Natali, I enjoyed your very well-written article.
I believe it’s up to the author to pepper his or her novel with steamy sex scenes, just alluding to the sex and passion, or none. The degree of the details will depend on the author’s comfort level and what is necessary for the storyline.
As you rightly pointed out, “Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it.” I am writing a romance novel and will include sex scenes, where appropriate, to reflect the dynamics of the relationship and to progress the plot. To me, sex is part of a healthy relationship. However, none of the scenes in my novel are graphic, nor do they depict a blow-by-blow account. The scenes are relatively tame compared to other novels.
I have heard of peers not wanting to review novels if they include steamy sex scenes! To each his or her own, but it proves the fact that authors need to find the “right” peers to review their work. After all, not everyone appreciates your story genre, writing style, or subject.