Unintended Sex Ed

Many romance readers (and writers) are a little hesitant to admit that they read books that include hot sex scenes. Pulling out a book with a nearly naked man (Like Lori Foster’s yummy book) or a woman about to bust out of her bodice to read at the kid’s dentist office can be kind of…awkward. Especially when the child next to you – yours – starts reading over your shoulder.

Embarrassing or Public Service?

If you’re like me, you immediately slam the book shut and hide it away. Or pick up a magazine and use it to hide the cover of your romance reading. Luckily, my kids have learned to ask when they find a book on the couch – “Can I read this?” They still think sex is icky (and hopefully will until age 25). If they see skin on the cover, they pretty much know it’s not for them. But what about books that aren’t quite as clear (um, like mine?).

A great example is Wicked. A friend of mine heard how great the play was, and that she should take her kids to see it. To prep for the performance she bought the book and let her son read it. It looks innocuous enough, and the back cover blurb is pretty tame.

Let’s just say he didn’t get very far in before he was “grossed out” and gave it back to his mom. (The book is not appropriate for kids, in my opinion, but the play is, and I recommend it.)

So what do you think? Do you hide your romance books from your kids? From your friends? Or do you prefer your hot books have hot covers?

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11 Comments

Filed under Parenting, Reading

11 responses to “Unintended Sex Ed

  1. The romance I read is mixed with supernatural or paranormal elements, so the covers usually are more subtle than your typical romance novel. Although, I have seen some eyebrows raise when I’ve read them at the doctors office or at lunch. I always thinks it’s funny and it does say something about the person and it makes me wonder what they’d do if I had a half naked man on the cover.

    I remember the first inappropriate adult novel I read. I did pluck it off the bookshelf at home and I still remember my mom’s face when she discovered I had read it. It wasn’t a romance novel, but there was a pretty graphic rape scene at the beginning of the book. Even though I finished it (I had to know what happened to the creep who was raping nuns) I got my own books after that. Of course, at that time, they didn’t really have a YA section. There are more choices for teens these days.

  2. I write romantic suspense (Debut 3-book back-to-back releases beginning August 2012) and I have to admit, even though I write steamy sex scenes, I don’t like my covers to look like something I might find on the inside pages of Playgirl Magazine.

    My stories are about FAR more than just sex, and so are MOST romance novels. But, take one look at many romance covers, and you’re inclined to believe it’s nothing but sex, male objectification, throbbing erection soliloquies, and more sex.

    Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, you say?
    Well it’s hard not to when you can’t even sit in your dentist’s office with your favorite romance novel in hand without fearing you’re going to have to embark on the “sex” talk with the five-year-old across the way who takes one look at your book cover and wonders aloud, “What is that man doing to that woman?”

    I can quite honestly admit, I have specifically NOT purchased a novel because I didn’t want to be seen reading the thing. And that’s just sad…

    I hear so many fellow romance authors lament the fact that we, as genre writers, aren’t taken seriously in literary circles. Could it be the packaging on the outside of our books instead of the words on the inside that leads reviewers and critics alike to roll their eyes?

  3. I don’t have kids but I do read a lot on the bus and other public places so I started using book covers- I have them for mass market paperback and also for Trade Paperback.

  4. Beverly

    My monsters (my teenagers) would grab my books and read them out loud to there friends! I’d come home to a group of laughing teenagers and MAJOR teasing! It was usually the boys, but the girls joined in. I just told them I hoped they learned something! I am so THANKFUL for my kindle now. I keep it with me. Problem solved.

  5. allison motherway

    I don’t hide them, but my husband was very curious when he first saw the cover to When you Dare”. I can’t help it if thats my favorite cover…I do not advertise those books though when I am in public reading. Its my dirty little secret

  6. I can’t wait to get an eReader so that the cover for the fun stuff is not a stifle bunny to public reading!

  7. Feather Stone

    Okay, I’ll be the first to admit I like a cover with a great male body exposed in all his glory. Not hard to tell that at my more mature years it’s been a while since I’ve been up close and personal with a man of that description. Oh the days of my youth! So, I will pick up the sexy books so long as it has a great plot. No doubt I should be reading your books since they seems to fall into that category. They sound pretty steamy. I just don’t have time to read these days. Oh well, winter is coming – perfect time sit down with a glass of sweet red wine and an Omnific author’s book.
    Feather

  8. Honestly, I can’t bring myself to read books w/ sleazy covers—I admit I prejudge them and assume the writing can’t be any good if they rely on that to sell them. I’m with Jennifer—love Omnific’s classy covers.

    As far as what my kids read, I hadn’t realized my daughter was behind me looking over my shoulder while I was editing Three Daves until I heard her say “Gross!” Of course, my mother didn’t have a much better reaction when she actually read the book, haha.

  9. That’s funny to hear about you guys and your daughters. I’m not a big fan of covers with a lot of skin. They look kind of cheap to me. That’s why I love Omnific’s covers.

  10. Robin DeJarnett

    Your shmexy writing is exactly what I’m talking about! 🙂

    My daughter’s not allowed near my book either. She swears she is buying it the day she goes to college. I stick my fingers in my ears and do the la-la-la thing. Once she’s out of the house, I won’t stop her, but I don’t want to hear about it either!

  11. I don’t hide my books from my girls, but I also make sure they know they aren’t allowed to read them. Well, the little ones anyway. My oldest is 17 and I was reading plenty of sex-filled books at that age, most of which came from my mother, lol. She’s not a big reader like I am, so at this point, it’s not a huge issue. My middle daughter (age 10) loves books as much as I do, and I have a feeling I’ll be battling with her with regard to what is “age appropriate” for her in the very near future. Right now she’s reading The Hunger Games.

    Now, if we’re talking about the shmexy stuff I write. Nope. I don’t want them reading it. Ever! Lol! Awkward!

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