Let Them Read Romance

A few days ago I read a chapter of a friend’s novel which she had posted for critique. images8AL4AT50

I read it at the end of the day, and although I hadn’t had a particularly bad day, reading that chapter made me feel much better. You see, in this particular chapter, a young man and woman who had seemingly been in danger of never getting together, were taking a step in the right direction. I did a happy dance after I read it. I sent a message to my friend letting her know that I was thrilled, that I would sleep well that night.

Did reading that chapter release some endorphins that I was unaware of? Heck, I don’t know. Maybe. I just know it made me feel good.

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This particular chapter didn’t have a sex scene – there was no physical contact. But Like eating chocolate, hearing a news story about a community coming together to help a displaced family, savoring a slice of strawberry cheesecake from Junior’s

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or holding a baby, reading that chapter made me feel… blissful, euphoric, rapturous.

Many have said that reading romance is unhealthy, escapism, ‘as addictive as porn’.  I say it’s not just the reading of romance, any genre of literature, any activity which engages a reader to excess, has the potential to be harmful.  If a reader constantly misses work or neglects caring for their children or other responsibilities because they’re too caught up in what they’re reading, then certainly they have a problem.

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But is what they read the problem? If they exhibited the same level of irresponsibility while reading other genres – such as a murder mystery or fantasy, wouldn’t that be equally damaging?  Yet it seems that Romance is the genre which is singled out as being bad, addictive and harmful.

I read someone’s comments in an online blog which said romance novels in which the use of condoms is not addressed, makes the reader irresponsible with their own sexual health. Come on. If someone reads a book – any book – in which the lovers don’t mention condoms, or if the characters discuss and decide not to use them should the content read, or the author be criticized?

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How is a person who has unprotected sex after reading a Romance any more troubled than a person who commits a murder after reading a book about murder? Are there people who tie bed sheets to themselves and jump off buildings after reading a book about super heroes? I don’t know, maybe there are. But still Romance is the genre that gets a bad rap.

Any activity that controls a person is unhealthy. If other areas of a person’s life, are neglected, to the point that the questionable activity interferes with work or daily life, is it the activity that should be blamed? Should Pink Moscato be criticized because some people become addicted to alcohol? Should we condemn Percocet to relieve pain because some people abuse it?

 

After I read my friend’s romantic chapter, I carried out my evening obligations blissfully aware that I could engage in an enjoyable activity with a clear conscience, making good choices. It’s up to everyone as adults to do the same.

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My advice to those who criticize the romance genre and the creative authors who write it? Pick up a good romance novel, maybe even some erotica. Enjoy it with a glass of Pink Moscato and then get back to your daily life.

Or even better, read a romance chapter with your sweetie. It might just spice things up a bit.

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2 thoughts on “Let Them Read Romance

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