“Where did you first learn about sex?” asks Jennifer Weiner in the New York Times. In her opinion piece, “We Need Bodice-Ripper Sex Ed,” she suggests that many of the problems being brought to light by the #MeToo movement could be solved by including romance novels in sex education. As she says:
Because these books were written for and consumed by women, female pleasure was an essential part of every story. Villains were easy to spot: They were the ones who left a woman “burning and unsatisfied.” Shirley Conran’s “Lace” features a heroine telling her feckless husband that she’d used an egg timer to determine how long it took her to achieve orgasm on her own and that she’d be happy to teach him what to do.
Sure, bodice-ripper novels are formulaic. They usually aren’t terribly challenging. Sometimes the proofreading is subpar. They are heteronormative more often than not. But there is a common theme: women can and should expect sexual satisfaction as much as any man.
P.S. I read “Lace” as a teen, and you can bet I went forward expecting pleasure in my sex life.