So earlier today, I went through all 3000 of my pins on that board. And I removed another dozen or so to keep them from having to do it since I’ve figured out their censoring tendencies.
This “don’t-show-sex” trend is the reason why, when I started writing romance back in 2010, I chose to create stories with both older characters AND sexual situations. We are all biologically sexual creatures from the moment we are born until the day we die. There is no point at which we are not sexual except by personal choice. But not all of us get to develop our sexual sides equally, safely, and with a healthy sense of expression. Sometimes a sexy picture is all we have to go on. Sometimes the right scene in a book or movie creates the motivation to explore that side of ourselves. Outside of simply being entertaining, romance written primarily by women filled the gaps for us.
I’ve already had to wrestle with this de-sexing trend at retailers where shirtless men on covers have now become “books that don’t sell”. And it’s spreading. Don’t believe me? Check out the Romantic Comedy covers now that are “cartoony” instead of sensual or sweet. I’m having to explore the same options other authors have already shifted to using. Couples on covers are becoming problems as well. The Art of Love series may get yet another full set.
Romance authors have always had to fight for artistic expression in their content. I don’t see that changing a lot in my lifetime. Maybe it will in some of yours. But now it’s spreading to covers. Soon all covers will be neutral and you won’t know what you’re buying. I’m sure it will be okay because authors will find other ways to let you know.
This is the non-glamorous part of a writing life.
But I didn’t remove ALL of the sexy ones. I drew the line at the ones in their underwear. Doesn’t this sound ridiculous to be discussing? When I talk to other authors about this, they just laugh. That’s how much a part of our lives the struggle is. Here’s the link to my Pinterest board if you want to check it out: https://www.pinterest.com/donnamcdonald13/proof-romance-lives/