What’s So Scary About Romance?

You know, when I decided to concentrate on writing romance, I had absolutely no idea that I was threatening the fabric of society as we know it.  And yet, it appears that I am.

In recent months we have seen, first the public “outing” and castigation of a high school English teacher who has been writing erotic romance novels for years.  More recently there was a news report that reading romance novels can be as addictive as pornography, makes women unbalanced, and threatens marriages (presumably around the world).  Obviously there’s a real problem going on here, and it’s all centered around romance.

But what exactly IS the problem?

I’ve been looking at some common characteristics of the romance genre in the hopes that if I understood where it has been going wrong, I could pass the information along to all of you.  Here are some of the common points I’ve identified as a part of my informal investigation:

  1. Most romance authors are women.
  2. Most romance readers are women.
  3. Most romance editors are women.
  4. A lot of the agents who handle romance are women.
  5. Most romance bloggers are women.
  6. By the end of a romance novel, a deep, intimate and usually lifelong commitment has been established between characters.
  7. Usually a romance novel contains sex. For the most part, the sex is extremely enjoyable for one or more of the characters involved. This sex might be repeated several times during the book, with different degrees of verve and variety.

Based on these findings, I believe that I have identified the reason the romance genre as a whole has been slammed recently. To summarize:

  • Although not all women enjoy romance novels, most romance novels are written, read, sold, and promoted by women.
  • Romance novels always involve people making commitments to each other.
  • Most romance novels also include people having extremely enjoyable sex.

Ergo, I believe I can state with some certainty that the issue is:

  • Women might think about sex.

I hope this helps.

PS – I’m heading out to the RWA national conference on Tuesday to hob-nob with other authors specializing in romance, aka the genre of fear.  I hope to be tweeting and facebooking as the week goes on. And stay tuned here on the blog for photos from my excellent adventure in NYC!

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