We erotica writers tread uneven ground on a regular basis. When it comes to sex, especially spicy, non vanilla nookie, everyone has his/her own unique personal preferences. Personally I can not stomach the thought of menage. Makes me retch. The whole sharing under mutual consent thing squicks me the hell out. I don't even like to lend out my clothes, never mind my man. What's mine is not yours, beeotch. I recently read a book with that particular spin on it, an otherwise awesome book and I did give it a five star review because the author is not responsible for my discomfort. What ever blows up your skirt, right?
As an writer, I realize not all readers are going to view it quite the same way. I've had a hell of a time with one particular scene in No Limits, after the hero, Rhys, and heroine, Genevieve have been together for a while with no commitment between them, no promise of a future. After tasting their own mortality and the sheer amount of hopeless odds stacked against their relationship, he pushes her away. He's convinced he is going to die and doesn't want her to grieve for him or even worse, to die along side him. This is a spin that's been used many times over but the difference here? She does it.
I really have a love/hate relationship with this scene, considered pulling it out of the book several times over. I love it because it's a red hot scene and the other man is sex on a stick. I hate cheating in general and loath it in romance novels in particular. But is it cheating when no one is getting paid and no one is being betrayed? She's hurt, he's hurting, the adrenaline is running high and there are copious amounts of booze and a little empathic intoxication going on.
There is a double standard here because I would never, ever, EVER write the man as the possible cheater, regardless of the situation. For my heroes, it's the woman I wrote for him or nothing. Might as well castrate yourself now buddy boy because the old skin boat to tuna town has sailed.
In the end, I have to accept that this element will turn some readers off. In a couple of ways it turns me off too. But in the end, the story is called No Limits for a reason. I'd be cheating my readers if I held back, whitewashed over the scene out and fluffed up some other external conflict that wouldn't require the copious amounts of soul searching this one act inspires in all of the main characters. And that's a kind of cheating I simply won't tolerate.
Acceptable or way too much? What's your take?