Guest Post

Guest Poest: When Size Matters: a Sexy Romance Writer’s Dilemma by Ally Bishop

Insert snicker here, right? Let’s be honest, size does matter when writing romance, especially when it comes to sexy times. But not always in the ways you think. However, I’ll cover all the bases. I don’t want you to think I title-baited you to read my post. 😉

1. How many sex scenes should my book have? As a professional editor, I get this question a lot. The answer is tough because it depends on your writing style, your previous books, and the genre/subgenre you write in. But here’s an easy rule of thumb: for sexy/erotic romances, go for 5-8 scenes per 50K words. For straight up contemporary romance/romantic suspense/etc., 3-4 sexy interludes are appropriate. Can you deviate? Sure! But make sure your focus is on the romance and/or subplot, and not just the sex. Unless you are writing erotica, your romantic novel should focus on the main characters’ emotional growth and tension.

2. How long should my…see, I know what you are thinking. Mind out of the gutter! How long should your sex scene be? Ah, the challenging issue: how much detail is too much? And how many pages should the steamy times cover? Assuming 250 words/page, I would suggest aiming for 2-4 pages maximum. Mind you, your heated trysts might be shorter—maybe only a page. Check out some of the well-reviewed books in your genre to see what’s popular and use that as a guide. (My husband thought my sex scenes were too short!)

3. How big should…you know…the parts be? If you’re anything like me, you are torn on this issue. Do I stick with the reported average? Do I get creative? Are porn movies considered an accurate source? Trust me—porn movies aren’t a good reference. Rather than get caught up on dimensions and sizes, stick with complimentary adjectives that are a bit subjective. To our heroine, the hero’s parts—all of them—are impressive, responsive, and irresistible. To our hero, the heroine’s breasts are the perfect size for his palm, her hips delightful, and her thighs shapely.

Does size matter? Yes, it certainly does under some circumstances. But the most important thing that you can do is write a story that matches your audience’s expectations while balancing that against the story you believe in. Not always an easy task, but I think you’ll find it’s always worth it.

While I’m here…I have a book that’s been published. Today, actually. And we all know how fun it is to promote your own work, right? So I’ll just leave this link here and scamper off in the other direction. Deal?


What happens in love might destroy you…
Or remake you all together.

I make a living offering men and women their ultimate fantasies…as submissives of the mysterious Mistress Hathaway.

I’ve never surrendered to anyone. That’s not the way it works. Or rather, not the way I operate.

But when the gorgeous Fin MacKenzie shows up in my life, he throws everything out of balance.

Now I’m not sure who I am anymore, and I’m questioning everything.

What woman can turn away from a gorgeous Scotsman, especially when he sets her body on fire and her heart ablaze?

I have to stop it…us. I can’t keep going like this. It will ruin everything I’ve worked so hard to build.

Who am I if I surrender to him? Worse yet, who am I if I don’t?

You can find Inside the Lines on Amazon.

About Ally Bishop

Profile-photoWhen you do something effortlessly and people commend you continuously, you have found your gift.

That’s what I tell people all the time. And it’s true.

I get story. I always have. I started writing when I was 8 on a Smith Corona (the electronic kind — I’m not THAT old). I wrote stories in every spiral notebook I had. Eventually, I graduated to a Mac (yes, I’m one of THOSE people). I imagined new worlds, emotional conflicts, and HEAs while I waited at stoplights or wandered the grocery store. But here’s the thing: I didn’t just dream it up and write it down — I critiqued what I read. I knew when ideas were good, and when they stunk. I ran writing groups, judged creative contests, and eventually got two graduate degrees in writing. That’s right: I love it that much.

So here I am, years later, writing kickass heroines and devastating good guys, along with some mystery and vampires thrown in (I promise: THEY’RE COMING). And what’s really cool? I do what I love. Wanna write a success story for your life: I promise you, that’s it. Do what you love. And hopefully, you can make a living at it too. That’s the golden ticket, Charlie.

And chocolate doesn’t hurt, either…

The serious stuff:

I have an M.A. in creative writing, as well as an M.F.A. in creative writing with a focus in publishing. I produce two podcasts, host one, and am a freelance editor and publicist over at Upgrade Your Story. In my free time (what is that, exactly?), I read, workout, game, and converse. I’m a high introvert despite my extroverted behaviors, so you’ll find me behind my computer most days. I’m married to the wild and brilliant Billy Crash, have two dogs who are filing to change their species designation to “human,” and can often be found wandering Manhattan in search of the perfect writing spot.

You can find me at Twitter at @upgradestory & @allyabishopFacebookPinterest, and my website.