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Monday, September 7, 2009

Taboo with Catheine Bybee

I love that word! TABOO! What is taboo in romance? More to the point, what is taboo in erotic romance?

I’m finding that the bar is lifting on the do’s and don’ts of romance every day. There are some industry standards that simply aren’t acceptable. If you’re unsure of what that may be, then step over to any romance publisher website and glance at their submission guidelines. Bottom line, if you’d end up on “Americas Most Wanted” for the “phallia” issue, then the publishing industry doesn’t want it in the books they publish.

But… there are some ‘unspoken’ taboo areas in romance. I’m wondering how many of you out there can pin point them.

Long before I decided to sit down and write my first romance, I’d been a reader of the genre for over twenty five years. Yep, I remember sitting in Mr. Smith’s History class with an open textbook and fingering through the pages of Kathleen Woodwiss’s Shawna. Let’s face it, I learned more about the way of life in the 1800’s thought romance novels than I ever did through a history book. And good lord the sexual education I received was mind blowing. Not to mention the safest ‘thrill’ money could buy! LOL. Some would argue that young impressionable minds might read romance novels and have an overwhelming desire to have sex. Chances are those who say that haven’t read the genre all that much. Throughout time, romance novels are routinely about monogamous relationships where the H/H end with their happily-ever-after. If anything, romance novels gave me a sense of self worth and taught me not to ‘just give it away to a jerk’.

But enough about me… lets talk about the Taboos of the industry.

Do women in romance novels ever have a period? The only time we ever hear about them is when they miss them and find themselves pregnant. These beautiful fictitious women are never inconvenienced by Mother Nature. Even in time travel romance, we seldom hear of the dreaded curse. We hear of virgin blood being spent, but never the monthly mess we have to put up with.
Come to think of it… do women ever need to pee? Or clean up after ‘the most amazing sex of their life’? –

Women in romance novels never have headaches, they are always in ‘the mood’, and they absolutely 100% of the time have an orgasm. They never have morning breath or days where they need to wear their ‘fat clothes’ because of the pizza they ate the night before.

Now, before you get your knickers in an uproar… there are a few Taboo’s the hero’s in our beloved novels have as well.

Like… It always goes up and stays up for as long as it takes to make the women scream. Even if it takes five full pages! He always has a condom and never complains about using it. The men always have six pack abs yet seldom workout. He has all the money in the world but isn’t afraid to hammer a nail. That’s kinda like saying, “If I win the Lottery, I’ll still work.” HA! Don’t think so, sister. I’m gonna sit back and let someone else do the cooking and cleaning on top of the fact that I’ll quit my day job!

What other Taboo’s can you name in the romance genre? Leave a comment and let me know so I can add them to my growing list.

Oh, what’s that? You thought this blog was going to be about rip-roaring sexual taboo’s?
I don’t think there really are any… other than the ‘gross’ ones.

Catherine Bybee #1 Bestselling Paranormal Romance Author.
Kilt Worthy – Erotic Time Travel from The Wilder Rose Press available now.

Soul Mate – Werewolf Novella from Red Rose Publishing available now.


Catherine Bybee said...

Ohhh I remembered another one... Virgin sex always results in an orgasm... Yeah, right! Like that ever happens! lol

Angel Martinez said...

ROFL - so true. Fictional characters don't want to deal with the messy side of life. Though I do have to say, in M/M fiction, the heroes are forever cleaning each other up afterwards.

Taboos...oh,yes: you're MC's can engage in menage or multiple partners but the story can't allow for a moment of actual infidelity (perceived, yes, actual, no.)

And heaven forbid your hero isn't a testosterone-poisoned Alpha from the same tattered template as every other Alpha, ever. (Unless it's a Mistress story, lol)

And heroines? They're allowed to be strong outside the bedroom but she better melt when he kisses her. Can't have a mere woman taking charge of something as important as sex. And, of course, he's never allowed to do anything inept or clumsy during the act, he always knows just what to do.

Catherine Bybee said...

Ohhh Angel... So true. The boys do like to be clean! LOL

Helen Hardt said...

LOL -- love this blog, Catherine! I'm waiting for the author whose hero snores and farts...

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Loved the blog. I believe Lori Foster writes characters who have their periods (Causing Havoc - I think). But I'm with you on the others. Although I did read a Harlequin (? not sure - pretty sure it was) that the hero snored. It doesn't happen often so maybe that's why I remembered.

Keep the great work up!


Catherine Bybee said...

Helen: LOL... I don't think I caught that... I'll have to go back and look.

Wendi: Funny stuff when it does come up. I'll have to check out Lori's books.

Becca Simone said...

Do heroine's ever forget to shave? Especially the armpits? I don't think so. Do they ever get a big zit on their chin the very day they're having the big first date with the hero? No way. Do either h/h ever get the stomach flu? Uh, no.


Angel Martinez said...

ROFLMAO - Becca - oh, ye gods, that's so true! If anyone gets sick, it's a fever, so they can be all dramatic about it but no stomach flu. heehee. We all know what big babies boys are when they're sick - it just wouldn't be manly.

Catherine Bybee said...

LOL... so true, Becca. Angel, you crack me up. Yes they are babies in real life!

Clare Revell said...

I remember reading one book - the cidadel, where periods were mentioned once. in which the heroine very embarresed whispered to the hero on the wedding night that consumating the marriage wouldn't have to wait a few days as she was indisposed.

Is determined to make sure in her next novel, the heroine is doubled over with cramps, a hot corn pad, bottle of codine - avaliable over the counter in the UK - and the hero gets man flu ;-)

Aithne said...

Awesome post Catherine. So right. I believe Diana Gabaldon has Clair having her period and also peeing in the bushes. (time travel)

One of the things about your posts that always strikes me is you are so free with your sense of humor. I love that about you. ;o)

~ Aithne