In most sapphic romance novels (and in romance novels overall), the sex is always perfect. Even the characters’ first time together or one character’s first time with another woman is mind-blowing, which isn’t always realistic.
For this category of the Sapphic Book Bingo, read a sapphic book with a love scene in which the sex isn’t perfect. Something goes wrong—the dog jumps onto the bed, one of them falls asleep in the middle of things, or they fumble around for a bit while they learn what their partner likes.
I know that as readers, we sometimes want escapism and the perfect fantasy, but I think those little awkward moments can make a love scene even sweeter because we see the characters laugh about it together and witness them treat each other with respect and kindness.
Sapphic books with imperfect sex
Here are my book recommendations for the “imperfect sex” category:
Just Physical by Jae
After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, twenty-five-year-old Jill Corrigan takes herself off the romantic market. Not wanting to become a burden to a potential partner, she focuses on her career as an actress instead.
On the set of a disaster movie, she meets stunt woman Kristine “Crash” Patterson, whose easy smile instantly makes Jill wish things were different. Meanwhile, Crash is trained to fall, but she didn’t count on falling in love.
Despite their growing feelings for each other, Jill resolves to let Crash into her bed, but not her heart.
As they start to play with fire on and off camera, will they really be able to keep things just physical?
Something’s Different by Quinn Ivins
Unemployed academic Caitlyn Taylor comes home to family drama. Her carefree twin Chloe plans to ditch her job to visit a guy she met online. Caitlyn steps in to impersonate Chloe so she won’t get fired for skipping town. Unfortunately, this means answering phones for an icy, dismissive boss.
Busy college president Ruth Holloway never paid much attention to her mediocre assistant. Suddenly, “Chloe” demonstrates insight into faculty politics and a baffling talent for analytics. And since when has she been so attractive?
Caitlyn dreams of getting closer to her sister’s boss but how can she? Everything they’ve shared has been based on a lie.
Up on the Roof by A. L. Brooks
When a storm wreaks havoc on bookish Lena’s well-ordered world, her laid-back new neighbor, Megan, offers her a room. The trouble is they’ve been clashing since the day they met. How can they now live under the same roof? Making it worse is the inexplicable pull between them that seems hard to resist. A quirky romance, laced with classic British humor, about the power of opposites attracting.
Beyond Any Experience by Anne E. Terpstra
Olivia Northman’s world shattered the day she lost her wife to a drunk driver. Three years later, she still struggles with grief and the demands of being a single parent to their autistic son, Ben. After her first attempt at a new relationship crumbles, Olivia retreats to the simple, the predictable. It’s what’s best for her son and her heart.
Ellie Vasquez isn’t simple or predictable. In fact, she’s charmingly impulsive, as well as gregarious, confident, and attracted to Olivia, which she reveals in an unguarded moment. Olivia doesn’t know what’s more surprising—Ellie’s interest, or her own—but a quiet conversation over drinks soon spins into something more. As Olivia’s caution gives way to hope, she sees another chance at love, both for her, and for Ben, who takes to Ellie with a tender openness. Ellie is fearless about love in a way that makes Olivia want to be brave, but the deeper their passion, the closer she gets to drowning—in grief, in fear, in guilt. To have a future with Ellie, Olivia must come to terms with her past. If she can’t, she risks losing the second love of her life.
Bookends by Brenda Murphy
The life of university librarian, Amari Foster, is neatly cataloged. Work, home, and securing a future for her daughter are her focus. Hard-edged and handsome, she manages her private life with ruthless precision, cutting ties, and maintaining distance to protect her battered heart.
Plumber Thalia Makris has given up her dream of long-term love after a series of bad relationships. Desperate to have her own business, Thalia fills her days working overtime and her nights with fantasy novels.
After a chance encounter leaves both women wanting more than a one-night stand, they find themselves on the precipice of love. Will they take the plunge?
Caring for Amelia by Eva Reddy
Coral is a middle-aged woman caring for her mother, Amelia, in the home they share with Coral’s long-term partner, Nick. Coral’s life is turned upside down when her mother is admitted to hospital with pneumonia and is not expected to survive. Adding to Coral’s woes – after thirteen years together – Nick chooses this tumultuous time to leave Coral for another woman.
Both Coral and Amelia show true grit and personal fortitude in facing their battles and demons. Together, they begin rebuilding their lives with the help of Dr. Olivia Thomas – Amelia’s lung specialist – and Clancy – the nurse assigned to help Amelia with in-home medical treatment and personal care.
Coral accepts that she is unlikely to find another lover while she is providing her mother with such high level care in her home. Especially since she is ‘over the hill’ and unable to get out and about to meet new people anyway. Then Nick breaks-up with her girlfriend and wants to try to rekindle their relationship. At the same time, Coral begins to sense that some other women in her life might be sending her signals of their interest as well. However, Amelia’s fragile state of health makes it difficult for Coral to even consider moving on with her love-life.
Fortunately, Coral has a supportive network of family and friends to help her feel comfortable about her future with her mother. But will that support be enough for her to find the confidence to think about loving another?
The Game Changer by Finley Chuva
Elena Torres has it all. As a successful soccer star playing for the Denver Defiant, she has money, fame, and, best of all, gets to do her favorite thing for a living. Sure, she’s also a 31-year-old divorcée, has no idea how to go about dating again, and is still deciding how open to be about her recent autism diagnosis. But she’s dealing. Then Harper Wright arrives back in town, and Elena is surprised to discover she has more in common with her best friend’s little sister than she’d ever imagined. As much as she tries, she can’t seem to get those messy red curls and bright smiles out of her mind…
Harper Wright has a Plan with a capital P. Step one, get her new board game café up and running. Step two, stop subsisting entirely on muffins from the vegan bakery next door. Step three, stop thinking about Elena Torres, no matter how amazing her arms look in a tank top. Or that she’s beginning to look at Harper in a way she had only dreamed of back in high school. Starting something with Elena would be a disaster waiting to happen, but it’s getting harder and harder to remember why. After all, they’re grown-ups now. Elena isn’t looking for anything serious, but Harper will just have to be careful not to let her heart get involved…
A Fish Out of Water by Karin Kallmaker
An above sea hunt for the pleasure and song of human women turns disastrous when Ariel, 77th daughter of the Mer Queen, shares rising tides — powerful passion — with the forbidden Erica. Court rivals quickly report her transgression and Ariel finds herself an example of what happens to those who defy the Queen.
Stripped of her voice and placed under a powerful curse, Ariel makes her way above water to Erica’s side. Erica, who is now dying for want of the one thing they can never share again.
Golden Hour by Kat Jackson
Lina Ragelis prides herself on her bravery and strength, two traits that have served her well in her career in the US Army. Having been disconnected from her family since she turned eighteen, Lina has learned to rely solely on herself—and her slightly overbearing best friend—and she swears she prefers it that way.
It’s an easy lie for someone who has spent her entire life dodging love. Lina’s pretty certain that she’s damaged goods. But the truth is, she’s the kind of person everyone wants in their corner, and the kind of woman many women want to love.
Having had more than her fair share of challenges and hardships, there isn’t much that scares Lina. Life would be so much easier if she were afraid of something basic—like spiders—instead of something significant. Something like real, true, healthy love.
Howl by Lucy Bexley
Lou McCallister owns Howl, the only surviving queer bar in Boston. When an investment opportunity to save the floundering bar is inadvertently sabotaged by Clementine Darby, Howl’s newest employee, Lou is ready to give up. Now Clem will do anything she can to make it right and keep Howl alive, but will she be able to save the bar in time? This sapphic Coyote Ugly reimagining brings the funny and the feels.
A Whisper of Solace by Milena McKay
Neve Blackthorne, head of one of the most successful Studios in Hollywood, is the one to rule them all. Powerful, beautiful, and aloof, she’s ruthless, yet irresistible. Above all, she has an unquenchable survival instinct.
Surely a fleeting entanglement with one Audrey Avens, a bright, young, rising star in her company, won’t bring down the Wicked Queen of Tinseltown. Or will it?
Neve’s public persona has no chink in the untouchable armor, but when the lights go out and the cameras stop rolling, what becomes of an Ice Queen whose heart is ruled by love and fear?
Safe Passage by Rachel Ford
For privateer Captain Magdalene Landon, it’s all about going big. For Kay Ellis, it’s about getting home. Together, they’re about to architect the most daring heist in the galaxy.
Kay knows too much. She knows it’s a matter of time before a Conglomerate hitman finds her. She’s desperate for safe passage back to Union space. Then Magdalene shows up, promising a way home in exchange for that information. It’s a risky bet, but Kay is out of options.
So she strikes a deal: the heist of the century for her freedom. Kay is playing a dangerous game, and she knows it. She’s made herself Enemy Number One of the Conglomerate. She’s relying on privateers for her safety.
It’s a fool’s game. But the worst part is, her fool’s heart is starting to warm to the enigmatic captain. And that’s a risk for which she hadn’t planned.
Out of the Ashes by Rita Potter
When unusual seismic activity is detected on Mount St. Helens, volcanologist Nova “Cano” Kane, along with a team from the United States Geological Survey, is sent to investigate. The year is 1980, and there hasn’t been a large-scale eruption on the mountain in over one hundred years.
Dr. Allison “Allie” Albright is a prominent professor at the University of Washington where the seismic activity is being tracked. As more scientists pour into Seattle, she braces for the possible return of Cano.
Neither Allie nor Cano has fully recovered from their breakup four years earlier. Both live with the pain and regret of how their relationship ended. Maybe it’s best to leave it in the past and focus on the job at hand.
They must battle the limits of predictive science, the shortsightedness of bureaucracy, and the bias of the media, while fighting their complicated feelings for each other. As Mount St. Helens continues to churn, so too does their attraction.
Which will erupt first—the volcano or their feelings for each other?
When It Feels Right by Tagan Shepard
Marlene Diggs has her whole life figured out and a ten-year plan for success. You know what’s not on that plan? A one-night stand with a woman who makes her question everything. How could she have spent thirty years not knowing she’s a lesbian? Her first lesbian relationship ends in disaster and leaves her even more confused than before. Of course, the lingering crush on a certain bartender doesn’t help.
Abby McCallister has always felt good in her own skin. It’s everyone else who has a problem. When yet another girlfriend labels her “too much,” another relationship bites the dust, and she winds up sleeping on the couch in her art studio. A cute regular at the bar offers up her spare room in exchange for some tips on fitting into the gay scene, and Abby jumps at the chance. What’s the worst that could happen?
Marlene and Abby know that falling for your roommate is the worst cliché ever, and it’s absolutely not going to happen to them. But resisting their feelings is hard to do when being together feels so right.
Leveled by Serena J. Bishop
After having her travel papers stolen to research in India, Dr. Persephone ‘Perse’ Teixeira succumbs to living in her sister’s basement and working in retail. Just as she’s about ready to hit rock bottom, Perse is offered an opportunity to teach anthropology and history at Chesapeake Bay University. Perse is thrilled; now her only worry is managing her anxiety. However, that changes once she meets a science professor, Dr. Stefanie ‘Stef’ Blake.
Stef is cute, quick-witted, and a touch neurotic. She’s also very interested in dating Perse. When Perse declines her romantic advances because it is imperative that she focuses on her new job, Stef explains she has a relationship system that consists of six levels, which will ensure perfect compatibility before marriage. It’s casual, slow, and, really, what are the odds of getting to level six?
Perse is amused, yet intrigued by Stef’s analytical approach, and agrees to go out with her. But logic only goes so far and when feelings start to grow, Perse must contend with her anxiety issues, because history has taught her nothing good comes out of falling in love.
Are Perse and Stef compatible enough to get through the levels? Will Perse’s past cause her to run before they can find out? Or did Stef create the perfect system for happily ever after?
Vicious Devotion by Aveda Vice
Her pack is destroyed. Her Alpha is dead. All that Pheir has left is rage.
According to the Conclave, that isn’t punishment enough. For her mutiny, she’ll be married into the enemy Timber pack and forced to abandon her old loyalties.
As far as Pheir’s concerned, being held captive is just a hitch in her plot for revenge. She will find a way to bring her former leader back from the dead. If the Timbers try to stop her, they’ll learn what happens to people who get in her way.
But the Timbers aren’t as united as they seem.
Even outside of Alpha Lev’s newly-assigned marriage, there’s tension between her most trusted officers. Aren and Caius are diametrically opposed, yet the three of them keep finding their way into each other’s beds.
Adding their rival, Pheir, to the mix is fuel to the fire – but the more they learn of their entwined histories, the less they recognize each other.
What if they aren’t the people they thought they were?
What if digging for each others’ weaknesses unearthed their own?
What if the restless feelings they have for each other have developed into something other than hate?
Leave a comment
Leave a comment and let us know what book you’ll be reading for the “imperfect sex” category!
Subscribe to this blog to get future Sapphic Book Bingo posts
If you’d like to get all future Sapphic Book Bingo posts sent to your in-box, subscribe to my blog.