Day 27 Lexi Ryan – Healthy Attitudes from Romance

Why I Hope My Kids Read Romance

It happens all the time—usually in a hushed whisper, sometimes with an indignant glare. Someone finds out what I write and they ask, “But would you ever let your children read your books?”

That’s right. I write sexy books. On occasion, I even *gasp* use the p-word in my sexy books (and I’m not talking about popsicle). So it’s only Fall To Younatural that people who’ve read my books and know I’m also the mother to two small children have questions. This is usually the first of those questions. Sometimes it’s asked out of honest curiosity and sometimes with hostility—as if the person is saying, “If you wouldn’t want your children reading it, you shouldn’t be writing it.”

The truth is this: I hope that when my kids reach an appropriate maturity, they read books like mine. Do they need to read my books? Not necessarily. I’ll leave that up to them. But whether they read mine or not, I hope my kids do read books like mine.

I want my kids to read romance novels because I want them to be optimists. Romance, at its heart, delivers the message that we are all worthy of love and a good life, but that we have a part to play in reaching that destination. This is a message worth reinforcing.

I want my daughter to read romance novels because I want her to believe that powerful romantic love exists, and that she shouldn’t ever feel like she has to “settle” just so she won’t be alone.

I want my son to read them for the same reason.

I want my daughter to read sexy romance novels because I want her to understand that, contrary to what young girls and boys are socialized to believe, sex should be as much about her pleasure as it is about his.

I want my son to read them for the same reason.

I want my kids to read books like mine because I don’t want them to think sex is something shameful or dirty, and—as it is rather unlikely that they will be asexual adults—I’d like to foster healthy feelings about their sexuality, whatever that may be.

Am I going to let my kids read my books? It’s a perfectly reasonable question. But I guess it also surprises me. Because my kids aren’t going to be All For Thiskids forever. Now, at ages two and six, reading my books wouldn’t be any more appropriate than having them watch a bloody horror movie. But when they’re older and mature enough to understand the contents, I won’t just allow them to, I’ll encourage it. Because, though my books are sexy, they are about a lot more than just sex on the page.

They’re about love and community and self-acceptance.

They’re about fighting your way toward the happily-ever-after you absolutely deserve.

And, yes, they’re also about sex.

And that’s maybe one of the biggest reasons I think they’re important. One way or another, sex matters. The way we perceive ourselves in relation to our sexuality matters. And I don’t just want my kids to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids. I want them to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.

Recommendations: I have so many favorite authors, it’s hard for me to choose just a few to recommend. I probably fangirl the hardest over Victoria Dahl’s sexy contemporaries, Monica Murphy’s new adult romances, and Kristan Higgins’ small town romances. When I’m looking for something super sexy, I like Kristen Proby and Lauren Blakely’s erotic romance.

Questions for the Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

I am neither daring nor adventurous, but the first time I rode in a plane, I jumped out. Skydiving is great fun, but I’m okay with going just the once.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

I decided I wanted to “be a writer” when I was in the second grade, though at the time I didn’t really understand what that entailed. I’m stubborn so I didn’t waiver much on the writerly aspirations, but it was tough. I finaled in the Golden Heart in 2007 and was sure I was on my way. Not so much… By 2012, after seriously underwhelming performance of two novels with a small e-press and dozens of “close but not quite” rejections from agents and traditional publishers, I desperately wanted to quit. I had a great job as an English professor, a wonderful husband, and two small children. Every minute I spent writing took time away from my family and my work, and I had nothing to show for it but a bunch of rejection letters and a frustrated husband who supported my dream but also really wanted to spend a little time with his wife.

The day I received a rejection letter from a publisher who’d spent two years considering my book, I sat in my car and cried. I didn’t cry because of the rejection—I’d gotten plenty of that. I cried because I felt so damn guilty for wanting to write anyway. I knew it only made sense to quit, and I cried because I didn’t know how. Writing is part of who I am. That’s when I decided to take my career into my own hands and self publish. I’m so grateful for that decision and what it’s done for me, my writing, and my family. And I’m so grateful to the readers who took a chance on me and spend their hard-earned money on my books.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

Jude Deveraux’s KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR was my first romance novel. I was in junior high and fancied myself “a writer,” but when I read this novel, I knew that was the kind of story I wanted to write—with all the love and passion and happily-ever-after. I was hooked on romance.

Lexi is generously giving away a print copy of LOST IN ME for U.S. readers (entry below) and another one for international readers (enter here).

Lexi RyanNew York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Lexi Ryan’s novels have been described as intense, emotional, and wickedly sexy. A former college professor, she now writes full-time from her home in Indiana, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a neurotic dog. Find her on Facebook or Twitter to chat about books, TV, and her children’s latest antics.

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  • MK

    LOVELY essay!

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, MK! Thanks for stopping by!

  • TrishJ

    We should read at our comfort level. Some of us like closed bedroom romance and some of us like to “be” there. With so many different books out there, you can find anything you want to read. I remember when I started reading romance, the covers were so over the top bodice rippers. There were no romance blogs and reading a romance book was “in the closet” so to speak. Now I proudly say I read romance. The books are so much more than just sex. There are so many great romance authors writing great books now.

    • Lexi Ryan


      Absolutely! In fact, though I tend to write more explicit scenes than others, I do have some fans that just skim over those parts…and others who reread them. Diversity in romance is as important as it is anywhere else. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Sue G.

    I have 3 daughters who all read. I agree that they should be able to read what is age appropriate. My 17 yr old wanted to read the Fifty Shades of Grey. I told her she needed to wait until she was 18. Then she’d be an adult. She was fine with this.

    • Lexi Ryan

      Don’t you love seeing your kids read, Sue? It’s as gratifying as seeing someone enjoy a meal I worked hard to prepare. I think it’s wonderful that you and your 17 year-old have a relationship that she felt comfortable telling you what she wanted to be reading. In the meantime, there are plenty of books to keep her busy. 🙂

      • Sue G.

        She has found fan fiction and likes to read things about the band One Direction that she likes. Now her and my 19 yr old daughter read all of those.

  • I am a huge fan of Lexi Ryan! Loved reading the Q & A

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Danielle! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! <3

  • LisaVH

    “They’re about fighting your way toward the happily-ever-after you absolutely deserve.” Love this statement. I admit that I read books that are wildly inappropriate for my 10 and 5 year old children, but I agree whole-heartedly that I hope my children get the message that good love is out there and worth working for.

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you so much, Lisa! That’s the message I want my children to get above all else. 🙂

  • Anna

    I think it’s amazing that you want both your daughter AND your son to read your books. My brother has occasionally borrowed my romances, and I think (I hope), he will have a better relationship with his future partner(s) because of it.

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Anna! I love that your brother borrows your books. And why not? 🙂

  • mariannewestrich

    It would be great if more men read the romances that their women like. It’s like a window into our wishes and dreams (and fantasies). My husband is just learning this and it is making us BOTH happy! 😎

    • Lexi Ryan

      I have a good number of male friends who read my books, and I like to think they enjoy the experience and aren’t just doing it out of some odd sense of obligation. 🙂

  • Meredith Richeson Hillenbrand

    I have read books as long as I can remember. I never go anywhere without one. I, too, have made sure my daughter knows what’s important in a relationship. It is about both of them.

    • Lexi Ryan

      So good to hear, Meredith! <3 Thanks for stopping by!

      • Meredith Richeson Hillenbrand

        Thanks for taking the time to reply to my comment! It means a lot that you took time out of your busy day!

  • Patty Vasquez

    I’ll never forget the conversation I had with my mom, who’s now 78, about reading romance novels. I think we were talking about Suzanne Brockmann’s books. My mom said she really wished there had been stories like THOSE books when she was a newlywed; her honeymoon and married life would have been way more interesting! She cracked me up.

    • Lexi Ryan

      Patty! I love your mom! That’s awesome! <3 <3

  • Erica H

    That is a great answer to such a dippy question. I enjoy your book and I am glad you didn’t quit!

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Erica! Since I now have the best job in the world, I’m glad I didn’t quit too! 🙂

  • Angee Bartlett

    My husband is hooked on the JD Robb “Eve Dallas” novels. According to him they are NOT romance trash. LOL! He even has our adult sons listening to them. No, he doesn’t “read” them, he listens to them in the car. I love it!

    • Lexi Ryan

      Angee, you’re husband is on to something! I get to “read” about 2x as many books as I would otherwise because I love audio books. And JD Robb on audio? *adds to wish list* Thanks for swinging by! 🙂

  • Renery Gatpayat

    I like that Lexi is neither daring nor adventurous. Just the right amount of fun all over! 🙂 congrats on the amazing books!!

    • Lexi Ryan

      LOL. Thanks, Renery! I try to keep it real if nothing else! 😉

      • Renery Gatpayat

        Yay! OMG I love you, Lexi! <3 you are amazing! Yes, please continue keeping it real. 🙂

  • Debbie Oxier

    Look forward to checking out your work!

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Debbie! I hope you enjoy it! <3

  • Sharon Forbes

    Nothing at all wrong with a sexy novel! Sometimes, that is just what I want to read, something sexy and steamy, as I have to confess, I have a vivid imagination, and a good sexy novel can fuel that imagination, which makes me happy, and isn’t that what we all read our romances for, to make us happy?! 🙂

    • Lexi Ryan

      There’s so much joy to be found between the covers of a book. This is truth! <3 Thanks, Sharon!

  • Stephanie M.

    Thank you for your post. I am new to your books and really look forward to reading them. Is there a particular order I should read them?

    • Lexi Ryan

      Stephanie, thank you so much for being interested in my books! If you want to check out my most popular series, start with UNBREAK ME and then WISH I MAY. Or you could just dive right in to LOST IN ME since it’s free right now, and who doesn’t like free? 🙂

  • Debbie Fuller

    OMG! I love your post. I’m the mother of 4 grown daughters and I always wanted and taught them to not settle for anything. Sex is a natural aspect of life and relationships and shouldn’t be ignored or hidden or something to be ashamed of.
    Thank you for your words and thoughts. Now I am off to find your books!

    • Lexi Ryan

      Oh, thank you, Debbie! This is really an issue close to my heart so I’m so glad what I had to say resonated with you! <3

  • Erica Mitchell

    Sounds great !

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Erica!

  • Glittergirl

    Loved, loved, loved this post! So much of it resonated with me and thank you for standing up for romance…EVERYTHING you said is so true. I’ve got to get more of your books.

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you for swinging by! 🙂

  • Karen G.

    What a great way to put it! I have to justify reading romance all the time unfortunately. I Love romance not only for a hea but for the sex and the hotter it is the better! and of course my husband never complains about that. hehe I first discovered you when Unbreak Me was released and loved it along with the rest of the series and also the Here and Now series! Thanks for the recommendations, I also read books by all these authors except for Victoria Dahl, I will have to check her work out. 🙂

    • Lexi Ryan

      Oh, Karen, thank you for reading! I’m so excited for you to check out Victoria Dahl. I really think you’ll love it. Drop me a note and let me know, okay? <3

  • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

    I really enjoyed your post, Lexi. Sometimes I think it’s so hard as a mom, but I’m glad you’re happy with your choice, and at a right age is correct. My adult kids don’t have time to read, so I find myself giving them advice thanks to what I learn from today’s trend in romance novels, because you know, all kids say, “mom, that happened in your time/ back when you were young.” Then I say, I read it in a recently released romance novel. They roll their eyes sometimes 😉

    • Lexi Ryan

      I love that you cite romances to support your advice, Lorelei! When my kids are older, I hope I can be so awesome! 🙂

      • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

        Lol! Thanks! You will probably be way cooler 😉

  • Debra Fritz-Austin

    Great blog, thanks for sharing your story

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Debra! <3

  • Ellen

    I like flying, but I don’t think I could skydive. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Ellen! Yes, it was fun…ish. But I’ll stay in the plane next time. 🙂

  • Glenda

    I have to agree with your reasons for wanting your kids to read romances. 🙂 Great Post!

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Glenda!

  • Julia Broadbooks

    Your story about sitting in the car crying made me cry! I so get that feeling of guilt and longing.

    • Lexi Ryan

      *hugs* Julia! That’s exactly what it was—a potent cocktail of guilt and longing. Thanks for coming by!

  • Tammy H

    I love Knight In Shining Armor, too!

    • Lexi Ryan

      It’s a classic, Tammy! 🙂

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I’ve been reading romance for a VERY long time and I am also a die hard optimist. I’d like to think those two might have something to do with one another 🙂 My parents encouraged me to read from the time I was young and I remember later in middle and high school when my mom and I were both reading romance as well as my next door neighbor. We would talk about the books we read, trade them back and forth and always be on the lookout for more to share. Not all were romance, but a good chunk of them were and I don’t think my mom ever even worried about the fact that there was sex in them. She has always been open about that and now, here I am in my thirties and happily married for 8 years…go Mom and Dad 🙂 In short, I completely agree with your essay, which more people thought like that, and wish more people could see the value in the romance genre. It has been such a big part of my life for so long and I think it has been instrumental in maintaining my optimism and happiness. Thanks for the great essay and I can’t wait to check out your books!!!

    • Lexi Ryan

      Congratulations on 8 happy years, Courtney! May you have many more! <3

  • Yaritza Santana

    Both book look very interesting. Want to pick them up.

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Yaritza!

  • Pamby50

    I am so glad you decided to self publish. I have enjoyed your books. I love that you are going to encouraged your children to read if not your books, but other romance books.

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Pam! I’m glad too. It really changed my life and my family’s! 🙂

  • M Kuxhaus

    I’m with you; kids won’t always be kids. They need to know how to function as adults, and sex is part of that.

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thanks for commenting, M!

  • Marcy Shuler

    I have two teen boys and would have no problem with them reading romance. But at the age they are now they’d rather not even look at the covers of my books. LOL But at least they know I’m a big reader (as is their dad) and that’s half of the battle, IMO.

    • Lexi Ryan

      It is, Marcy! They need to see you reading to understand how it can be part of your life. When I used to teach freshman comp to college students, I always required the class to read a novel because so many of them hadn’t since grade school–it’s just not part of their lives. Thank you for setting a great example!

  • Joan Varner

    I think it is great that you want to encourage both of your children to read romance so they will both be “enlightened” about love, romance and passion.

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Joan!

  • Thanks so much for being here Lexi, and I love this essay. xo

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Bobbi! I appreciate you inviting me!

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    You bring up a good discussion in your post. My daughters informed me that they had discovered my romance books when they were in junior high & were reading them. I was fine with it. For one, they were reading. Secondly, they understood that the books were fiction but described things that could occur in real life. Well, not the pirates & shieks & such, but the love and caring between two people. My four kids are now in their 20’s and have a healthy respect toward relationships and love.

    • Lexi Ryan

      That’s all wonderful to hear, Eileen! Thank you for sharing!

  • Emmel

    My teenaged daughter has been reading my romances for years. My husband will occasionally read them as well. It actually makes for a wonderful bonding experience!

    • Lexi Ryan

      This is wonderful, Emmel! I love the idea of your husband and daughter bonding over your books. Thank you for sharing!

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for your thoughts. I agree completely that we should aspire that everyone would read and appreciate romances.

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank you, Sheila!

  • Natasha Salzer

    THANK YOU!!!!!

    • Lexi Ryan

      Thank YOU, Natasha! <3

  • Martha B

    Reading romance can reinforces the message that we are ALL worthy of love, respect, being treated well, etc. etc. As you wrote, that is a good reason for both men and women to read them. The sentence in your post that resonated the most with me: “They’re about love and community and self-acceptance.”
    What’s not to like?

  • Lynda Dickey

    A strong, loving relationship can have great sex. Romances inspired me to wait for a man who loves, values, and admires me. Our teenager thinks this is all ICKY!!!

  • Dawn Anderson

    Even when I am reading a romance novel I have people say to me, “Well, you wouldn’t let your kids read it!” Of course not, but only because they’re children. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I hope your children love your books as much as your fans do!

  • Erin F

    LOL… glad that you don’t let judgmental people influence you. I think that everyone should read romance and even erotica once they get old enough. Better too much info than not enough I think! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kim

    I love your post!! I think romance books do promote a healthier view of sexuality than how kids are socialized today.