I prefer sexual tension to sex.
There’s a reason the characters in my novel don’t kiss for more than two-hundred and fifty pages, and it isn’t because they aren’t hot and bothered for each other after a scattering of charged dialogue. One, because it is so much more fun as a writer not to give them the things they want straightaway, and two, as a reader, the payoff is so much sweeter if I’ve been sucking my own lip for fifteen chapters in hopes they’ll get the hell over themselves and shag or snog with the wanton abandon of the young and stupid. Because I’ve never been (young). I’ve over thought just about every single thing when it comes to the opposite sex since I was old enough to develop a crush on a playmate in kindergarten over a rousing game of Hi Ho! Cherry-O.
The standard fare just isn’t enough to get me hot. It’s all bodies; no heart, no brain. Give me Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest or Son of the Shadows, especially, Tamora Pierce’s Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen, or of late M.K. Hobson’s Native Star. If I’ve read Dreadnaught Stanton purging himself in blood and desperate clinging to Emily once I’ve read it twelve times. I don’t need or want a love triangle unless it’s a reasonable complication (and not something conceived of by editors to drive teenage girls wild; I’m looking at you). And while I want love and my fair share of understated lust, there’s got to be more driving the story than the human hyperdrive to procreate.
Some of the best science fiction television programs, especially, do better than throw me a literal bone when it comes to romantic subplot. Farscape had more than Muppets with John Crichton and Aeryn Sun, and Star Trek: Enterprise’s third season boasts some of their best writing and more of Trip and T’pol than I thought I’d ever see. Don’t get me started on Ten and Rose (and don’t watch if you haven’t seen the whole of their story).
Suffice to say, I’m a sucker. But you’ve got to work for it.