As varied as the romance genre is, there are a couple things most romance novels have in common.
1. They are mostly written and read by women.
2. There is usually some description of arousal, both female and male.
Reading over and over how women describe the sensations men experience has made me wonder whether readers accept some cliches because we think they’re sexy, or whether we just don’t know any better. After all, I’ll never have an erection.
There’s one erection myth perpetuated in romance novels that really annoys me as a reader.
Let me preface this by saying that the romance genre is not about recreating real life exactly as it is. Although I love my novels to be realistic, real life isn’t always sexy and romance novels should be – at least, the ones I want to read will be. So I’m not asking for romance writers to be faithful to reality when writing about arousal – just to think beyond cliches and find a more interesting way to describe our heroes.
So what’s the erection myth that bugs me like no other?
He gets an erection every time he sees, hears or smells a woman. Or, more specifically, his heroine.
This is what I think of as ‘hyperection’ – a penis that jumps up so often it may as well be a basketball player. It’s often described with this sentence: “And just like that, he got hard.”
I swear, if I had a penny for every time I’ve read that…
This is common with heroes written by inexperienced writers, probably because it seems like an easy way to increase sensual tension. Unfortunately, it’s not all that sexy and it distracts from the fact that tension between a hero and heroine should come from who they are as people instead of what they look like, or how often they’re erect.
I’m as guilty as anyone of writing the pogo-penis. The hero of my first novel suffered this worse than any 15-year-old boy.
Are there any erection cliches that annoy you in novels? Go on – be brave and share!