by: Joelle Charbonneau
Yeah – I thought that would get your attention. Everyone knows that sex sells. You just have to look at advertising campaigns to see proof of that. Sex sells in fiction, too. The romance genre racks in billions of dollars in sales every year. Not that every romance is teeming with sex. But a great number of romances do have at least one steamy scene between the covers.
And yet – as I look at my favorite mysteries and thrillers I realize that very few if any of them contain sex scenes. Yes – there are romantic relationships. Very often these romantic relationships are sexual ones. But just when things are getting heated up the scene ends and the story moves on.
Why? No, I’m really asking this question. I doubt that the mystery and thriller readers have an aversion to sex. If we took a poll of the DSD bloggers I’m betting we would find that all of us are quite fond of it. So why don’t we see as much of it in crime fiction as we do in other genres? Is it because the writers aren’t very good at writing sex scenes? Is it because readers don’t want to read them?
Personally, I think it’s because the pacing of a thriller or mystery doesn’t leave room for a lot of those scenes. The best sex scenes aren’t simply about getting hot and sweaty. The best sex scenes help develop a character in a way you can’t get without the scene. Mysteries and thrillers often find other ways of creating this emotional depth.
Or maybe I’m wrong? Maybe crime fiction readers everywhere have been clamoring for more sex scenes and the crime fiction writing universe just didn’t know it. Here’s your chance to let us know. Do you think that some of the books you’ve read might have been better off with a sex scene or two? Do you think sex scenes should never be in mysteries and thrillers? And if there is a sex scene in a book you are reading, do you actually read it or do you skim through it? Does sex sell a book for you the way it does for cosmetics or does it just make you want to chuck it at the wall? Inquiring minds want to know.