Becka's Babble

Ramblings of a Romance Writer

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #30 - Why Romance is NOT Chick Porn

Recently, my DH and a few of our mutual friends ribbed me for writing "chick porn". Perhaps they were trying to get under my skin, but I believe that they believe what they said for the most part. "You do know that's what you write, don't you? Porn for women?"


Well, as fate would have it, this very subject is being hotly contested on a site I read, Dear Author. It would seem ignorance is everywhere. Therefore, I've decided to educate the readers of my blog with 13 reasons why romance is not chick porn.

1.) Let's first examine a porno. Hot horny housewife calls dishwasher repair man and the two bang a gong for an hour and a half in all kinds of kinky ways - roll credits. A romance novel, by comparison, is different, as there is love involved, not just hot sex.

2.) Further, romance novels end in happily ever afters, meaning the hero and heroine "get together" in the end.

3.) Romance novels have a plot. While pornos have a thin, laughable plot just so the characters can have sex, romance novels have sex that furthers the plot, either complicating the relationship between the hero and heroine, or defining their love for one another.

4.) Reading a romance is no different than watching a rated R movie. How many sex scenes have we been subjected to in today's entertainment industry? So why the poo poo on romance novels? Every single "chick flick" under the sun could have been a romance novel made into a movie. Even a blockbuster such as "Atonement" could have been a romance novel, if told from the point of view of the hero and heroine (and had a happy ending). And that movie had hot against-the-wall-sex-in-the-library. Porn? Hmm...

5.) Porn is meant to titillate someone to become sexually aroused. Unless you're specifically reading "erotica", that, for the most part, is sex for sex's sake, a romance novel isn't read to go have fun with yourself (or your S/O) in the bedroom.

6.) Romance has emotion, meaning, there is plenty of angst and drama. Perhaps it is cheesy, perhaps it is cliche, but it is there nonetheless. When's the last time you teared up while watching a porno?

7.) Romance revolves around the premise of two people falling in love over the course of the book, not merely meeting to have a quick tumble in the sack. While yes, there are love scenes, the fact that they are open door love scenes connects the reader even more to the depth of their relationship, as sex is a very powerful part of loving someone. Therefore, if the book closed the door and moved on to the next morning, the subtle changes in their relationship would have been missed, because he might have been whispering loving words to her all night long, and then in the morning left her high and dry. Showing the love scene of the night before tells the reader exactly how deeply the hero broke her heart.

8.) Sex is a deep connection we have with our partners. There is no difference with that deep connection in a romance novel, which is why they are filled with emotion, drama, and angst. You do not get the sense of "deep connection" in a porno, aside from the obvious pun I just made that, no doubt, my friends are snickering at right now. But the point is valid.

9.) Sex is not "beautiful" in a porno. Sex is carnal. Something to be taken hard and fast, with much screaming and cussing. Sex in a romance, however, is tender, loving, and a coming together of the characters who are just realizing their love for one another.

10.) Sex in a porno is f**king. Plain and simple. Sorry if I've offended, but there it is. Sex in a romance novel is making love. Yes, Virginia, there IS a difference.

11.) There's "romance" in just about everything we read and watch these days. Even books that aren't on the romance shelf still have sex in them. And sometimes even explicit scenes at that. But the book isn't marketed as a romance, because that's a secondary plot to the big picture. But of course, that book is NOT a porn novel because it's high fantasy or crime drama or horror or whatever the heck. But shift the focus to the relationship and boom! you have a porno? Uh, pot, meet kettle.

12.) Romances focus on the fairy tale. If you think about it, women have been fascinated with Prince Charming ever since they first watched a Disney movie. Romance novels are fairy tales for women, where the girl gets the boy and has a satisfying relationship with him. The closest a porno comes to a fairy tale is if Snow White gets tag-teamed by all seven dwarves.

13.) If you want to get high and mighty about it, think about this - there is a romance novel in the Bible. The Song of Solomon is VERY sensual if you read it in the context of sex. Solomon isn't talking about real "wells of flowing water" and "mountains of myrrh", no, he's talking in flowery passionate prose to be sure. The men of ancient Israel weren't allowed to even READ Song of Songs until they were 40 years old. And yet we take it for granted. Perhaps we should read some verses, shall we?

"5 Your two breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies. (Did he just describe her breasts?!?)

6 Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
and to the hill of incense.

(I'm thinking he's talking about going "all night long" to her special place, if you know what I mean)

7 All beautiful you are, my darling;
there is no flaw in you." ~~Song of Songs 4: 5-7


"11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue." ~Song of Songs 4:11
(Look away! French kissing, ZOMG!)


"15 You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon." ~Song of Songs 4:15
(GASP! Is he saying his lover is *wet* for him?!?)


So, is the Song of Solomon a porno in the Bible? No, of course not. Why? Because it's a book of romance, about how a man desires his lover through the beauty of lovemaking. Wait, isn't that what I've been talking about all along?


At 10:00 AM , Blogger Minime said...

You go girl. Keep spreading the gospel of romance novels. *smile*

At 10:19 AM , Blogger Cindy K. Green said...

This was great, Becka. Loved it! You tell 'em!!

At 12:53 PM , Anonymous Geekymom said...

I so agree !

At 1:38 PM , Blogger Donica Covey said...

Good on ya! Excellent points indeed. Growing up I loved reading Song of Solomon. It was truly romantic. Funny preachers and Bible teachers never get into this book. Wonder why....


At 2:57 PM , Blogger Susan Helene Gottfried said...

You go, Rebecca! I'm a Dear Author reader, too (even though I don't write romance) and I've been following this argument with more than a few head shakes at the ignorance and stereotyping.

You do NOT write porn. I haven't read your stuff and I can tell you that!

Send those idiots my way. I'll take care of them.

At 11:50 AM , Blogger Rosie said...

Great post. Having to make this justification gets so tiresome doesn't it? The further implication is that romance novels aren't well written or 'real' books. Ridiculous.

At 12:19 PM , Blogger Becka said...

I think romance isn't taken seriously because a LOT of literary types *do* view it as porn. The closest the romance genre will get to literature is Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.

While it's true, their romance doesn't involve open door sex, these books were still risque and groundbreaking in their day.


At 12:24 PM , Blogger Becka said...

As an aside, as a culture that seems to pride itself on it's open sexuality (nudity on the BBC during prime time, gay marriage, racier sex scenes in rated "R" movies, increasing innuendo in secular songs, g-strings, topless on Mardi Gras...), it seems strange to be so closed-minded when it comes to a romance novel, doesn't it?



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