Romance...without the smut?

writing
question

#1

I have to say, I love a good gay romance; as an LGBT person I almost never find them on the shelves out in bookstores and such so here is a good place to find them. Looking for stuff to read, though, I’ve noticed that most of them involve the characters “getting physical” and the readers are often rooting for that to happen from the beginning.

Now I’ve never put anything on here before but I wanted to give it a try. One of the main plot points involves romances between guys, but I’ve never written anything beyond fluff before, and frankly, I’m not really keen to. Not only would it be horribly inaccurate because I don’t have any experience figuring out how all that works, but honestly that makes me kind of uncomfortable. I might be 18 but I still skip through all the sexy scenes in TV shows even if it doesn’t show much. I don’t judge anyone who likes to read or watch that, but it’s just not my thing.

That being said, just about every male x male story I come across has that kind of scene and from what I see, the readers like it. So I’m wondering if my story’s doomed from the start because I’d rather most of the clothes stay on regardless of the other content.

Does anyone know what the best way to go is? Do I try to find someone else to help ghostwrite a scene like that or can my story survive without it?


#2

I did not do MxM specifically, but I have no problems whatsoever with clothes on, and naked emotions instead.


#3

I think you should be fine. My philosophy has always been “If sex/romance is not part of the plot then leave it out.”
I have a story where the main characters are gay but they have subtle nods to it at first and then they grow together but they are an adventuring duo not a smut factory.
Another story has a lesbian couple. This is shown with a kiss when they are introduced, but after that it is all about how one is a head strong warrior woman and the other is a gentle soul and healer type. Their sexuality is never questioned and builds their relationship without having to get all down and dirty. Truth be told those two women were more loved by my readers than the actual main character of the book who was carried over from the first!!

So for the TL:DR bunch- Don’t fret over smut. Write your story and it will be fine.


#4

I know people who write non-mature books about gay relationships and I know people who write mature books about gay relationships. Both are very welcomed both by the readers but also in the queer community here on Wattpad :slight_smile:

If you can’t see a use for sex scenes, then don’t write them. There’s more than enough readers who’d rather there wasn’t any explicit sex scenes.


#5

Don’t worry about what other’s are doing! There’s no requirement for smut in anything, especially if you’re not comfortable with it. Your story is your story. Write it how you want. Lots of readers, I’m sure, are looking for stories without smut just like you!


#6

@Lasairandragon @AWFrasier @KibbersWrites Thank you guys so much!


#7

No problem and good luck :smile:


#8

My first book, Transition, is a transgender romance on Kindle. I didn’t describe the intimacy as I felt it wasn’t needed, but have had people ask why I didn’t “go there.” Then I look at trans romance that is selling like hotcakes and isn’t really romance but lust.

I attempted starting something erotic, but I want to tell a story. Maybe, someday, I can tell a story while stroking someone’s libido, but until then, telling the story has priority.

Billie.


#9

I write LGBT urban fantasy. The most my books have sex-wise is sensuality, but with all my romantic subplots, the emphasis is mainly on emotional bonding. The pinnacle of showing that love is that first kiss and protective/comforting touching from there after. I’m so tame that my heart pitterpats harder for a face stroke or a forehead kiss (especially the latter, squee!) than any grab ass.

Now I like that stuff, too, (the grab ass) like in general I don’t have an aversion toward it at all, so I have no problems mentioning or hinting at sex throughout the story where need be. I’m especially good for a post-coital fade in where the scene opens with people huffing, sweaty, and cuddling right after doing the do OR just a few moments before the doing is about to end. Instead of leading to the sex, I lead out. :joy:

But when it comes to love-making in real time between the main pairing, you’re most likely only getting one scene, most likely near the end, and I’m on the light/sensual side with the description. Ain’t no throbbing members and “nngs” for half a page to two pages. No ma’am. lol :sweat_smile:

I can enjoy the hell out of some smut, but for some reason, it’s just not my gig writing-wise. I used to wonder about having someone ghost write more graphic scenes for me too because having an emphasis on sex is so prevalent throughout my genre - both in LGBT and UB in general a.k.a. even with the hets. I mean even with the book covers it’s like 90% naked abs or moan faces shrouded in some abstract smoky light with a random bird wing or wolf’s eye in the corner, like wtf is that supposed to be about? :tired_face:

But then one day, I just had to have a ‘fuck it’ moment and realize that there are other people out there like me (and you) who also don’t want smuttiness weaved throughout their love stories. If you want to see two people fall in love and enjoy each other in just about every other way than the physical, then chances are there are lots of other readers looking for the same thing. In fact, I know there is because when I’ve gone to the 1-2 star reviews for a lot of these smex-riddled stories, one of the biggest complaints is “too much sex.” Now those complainers don’t outweigh the 4-5 star givers who gobbled it all up and wanted more, but it is proof that the readers looking for something different are out there. So in writing for yourself, you’re also writing to them - an underserved audience. Just make sure you market yourself clearly so they know how to find you.


#10

Sex in books didn’t used to be much of a thing until FSOG showed up. Now it’s almost like it’s expected on this site.

I’ve been writing sex scenes for many years, but the romance books that I publish are generally pretty PG-13 because I grew up in a time where these scenes didn’t often appear in romance.

Don’t just write a sex scene because you think it’s what will attract readers. Write it because it’s right for the story and because you want to.

The bonus of not having sex in your book is you do not have to label it mature, meaning you’ll have an opportunity for a wider audience (as mature books are hidden from younger members). You can absolutely create a beautiful love story that people will enjoy without adding sex to it. You can also create a beautiful story that people will enjoy with sex in it.

Just as their are a lot of readers looking for smut, there are readers who look for books without it. There’s no wrong way to go, only the wrong reasons.


#11

If you want to read it, there’s likely an audience for it. Might be harder to find, but it exists. After all, you exist. Write what you want for the joy of it, unless you’re cashing in for real money. Then it’s okay to write for market if you need the money to live and eat.


#12

Well, there’s a big fetishistic problem with MxM in romance anyway, so it would probably be really refreshing for people to read a romance without the smut, to be honest. If it exists in FxM, there’s plenty of room for it in your book! You just have to be prepared that readers looking to satisfy their smut needs won’t be reading. That’s all.

I wrote a MxM relationship with zero sex between that couple and it was well received (not massively popular, but well-received by readers).

If you feel that your characters natural step is to get that kind of intimate, you can always write a scene that is very vague physically and really rich emotionally or fade to black. I still can’t write a sex scene that I can read with a straight face after. Going a more emotional route is a good way to progress a relationship if you want to, without getting into the erotica guide to bodily synonyms.

BUT there’s no requirement to imply sexual intimacy if you don’t want to, MxM or otherwise.


#13

So are you suggesting that we write clean fiction without the sex and romance?

Christian fiction perhaps?


#14

???

i’m upset the forum won’t let me respond with ONLY question marks


#15

Stories can survive without it! My main story has a romance element, but one of the characters is asexual, so there’s nothing sexual going on between my characters.

I will say that I haven’t written romance between guys (my characters are both girls), so it might set different expectations. But if you satisfy the romantic feelings of your readers, you can usually get away with having the physical stuff be really minimal (holding hands, kissing, being generally adorable).

I think it’s important to write what you feel comfortable with and what fits your characters.

Good luck with your story!


#16

I think the over all consensus is write what you want to write, and it doesn’t have to be overtly sexual if that’s not your cup of tea, but also that if that is your cup of tea, go ahead and steep it.


#17

Romance doesn’t need to have sex. They said they wanted to write a romance book without sex. If it wasn’t a romance, then the two would just be platonic friends!

And why does anything that mentions not having sex have to be deemed “Christian”?? I don’t get that and I’ve seen it a lot…


#18

be fine or be mine? wkkwwk


#19

Because that’s what this whole thing boils down to–doesn’t it? Fiction without romance. Fiction without the sex. Fiction without…I dunno…the bonding experience between characters and the writer?

I seem to get the impression from the online community–not just here–that we have to completely purge our respective works of everything from profanity to sex in order to make certain segments of the population happy.

But I’m also reminded of this little axiom: If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

Simple as that. Let others do what they want their books and you and everyone else who hates violence, hates profanity, hates reading about sex in novels (blah, blah, blah and so on) can crack open a piece of literature that doesn’t have anything short of goats fucking in the dead of night and you guys can have a party.

Or…you can write the “clean” versions yourselves.

Knock yourselves out. It’s a free world.


#20

Literally no one has said that we need to purge the world of anything, Schuyler.

The OP asked what our opinion on a Romance without sex was and people responded to that specific question. And that’s it. Stop just grasping stuff out of thin air.