Romance novels and erotic novels are NOT necessarily the same, no matter what Cosmo says
So recently, Cosmopolitan magazine thought it would be a good idea to discuss “erotic” novels. Great, right? Well, it WOULD have been great, if the magazine and the writer had been bothered to research what “erotic” novels actually WERE. Let’s talk a little bit about where they went wrong, shall we?
Yep. The co-authors of this dumpster fire of an article screwed up from the jump by titling it “30 Legitimately Good Erotic Novels You Must Read.” (Note: As of 3/2, the list was edited to only include 29 books. More on that later...) Anyone else pick up on the condescension that is positively dripping from the word “legitimately” there? I sure did. So, that descriptor is necessary because most erotic novels aren’t legitimately good? That seems to be the implied message.
Oh, and thanks ever so much, Cosmopolitan, paragon of virtue that you are, for deciding for us what’s “legitimately good”. God forbid anyone should decide on their OWN what’s legitimately good reading material and what isn’t.
The subhead of this thing actually says, “Perhaps with a vibrator by your side.” I’m not even making that up. Because what else could erotic fiction be good for if not for spank bank material, right? I suppose it didn’t occur to Cosmopolitan that many of the novels on their list have deeply emotional plots and feature beautifully complex characters. But I guess that’s secondary to all the sexy stuff, right? (You can’t see me, but I’m rolling my eyes)
What erotic novels actually are
The co-authors of the article display a disturbing lack of understanding regarding what constitutes erotic fiction and what constitutes a romance novel. We did a write-up on that very subject not too long ago that they apparently didn’t bother to check out. Long-story-short: there is a BIG difference between romance novels and erotica. Anyone who reads either genre (and yes, they are separate genres, Cosmopolitan) can tell you that. But, that said, I’m sure the romance novelists who made the list (Nora Roberts, Jasmine Guillory, Alice Clayton, Helen Hoang, JR Ward, Gena Showalter, Christina Lauren, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and Lorelei James to name a few) were SUPER surprised to learn from Cosmopolitan that they wrote erotic fiction. Guess they should contact Amazon and have their books moved over the erotica category, huh? And, yes, Cosmopolitan, there IS a whole separate category for erotica because, again, it’s NOT THE SAME AS ROMANCE. (Again with the eye rolling)
You guys think Lolita is a turn on? Are we forgetting that the Lolita in question is a 12-year-old? Are we forgetting that this is the story of a grown man’s sexual obsession with a child? If that’s your spank bank material, Cosmopolitan, y’all are seriously MESSED UP. I suggest you seek help. Like, immediately. (Note: as of 3/2/19, in the face of INTENSE public scrutiny and complaint, Cosmo removed Lolita from the list. Good call, guys. Good call. A little late, but still...)
Judy Blume. Is nothing sacred???
On what twisted planet in what creepy alternate universe are Judy Blume books erotic??? And the comments on this one (“You will like this book if: Exploring the innocence of teenage sexuality and "the first time" turns you on”) have me giving the co-authors of this article a pretty serious side eye.
So, my advice to you, Cosmopolitan, is to sit down and actually READ some books before you decide to write about them. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Y'all said it best...
But just because I’m out of words for Cosmopolitan, here are some of the most awesome replies we found on Twitter regarding this article. (Hats off to y’all. You’re awesome!)
Now, let’s name and shame