We live in a society that doesn't automatically equate sex with love. Sometimes it's about scratching that 'itch' or just letting loose and having fun. So what does that mean for sex and romantic novels?
With the rise of erotica, other romances (even when not explicit at all) often seem to be automatically typecast as 'one-handed reads' and erotica itself seems to be branded as just about sex, with no mention of the subtleties of their characters or plots. (I am aware that this may be - in part - down to 50 Shades, but seriously, there's such variety in erotica! You wouldn't forgo all action films, just because you didn't enjoy Fast and Furious 5 and in the same way, try different types of erotica. I'd suggest Tiffany Reisz or Megan Hart.)
Ideally in chick lit, romance and sex (or physical attraction) should be intertwined - or at least end up that way. All consuming passion is important, but can become exhausting to read after a while. I like to see different styles of physical intimacy in the books I read and reading a novel where there's just sex for sex's sake is intangibly unsatisfying. In reality, the best sex is when you feel comfortable with who you are - completely yourself - without any kind of embarrassment or self-consciousness, and art should imitate life.