Confessions of a Romance Hero: I’m 30 Years Old, and I Never Learned to Masturbate

This post is a direct follow-up to my rant about how much I hate rakes in romance novels. Really this angle was supposed to be part of that post, but I got impassioned and forgot to include this bit, and then I decided that it was in fact a separate enough issue to warrant its own post.  So here we go.

Yes, I am in love with that GOT Confessions meme. Also this guy looks like Sterling Archer, and I can totally here Archer trying to pull this line of crap on a woman. As Lana would say…”Noooope.” 


I hate how oversexed so many romance heroes are.  

This usually comes in with rakes who get described as being “unable” to go more than a few days or a week without having sex with someone.  Really?  You can’t go eight days without dipping your wick? You are physically (or mentally) incapable of restraining your libido for more than 128 hours?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!

In fact, there is a simple answer to that question: many–so many, so very, very many–romance novel heroes seem unaware of their ability to relieve sexual frustration for themselves, regardless of whether they are rakes.  Yes, I mean masturbation. There are a handful of romances I’ve read in which the hero has made reference to taking himself in hand, so to speak, and only two in which he’s actually shown doing so to the reader, but for the most part the men in romance novels do not merely not masturbate, they seem patently unaware of its existence. 

You guys.  No.  That’s not possible, unless there was some serious mind-warping from a religious parent going on in their household.  (I mean, in that case they even have a reason to grow up and turn out to be a sex fiend or a deviant of some sort so their rake-iness would be understandable!)  Otherwise, it’s just not possible a young man would not have discovered self-pleasure. It’s just not.  And it’s not likely that they would all “grow out of it” once they started having sex with women; hand and self is a lifelong relationship.

So it just makes no sense for all these romance novel heroes to be running around getting blue balls because they refuse to/don’t know how to masturbate.

I mean, in the first place, how spoiled does a man have to be that if the woman he wants to have sex with is making him wait, he will sit there and suffer a perpetual hard-on rather than jerking himself off?  I would not want anything to do with someone that passive-aggressive and manipulative. That’s like a line a high school slimeball senior tries to use on a freshman, “You turned me on therefore you have to get me off.”  Um, no.

In the second place, would all those men really be so dead set against using their hand that they’d go to all the trouble of finding somone to have sex with, someone who must be paid or seduced into bed in the first place, and who might expect to be pleased once she’s there, every single time they needed to relieve some of that tension? No way! There are many, many times that it’s just easier, simpler, and more enjoyable for a man to take care of business himself, roll over, and go to sleep, even in Romancelandia.

I am not sure what the genre’s reason for making heroes so unwilling to masturbate is. Do authors think it would decrease the sexual tension, if he just whacks off and feels more relaxed around the heroine in the next scene? Are they worried that he’d be seen as somehow juvenile or less virile if he can’t “control” his passions?  Or do these writers honestly think masturbation is something only teenage boys do in the shower, that the second men have sexual access to women they will always confine their sexual activities to the times when they have a partner?

This puzzle boggles my mind even more than the rake thing does. Anyone up for explaining this phenomenon, either?



Filed under Confessions, Reflections on Romance

2 responses to “Confessions of a Romance Hero: I’m 30 Years Old, and I Never Learned to Masturbate

  1. All true – but how “romantic” would it be for a writer to have to craft a scene like that? Would it be a turn off to the reader?

    I’m not into sex scene’s in novels, mostly because it’s so darn hard to write something relevant – I don’t like to read them either. Most can be left out – they aren’t relevant to the book anyways.

    However, in the writer’s world of ‘show don’t tell’ aren’t you opening up another window into the world of TMI??

    • Well, I’m certainly not advocating masturbation scenes in all my romance novel reading, lol. But I think there are two easy solutions. The first is don’t write a hero whose primary personality trait is “horny,” AKA the guys who get a hard-on every time the heroine walks into the room or crosses his mind. The second would be, if you must write that hero, have a line where he even just references taking care of the problem himself. I would have 0 issues with an author just telling me on that one. 🙂

      I actually enjoy sex scenes when they are done well and when sex is part of the relationship’s progression. Now, does it have to be 20 pages long? No…although sometimes I like those too. 🙂 The only times a sex scene bothers me are when it’s contrived or tacked on at the end of the resolution just because there is “supposed” to be a sex scene in a romance novel. Then it just seems like pandering, or formula.

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