Recently I’ve read a couple of blog posts from women who want more realism in romance. Not in how people meet, or how quickly they fall for each other. Not even in the slim chance of being kidnapped, saved by the stunningly handsome hero and riding off into the sunset. No, the reality that some women want to see more of in romance is in the hero and heroines themselves. What do I mean? A few things they want:
- Bald/balding heroes
- Heroes who struggle with their weight as much as their heroines do
- No more multiple orgasmic women. Instead, give them women who either can’t or find it extremely difficult to orgasm
Now wait just one darn minute… No more multiple orgasmic women? Really?
Most romance readers are women – 91% according to RWA National – and so I’m especially stumped by this. Sure, the female reader wants to be able to put herself in the shoes of the heroine, and sure the heroine has to be real enough that the reader can achieve the transition easily. But so real that she can’t orgasm?
While I like realism in romance and enjoy reading about heroines I can relate to – women struggling to lose weight, find the right man, claim her place in the workplace because she’s just as smart and talented as the men she works with – there are some places I DON’T want to feel too much of a connection with the heroine. I don’t want a hero who farts all the time. I don’t want to think about morning breath or needing to use the restroom before I can get my sexy on. And orgasms? Bring ‘em! Lots of them! This is fiction. This is my ESCAPE! Time to immerse myself in a different world, a different place, a place where flatulence doesn’t intrude on those intimate moments with a lover (unless it’s a romantic comedy, then I’m good with it). A place where women – all women – are multi-orgasmic and no matter what, the hero knows just what she needs to get her there.
Sorry. I lost myself for a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally against realism in fiction. There’s nothing worse than picking up a romance and cracking the spine, only to realize that the heroine is so far-fetched that you just can’t connect with her. And I have nothing against overweight heroes or heroines, balding or bald heroes – in fact, I have an upcoming book where the hero is not only bald, but he’s fifty years old! Fifty year-old heroes are a romance taboo. Guess what, I don’t care! Because fifty year-old heroes are also realistic. Fifty year-old men can be sexy as hell and Thomas Sr. is sexy with a capital ‘S’! But I digress.
Yes, I demand realism in my romances, but I also demand fiction. After all, this is romance fiction we’re talking about. Seriously folks, if I want nothing but realism I’ll read the paper. There’s enough depressing shit in there to last a lifetime. Enough that after a few pages, I’ll need my escape…wait, maybe I will go find a newspaper. Then I’ll sit down and immerse myself in a world where good always wins over evil, happily-ever-after happens all the time, and sex with the hero is both sensual and satisfying. Again and again and again…
Seriously, what could be better than that? Isn’t that the reason so many people chose to ‘lose’ themselves in a book?