What women fantasize about: The 6 most popular topics in romantic fiction

By Marie on Jan 13th, 2015


The days of the classic love stories such as Romeo and Juliet have long gone, the couple everyone is talking about in modern day is Anastasia and the eminent Mr Grey. Why? Because now a reader wants to see the protagonist’s bedroom with open doors, they want to see the hero in their most playful way and the heroine purring like a kitten to her master. For many women, erotica sagas and romance novels allow them to indulge in salacious fantasies, dreaming up men they are unlikely to stumble upon in the local pub.

So, what do women want in a romance novel? To get hot under the collar, an exploration of fantasies, a classic romantic fairy-tale, to engage in things beyond our own imagination, to dabble in kink without having to say the safe word, ever.

There are so many topics in romance novels that drive women crazy! At Romance & Smut, we have catalogued over 100 different romance book content keywords and themes and allow users to combine them at will to create their individual book searches, tailored to their romantic and erotic preferences.

This is the list of the top 6 favourite topics in December/January.
  • #1The alpha male hero

    A faint heart never won the lady. Alpha males are domineering, strong and know what they want, which is... first and foremost the heroine. They allow the reader to dive into a fantasy where they feel protected and cared for, cherished and just like the most special of snowflakes. Of course tempers might clash, but only in the most delicious ways. The alpha male men are throw backs to conventional gender norms, without having to suffer the negative effects. After all, having to deal with a man who always thinks that he knows best really is only tolerable for the length of roughly 300 pages.
  • #2The virgin heroine

    For the longest time it was one of THE requirements in romance novels, right after the HEA. But the virgin heroine is still an enduring favourite, even though values have changed. There's something a little bit thrilling about the thought of the mousey heroine falling into the arms of the regency hero. The excitement of a vulnerable creature indulging in new sensations and experiences. The unexpected. How will it feel? Maybe it is relaxing to know that nothing is expected in terms of skill and knowledge, the experienced hero will take care of her. The virgin heroine trope is the ultimate 'kick back and relax and let the man do the work' fantasy.
  • #3The possessive hero

    It is no mystery that the alpha male character dominates romantic literature. And if he didn’t check the boxes for the possessive, jealous, controlling type it wouldn’t be the same. Why? We are dealing with the ultimate bad boy here. Women love the thought of the hero throwing her over their shoulders, pining after the woman they want and doing anything and everything to get her. Ok, half the stuff we read in reality would be borderline stalking but there’s something about the hero following the protagonist until she gives him a chance that is a little bit sexy. If he’s resilient, he is a winner.
  • #4Paranormal Romances

    Paranormal is one of the most popular genres in contemporary romantic novels. But what makes it such a turn on? The escapism of unknown realms and different rules, woman superheroes, scary creatures? When it comes to paranormal heroes, maybe it is the excitement of dabbling in the dangerous: blood thirsty vampires, raging shifters and demons with questionable morals... These heroes can't be judged by human standards, their personalities are informed by their mystic natures and the reader can enjoy a guilt free dip in the not so PC pool.
  • #5M-M romances

    Indulging in the unknown leads us to the popular gay male erotica. The m/m romance allows a completely new experience for women. They can lust in both the erotic experiences as well as the emotional appeal. I mean what is more alluring than the thought of two hot men together! Outside of traditional M-F romance book relationship dynamics everything is possible. Heroes can be more soft, gentle and vulnerable, don't need to be always domineering and in control.
  • #6Cheating

    Yep. Cheating seems to be a surprising favourite. After all, it is absolutely devastating to be at the receiving end of such an experience. However, when you are the one watching over adultery and in no way involved it becomes a little exciting. Women like to uncover the drama at its climax, not knowing if the infidelity will be entangled and exhibited for all to see. Women like to be on the edge of their seat and that is exactly where an adultery book leads them.

Were your most favourite topics also on this list? Or were you be surprised by our results? Let us know in the comments



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