Let's talk about sex (baby!). And feelings. And the combination of the two.
Usually, feelings come between two people, and they express those feelings through the physical act of sex. Other times, sex comes first as a physical result of desire. Sometimes, emotional feelings come of the encounter; sometimes they don't. Sometimes, things get complicated and relationships are formed without feelings because of a baby.
When I write about sex, I try to be both realistic and romantic. Some of my heroines are virgins. Some of them are not.
Devyn, in Battlefield, is a virgin. Gerard, her breeding partner, is not. Technically, copulation is against the rules unless controlled by the International Genealogy Laboratory. When Gerard has sex, he may or may not develop those warm fuzzy feelings, but it certainly doesn't inspire commitment in him. Devon, on the other hand, refuses to have sex until she gets some sort of commitment. This is usually the basis of my stories.
I think it's important to point out that relationships can stem from sex. Women want to have sex to have sex while men want to wait until they're in love. I try to portray this difference through Hugh and Rachel's relationship. They slept together before they even knew they liked each other - which is what breeding partners are won't to do. Now, though, they're crazy about each other.
Tradition is changing. I think we, as writers, needs to change with it. I, for one, am looking forward to non-traditional type stories. And it doesn't need to be a lot, either.
A little's enough.