As an avid romance reader, I’m quite used to seeing books rated or categorized based on the level of heat or how descriptive the sex in the books is. This is something that actually helps me figure out what I am in the mood to read. Personally, over the years, I’ve stopped reading erotic romance and now like my books to fall somewhere in the middle of the heat scales. But I understand that there’s a market for all of it.
However, I’ve seen a lot of talk about “clean romance” thrown around and every single time I see it the actual term just irks me to no end. Why are books with no sex labeled clean? Is this meant to tell us that somehow sex is dirty? To be honest, I’ve only read some clean romances by pure accident because personally it’s not something that works for me. This is not due to the fact that I think having sex in books is better or worst as a general rule. Reading is such a personal thing and everyone has different tastes. For me, sex in romance novels (when done the right way) usually deepens the connection between a couple in a way that can only be achieved by physical intimacy. I also think for me there is such a thing as too much of it. And that’s all personal tastes! But at the end of the day, that doesn’t make it dirty and to have books labeled as clean romance because they don’t have casual or descriptive sex just makes me bitchy.
So where did this term come from and who decided that what they were writing was clean? While I’m not trying to say that there isn’t a market for books that don’t casually throw in sex scenes or that don’t describe sexual acts, because frankly there is a huge market for that. I do find myself annoyed at the term and the implications that if you read romance novels with sex in them it’s scandalous and just a quick jump to being labeled “mommy porn”. I personally prefer the “sweet romance” label, which is used a lot less often. It creates for a less judgy environment, in my opinion.
How do you feel about the term?
What other things about romance labels bother you?
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