18+, 15+ – should we use age-limit ratings on sexy books? #ratings #books #sex #amwriting #hotromance #agerestrictions #adultsonly

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Call me old fashioned, but when I write a hot sex scene in one of my erotic romances, I don’t want my mid-teen girls reading it. Or anyone’s mid-teen kids.

It is written for adults.

So I am surprised that very few romances seem to have any kind of age warning on them. I have read some that have pretty explicit sex scenes in them and no warnings. And I wonder whether something should be done about that.

So I have included an age rating on all of my books. It is probably a bit conservative by today’s standards, but that’s fine. If my book says 18+, I think it helps people to know what to expect. And if people prefer to avoid books with lots of sex scenes/adult themes/erotica, then they can avoid the 18+ books. Some of mine are 15+ (sex scenes, but less strong adult themes) – so again people know what to expect. I am also currently working on a few books that I will rate “G”. They are what would be described as ‘sweet’ romance. (eg. ‘Lady Sophie’s Dilemma’)

I have been discussing this issue with some of my network, and many say things like “Why would you put a rating on your books when you don’t have to?” Or “No one else is doing it.”

My answer is – I may not have to do it, but I feel I should. And just because few other people do it, is no reason for me to just follow the pack.

I figure that if films and TV shows all have ratings and warnings, there is no reason why I can’t base my own ratings on those. This will give my readers a clear idea of what to expect. After all, I don’t want people to read my books if they are not going to enjoy them, and I appreciate that some readers don’t like sex and erotica. So my books will have ratings, and I am also including ‘warnings’ on the copyright page where appropriate, such as “This book contains sex scenes and adult themes”.

Some of my books in particular will need to be read with caution (even if I do say it myself). ‘The Secret Life of Eloise’ is about a woman who loves sex and uses it for her own ends. In some ways it is an anti-romance, and some of the scenes are quite extreme. So that will be 18+, and I hope those who read it will feel prepared and not get too shocked by Eloise’s antics. I could not publish something like that without some sort of warning… (I am not saying everyone else should feel the same, I just believe it is something I need to do).

So there it is – I would be interested to know what you think of this.

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One thought on “18+, 15+ – should we use age-limit ratings on sexy books? #ratings #books #sex #amwriting #hotromance #agerestrictions #adultsonly

  1. I think this is a good idea. When I was a teenager, I was exploring romance books and got caught out by this. I bought a couple of books that I probably shouldn’t have been reading at that age. I don’t see the difference between seeing a sex scene in a film and reading about it in a book. The same goes for gore and violence, really.

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