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What is Clean Romance and Why I write It by Savannah Hendricks


The genre of clean romance is also known as wholesome or sweet romance. But what does

this genre actually mean?


For the sake of flow, I’ll refer to it as clean romance in this post. When you watch a movie or read a book without sex shown or mentioned, you are thus watching/reading clean romance. Or, as some like to call it, boring. Clean romance is not for everyone, just as books and movies with copious amounts of sex are not for everyone. Fifty Shades of Grey or You anyone? Not all of us will raise our hands. But why not meet in the middle at PG-13, because that’s a not clean romance and it’s not enough to make it an R rated romance.


Alas, clean romance doesn’t need to be boring. And if done correctly, it’s just as much a

romantic story as one with sex. Traditionally, clean romance shouldn’t hint that sex has or

will happen, but sometimes those lines are crossed by either the author or a publisher

wanting to spice it up a bit more and they end up stretching the genre.


I write clean romance because when it comes down to love, there are many components. I

don’t like to cloud those up by adding sex into the mix. While it’s a factor in a relationship, I

don’t care to read page after page of it or watch five minutes of it on TV or in a movie. Move

over Fabio book cover. It also doesn’t mean that I don’t read those types of books. I enjoy a

few Colleen Hoover novels, but I don’t make it my everyday read.


Telling a love story without sex is a challenge. I would have a much easier and quicker go of

writing a novel if I could easily follow the path: Boy meets girl, they date, they fall in love,

and they have sex. Or depending on the story, maybe it’s the opposite order. And that’s

what most romance novels have: sex. Now take a second and think about popular movies

like Sleepless in Seattle, or The Wedding Planner. You guessed it, no sex. So it can be done

and done well.


Often, okay, maybe a lot of the times, clean romance is categorized and clumped with

inspirational and Christian romance. This is incorrect. While clean romance can contain

religious elements, they are not the same. Just because the main characters don’t have sex

doesn’t mean they’re Christians.


Sadly, for those of us who write clean romance, and our group numbers are small, we are

often given a disapproving eye roll. Readers can think our stories aren’t genuine romance

without sex. Did you know you can have passion, love, romance, adventure, humor, heart-

pounding moments, and events without sex? It’s true! My first romance novel, Ground in

January, won for best romance novel in the 2019 Arizona/New Mexico Book awards.

So if you’ve never read a clean romance novel, be sure to give it a try. You might actually fall

in love.


Find out more about Savannah Hendricks at her website: http://www.savannahhendricks.com/

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