The word romance is often taken for granted
When you search the word romance online, you usually get references to romance novels and authors. Surprisingly, there are so many unique kinds. I used to think there were just a few categories, but when I did some research, I was very wrong!
You be the judge. Read through this list and decide if they reflect the reality of romance in our everyday lives and in our imagination and desires;
7) Cougar / May-December romance
9) End of the world
10) Erotic romance
11) Faery tales
13) Foodie romance / Food porn
14) Free reads
17) Ghost / Paranormal
20) Interracial / Multicultural
21) Late escape (older couples)
24) Menage / Multiple partners
25) Military romance
27) Native American
28) New Adult
33) Suspense / Thrillers
34) Sweet Romance
35) Time Travel
36) Urban Fantasy
38) Vintage / Americana
40) Young love / Adult
Romance novels focus the mind on intimacy & passion instead of overt eroticism
Whew! That is a long list and there are certainly others that haven't been included. Subcategories and additional segments can be added. There are enough options for anyone to enjoy romance at any level. Yet, it tends to be a guilty pleasure of an almost exclusively female readership. While men who are interested tend to read more erotic content, Hentai (Japanese manga porn) and just old fashioned porn, the ladies who write and read these categories of romance can attest to the greater pleasure of their imagination doing the work for them as opposed to overt images. Instead, the words do most of the work.
Ultimately, romance can take many forms. Most people would agree that the participants involved in the romance have to have some compatibility in the first place. If they do, the unique aspects of their personalities and characters will shape the romance that they enjoy alone (sitting in the bathroom away from the prying eyes of their husbands or children) or with their partners. The recent anomaly of "50 Shades of Grey" by E.L. James as an erotic novel, was all about the timing, buzz and viral aspect of the social networks that gave this poorly written, repetitive novel it's fame. Obviously, the millions of titles in numerous categories have often written about the same subject matter, in far more professional and substantive prose than "Grey".
The success of erotic thrillers might have pigeon-holed the romance category, but within a short time, the many categories listed above continue to satisfy the various needs and desires of long-time fans and readers of romance, not matter how it is defined. The emotions that support romance, including passion and intimacy create many moods and feelings and their diverse nature also creates an environment for so many variations in romance. Not to mention the venues that we can experience romance, just like the many different types of romance novels. While we all can't enjoy every-category, we can certainly experience some of them, letting our minds create an ideal atmosphere for romance. Or simply allowing us to imagine it happening to us one day while we're in a relationship or not.