You know, I just had this fairly salacious topic all ready to go today… and then I decided to save it for next week. I’m just not in the mood.

And then I thought – that could be a topic all on its own. Is anyone in romance ever allowed to be simply “not in the mood”? I’m rifling through my mental library and coming up empty. I can think of scenes where some “headache” or “female troubles” complaint is issued, but it’s always insincere. The complainer usually secretly longs to be ravished anyhow. And often enough, she gets her wish. And the men – I don’t think most romance heroes even have a switch that turns them off.

Anyone out there read or written a true “not in the mood” scene? Or is that just too real-life for a romantic fantasy?

I’m coming up on a scene in my WIP where the hero turns down the offer of more, because what he wants at that moment is just a kiss. But he’s still in the mood. Hm.

15 comments to “TMI Tuesday – Not in the mood.”

  1. Maggie Robinson
    · December 4th, 2007 at 5:08 am · Link

    I’ve read stuff where the heroine doesn’t like sex with the hero, period, until something happens to change her mind. But I think you’re right—who wants to read something so true to life? At least in books the kids are tucked in the nursery with a nanny and aren’t standing in the doorway wondering what the hell is going on.

  2. terrio
    · December 4th, 2007 at 9:05 am · Link

    I think it’s often the case where the hero is not in the mood because the offer is presented by someone other than the heroine. The case may be he’s trying to use another woman to forget the heroine, to get back at the heroine, to prove he doesn’t want the heroine – but in the end he can’t do it because it’s not HER.

    I’m sure there are books out there where the heroine decides she’s too tired but as Maggie mentions, who wants to read that much reality? We live that one.

  3. Santa
    · December 4th, 2007 at 9:41 am · Link

    There might, be in the first two pages following a forced marriage of convenience, where the heroine wants no part of sex because the marriage is not based on love or she may have what she thinks is a tendre for some other man. We all know that doesn’t last long because the hero is HOT and she’d be out of her mind not to want him to make love to her.

    The same holds true for the hero who may have been trapped into such a marriage and, again, it’s only for a few pages because he comes to see his bride, much against his will, as the woman for him.

    Having said all that, I don’t ever recall seeing any of that in a contemporary romance.

  4. Tessa Dare
    · December 4th, 2007 at 10:21 am · Link

    Having said all that, I don’t ever recall seeing any of that in a contemporary romance.

    LOL, Santa – makes you glad to live in modern times, doesn’t it?

    I agree that with the three of you, and for the most part, I’d say boredom has no place in a romance novel. But I think I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more cuddling from time to time. That’s an important part of believing the emotional intimacy, for me.

    Ervin said something like this on his blog, and Mr. Dare once told me essentially the same thing – guys know it’s love when they don’t feel like getting up and leaving after sex. I’m trying to make sure I include that in the book I’m writing now. I think it’s sort of missing in GOTH.

    Terri said, I’m sure there are books out there where the heroine decides she’s too tired…

    But ain’t it the truth that the hero is NEVER too tired? It doesn’t matter what the man’s just done – fought a three-day battle, rescued orphans from a factory blaze, walked from Cornwall to York… he is never, ever too tired. LOL.

  5. terrio
    · December 4th, 2007 at 11:52 am · Link

    Wait, didn’t Damon fall asleep in Desperate Duchesses? LOL! But he did wake up and make it up to her. *sigh* I love that scene.

    You know Tessa, that thing about not wanting to get up and leave after sex makes perfect sense. And hits a little closer to home than I like…

  6. Renee Lynn Scott
    · December 4th, 2007 at 1:27 pm · Link

    Interesting. I never thought of that before.

    I actually I just finished reading a book where the heroine falls asleep in the hero’s arms. He has just learned of his father’s death and she came to comfort him. I don’t think that this is a case of not in the mood, but it was sweet.

  7. Lindsey
    · December 4th, 2007 at 3:12 pm · Link

    It took me awhile to think of one, but Edith Layton’s To Wed a Stranger – the heroine’s recovering from a really serious illness that’s left her thin and unattractive and is looking for reassurance from her husband, who’s all “um, I don’t think you’re well enough yet” because he’s turned off by her frailty. I think there’s also at least one Mary Balogh where a h/h in a forced marriage avoid each other after an awkward consummation.

    But these, and any other examples I can come up with, are all within marriage (in historicals), where the couple doesn’t really know each other well, and where there are extenuating circumstances. I think it’s probably rare – especially in contemporaries – because there aren’t many romances that are really about marriage – where there are kids and stressful days at work and in-laws in town or whatever. It’s easy to be in the mood when the sex is all urgent and forbidden, as it is in most romances.

  8. CM
    · December 4th, 2007 at 5:45 pm · Link

    Hm. Mr. Milan and I have never had a “not in the mood” conversation–at least, not in words. There’s so much information conveyed in how you kiss, how you touch the other person. I can usually tell when he’s really in the mood, and he can usually tell when I’m really in the mood, and we can usually tell when the other really isn’t, and it all gets argued on a physical level, so to speak. Although it’s not really arguing.

    I like to think that something of that is happening in the romance novel. But it just doesn’t seem like it.

    But then again, it feels like almost everything in the romance novel turns into sex. The heroine learns her brother shot her mother, her dog got run over by a car, and she has cancer, and he’ll end up boinking her and making everything right with the power of his cock.

    I can’t think of any scenes where she’s willing to screw him, generally, but not at that particular moment. Even when it’s wildly inappropriate–like, they are running from the Mad Duke of Heroine Killing. Then they must still stop to screw in an inn.

    Let’s elevate this discussion to TMI:

    1. Screwing someone five times in one night, in a historical, without lube? OUCH.

    2. I’m always shocked when relationships go on for months without any discussion of what they do when she’s having her period. Usually, that’s only brought up in its absence–as in, shit, I am pregnant. Or it’s mentioned in the positive: as in, I got my period, I can’t be pregnant. Does anyone know of a single romance novel where there’s penetration during flow?

  9. Alice Audrey
    · December 4th, 2007 at 7:20 pm · Link

    Simply and only not in the mood? I can’t think of a one.

  10. India Carolina
    · December 4th, 2007 at 7:47 pm · Link

    Nope. Can’t think of any! Can think of lots where they abstain for reason XYZ, but none of those reasons are that they aren not in the mood.

    To elevate to TMI, are some of you saying that when you are with your best guy or mate you are sometimes NOT in the mood????

  11. Santa
    · December 4th, 2007 at 9:51 pm · Link

    Sure, aren’t there days when you just can’t stand the sight of your mate and evoke the great Gloria Swanson – I vant to be alone!

  12. Lindsey
    · December 5th, 2007 at 7:06 pm · Link

    LOL – excellent points, CM. There are a couple JoBevs, I think, where marital relations are interrupted by the heroine’s period. And isn’t it in Potent Pleasures where they have sex (off-screen) when she thinks she’s on her period, but it’s really light bleeding as a side effect of her pregnancy? That’s the closest I can think of…

  13. Anonymous
    · December 5th, 2007 at 9:03 pm · Link

    CM, There is one novel I know of where they have sex during that time of the month. Jayne Ann Krentz’ The Golden Chance. The heroine is slightly embarrassed, the flow is admittedly light, but true love, um, lust triumphs.

  14. Tessa Dare
    · December 6th, 2007 at 11:59 am · Link

    These are great comments everybody. So, if we’ve failed to think of a “not in the mood” scene in existing romance … does that mean one of us ought to write one? I think so.

  15. lacey kaye
    · December 10th, 2007 at 1:27 am · Link

    LOL, T. You seem to be on your own with that one.