Between the Sheets

Is variety the spice of life?

I set one of my TSR goals for this year to be following through on at least one of the two series I’ve nebulously started, but I haven’t quite pinned down what I wanted to write. Until today. I’ve revisited a series that I’ve had on my TBR for a while, and now I’ve got a little bit of inspiration. Because, you know, isn’t it kind of weird that in a lot of series featuring siblings, they all have sex that’s pretty much…the same?

I mentioned this to Holly and Ingrid a long time ago, thinking about the Bridgerton books. Or the Cynster books (in which case it’s not all siblings, but the whole extended family of cousins). Some of Eloisa James’s series. (I used to read mostly a very specific kind of historical romance – can you tell?) Or name-a-series. I remember being delightedly surprised when it looked like Lisa Kleypas was going to finally have a little deviation in the Ravenels series when Gabriel was all up in his feelings about how kinky he was…only for the moment to arrive and he simply held Pandora’s hands behind her back. Was it your relatively standard histrom heat? Perhaps not. Was it depraved, like Gabriel intimated? Uh, no. 

To a certain extent, this is understandable. On the one hand, lower-heat, vanilla, P-in-V sex is perhaps more common in the general public than name-another-sexytimes. Or at least more common for a first interlude, which is typically what we’re getting in these series. People might not be so inclined to get wild with a bunch of kink and dirty talk before they get more comfortable together. On the other hand, there is something to be said for an author’s brand, and it’s easy to consider that an author would stick to a) what they’re comfortable writing and b) what is selling for them. And there is the writing advice to treat sex like a sub-plot, in which case it’ll be at least three scenes escalating that “sub-plot”, which often ends up being something like: missed the kiss, finally kiss, genital stimulation, penetrative sex. So there’s a bit of a formula there. 

I’m very focused on the vanilla sex here, but I would probably have a similar reaction to a long sibling series in which they all have the exact same super kinky sex. I think it’s just that personally I haven’t read a lot of sibling series by an author who writes kinkier sex, and also in my experience authors who write kink seem to like to explore different kinds of kink. Although, I will say that I noticed during my Kristen Ashley binge that, like, all of the Rock Chick guys have pretty much the same kind of sex, so it’s not a strictly sibling series thing, but in my head I can make allowances for a friend group having more similarities/similar mindsets than a family where the relationship isn’t chosen. If that makes sense.

Anyway, it’s just struck me as weird that every single family member in a huge series ends up having the same sex. Same emotional beats. Same verbal rhythm. It seems to me like a place where an author’s heat-level brand and real life might not jive. 

So back to the series that I’ve been reading and the reason that I thought of this for my first post about sex writing: I’ve been continuing the Bergman Brothers series by Chloe Liese, and the siblings don’t all have the same kind of sex. (Full disclosure: I skipped the marriage in trouble book 3 because Holly read it, and I’m so hot/cold about marriages in trouble that it was the best choice for me right now.) The series is pretty great, and it’s all down to the fact that Liese really ties the characters’ feelings about their sexual interactions to their personal journeys and to the way they emotionally engage with each other. So the communication is different. The concerns and comfort levels are different. Some of the kinks are different. They’re not significantly different. But enough to make me really feel like each sibling’s relationship is a unique emotional and physical bond. So that’s pretty cool.

Have you noticed any trends like this in your own reading? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

1 thought on “Is variety the spice of life?”

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