You might be thinking that the subject of this blog post is a bit odd for me. Well, truth be told, it is. I had a family friend over the weekend after discovering that I wrote romance novels begin to question me. Why do you write romance? Do you write about your real relationship with your husband? Does your husband know you write smut? Do you want to be whipped or hit with a crop? She seemed to have a dozen questions that only came with the same response from her.
"So, you write explicit romance because you're unhappy in your marriage."
Just hold on a hot second. Never in any of my answers did I say I write romance because I am unhappy in my marriage. On the contrary, my husband and I have a very happy and fulfilling marriage, but that's honestly none of her business. It really shocked me, to say the least, that she would automatically assume it was my marriage that made me interested in romance novels. Why couldn't it be because I love a good love story or enjoy the journey of two broken people finding love again? It honestly just didn't make sense to me that she would be so offended at my choice in genre.
Fast forward two days later, I am still mulling over her assumptions. When did it become taboo to write or even read romance? Does everyone outside of the romance reader world automatically assume that every romance book is like Fifty Shades of Grey? Because I'd like to stop right here and debunk that assumption. Romance comes in all shapes and sizes from innocent, first loves to paranormal shifters in the midst of a clan war. Romance isn't just about graphic sex or BDSM, but the bringing together two people. If I sat down and counted all the genres of romance that I could think of, I'd have to borrow fingers from several more people. The romance genre is by far one of the widest range of reading genres out there. You can be whisked away in a dsyoptian world where loving someone outside of your clan isn't permitted or be seated on the back of some dirty talking bikers ride cruising down the highway. It's not just sex, but so many other emotions evolving into a passionate and caring relationship with one person. Well, sometimes more than one person if you like menage books, but again, there's a genre for everyone's tastes.
What about movies? Is it taboo to watch romance stories unfold on the big screen? How many of you binge watch television shows or movies to follow the romance story line? It's no different than reading about it in a book. The romance and the sex are all still there, but instead of reading it, you are watching being portrayed by actors in motion. It seems to me that romance is all around us in this world, but only romance novels seem to be targeted by naysayers. Which brings me back to the my original point.
When did reading romance novels become so taboo? Are we as people expected to forego reliving the feelings of falling in love all over again with fictional characters because we are romantically involved in real life? Why is reading about true love such a bad thing when our world is filled with cheating and deceitful vows? I don't know how many times this year I have seen family and friends who have been married for 15+ years divorce because their marriages went stale or their spouse cheated. We were put in this world for one sole purpose, to love. Reading romance inspires me to think outside of the box to keep my marriage alive. Every fictional couple makes my heart swell and reminds me why I feel the way I do about my husband. Sure, the settings and plots are far from my real life situation, but the emotions are all the same. While I'm not saying reading the dirty romance novels that I love so much is keeping my marriage a live, it certainly isn't hurting it.
I challenge those naysayers to try reading a romance novel and to see what I mean about the emotional connection flowing from the fictional characters into your real life. Love surrounds us all, and honestly, in a world where innocent people are murdered on a daily basis, I think we all need a little more love in our lives. Give it a try, and if you don't like it, I'll be happy enough knowing your tried.
Avelyn Paige is an Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY bestselling Motorcycle Romance author.