46 Reasons Why We Can’t Have Sex

So fertile!

I met my wife in a bar. I saw her across a crowded room (literally) and thought, “I’ll marry her.” She thought, “yep!” Fifteen years later, we are one of the happiest couples I know.

Our story does not make for a good romance novel.

I’ve been thinking about romance novels a lot now that I’ve sent The Purveyor, sequel to my thriller The Admirer, to the publisher. Both novels are dark and brooding, with a disproportionate [to actual New England population] number of serial killers, so I decided my next writing project would be something light: a romance.

I love romance.  But romance novels are tough to plot. According to Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature by Janice Radway, romance readers want to know who the love interest is from page one. Some romance imprints also require a sex scene (between the principles) every 40 to 50 pages. BUT…the couple cannot waltz happily into the sunset until the end of the book.

What stands in their way? That is challenge of the romance. They cannot simply look at each other, like each other, and then, for no logical reason, refuse to act.

So, for myself, and for all romance writers out there, I have taken on the challenge of inventing 100 reasons why we cannot sleep together even though every single reader knows we will by the end of the book.  I hope the comments will provide other reasons that I have yet to consider.

Reasons Why We Cannot Sleep Together (Yet)

  1. It is 1800.
  2. You are Amish.
  3. I am a priest.
  4. You are in jail.
  5. I am a respectable old lady.
  6. You are the wealthy dictator of a small country.
  7. I am Romeo.
  8. You are Juliet.
  9. I’ve spent my entire life distrusting people like you.
  10. You are married to my sister.
  11. I spurned you in high school.
  12. We are stuck on a life raft.
  13. I am an environmentalist.
  14. You are building a casino on top of a coral reef
  15. You are my student.
  16. I am your doctor.
  17. You are my father’s best friend.
  18. We are competing for the same job.
  19. I just took over your company.
  20. We met by chance. I lost your number.
  21. You are investigating a murder.
  22. I am the suspect.
  23. You are the daughter of a mob boss.
  24. I am the assassin sent to kill you.
  25. We are attorneys on opposite sides of the courtroom.
  26. Zombies are trying to kill us.
  27. I used to be a man.
  28. You are a pirate.
  29. I live in a barren, post-apocalyptic wasteland and see you only through a high tech periscope.
  30. You are a ghost, and I can only see you at night.
  31. I have forgotten my true identity after being struck on the head by a brick.
  32. You are being deported.
  33. I am a drug smuggler.
  34. We are on a spaceship surrounded by parasitic alien lifeforms that want to live in our stomachs.
  35. I breed prize winning chihuahuas, and you are my largest competitor.
  36. I breed prize winning chihuahuas, and you hate them.
  37. I breed prize winning chihuahuas, and they attacked you while you were out walking, chased you down, and hospitalized you with a thousand tiny bites (like piranha).
  38. You are a world traveler.
  39. I have never left Brooklyn.
  40. I am gay.
  41. You live in Utah.
  42. I have written a novel that reveals all your secrets to the public.
  43. You are a paparazzi.
  44. I am a closeted movie star.
  45. We are trapped in an ice cave.
  46. I feed off the blood of the living.

As you can see, I was only able to come up with 46.  Do not leave me adrift on a life raft full of vampire chihuahua. Please add your own romance impediments to the comments section below.


Karelia is author of The Admirer, a guilty-pleasure thriller for the discerning reader.
Her first romance is represented by Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.


The photo used in this post was taken by Chris Breeze and shared under Creative Commons licence 2.0.  You can find the original photo here. I cropped the photo to 700 X 500 pixels.

14 thoughts on “46 Reasons Why We Can’t Have Sex

  1. Hey, respectable old ladies need love too! I personally share any aversion to chihuahuas. I hate those yappy, shaky things.
    My reasons…
    1.You are already in a committed relationship…with a sheep
    2.You are my babysitter
    3. I’m joining the nunnery..tomorrow
    4. Your idea of culture is ogling the Playboy centerfold
    5..You belong to the Westboro group. No one on earth should be able to sleep with them.
    6..I’m a Duggar girl. We don’t DO things like that, until we are married of course, and then we pop out babies like rabbits.
    7..You work for the Enquirer.
    8. You have only three teeth


  2. I absolutely loved this post and will probably be referring back to it if I ever decide to write a straight up romance novel.
    My reasons are:
    I am a clown, and you have crippling coulrophobia.
    I live in Ancient Greece, you live in twenty-first century Manhattan, and I can’t find my TARDIS.
    You’re straight.
    I’m married to someone else.
    I’ve been dead for ten years.
    You’re too emotionally closed up to fall in love.


  3. Forbidden love of the religious, social status, or lawless varieties are painful and tempting and the highlands of trope. Paranormal romance on the order of ghosts and vampires was already well-covered by Anne Rice and those that hacked after her. But for my money, the favorites are always sci-fi and apocalypse related. Since everything is fracked, that really means, we should absolutely have more sex.

    Your 46 are smartly cultivated and hilarious!

    My faves of yours:
    + Zombies are trying to kill us.
    + I live in a barren, post-apocalyptic wasteland and see you only through a high tech periscope.
    + We are on a spaceship surrounded by parasitic alien lifeforms that want to live in our stomachs.

    As I learned from watching the amazing film Mr. Nobody last night with Jared Leto. It’s gets really confusing when you’re the last human who actually loved and had sex to procreate, and his inability to make a decision shows his alternate life paths and romance lines spiral out and interconnect. Some other impediments are:

    + You married me, but 3 children later, you’re still depressed about your teenage unrequited love over an oily bohunk named Stefano.
    + Our life is one of futuristic luxury and quasi-futuristic clothing, but also one of utter boredom.
    + I’ve been in love with you from afar since grade school swim classes. Our parents cheated on their spouses and met in secret, and now, we all live together like one big humping family, but we’re not allowed to have this torrid romance as step-sister and brother, even though we’re not related.


    1. You got some good ones there! I thought about the stepbrother stepsister angle but I wasn’t brave enough to go there, but I am glad you did because I could totally see that happening! I also thought about the “I am sixteen, you are 18 and that is now called statutory rape” angle. When I was a teenager, we just called dating a cool older guy/girl.


  4. Ha! 45 excellent reasons. I question #12 unless one or both of you are fishing for survival or your chapped lips and sunburns make romance a challenge. 🙂
    Great blog.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s