Erection Objection: Too Much Wood is No Good

I’m feeling a bit punchy after a couple of very long work days, so here’s a quick ranty post on something that’s been bugging me lately in romance. You’ll have to click “continue reading” below to read my somewhat NWS rant, but if you’re in the mood for some tamer and more thoughtful blog material, head over to Teach Me Tonight’s post on Bust Culture: Notes From the Great Recession, whose accompanying image actually gave me the idea for this post:


The erections. They have to stop. Ok, not stop completely. I’m on board with explicit references if they occur after what the older folks used to call “heavy petting”, or, of course, in the context of an actual sex scene. Even sporting one after a sexy dream about the heroine is ok.

But the free range erections that heroes across the sub genres seem to grow when they so much as see, smell or even think about the heroine are just too much. No control = not sexy. And maintaining those erections in between heroine sightings, for hours, is, as we all know —  having been subjected to countless Cialis commercials — a sign of a serious problem. Again, not sexy.

Oh, and having the hero’s friends remark on the erection? Squick. 

I get it: he wants her. He wants her so badly that his penis acts like a homing pigeon when she is within sight. Signs of physical arousal are indeed important to communicate. But must authors always go for the big guns … I mean, gun? I guess writers can’t give heroes tingly nipples, but can’t they come up with a male equivalent of the smaller bodily changes that signal a heroine’s desire?

I’m just one reader, and probably in the minority, since pogo-penises seem so rampant lately. On the other hand, I know I’m not the first to complain about this particular strain on reader suspension of disbelief (the guy can’t keep it down, yet when he gets to the actual lovemaking, he’s charlie all night. Right.)

To me, a hero who walks around with with an erection is about as sexy as this:



Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.


14 responses

  1. You forgot to mention the clueless heroine who doesn’t notice that the guy she just met has an erection every time he sees her. And these aren’t your regular sized penises either, we’re talking thick, veiny, long, velvety, monstrous manhoods, which are very hard to hide, so the clueless heroine needs to start noticing the pervy guy that gets magically horny every time he sees her and just run for the hills because that’s just not normal…


  2. I’m all for realism in my romance fantasy and you are right. The free range erection is cartoony (and snortworthy since you’re talking about cocks). Any scene were the penis is the leading the hero and I roll my eyes and think slapstick comedy. And now I’ll think Foghorn Leghorn.


  3. As John Scalzi would say, pogo-penises is the name of my next band! It’s a brilliant description of a fad that I’ve noticed lately, as well. But, honestly, I think that the whole lust shtick is getting a little bit old. I don’t want just kiss-and-fade-to-black romances, but it seems more and more difficult to find a couple who… I don’t know, takes more than three seconds to start lusting after each other — of which the pp’s are just one symptom. Doesn’t anyone just start out liking each other any more?


  4. I totally agree. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a book where his buddies comment on it, but ewwww! It all makes the heroes seem like they’re stuck in junior high, which, as you say, is not sexy.


  5. Pingback: Stumbling Over Chaos :: In which it is Friday and there is linkity and no one is surprised at all

  6. @Victoria Janssen:

    I think the pogo-penis is just lazy.

    You said pogo and my mind said bogo because I’ve been on the buy one get one free kick.

    So I guess the question I must ask myself is would I be lazy if I had bogo-penis fest. Or would it just be way too much work. Perhaps I’d have to give one away. But would it be the gift that kept on giving or some flowery dud?


  7. Yes, so creepy, especially when it’s at a very inappropriate time, like say the heroine was just knocked unconscious and the hero is staring at her prone body. Eww. Every so often I do run into the female equivalent though – the heroine’s nipples just will not stop getting hard around the hero, and her panties are all wet in EVERY SCENE. Blerg, make it stop.


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