Write What You Know OR Are Romance and Sex the Same?

"The Trouble With Romance"

Excuse me while I share a little more than is probably decorous in this blog.  People say, write what you know.  This became a particularly interesting thought to me of late.

I was talking with some friends and it came up (you don’t want the details of how we got to this conversation) that as part of a personal growth thing I’m doing right now, I was currently being celibate.  This is the point where one of my friends (very active… if you know what I mean) cried out, “How are you supposed to write romance if you aren’t having sex?”  I found this amusing and enlightening.

Not to be sexist, but the friend who said this is a guy, and I thought the comment showed a lack of understanding as to what romance is and requires from a writer.  If I was writing Erotica (not to be confused with Erotic Romance… my own little soapbox) then an active sex life might help with my writing.  I’m not convinced it would, but it probably wouldn’t hurt. 

As a romance writer though (erotic romance included), I think all I need is an active imagination of how my perfect romance would end.  Notice I said end?  Because, as we all know, we have to put our heroes and heroines, or H/H (in any combination) in bad situations and give them trials to overcome and obstacles to break through.  But, when all the difficulties and misunderstandings and insecurities and fears have been addressed or handled – our H/H will come together and live happily ever after.  The end.

Sex is not the same as romance.  Sex is a nice part of romance but it is not the same thing.  So, while my erotic romance sex scenes might be slowed down by my own lack of… it doesn’t have to be.  I’m not dead after all and I do have a memory. 

The romance though, the romance requires no sex at all to find inspiration because while sadly, my own relationships thus far have not measured up to my ideal in any way, I know what I wish it looked like and that’s what I write.  When Epic Black Car (Sorry – I can’t get his link to work) wrote on his blog that romance writers are a secret army of man lovers – I cheered.  It’s true, we love our manly-men.  Any guy who wants to know what women want – read a romance novel.  We tell you.  We lay it out in black and white in millions of books a year. 

So, while I agree that in many ways we need to write what we know (it’s easier), romance is not one of them.  If we were all getting what we want and need in our real life relationships, we might not have such a driving need to escape into it in a book.  I know there are tons of successful relationships out there and this is not to discount them in any way, but I sort of think that even the best of them could use a little boost now and then. That’s my thoughts at any rate.  What say you?


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11 responses to “Write What You Know OR Are Romance and Sex the Same?

  1. Ashlee Hartt

    Totally agree! I don’t think Jane Austin was really getting much action either and her books are probably the most well-known romance books off all time–and incredibly sexy too, in my opinion!

  2. Ashlee,
    LOL – I love her too (with any spelling)! Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. Great article. I get frustrated between romance and sex too. In fact, I think they should be two different genres. I learned how to write romance and that’s what I like to read. When I pick up a book and the H/H sleep together on page 10, it just kills it for me. It’s the building tension in the book of them working through their issues and finally getting together that works for me. Maybe we should call it classic romance. I like the sound of that. “) Thanks, Clancy.

  4. Classic Romance – I like that, Cindy. I like that slow build of tension too 🙂

  5. Terrific post!
    Relationships are not perfect. They require work, commitment, forgiveness, and give and take.
    Romance novels show that. Why do we expect real life relationships to be less effort yet get the big HE regardless. We need to get real with ourselves and life. Novels are fantasy.

  6. I partially agree. I think that a writer can and should write on any subject they chose..and if you read about the process that some writers go through, myself included…writers write about things they either, a. have never done b. didn’t have knowledge of before writing a piece. Three things are accomplished here: you as a writer grow, you as a reader get to drench yourself in new knowledge, and then you get to express how that knowledge infused itself into you by writing a piece about it.
    Debate is good, but C, you know how I feel…Write, write for you and don’t give a &*())(* what anybody thinks..whoever is supposed to read those words will get it and both of you will be better for it. To Celibacy and Beyond!!!

  7. H – I love you and you know that 🙂
    I am following my own groovy thing and writing for me. No worries 🙂
    I do love all the learning I get to do when researching things I don’t know about but want to include in my stories. Being a writer is awesome that way!

  8. Pingback: I Still Need Romance | clancymetzger

  9. Pingback: Writing and Romance, Part Three OR How I Got Back to Writing | clancymetzger

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