Tag: bad sex

"His muscles were strong... their love was stronger" bad romance novel cover

The Weirdest Romance Sub-genres You’ve Never Heard Of

You’ve heard of paranormal romance—now get ready for single dad romance. While researching December book releases for another article, I had no idea that I was about to discover something that would change my life forever: a bizarre collection of niche romance genres so incredibly specific that they sounded more like book titles than categories. (That’s not to say that I think Office Romance – Enemies to Lovers is the next bestseller.) I foolishly had thought that there were two main types of romance: love and not love. But I was wrong—I forgot cowboy romance.


Sports Romance


'Erik' by Sawyer Bennett


The most shocking thing about sports romance is that there’s also a category called “sexy sports romance,” which begs the question—what’s so unsexy about regular sports romance? (Besides, you know, the everything.) A recent sports romance release, Erik by Sawyer Bennett (a.k.a. Pseudonym Pseudonym) doesn’t seem to be the most conservative: “working as a flight attendant on the team plane, Blue Gardner just wants to do her job well. She certainly wants nothing to do with Erik as her plans don’t include a sexy but arrogant hockey player in her life.” You might notice that it says SEXY in the blurb. Apparently, it’s just not sexy enough.


Sexy Sports Romance


'Squeeze Play' by Kate Angell


Squeeze Play by Kate Angell is far sexier than Erik if its genre adds any significance… possibly because it involves an entire team of sexy but arrogant athletes instead of just the one? Angell describes her novel as “the first in a steamy new series of romances featuring a hunky baseball team and the sirens who challenge the players in the game of love.” You might notice it says STEAMY, not SEXY. I would have thought Steamy Sports Romance would be its own category.


Sexy Romance


'Once Upon a Cowboy' by Stina Lindenblatt


Nothing is particularly confusing about the words “sexy” or “romance.” What is confusing is the exact middle ground between “romance” and “erotica.” It seems reasonable to assume that, for a sex scene, erotica zooms in where romance fades to black. Romance readers say there’s a broad range of what content is appropriate for regular romance—some novels are chaste while others are more graphic. My hot take? Sexy romance is the same as regular romance but with more phrases like: “her most secret, womanly place.” Stina Lindenblatt‘s sexy romance novel Once Upon a Cowboy blurb reads:

She’s tired of being single. She’s ready to find her soul mate—or at least a nice man. The issue? She’s socially awkward around guys she’s interested in. The solution? Recruit Jake to be her “fairy godfather” and help her be more confident, especially around the new veterinarian who just moved into town.

Let’s just note that this description is not particularly sexy, as it doesn’t say the word SEXY even once. It also manages not to say the word COWBOY, which, given the title, is more confusing than it is relieving.


Erotic Romance


'A Price to Pay' by Alice Raine


We have a new category along the all—inclusive spectrum that is book porn-erotic romance. Neither sexy romance nor full-on erotica, erotic romance is apparently too pornographic to be just sexy and not pornographic enough to be actual porn. It’s important to note that these are not different descriptions of the same phenomena—each of these descriptions is from the same website. As for erotic romance specifically, Alice Raine‘s A Price to Pay  gives us an example:

Robyn Scott is a struggling writer living in London. The romantic comedies she writes just aren’t cutting it anymore when all readers seem to want these days are hot, erotic stories..Tall, dark and with a wicked twinkle in his eye, Oliver agrees to help her with her research, but from the way he looks at her like a lone wolf stalking its prey Robyn may end up getting a whole lot more than she bargained for…

It’s not erotica, it’s not sexy romance, and it’s probably not that plot-heavy.


Rock Star Romance

'Close' by Laurelin Paige


Close by Laurelin Paige details the story of a fling with a rockstar, which is sexy, but not sexy enough to be sexy romance—either that, or it’s too specific. Sexy romance is, of course, not too specific at all. Paige writes: “I’m America’s Sweetheart. I have a reputation. He’s a boy-band icon turned rock god. I’m vanilla. He’s every flavor of bad. And he’s much, much too young for me. If I end up in Nick Ryder’s bed, my career and I will both be screwed….”


Sexy Musical Romance

'Player' by Staci Hart

Image Via Sultrysirensbookblog.com


This, apparently, is what happens when the musician in question is not successful enough to become a rockstar. While this genre sounds like a description of what happens backstage or at a cast party, it’s apparently what happens when sexy musicians aren’t famous but are still sexy. The blurb for Player by Staci Hart demonstrates sexiness, music, and some really cutting-edge prose: “He’s a player. He plays the bass with expert fingers. He plays women with intoxicating charm. And he’ll play me with the ease of a virtuoso. Who better to teach me to play than the master himself?” If he was really such a master, maybe he could have been the protagonist of a rock star romance novel.

Doctor-Patient Forbidden Romance


'Temperance' by Cassia Leo


This genre, also known as ‘medical malpractice,’ gives a whole new meaning to playing doctor. Temperance author Cassia Leo writes:

Mr. C’s sex addiction is threatening to take over his life. The only thing keeping it from consuming him is his twice-weekly one-hour video chat session with Dr. Grayson. Though his webcam is pointed at a nondescript area of his study, her webcam is always pointed at those succulent lips and her long, lithe legs, which he can’t stop fantasizing about. He must have her. Will Leah and Mr. C submit to their forbidden passion?

Will we ever know the difference between romance, sexy romance, and erotica? Someone must.


'Up My Chimney' by Johnny Dangerous and Emily Sweetly


Of course, these categories are not the same as niche types of erotica, which have subcategories within their subcategories. Mythical creature erotica is one such subcategory—and under that, creatures like Santa Claus, the protagonist of Up My Chimney by Johnny Dangerous. Johnny, probably is not the only dangerous thing about this story.


Featured Image Via Lockerdome.com / Images Via Amazon.com

Cat yawn

‘Cat Person’ Author Speaks out About Real-Life Inspiration for the Viral Short Story

This past December, a 4,000-word short story took the internet by storm when it was published in The New Yorker. The story is titled Cat Person, and details the trials of twenty-year-old college student Margot as she meets and briefly dates thirty-four-year-old Robert.


The all-too-realistic piece of fiction showcases Margot throughout the many quick-changing stages of a blooming, new relationship: the excitement, the giddiness, the butterflies of a growing new crush, the fantasies about everything this relationship could possibly grow into, all the way through unto the grounding realization that this person is not at all who you’d hoped they were.




The rose colored glasses always begin to fade, and, when they do, Margot realizes Robert is not someone she wants to see. And, by the time everything’s progressed to their first (and only) sexual encounter, Margot’s already realized that she’s not at all attracted to this stranger of a man. She feels repulsion towards him, but doesn’t know how to stop, seeing as sex has already been initiated and they are well in the midst of it all. Margot allows her mind to drift off so she can “just get it over with” while Robert does what he wants until he’s finished:


…she felt like a doll again, as she had outside the 7-Eleven, though not a precious one now—a doll made of rubber, flexible and resilient, a prop for the movie that was playing in his head.


She ends their relationship shortly after, telling Robert she’s not interested and asking him to stop texting her. The story ends months down the line when Robert gets drunk at Margot’s go-to bar, then spends the remainder of night verbally harassing her via text messages, starting with:


“Hi Margot, I saw you out at the bar tonight. I know you said not to text you but I just wanted to say you looked really pretty. I hope you’re doing well!”

“I know I shouldnt say this but I really miss you”


And quickly escalating to and ending with:


“Answer me”



This story spoke to millions of women of all ages who couldn’t help but see themselves in Margot. The societal expectations placed upon women and girls to always be appeasing, to never come across as difficult, and to never anger or upset the man you are in bed with are an unmanageable weight to bear. This story spread to such immense popularity because it worked to shine a light on the ways in which we are taught that consent always looks like x, y, or z. And that, if you agreed to the encounter initially, there’s no backing out; we are taught to believe that you cannot revoke your yes.


I don’t think I, personally, know any women (myself, included) who haven’t been in this exact situation multiple times over the years. Nights that end this way always feel like they’re surrounded by this foggy cloud of discomfort, fear, disappointment, dissociation, and disgust (both with them and with yourself). It’s scary to be alone with someone you don’t know very well, and feel just completely stuck inside their house with no real way out. You never want to be rude by asking to leave, and you also don’t want to anger them for fear of how they might react.


It’s the sort of situation where your heart races and your palms sweat and you feel yourself quickly weighing out all of your options until you, eventually, decide that, well, it’s already pretty late and, if you just stick it out until morning, you can go home and shower and pretend it never happened. This way, you avoid any awkward or scary confrontations, and ensure they’re feelings remain unhurt while you just mime your way through the rest of the evening; letting your thoughts wander somewhere else, to some far-off place until it’s all, finally, over. (It doesn’t even have to be a stranger from some Tinder date; we can all-too-often find ourselves ignoring uncomfortable or coercive behavior from people we are already in committed relationships with, allowing them to do what they want under the guise of being in love and being too afraid to rock the boat.)


This situation is such a commonality within the dating-sphere, it’s no surprise that author Kristen Roupenian drew from her own personal, real-life experiences to create this story. Roupenian spoke to The Times earlier this week, opening up about her own Cat Person for the very first time.


It all started when Roupenian, who had spent many years in a long-term committed relationship, found herself single at thirty-five for the first time since she was in her twenties:


When I was 26 and dating, I was such a mess and everything was terrible. I thought now I would be a mature adult and wouldn’t screw up and would understand when people are garbage right away. But instead I felt just as smacked by it and just as confused…I went on a date, it went poorly, and we got in a fight. And that’s alright, but I thought, ‘I’m 35, how did I make this mistake? How did I misread someone so completely?


The story grew to success seemingly overnight, and resulted in Roupenian landing a two-book deal with Scout Press, including a collection of short-stories set to release in 2019 and a currently untitled novel.


The success was by no accident, however. The story resonated, and still resonates, with people across the board.


Dating is never as easy as any of us hope it’s going to be. And, it can be difficult when you’re meeting all of these people to not feel tired of it all, and just ready to settle down with the next semi-charming, borderline-compatible adult human you stumble across. But, once you’ve already begun to force a connection with someone and convince yourself of it’s sustainability, it can be nearly impossible to come to terms with how you genuinely feel, walk out, and leave the situation behind you.


Roupenian went on to tell the Times about her own views surrounding the dating culture our society has built:


I think that young women in particular feel they have to manage and control and soothe and charm and weave this magic around men…The truth is, most people are not the right person for you, and the person who is the right person for you will still not be a perfect human being.


Since the Cat Person publication, Roupenian has learned she was never really alone in this thinking. Women all over have shared their own stories of uncomfortable dates that have ended in aggression, shame, and coercion.


I only hope that, now that a light has been shone on the aspects of dating and consent that before we had only ever been told to deal with and ignore, we can finally begin to see a shift in what we do and do not consider normal, healthy, and okay. 


In the meantime, we can continue sharing our stories. We can acknowledge and find comfort in the autonomy of our own bodies, and the fact that no one, no matter what their previous relationship to us may be, is allowed to steal that from us. We can refuse to accept the things that feel uncomfortable, scary, or harmful, and not feel any embarrassment, guilt, or shame in vocalizing that. We can understand and accept our own imperfect humanness, and work on erasing both our desire to mold and shift others’ views of us and our impossible desire to never disappoint.


We can keep standing up and speaking out. 




Featured Image via Sykesville Veterinary Clinic

Emilia Clarke grossed out

NSFW: The Bad Sex Award Winner Is Announced

Last week, we covered the nominees for The Literary Review‘s annual Bad Sex Award, and it was quite a trip. Check out the full list here. They were all really…something else. 


Now, this year’s winner has been announced… It is Christopher Bollen for the “anatomically confusing” “billiard rack” analogy he used in his thriller, titled (somewhat upsettingly, given the context of this award) The Destroyers


Via Giphy

 Via Giphy

What is this “billiard rack” analogy, you ask? Well, reader, ask and you shall receive. 


She covers her breasts with her swimsuit.The rest of her remains so delectably exposed. The skin along her arms and shoulders are different shades of tan like water stains in a bathtub. Her face and vagina are competing for my attention, so I glance down at the billiard rack of my penis and testicles.


The Literary Review commented:


The judges felt that there are parts in the book where Bollen goes overboard in his attempts to describe the familiar in new terms, leading occasionally to confusion. In the line quoted … they were left unsure as to how many testicles the character in question has.


It’s true: the billiard rack analogy is strange, but stranger still, I would argue, is the comparison between the skin of the woman and a stained bathtub. Stained bathtubs…aren’t sexy, Christopher. There is, frankly, no way around that fact.


Previous winners of the award include Norman Mailer, Morrissey, and Rowan Somerville. While many winners accept the accolade with good humor, others are not so welcoming. Unsurprisingly, Morrissey had a slight tantrum when crowned king of Bad Sex in 2015, saying, “there are too many good things in life to let these repulsive horrors pull you down I have many enemies, and their biggest motivation, as you know, is to try to use all your achievements against you.” Okay, Morrissey, add this “repulsive horror” to your list of achievements and move on, buddy. 


Via Giphy

Morrissey in a bathtub, although it’s hard to tell if this one is stained…sexily or not. | Via Giphy


Bollen has yet to publicly comment on the award, but I look forward to hearing what he has to say on the matter. 


Featured Image Via Bustle