There’s no room for shame in the erotic novel appreciation game
Here’s the thing about romance and erotica novels: we’ve been conditioned to believe that we should be embarrassed to read them. Why? Because misogyny — both internal and patriarchal — is a hell of a drug. What’s “silly” about heroines and protagonists who are living their best lives and getting the love and sex they deserve? Absolutely nothing.
Unfortunately, society still has some work to do when it comes to eliminating the stigma when it comes to reading about romance and sex (raise your hand if you’ve ever referred to these books as “smut” or “trashy” yourself). Which is probably why these were submitted in an anonymous confessional, tbh.
Escapism is a beautiful thing! Every human being needs a creative outlet to use for escapism purposes. For some people, it’s binge-watching Netflix sitcoms. For others, it’s being swept away to another time and place altogether in a book where fantasies come alive. And also, the sex. Ohhh the sex. There is truly no better feeling than that tingly, passionate stirring whilst reading a smokin’ hot sex scene.
“I read romance novels like nonstop and just wish what my life could be like. Those men make my husband look like gum on the sidewalk.”
Damn straight! The reason these books are so appealing is because the men in them make it a point to give the women what they want! Sexual pleasure, financial stability, emotional support — can we get an Amen?
“The only way I deal with this miserable life is by reading and writing romance novels. If it wasn’t for those two things, I don’t think I would still be alive. It’s the only thing I look forward to.”
“A part of me wants to read romance novels but the part that thinks I would be more disappointed with DH for his lack of romance. Why are men so lazy? Why is romance such a chore? Don’t you realize how many BJs you’d actually get if you romanced us?”
In our real, everyday lives as parents, we’re frazzled. Exhausted. Unshowered. Getting 467 snacks every hour. Picking up and dropping off. Packing mediocre lunches and cooking beige casseroles. If you’re a woman in a cishet relationship, you’re probably not getting swept off your feet by a man who looks like Theo James or Jason Momoa (after some sexy, enemies-to-lovers banter in a picturesque small town or coastal villa).
So if our brains want to go here between the pages of a Sarah MacLean, Nora Roberts, Beverly Jenkins, Jenny Han, Julia Quinn, Alyssa Cole, Sylvia Day, Kresley Cole, or Lisa Kleypas novel (just to name a few), LET US HAVE THIS.
“I make up fantasies like romance novels in my head when I am doing anything tedious like dishes or cleaning. Usually rotating between a few scenarios…now I am getting tired of them and cannot think up a new man that intrigues me.”
“Secretly writing a romance novel based on a past relationship. I never write when H is home, but he’s clearly upset about SOMETHING and won’t admit why, so I’m sure he snooped and read a rough draft. Jealous it isn’t about your privacy-violating ass, H?”
All of this is not to say that biographies, war epics, memoirs, and regular ol’ literary fiction cannot be appreciated. But romance novels, while special for a zillion reasons, give us a guaranteed HEA (that’s “happily ever after” for anyone not down with the Romancelandia lingo — which also means Nicholas Sparks novels can see themselves right on out).
“I spend most of my day reading online romance novels wishing I could be the heroine getting fucked mindless and catered to. I hurry to fix dinner and surface clean so no one knows I am so lazy.”
“I enjoy reading romance novels. My only regret is that I waited until I was in my 40s to start reading them. They’re so much fun!”
Free yourselves from the shame, romance and erotica readers. Life is too short to read books you feel like you have to read and not the books that you want to read. Especially in today’s political and economical climate — read things that bring you joy! DO IT.
Because it’s totally okay to enjoy reading about other people doin’ it.
“DH and kids think I am reading cooking blogs/news, but I really spent hours reading erotic romance novels online. love the menage w/2 guys hot for 1 gal. dream I am her. can only imagine how pleasurable and wonderful it would be.”
Bottom line: embrace things that bring you pleasure and never, ever apologize for it.
This article was originally published on