Sexual Fantasy and Romance Novels

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

Sexual fantasies.  We all have them.  Whether we admit to them or not, well that’s another story altogether.  Are they too embarrassing?  Too extreme?  Or are we just too shy or reserved to fess up to what we really want with our partner?

So we have our romance novels, which are chock full of every kind of fantasy and fetish you can imagine.  The question is, where do you draw the line between what fantasies you enjoy reading about and what you really want to try in your own love life?

I’ll admit it, I love reading menage romances – most often with two men focused on one very lucky woman.  The idea of that is very heady and makes for some extremely steamy reading.  The reality?  If I suddenly found myself in that situation, I’d probably run from the room as fast as I could.  Do I frown on the practice?  Nope, not for consenting adults.  I just don’t think I could personally handle the emotional ramifications.  Not to mention the double load of dirty socks on the floor…  LOL

And I love reading BDSM romance.  Do I really want to be whipped?  Not on your life, but I enjoy reading it when it is well-written.  The act of total submission in real life would probably not work for me.  But the idea of completely letting go and giving your trust to a special guy who knows just what you need even before you do is very erotic.  So I read about it.

But enough about me…  I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the subject.  Where do you draw the line?  Are there things you enjoy reading that you would absolutely never try in real life?  Has that boundary expanded a bit after reading a certain book?

Whether you post anonymously or under your real name, we’re interested in your opinion and as to whether or not reading romance has added to your fantasies?  Are there any specific books that have inspired new fantasies for you?

22 Responses to “Sexual Fantasy and Romance Novels”

  1. Denise Says:

    Nice post! I’d have to say that my BDSM fantasies have increased since I’ve started reading erotic romance. I’ve had a couple of short term relationships with a dominant but nothing of substance and nothing recently. The act of total submission arouses me greatly but there are quite a few scenes I’ve read that I would never do in person. It’s one thing to get caught up in the moment on the page, and quite another to even consider doing so in real life. It’s not so much embarassing as it just doesn’t turn me on when I think of ME involved in the same scenes.

    The menage scenes, when written intelligently and with a lot of emotional depth (ie: Decadent by Shayla Black) is also very arousing. However, in ‘real’ life, I couldn’t imagine myself with two men or even sharing a man with another woman. Like you, the potential emotional fallout would be just too much to handle.

    Again, great post. Made me think! Something quite difficult at 11pm 😉


  2. Jennifer A. Ray Says:

    Ooohhh… Decadent! I LOVE that book! Of course, I’m a big fan of Shayla Black’s work, so that isn’t a huge surprise, I guess… :)

    Your response was extremely well thought out for after 11pm!

  3. SABRINA PUG Says:


    Awesome blog!! Trust me when I say, you are not the only one. I read Wicked, and OMG!! It was my first erotic book ever, and besides that, it was the first book I’ve picked up in years. I felt the inner vixen I never knew I had come ALIVE!! Some of the things in that book, I brought to my own bedroom, and hubby…. is ALL FOR IT!! I also read Decadent, and liked it as well. But my heart belongs to BDSM! I love to read where the woman is the submissive, and the thought of someone watching…. wet panties!! I’ll never forget when Morgan and Jack were in the play room, and she turned her head to see Deke watching them… OH YAH!! In reality though, I find myself more apt to being dominant.

    So these days, I find myself an addict looking for my next great read, whereas just a couple of months ago I hadn’t picked up a book in years!! The awesome writing abilities of these ladies who give very descriptive details of intimacy… I’m hooked!! They are wonderful writers!!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!!

  4. Stacy ~ Says:

    Hey Jen, great topic 😉

    I have to say I liked Shayla Black’s “Wicked Ties” way more than “Decadent”. “Decadent” just didn’t work for me, but it wasn’t the sex, it was the overly tortured characters that didn’t work for me. But I’m glad other readers were able to enjoy it *g*

    I definitely think my fantasies have gotten wilder since reading erotic romance, and thanx to authors like Lacey Alexander, Lora Leigh, Emma Holly and many others, it’s definitely made it seem more “okay” to have these fantasies and not feel embarrassed or ashamed. Women should enjoy their sexuality and finding out what works for them, and reading romance definitely has given us an outlet to discuss and fantasize.

    Like you said, the reality of them is totally different, and I myself love the menage stories but don’t think I would try something that in real life because of the emotional aspect. I also like the light bondage stories. I’ve read a few that totally turn me off too, but that’s okay. Everyone’s different. And if you try those fantasies out in real life, more power to ya.

  5. Lea Says:

    Hi Jennifer:

    Excellent post, well worded with intriguing questions. I too read and enjoy erotic romance, dark erotica, and erotic PNR. Like you ménage stories are favorites. Maya Banks’, fabulous story “Coulter’s Woman”, is a particular favorite.

    I’ve been in a monogamous marital relationship for more years than I care to admit. However, if I were single? hmmmmmm….

    I have to admit, my boundaries with respect to a personal sexual encounter have expanded exponentially along with the types erotic fantasy stories I have enjoyed reading over the years.

    So, given the opportunity, I wouldn’t be opposed to entering into a ménage encounter as long as the men were on the same page as I with respect to enjoying the experience for what it might be.

    Where I hit the wall is BDSM. I read the books and when the story is well written I enjoy it. Maya Banks’, “For Her Pleasure”, IMHO is an example of a beautifully written BDSM story. However, from a personal perspective, being whipped, paddled, spanked, tied up, dominated, etc. etc. No thank you very much. While I tend to be an introvert in social situations, being a ‘submissive’ in a sexual encounter just doesn’t turn my crank as it were. 😆

    Now, I’m keeping in mind, we are talking fantasies here right? 😆

    Best Regards

  6. Annmarie Says:

    Great topic!

    I love reading about BDSM and menage too. Would NOT want to experience either. But I’m totally okay with slipping into the heroine’s shoes for the length of the book and experiencing it vicariously through her. Cause, like, HER hero is perfect. Let’s face it, perfect hero or heroine doesn’t exist in real life for any of us.

  7. Lilly Cain Says:

    Hi Jennifer

    Like you I love the menage scenes. The big problem is, I don’t share well! lol 😛 I think I would find it difficult to do, and having been in a relationship which ended because of cheating. I think it has become a fear that were anything like that to happen, the partner might find the addition more attractive than the other partner. Perhaps if it were a permanent solution, or a “strangers in the night” kind of event, then possibly… 😆


  8. Rhonda Says:

    Okay I will jump right in and say reading is a total escape for me, but does it help fulfill some extra curricular sexual fantasies I might have? Sure. There was a point and time when recreational sex was fun and exciting, oh yes, very un-pc, but there it is. I have a great marriage, great husband, oh what the hell, great sex. 😈

    I would no longer consider living out certain sexual fantasies, but I completely enjoy reading them and of course there are plenty out there I would have never come up with on my own. But I only enjoy reading them, when I care about the characters in the story, it has to be right for them or I am totally taken out of the fantasy.

  9. TK Winters Says:

    Great blog and very insightful! I think I drawn the line pretty much where you do, although there was a time in my life when I would have jumped on the chance for a threesome just to see what it was like.

    Writing and reading fantasies is my idea of being adventerous these days. LOL

  10. Ali Says:

    Interesting post, Jennifer… I’ll be honest, I love reading menages but, like you, I’d probably run scared out of the room, too, lol. As for the double load of dirty socks… umm, if there’s two of them, I’m sure I’d put one to laundry duty, lol

    As for BDSM, that’s something I would be interested in learning more of. You’re right, though, fantasy and reality are totally different.

    And, reading romances, especially erotic romances, has certainly given me more to daydream about, lol. It’s also given me some ideas 😉 lol

  11. renee demarcus Says:

    Great post, Jennifer. I love reading and writing erotic romance as well. And I believe most readers find it a terrific outlet to explore their fantasies and curiosities.

    I recently took an online course on BDSM given by a Submissive in the Lifestyle who also happens to write erotic romance. It was so enlightening and I intend to explore BDSM more in my writing. 😀

  12. Sabine Says:

    I think reading a story that really turns you on but isn’t something you would be willing to try in your own life is a testament to how well the author pulled you into the character and the story.

    I’ve spent many years in the BDSM community and there are definitely things that turn me on to read them but do not work for me in reality.

    I think it’s given me more things to consider and even experiment with, whether or not the reality is all I wished it would be.

  13. Senora Says:


    As always, I enjoy your insights. I think we all enjoy reading about things we would never do, either erotic or otherwise. I have been married for 14 years and would never really cheat on my hubby but I can do some wicked things in my fantasies. My hubby is a good guy but he’s not ripped or Alpha or even sexually creative. Reading erotic romance gives me an outlet for those things and hubby reaps the benefits. Everyone wins!

  14. Blanche Says:

    Great topic and post Jennifer!

    I’m pretty much like the rest of you, reading is an escape and a fantasty for me….I like reading about menages and most BDSM doesn’t bother to me read but that is as far as it goes. I might think twice about a certain fantasy but would never indulge……I don’t think! :mrgreen:

  15. Yosha Says:

    As one of the older members of the group, I can honestly say that I am more open to new experiences than when I was younger. And I was a wild child then.

    Would I try a menage? You bet! Let me clarify – a MFM menage, with me being the F!! 😉

    BDSM does little for me, even if well written. But that’s a personal preference issue.

    The thing I find fascinating is the fact that everyone can read and discuss and fantasize now that we have all these options available. I always knew that women discussed things that would horrify men, if the men knew. Think about the torture that we could inflict now! 😈

  16. Sukhee Says:

    Hey Jen,

    Great post, with some great questions. I agree with you that reading and expanding my horizons, sexual fantasies wise, does not necessarily mean I’d try things in real life. Menage doesn’t do much for me, at least from the emotional side of things. I can’t relate, because all I can think about are the emotional implications. Does that mean I disapprove of that lifestyle for others? In no way, shape, or form. If three people can have a loving committed relationship and make it work, then I applaud them and wish them happiness.

    And, for the sake of honesty…I gotta admit, I’d probably run from the room screaming if *I* was in a position to have a menage. I’m a scaredy cat :)

    BDSM, though…bring on the fantasies, and hell, bring on the practise! As long as it’s on the moderate end of things…wow. I’d jump all over that.

    I love that the romance/erotica genres have brought a measure of acceptability to womens’ fantasies. Sexuality is not something that should be repressed- IMO, I think it’s unhealthy and leads to problems. It’s great that women and men alike are starting to realize that not only do women have fantasies, but that they’re normal and healthy and things to be celebrated.

  17. Jennifer A. Ray Says:

    Sukhee, you bring up a good point. For a good part of my adult life, I thought some of the things I enjoyed being closed doors made me weird. I thought most other women DIDN’T like those things, that they just ‘put up’ with them in order to make their man happy.

    Reading romance and seeing some of those acts explored made me feel OK, normal even. And reading about it opened up that dialogue with female friends who now also feel OK with admitting some of the things they enjoy.

    That’s just one of the many things reading romance has done for me.

  18. Greta Says:

    Jennifer – I couldn’t express thoughts any better that what you did. I just wish it wasn’t nearly 11 and my brain was functioning at an adequate level to comment properly.

    Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

  19. Sair Says:

    Hello Jennifer,

    I agree with your ideas about what you enjoy in fantasy not always reflecting what I want in reality. I have found that D/s stories are not my cup of tea, nor would they be welcome in my sex life.

    It leads me on to the thought that even though we are reading for pleasure, we are also developing tolerances, tastes and becoming educated. What I mean is that, like you say, it opens you up to confidence in talking about your likes, understanding what makes you feel good and even where you draw the line.

    Society has had such taboos with talking about sexual feeling and practice (especially for women) that this genre is all for the good.


  20. Jennifer A. Ray Says:

    VERY well said, Sair!!

    I have really enjoyed all of the responses on this discussion so far. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by already and I hope we see some more posts in the near future.

  21. Angelique Says:

    Hey Jen!

    I am going to step out of my comfort zone and admit that menage and mild BDSM are areas I have enjoyed in my sex life with my husband. We have been happily married for 9 yrs and of our 10 yrs together have enjoyed The Lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with a couple strong in the foundations of their relationship who trust each other 100% enjoying other sexual partners either with each other present or seperately. I know for many people The Lifestyle is considered wrong and is not for everyone. I have had some wonderful experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

    I have just recently found the erotic romance genre and did not know that there were authors out there unafraid of breaching societal taboos. I feel that sexuality is beautiful and a woman finally finding her sexuality and being brave enough to explore the different aspects of it awe inspiring.

    I borrowed “Fairyville” by Emma Holly from a lifestyle friend. It combined two of my favorite genres into 1…paranormal and erotica. I will forwarn you that the menage storyline has a few twists and turns but is overall a heartwarming story and I highly recommend it.

    IMO- some societal taboos like anal sex and same sex partners are erotic and people need to stop being ashamed of admitting their personal trigger trippers no matter what society thinks is “normal”. I have always been addicted to romance novels and have found that it has opened my mind to new invigorating experiences.

    I apologize for rambling and can only blame the 18 hr shift I pulled at work today and the fact that it is 12:45 am! Thanks for your blog Jennifer, I love coming here to check it out and unwind after a hard day. Keep up the AWESOME topics!

  22. SheilaMonique Says:

    I love reading a good menage..only MFM though…I like to fantasize about it but if it came to me in real life I’d probably run like hell. As for BDSM I can only handle reading the lighter stuff and if hubby tried any of it on me I’d probably take a swing at him lol Though he did slap my ass one night while in the heat of the moment and all I could do was try to hold back the laughter.

    My personality is too strong for be to be able to “bow down” to anyone…

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