Monday Mayhem – Snow White vs Cinderslut

There’s a phrase that gets tossed around Romancelandia that really raises my hackles. No, it’s not ‘bodice ripper’. I can laugh that idiocy off because it’s only used by people who don’t know (or want to know) any better.

No, this is a term that people use to differentiate those books who leave the bedroom door open during sex scenes from those who close the door and fade to black when things start to get intimate.

The label that makes me cringe is: Clean romance.


Just typing it makes my fingers curl. Why? Not because I want to see every detail of all the action on the page, but because it implies that sex between two competent, consenting adults is somehow dirty.

Sex is not dirty.

People who enjoy sex are not morally corrupt.

Women are not required to be ‘in love’ to enjoy sex.

Now, I have no issue with not having the sexytimes spelled out for me on the page (though I admit, I am usually a bit disappointed, particularly if I am way into the couple). But don’t dress one kind of book up as Snow White, and the other as Cinderslut.

I read a lot of romance. I know the high heat level in many of our books is shocking to those who don’t regularly read the genre.

But for the love of Happily Ever After, we do not need to start labels that imply that one depiction of love is good and wholesome, and the other depraved or shameful.

Sex is not dirty.

People who enjoy sex are not morally corrupt.

Women are not required to be ‘in love’ to enjoy sex.

All that is required for a story to be considered romance is a central love story and a happy ending.

Let’s keep it that way.

5 Replies to “Monday Mayhem – Snow White vs Cinderslut”

  1. OMG yes this!!! I HATE “clean” as a word to describe. Don’t they sometimes use the word “Christian Romance” to describe closed doors?

    1. I believe Christian or Inspirational romance needs to have a spiritual message attached. There are plenty of contemporary romances that are not religious in nature, but do not put the sex on the page. Those are the ones people tend to call ‘clean’ romances.

  2. Girl, preach! Thank you so much for writing this post, though I wish it didn’t need to be written. I think we need ‘sex is not dirty’ t-shirts.

  3. This line from the old Carol Burnett show has always been a favorite, oft-repeated one for me: “Yeah, they were small, but there were 7 of them!” As for me, I don’t think that bodices should be ripped, they should be removed consensually. And if that’s part of the story, I’m not going to complain!

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