Sunday, November 27, 2011

Is the hero a perfect lover?

If romance novels are a place to escape, then of course it stands to reason the hero should be perfect and wonderful, right?  After all, who wants to escape with a dud?

According to some, the hero should be god-like in bed - almost like a pornstar without the cameras, awkward positions and intrinsic sliminess. 
Yes, the hero shall be perfect for the heroine - without the sliminess.
(Image: © Aleksas Kvedoras | Dreamstime.com)
He should last longer than any other lover.  He should be bigger.  He should be able to tease out the heroine's big "O" when no one else had ever been able to, or even if it is her first time.  He should be turned on, not off or indifferent, by any physical imperfection the heroine thinks she might have.  He is always in control.  He is an experienced, legendary lover.  He is always aware of what the heroine needs or wants or feels, even if she doesn't, and even if it is his first time. The heroine is his perfect fit and vice versa.  Their relationship outside of the bedroom may need some adjustments and growth, but when they touch everything goes forth like it has been blessed by Aphrodite. 
Indeed, the hero should be perfect. 

Except, the thing is that I don't buy that idea, because ultimately heroes are characters that are supposed to be based on living and breathing humans.  And, well, humans are not perfect. 

I've been thinking about this a lot in the last few weeks... well... since one of my critique group meetings, actually.  My hero was not a god-like pornstar, and one person concluded he was therefore "unheroic."  The other crits didn't have a problem with the scene... but this one evalutation has had me wondering - how perfect is the hero? 

[Warning: Spoilers Ahead]

In Elizabeth Hoyt's To Seduce A Sinner, after the first time the Melisande and Vale are in bed, she ends the scene being unsatisfied, thankful she hadn't been an innocent.  Vale was rumored to have been a wonderful lover, and he wasn't.

In JR Ward's Lover Awakened, Zsadist, the hero, is physically ill when Bella touches him. 

In JR Ward's Lover Enshrined, Phury is a virgin hero, who spills himself when they start getting busy (this happens more than once). 

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I liked those stories.  I like that the hero could be overwhelmed by the heroine.  I like that he isn't alway in control with her.  I like it because, in my opinion, not every hero can or should have superpowers in the bedroom every single time.

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