing” it in Eric Cartman’s voice. Punctuated by the scary dude’s “mmmkay’s”

    And I had to re-read that damn first paragraph 4 times before I understood what the hell she was saying.

    The whole thing smacks to me of someone trying to impose their values on me and I DON’T LIKE THAT!

  13. 13
    Kate R says:


    Actually Gentry’s letter didn’t complain about the books, she was complaining that RWA—Romance Writers of America—was associating with That Publisher.

    The part of her letter that had Shannon howling was the complaint that Ellora’s Cave models were on the February RWR (the magazine for RWA) cover. As Monica says, teapot, meet kettle.

  14. 14
    Shannon says:

    I mean! Could she have used! More exlamation! Points?!? And what’s with the redundancy! She’s a she!

    OMG!  William Shatner, is that you?

    I made myself promise I would not rant today (yeah, pretty stupid), so I’ll be the chick leaving inane comments all over the place.

  15. 15
    sybil says:

    I think the quote is something like…
    ‘I think we made a big mistake in lowering our standards to accept such a publisher’

    So where I understand she was saying the covers, that pretty much says she doesn’t like the books and doesn’t want them in her sandbox.  Doesn’t it?  Or am I reading more into it than there is?

    I admit trying to take something away from me without my permission, trying to tell me what words are ‘bad’ and shouldn’t be used or trying to put other people out of work due to your own morals or views – hits a few buttons for me.  So I could be taking it way wrong.

  16. 16
    Kate R says:

    nope, sybil, you’re right . . . My point (which I made after kahlua) is that she doesn’t mind the existence of the books—unlike some other critics. 

    I think my other kahlua-based point was that maybe if she’d stuck to complaining about content, she’d have a leg to stand on (that’s not the kind of leg I admire but at least it’s an opinion based someone’s reality—since I haven’t read her books I don’t know if she’s kidding herself) But it was the “THOSE COVERS are so tacky” line.  Whoa. Snort.

    But yessiree, “she wants them out of her sandbox” is spot on.

  17. 17
    Sarah says:

    I’d love to ask this woman to take the sex (and the covers) out of the equation for a moment, which in this country is such a ridiculously charged issue, and imagine if she was complaining that RWA had accepted a publisher that does nothing but cowboy romances. Western romances, rather, with Native American beefcake heroes.

    While someone might placate the writer with a “There, there, yes, sensitivity is a good thing though not historically accurate in the context of the stories,” ultimately the consensus would be, “We all write different kinds of romance and if westerns aren’t your cup of tea, don’t read them.”

    But the minute the issue of sex is raised (har), it becomes a Moral Issue, even a Religious Issue, where people stand behind their Moral Convictions as to what is Proper and Right.

    And that just makes me see red.

  18. 18
    Sarah says:


    “Her heaving mmmmkay pressed against his chest, while his mmmkay were taut and she couldn’t resist dipping her head to mmmkay them while grabbing fistfuls of his shirt in her hands. He closed his eyes, hands roaming wildly over her mmmkay, stopping only to mmmkay and mmmkay until she gasped and said, ‘Mmmmkay!’”

  19. 19
    sybil says:

    But her books have sex in them!  Her older ones have lots of sex in them.  I wish I still have her last book and the receipt because I would return it but alas I have already traded it to the ubs.

    So what?  She is pulling a Robin Lee Hatcher?  Is sex now bad in books or is it only sex that doesn’t follow how she writes it?

  20. 20
    Sarah says:

    Sybil, I didn’t know that! Egads.

    Maybe it is all a question of lexicon, and what words you use for the big kahuna.

  21. 21
    Shannon says:

    I mentioned in the comments on my blog that the only difference between her book and mine is that her hero has a throbbing manhood and mine has a…you know.  (It’s so damn hard for us repressed Yankee types to say those words in public.)

    But I’m not thinking about this today, dammit.  Really.  I’m not.

  22. 22
    white raven says:

    I think what screamed hypocrisy in that letter was the comment regarding the covers, especially in light of the covers of her own books.  People in glass houses and all that.

    Western romances, rather, with Native American beefcake heroes.

    For once I’d like to see a book featuring a Native American hero, actually have one on the cover.  Long black hair and loin cloth does not an Injun make. 

  23. 23
    death.on.a.vespa says:

    My personal favorite euphemism for penis is “man-root.”  I swear I am not making this up (but I sort of wish I was).

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