I have blogged before (many, many, many times before) about the relationship sex in the romance genre has to the story that contains it (or pointedly doesn’t contain it). Until tonight pretty much all of these discussions of “should they do it or not” with respect to my own work have been academic; with all the stories I was writing, I knew in advance whether or not the story had sex.
But the time has come, my friends, for me to face this particular quandary.
Do they do it before the audience, or does the curtain fall beforehand?
I am down to the last scene or two of my novella. I’ve put in an additional 5000 words or so since I initially thought I was finished, in order to bridge the gap between proposal and wedding and clean up some of the dangling plot threads around the lovers’ family situation. So now I am down to writing the end…and I am not quite sure where it ends.
On the one hand, I have the fact that this is a novella whose story ends with the wedding of two virtuous characters who make a point not to have sex beforehand even though they could have and wanted to. My personal feeling is that sex would sort of be gratuitous to the story if it is literally the last scene of it. We know they connect sexually, so there is no doubt it will be good and no need for sexual healing to complete the emotional journey. In this case, sex could not further any part of the plot.
On the other hand, I have my hero starting the last scene (or is it?) from his point of view counting down the hours until he can finally hit that. Not including the sex, therefore, seems like slamming the door in the face of the readers when, even until the very last scene, I’ve been drawing out the sexual tension.
What to do, what to do?
Any romance readers out there who care to chime in? Is it more annoying to you to have an utterly gratuitous sex scene at the end of a story, or to get blue-balled by a writer who decides to close the door since the sex isn’t furthering the plot?