Thanks to Maya Rodale, I’ve just read an article by Susan Quilliam from The Journal of Family Planning & Reproductive Health Care and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The author actually blames romance for “womens formal exposure to sex and relationship education.” (In a bad way.) She says, “What we see in our consulting rooms is more likely to be informed by Mills and Boon than by the Family Planning Association.” Really? And have you asked your clients if that’s the case or are you just making an assumption?
Ms. Quilliam goes on to say, “In one recent survey, only 11.5% of romantic novels studied mentioned condom use, and within these scenarios the heroine typically rejected the idea because she wanted ‘no barrier’ between her and the hero. Even more worryingly, while the romance readers interviewed said that they knew that such episodes were fiction, and that spontaneous sexual encounters are never risk-free, nevertheless there was a clear correlation between the frequency of romance reading and the level of negative attitude towards condoms and the intention to use them in the future.”
There’s several things at play here. How many books were read, from what year (books written before the 1970s should be looked at differently than those written today), what genre (obviously sci-fi and paranormal romances should be considered differently because of their world building can cause different rules) and who the audience is. If it is an adult book, they should know about condoms. Just like an X or R rated movie. And I find it much more likely that young people are getting their sex information from movies, television, videos games and much more importantly from their friends who probably know less about it than they do. And while we’re add it, let’s blame animals. They obviously do it without condoms in front of kids. Where will it all end?
To blame romance, an industry that touts monogamous, loving relationships, absolutely amazes me.
Maya Roldale wrote a terrific blog about this subject and quotes RWA statics, “The heart of the U.S. romance novel readership is women aged 31–49 who are currently in a romantic relationship.” And Maya goes on to say, “If that woman doesn’t know the basics of sex by that age, then we have other problems.”
Well said Maya. You can read Maya’s complete blog here.
Bottom Line: Susan Quilliam, please contact me and I’ll send you some current romance novels.