Romance Sells Because It’s Fun — What is So Wrong With That?

alternative titles for this post …. Because Love is Fun! (at least it’s supposed to be) …. In Defense of Romance Novels… Why I Hate “Mommy Porn” … Some Male Chauvinist Actually Called Erica Jong’s ‘Fear of Flying’ A Mammoth Pudenda–This was In the 1970’s But hey, I Don’t Think We Have Improved Very Much …


It used to be my deep, dark secret — I am a romance novel addict.

I was, maybe, 8 years old when it began.

sweet dreams

It started with a Janet Quin-Harkin Young Adult (YA) novel from the now-defunct Sweet Dreams line. The title of the book was “Ten Boy Summer” and the main character was Jill who had a bet with her bestfriend Toni on who will have the most number of dates that summer, hence the title. This was the 1980’s and hookups were not the norm, not even in high school.

I was not a native English speaker and a lot of the words and expressions were weird for me. I was 8 years old and I didn’t know what in heck “date” meant! As far as I was concerned “date” was something related to the calendar and not something that has to do with boys/men/romance. I did  finish “Ten Boy Summer” that summer of my 8th year — mainly because I cared about what happened to Jill and her summer romance with Craig.

So that’s the story of my addiction which, apparently, is shared by  a lot of women/girls based on this article:


A lot of academic and non-academic articles have been written on the appeal of the romance genre so I am going to be brief. But this is my theory as to why they sell: ROMANCE NOVELS ARE FUN.

This theory was proposed by Sandra Brown in the book, “Dangerous Men & Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992) and I wholeheartedly agree.

What’s wrong with “fun”? Sandra asked in her article. What indeed? If men can have their Porsches, their war games, and  their Juggs magazines,  why can’t we have our Lisa Kleypas, Iris Johansen, Linda Howard, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Sandra Brown, Marsha Canham, Mary Balogh, Judith McNaught, Pamela Morsi, Julia Quinn, Jill Barnett, Anne Stuart, Diana Palmer, Lynne Graham, Miranda Lee and EL James (yes dear readers, 50 Shades is a romance masquerading as a book on S&M — come on, it is not even Erotica!).

While we’re on the subject of romance novels, may I just express my dislike at the term, “mommy-porn” which they say is having a heyday as far as sales is concerned. What the effing does it mean combining “porn” with “mommy”? Do we have “daddy porn”?

“My reaction to porno films is as follows: After the first ten minutes, I want to go home and screw. After the first twenty minutes, I never want to screw again as long as I live.”- Erica Jong

I hate sounding like a nitpicking, angry feminist (stereotype, beware!) but:

After working in 9 to 5 jobs, getting hassled by traffic, being harassed by the neighborhood pervert who thinks he is god’s gift to the female half of the species, then going home to wash the dishes and clean the house (which is done automatically because girls generally feel guilty if they don’t wash the dishes and clean the house since mother said being unclean is BAD), doesn’t us girls/women deserve a little break?

Don’t I effing deserve a little cozy time with my escapist reading fare (hello! don’t tell me FHM or Playboy or even Ian Fleming are not escapists) without some patronizing bozo calling my book mommy-porn and I’m not even a mommy yet?


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