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Is Hot the new Warm?

19 May 2017

From All About Romance:

One of the things readers consistently tell us they like are our sensuality ratings. They’ve been a part of AAR since its inception and we think they help readers find books they love. We’ve not revised them, however, in quite some time and, with the trend towards more sex and more graphic sex in romance, we feel we may need to.

Here are our current definitions:

Kisses: Kisses only. Many of these books are quite simply “sweet.”

Subtle: No explicit sensuality. Kissing and touching, but physical romance is described in general terms or implied. The emphasis is on how lovemaking made the characters feel emotionally, and not on graphic description.

Warm: Moderately explicit sensuality. Physical details are described, but are not graphically depicted. Much is left to the reader’s imagination.

Hot: More explicit sensuality. Sex is described in more graphic terms. Hot books typically have more sex scenes and are more likely to depict acts beyond intercourse.<

Burning: Extremely explicit sensuality – these books are often erotic romances or flatout erotica.

We’ve thought about narrowing the system down–this would only be for 2017 and beyond–to Subtle, Warm, and Hot. We’ve also considered leaving the four of the five levels in place and getting rid of Burning.

Link to the rest at All About Romance

You can share your opinions about AAR’s ratings system at the link.

PG has lead a largely monk-like and innocent life, so he had no opinions or knowledge of sensuality ratings. So he did some research.

RomCon’s Heat Scale ratings are:

1) None
2) Sweet
3) Mild
4) Hot
5) Wild Ride
6) Blood Thirsty

Harper Impulse’s A Romance Rookie’s Guide to Heat Levels lists:

  1. Sweet
  2. Moderate
  3. Sensual
  4. Erotic

Author Tori MacAllister discusses Romance Times’ list:

  1. Scorcher
  2. Hot
  3. Mild

PG found several references to Simon & Schuster Great Balls ‘o Fire ratings and a related flamometer system, but was unable to locate technical specifications other than one reference to a 1-5 Balls ‘o Fire scale.

Since this is such an ambiguous area, PG decided to create the Last Romance Rating System You’ll Ever Need:

  1. Buick – your grandmother’s idea of romance
  2. Cast Iron Skillet – for outdoor enthusiasts
  3. Springbok – lots of running and jumping
  4. Committee – an agenda is involved
  5. Amoebic – there’s always a split at the end

PG waives all of his intellectual property rights to the Last Romance Rating System You’ll Ever Need (LRRSYEN) and irrevocably places it in the public domain for the free use of all raters, amateur and professional.


15 Comments to “Is Hot the new Warm?”

  1. LOL. The world needs more Buick heat romances!

  2. ROFL! I love your scale! But I’ll stick with Buick, myself.

  3. I read TPV every cotton-pickin’ day – and one of the reasons is the wonderfully worded opinions of our host.

  4. Marvelous – 5. Amoebic – there’s always a split at the end

  5. “Cast Iron Skillet” – which help’s explain why the old man’s head is shaped funny and his eyes don’t always track the same way (but he thought himself quite the wit in his younger days – sadly the ‘now’ old lady didn’t agree.)

  6. In the OP, both of the suggestions for trimming the list involve dropping Burning. Why? By the definitions there seems to be a definable category beyond Hot.

    Do they simply not want to taint themselves by acknowledging such books? When the MPAA devised the movie rating system, the only rating mark they did not trademark was X, explicitly because they didn’t want to be associated with those types of films. The result was the X mark was appropriated by straight out porn, and for many years there was no usable rating mark for mainstream films beyond R.

    • Dexter von Dexterdorf

      S, T, U, V, W, Y, Z????

      I will go with U for “YoU will be Uncomfortable Watching this with your adult children”

      I actually like how TV does it, listing out the things to expect. TV-MA for violence in Walking Dead is a lot different than TV-MA for say, Californication.

    • Perhaps the word burning has some unpleasant associations in this context?

  7. Thanks, PG!

  8. I bet Grandma’s Buick had a huge backseat. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

  9. LOL at Buick rating. On the way to Lake Tahoe last year I took a pic of a friend’s dashboard because it was the first Buick I’d ever ridden in. And we were all very well behaved inside it. The rating works.

  10. Have they considered something like the Scoville scale? Goes all the way from “may give you a mild tingle” up to (and through) “will make your eyes bleed, and your hair fall out.”

  11. I want warning labels like “Modern people wandering around in Regency costume for no reason”, “No plot found”, and “Severe anatomical implausibility” 😀

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