Everyone who reads romantic fiction has an opinion on this touchy subject (no pun intended.)
For me, the essence of a romance novel is the relationship between the main characters, and relationship must involve more than the sexual aspects.
So how the characters interact before they have a sexual encounter, their problems, their strengths and weaknesses, are far more engaging than the sex scenes themselves—not that well written sexual encounters aren’t fun reading, they absolutely are. (Emphasis here on well written.)
Emphasis as well on romance. When romance is alive and well, love scenes make the story even more enjoyable and interesting. Isn’t it fascinating to find out how the gorgeous guy goes about the process? And how the gal reacts? (I’ve always loved stories where either or both have a well developed sense of humor.) And when the writer does something ususual.
After all, what’s the best answer when a guy asks what a woman likes in bed?
Surprise me. (Vice versa as well.)
It’s also the best answer for erotic scenes in romance novels. So the question isn’t really how much sex in a romance novel is too much.
As with most things, it’s not a question of quantity.
It has to do with quality.
My personal pick for great sex scenes:
The Outlander series, of course. (By now you know this is one of my favorite series. Jamie is the epitome of a fantasy lover, and Claire is no slouch when it comes to romance.)
Nancy Warren writes great sex scenes. Read Kiss A Girl In The Rain, the first of the Take A Chance series.
Toby Neal’s books have romantic scenes that are believable and erotic.
Jo Graham is a master at writing realistic and unusual erotic encounters.
I’d love to hear your comments. What do you love? What do you hate?