Honestly, I very rarely encounter the “hymen tearing” scene described as boilerplate in this piece in MODERN romance novels. It WAS boilerplate up to a few years ago, but I just don’t see it in novels published in the last several years. My theory is that romance novelists talk to each other (which I love about them, some of my favorite conversations on Twitter have occurred between novelists like Victoria Dahl, Zoe Archer, Lisa Hendrix, etc.) and see each other at conventions plus they do TONS OF RESEARCH and TALK to their fans and so pretty much everyone got the hymen memo years ago.
It can never be said enough (apparently) about romance novels: the one you stole from your mom when you were 12 is not the same as one you’ll buy today. The same way women have learned more about themselves since the feminist movement began and want different things now, so have romance novelists — which makes sense, considering they’re almost always women — which is why I fucking love romance novels, which are pro-women, pro-women fucking who they want to fuck and just a ton of fun to read.
I will defend romance novels to my dying breath.
P.S. I do enjoy a fun skewering of the things you tend to see in romance novels — thus my enjoyment of the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books ladies — so I’ll tell you my least favorite element of many a “deflowering” scene: After the sex is over, the man gets up and gets a “soft, white cloth,” which he dampens before “gently cleaning” his partner of “the evidence of their lovemaking.” Seriously, talk about boilerplate! Also, if a man ever, without asking, decided to CLEAN me, let me tell you, I would be piiiiiiiissed. You saying I’m dirty, asshole? You think I don’t know how to clean myself if I desire to do so? Yeah, that one I’ll talk shit about all day.
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