Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Flipping Past the Naughty Bits

I love romance.  By the time I was old enough to give a damn about boys, I'd already cut my teeth on Harlequins by the bucket-full.  The thing about the old Harlequins, though, is that they're heavy on the romance and light on the sex.  And that's how I like my reading material. 

Nowadays, I've moved away from reading straight romance.  I read romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and loads of things that have a tinge of romance in them.  The problem with the first two of those categories - or at least it would be a problem if I let it - is that while they are romances, they're also filled with naughty bits I'd really rather not read.

Why am I not letting it be a problem for me?

Because I flip past the naughty bits - scanning as I go so I don't miss any plot points the author may have snuck in there between the first inkling of a boner and the afterglow. 

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not a prude.  I'm just over it.  I've read all the erotic writing I wanted when I was younger and now I'm done.  Let's get past the boot-knocking and back to the plot already.  And I know I'm going to take flack for this, but most of the sex scenes I flip so casually past?  The book stands up just fine without them. 

I'm in no way, shape or form suggesting that authors need to cut those parts out, mind you.  If they did, they'd lose a bunch of sales, and then they wouldn't be able to publish the other parts of those books that I inhale as often as I do.  I'm in the minority.  For me, flipping past the sex is just one of those things I have to do to get to the good parts.  (And for others, flipping past the suspense to get to the sex is getting to the good part.  To each their own.)

Sometimes I feel bad about the flipping.  I mean, each paragraph an author writes takes HOURS of slaving away - writing, re-writing, editing, angsting.  My need to flip past those paragraphs feels like I'm discounting all the work they did.  Unfortunately, my only other option is to not buy the book and shy away from romance all together. 

Nah.  I think I'll just keep flipping and hope my dollars help smooth away the hurt from discovering not every paragraphs they wrote was read.

Everybody's got their own flip-buttons.  For instance, I bought an SF recently.  In it there were some scenes where the MC gets tortured.  I read them and they didn't really bother me.  Daughter read them and they grossed her out.  Of course, it didn't stop her from asking me to buy the next book in the series, which I did.  If there's gross-out stuff in this one, she'll just flip past it.

What about you?  Are there any types of scenes you're likely to flip past - sex, gore, torture, description? 


  1. Description, definitely. I'm reading a book right now where the author takes pages to describe a character, and so far, that's mostly what the book has been. I hope this leads up to something. I want to get to the action, dangit!

  2. I agree with this post, I skip over stuff that make me a little squeamish. Especially in YA, where I feel like a creepy old lady peeking in on two teenagers...

    And swearing. I don't mind a little, but if it's f-this and f-that, I'm skipping a couple paragraphs.

  3. I admit I might skim a little when it comes to description, because I can't wait find out what happens next. But I don't mind the gory bits. At all, really. ;)

  4. I love reading the naughty bits, but only because I read them aloud to embarrass my hubby. I know, I'm evil. I do skim descriptions quite a bit (as do my students). I will never be the literary fiction reading type, that's for sure.