Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sex as Love and InstaLove

I've been thinking about this for the past few weeks and although I've not come to any conclusions about it...I just keep thinking about it.

I think it started when I was reading several books in one week where the hero and heroine who hardly knew each other would have sex and then declare their love. This is not something that occurs in my own personal DIK book picks so it confuses me that stories are constantly written where this happens. And there are some people that eat it up. I realize that everyone is different in their reading choices - even within the romance genre - but am I the only one that this particular premise confounds?

I think it hit me right between the eyes when I was reading a short story (love is very difficult to pull off depending on page count) that had co-workers who'd decided to date. Our hero had lusted after our heroine in the office (and vise versa) but also had noticed cute little mannerisms about her that he really liked. But when he was waiting for her to join him at the restaurant for dinner he admitted to himself that he really knew nothing about her. So they had dinner which led to drinks which led to hot monkey sex at her house and a declaration of love the next day by our hero. Was the story cute? Sure. And the sex was scorching hot but to me it just didn't say love. It said more like - I think that you're someone I can't stop thinking about and I definitely want to know you better.

I realize that InstaLove happens all the time - sometimes without the sex happening first. Anyone who reads my blog on a reg. basis knows that my parents met and got married 3 weeks later and just had their 50th wedding anniversary - so I know first hand that InstaLove can work. But does just having sex with someone qualify as love?

Talk to me people. Tell me your thoughts on this subject. How do you feel about sex as love - or even InstaLove?

And in case you're wondering - I loved all the heroes in my hut waaaaaaay before the hot monkey sex began we came to the island. Just sayin.


sula said...

oh look, a spam!

anyways, on the topic...yeah, i think it's kind of lazy shorthand for "i can't be bothered to develop chemistry and a relationship between these two lead characters so I'll just use the insta-lurve". I don't really buy it, myself. Then again, my fiance was convinced very early into our relationship that he loved me, but in his culture they don't have a middle category for "just seeing each other". So that also made sense given the circumstances.

Tam said...

Ohhhh, one of my bugaboos. Insta-love makes me crazy. Insta-lust, Insta-want-to-get-to-know-you-better, no problem. But love? Come on. Unlikely. I'm not saying that insta-attraction doesn't lead to love, it probably does many times but seriously, I have issues with it. Big time. I will still read the book and possibly enjoy it, but inside I'm scoffing at the reality. How can you love someone if you don't even know anything about them (based on a picture or meeting across the room and one sexy dance)? Maybe they are completely biggoted asses, or eat babies for breakfast?

I read a short lately that made me crazy in the Sindustry anthology. He has crazy monkey sex with new employee then freaks and backs off. Months later he out of the blue proposes to the guy and wants to get married the next day and guy says yes. Okay, you worked together but were trying to avoid him the whole time. You've never even been on a freaking date and you want to get married tomorrow? No matter how much I was lusting after my boss I'd laugh in his face if he pulled that.

Oh oh, this is turning into a rant, sorry. LOL So no, insta-love does NOT work for me but insta-lust and attraction does which I think can turn into love in a few weeks perhaps. And there are always exceptions to everything, people like your parents, but they are very very rare.

Anonymous said...

I put so many books down because of "instalove". There are very few authors who can pull off "love at first sight" for me - that first sight were just meeting the person and you KNOW they are the one for you. So few that off the top of my head I can't even name them! But I do know I've read at least 2 historical romances where I thought it was pulled off - I think one was Shannon Drake/Heather Graham a Scottish Highland knight knew the lady was who he was destined to be with - BUT it took months of woeing and getting to know each other before he said the words - so it worked for me. The other might have been Virginia Henley.
I prefer the love to come after the instalust or even better the instahate that sparks chemistry and a battle of wills that leads to love.

JenB said...

I have a hard time believing in Insta Love, and an even harder time believing in the idea that sexual chemistry = love. I think of love as an's something that takes constant work. It's not just an emotion or a tingly sensation in one's genitals.

The insta-boner drives me nuts too. "She gives me wood; therefore, she must be The One." Right.

Sarai said...

I agree with what everyone here has said. I don't believe you can fall in love right away I know for some people that works and they've made it work but for me personally I don't buy it.

Then again its never happened to me so maybe that's why I don't believe in it LOL

Carolyn Crane said...

Great post!

I wonder if the writers feel like they need to deliver an HEA, and that that can't happen without trotting out the L word, though I certainly agree, when it feels too fast and doesn't ring true, it sort of bugs me.

My parents we married 3 months after they met and they were still together 45 years later before my dad passed. But 3 weeks, that is really speedy!

Hilcia said...

Hmmm... I'm a romantic fool, but the author must sell me on "instalove." I think it's tough to do in a short story, but not necessarily impossible -- and I don't necessarily expect it of an erotic type of book where insta-love is replaced by insta-lust... but in a novel? I must be sold on it. :)

BTW -- my father met my mom once, they wrote 5 letters to each other; he traveled to meet her family; wrote 3 more letters; saw each other again at the wedding. They just celebrated their 55th Anniversary. It happens! Lurv happens like that. :)

Tracy said...

Wow such good comments!

Sula - I think you're right about the character development. I know this is difficult in short stories but even in regular novels it happens.

Tam - I have to say I love this: Maybe they are completely biggoted asses, or eat babies for breakfast? It's just so very true. You never know who this person is. I can get the insta lust but not the declaration soon thereafter. Even give it a few weeks!
Is the story you don't like in Sindustry from the second volume? I've only read the first story in that one so far.

Ms. Moonlight - see I think this is it. Maybe instantly knowing that this is the person for you but not declaring it because you want to get to know them better is what works for me.

Jenb - The instaboner! lol Perfect! That does drive me a little nuts. But then there's the other side of that where the couple is getting hot and heavy and the pants come off and the cock is only semi-erect. If it's that hot and heavy...where's the wood? lol
I agree that great sex does not love make.

Sarai - me either! I met my hubby and thought he was cute and very nice but we had a long road ahead before love was declared. :)

CJ - I like my HEA but I want it well done. I would be happier with a HFN if they can't pull it off in the given amount of pages.
That's so cool about your parents!

Hilcia - It CAN be done but it so rarely is. I agree - in erotica I don't expect it but in a novel abso-freakin-lutely. :)
Great romantic story about your parents. I hope your mom kept those letters. :)

Tam said...

Tracy: No, I think it was in the first one. Ummm. Maybe? Crap, I read them one after the other so the stories merged. LOL The company was a catering/party planning company. So if you don't remember it from one it was probably in two. I had more issues with two than one.

Anonymous said...

JB: "The insta-boner drives me nuts too. "She gives me wood; therefore, she must be The One. Right."


Oh that was too funny!


Mary G said...

Instaboner LOL!! There are too many variables to say it's not realistic. My hubby & I worked for the same company in different cities. We talked long distance for months & then he asked me out. We met Jan 7. Saw each other 2 more weekends.He proposed on
Jan 30,we got married on July 30 6 months later. We tallied up the days we spent together in the same city before we got married & it was 30 days. We just had our 26th anniversary. I was 27 & he was 28 when me met, the variable being that by then we knew what & who we wanted. Excellent post!!

Tracy said...

Tam - I think it must be Sin 2 because it's not sounding familiar. I'll keep my eyes open for it and let you know what I think.

Mary G. - now see I think long distance relationships are difficult in that you don't see you live with a person so you don't see all those little things that drive you NUTSO. ahem. But I think they force the people into getting to know the person without the sex and that's very cool. You get to talk on the phone or write letters and if it's done well then you really know the person by the time you're together in person.
Congrats on your long marriage! :)

Kris said...

The only way it works for me as a reader is if the protags then have to work at the relationship to make it a successful one. Otherwise I feel like I've read the HEA so I might as well just close up the book now and toss it on the going to the secondhand bookshop pile.

Lea said...

Hey Tracy:

I'm climbing in the back of the bus here but better late than nevery right? lol

I don't have a problem with instant sexual attraction between and H&H in a book. I do think that sometimes happens. And, sometimes I think love at first sight is a reality for some couples.

However I don't like it in a romance when there is no sense of chemistry between the lovers and they just hop into bed together. I do like some preamble before the "monkey" starts swinging I guess.

Now, there are exceptions with some of the paranormal romance stories I guess when you are talking a demon or vamp I guess. But again each story is unique I guess.

Great topic!!


Tracy said...

Kris - Word.

Lea - I don't have a problem with instant sexual attraction - I just don't want the h/h declaring love right after and living HEA. I know it's fiction but I need to BELIEVE it.
Strangely enough I agree about the paranormal thing..although even if they're "mates" I want them to have to show me that the HEA is gonna work.

Sarah said...

Not keen on the insta love. Don't mind the instasex however.

Tracy said...

LOL Sarah - shhhhh - me neither! :)

K. Z. Snow said...

This is kind of a thorny issue.

Some degree of love, or at least bonding, is built into the phrase erotic romance. So even in short-format works, authors feel obligated to get protagonists' emotions rolling toward a HEA or HFN.

Guaranteed, publishers and readers alike would squawk if romantic sentiment were completely bypassed.

Whadaya do?

Tracy said...

KZ - I think for me personally the romantic sentiment is fine as well as a believable HFN but to totally sell the HEA is really difficult. And really I don't think I expect it too much in the erotica that I read and when it's forced it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Thanks for stopping by!

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