What Makes a Romance Novel Amazing: Lust Versus Intimacy

Romance Readers, which of these elements is most important to you?

  • Sensuality
  • Sex and passion
  • Romantic scenes and dialogue
  • Intimacy between the characters


David R. Shumway, in his book Romance, Intimacy, and The Marriage Crisis, states “… For the discourse of intimacy emotional closeness was much more important than passion. This does not mean by any means that intimacy is to replace romance. On the contrary, intimacy and romance coexist.”  [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_(love)]

Let me repeat that. Intimacy and romance coexist. In fact, For romance to thrive, intimacy is a pre-requisite. Without intimacy, there is only lust. And intimacy is far more than sharing nakedness and bodily fluids.

After years of reading romance novels of all sub genres, I’ve been getting bored with the lack of intimacy. I discovered recently that there is a formula to writing romance novels. It appears that formula could use an update to include the characters’ growing intimacy that is outside the bedroom.

dancingLust is fun, so long as both parties are in agreement that their relationship is limited to emotional highs and physical thrills which have a short ‘shelf’ life. This is the quickie in the back seat of daddy’s caddy, an afternoon delight, and roll in the hay. No strings attached, no promises to break the heart.

Feather Stone, a saucy author/reader living life to the fullest.
Feather Stone, a saucy author/reader living life to the fullest.

In my opinion, novels of erotic and lust, while fun and titillating, generally have little staying power in the reader’s long term enjoyment.

Great romance novels are written with more than descriptions of the characters’ desire for passion and sex, more than wining the heart of the fair damsel or warrior.

One of my favorite romance stories has been Gone With The Wind. Though Rhett and Scarlet scarcely had physical contact, they knew each other intimately. The romance sizzled hot and cold. In The Abyss, Virgil and Lindsey had a deep connection (both passion and conflict), drawing in the reader to an intense plot. The reader became invested into the lives of the lovers. Their scenes are so unforgetable.

What are you favorite romance novels. What made them stand out for you. I’d love to receive your recommendations for an amazing romance novel.

3 thoughts on “What Makes a Romance Novel Amazing: Lust Versus Intimacy

  1. Feather Stone, a bit on the wild side.

    Brit romances? Probably not but if you can recommend an author, I’ll give the book a whirl. Thanks


  2. C.C. Michaels

    Check out my romance novel. It’s my first and tell me if I have enough intimacy in the story. That would really help me. I’m writing the second book to this series now.


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