Self Love and Vibrators: Is the Romance Genre Changing?

Self Love and Vibrators: Is the Romance Genre Changing?
This post may contain some spoilers from the book White Boyfriend by Leesha McCoy. 

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Earlier this week, I finished reading a book listed as a ‘heart warming rom-com’. It was entitled White Boyfriend, written by Leesha McCoy, and I thought that I would be getting a light hearted but enlightening look at the intricacies of being a Black woman dating a white man for the first time. I mean, look at the cover:

Book cover art on a tablet screen, showing the title White Boy Friend.

I can be forgiven for that, right?

What I found however, was that like several titles I have read lately, this book was more about self-love. It was about self-discovery. It was about breaking the chains of oppression imposed upon children by well-meaning, overbearing parents. This also included a sort of sexual liberation, a secondary coming-of-age where a woman gets to decide what type of sex she wants and learn to be confident in getting it.

That’s where the vibrators come in.

Flowers and Freedom

I can’t help but notice that of late, vibrators and other sex toys are becoming symbols of sexual emancipation and more importantly, self-love (of the spiritual kind). No more putting up with dissatisfying, male-led encounters, where a woman politely searches the ceiling whilst a partner tries to figure out what buttons to bash for a win (or skips her pleasure altogether).

Now, instead of your typical girl-next-door being wooed by bunches of flowers, the flowers causing the most excitement in these books are vibrating roses, which, I have since discovered, come highly recommended on TikTok. By the time I finished reading White Boyfriend, I knew exactly where to purchase this little gadget, but could barely remember anything about what’s-his-name (besides the fact that he does in fact, season his meat, and that before our main character’s arc was complete, he discovered her vibrating, cobweb-dipped ‘bestie’ from college. Awks).

The rose that is said to do mythical things.

A Romance Trope?

As the main character grew to love herself, she became more confident and gave her rose a place in her life. A place that was all for her. Her previous ‘bestie’ had been previously lost or hidden by her ex (hence the cobweb), along with any hope of escaping a vanilla existence while with him. She was doomed to bedroom boredom by his conservative views. Thus, the rose entering her life allowed her to bloom in more ways than one.

A tweet screenshot.

Perhaps it is simply the titles I have been reading, or perhaps it is the sign of a turning tide? Is self-love the romance trope that we want and need? Or should self-love journeys remain strictly confined to contemporary fiction or development-based non-fiction? Is the focus on life-affirming romance becoming outdated? Let me know what you think!

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A rose on paper.

One response to “Self Love and Vibrators: Is the Romance Genre Changing?”

  1. Miriam Elen avatar

    How interesting! I’m more into fantasy than anything else so I haven’t come across this shift. While self love is an important message, maybe it fits a genre of its own instead of being marketed as a romance/ rom-com? (Not sure on this one! but yes the title may be a little misleading)

    Like

One response to “Self Love and Vibrators: Is the Romance Genre Changing?”

  1. How interesting! I’m more into fantasy than anything else so I haven’t come across this shift. While self love is an important message, maybe it fits a genre of its own instead of being marketed as a romance/ rom-com? (Not sure on this one! but yes the title may be a little misleading)

    Like

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