I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject recently. The level of erotic content in our romance novels has exploded over the past decade, and last year it seemed to hit a peak with the success of the dubious Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. However, in a market saturated with explicit content romance of every imaginable combination and activity, are we slowly becoming immune to the real value of our romance novels? I know a huge number of people who can’t read enough of the current trend in romance novels, they are giddy and sheepish at carting all those spicy novels to the counter at book stores, but these books are the new fashion.
Statistics can support almost any stance you wish to take these days. No matter what your topic is or your cause, as it were. I’ve read polls that say erotic romances are slowly falling from favour, that people have simply had enough and are looking for stories with more emotional growth and story building. I’ve read other polls that illustrate the precise opposite is the case–that the majority of romance readers want the down and dirty sex scenes, and the more the better. Anyone in this business has been aware of the erotic romance for years, but for many, this is a new discovery that’s come about by recent best-sellers and the attention they’ve garnered.
Years ago, we had romances broken into categories like Medical, Sweet, Historical, etc., now they come with a heat rating and cross all boundaries, redefining them in many cases. Is this a healthy trend? Only the readers can decide that, really. For me, I admit I’m more than a little weary of erotica in romance robes. Maybe I just delineate the whole thing differently than some other authors, but I doubt I’m alone in that. I write sensual, sexy romances for the most part. I have done erotica, and probably will again if that’s what the story calls for, but as a general rule, my heart is still with a Harlequin Romance most days, and they have become diverse lines with very passionate and sexy stories that make you smile and sigh very often when you turn the last page.
I can’t say I understand the shock-sex books that are all over the place, either, but I’m not losing sleep over my inability to love them. I’ve always believed that romance is joining of two hearts and souls as much as two bodies sharing intense connection and pleasure. So, readers, what are your thoughts?