From the steamy Bridgerton series to the Sarah Ferguson’s latest Mills & Boon “bodice-ripper” book, has made a huge comeback in recent years.
And it looks like authors Julia Cowen and the Duchess of York might thank TikTok for their bestseller.
Publishers say books categorized as romances and epics in Britain have risen 110 per cent in three years and are now worth £53m.
The spike — the largest since the release of EL James’s Fifty Shades of Gray — is believed to have been caused by millennials and Gen Z chanting their favorite stories on TikTok.
To date, the #romancebooks hashtag has had billions of views on the platform, making it the biggest subgenre in the #BookTok community.
From steamy Bridgerton scenes inspired by Julia Quinn’s page-turning novels to Sarah Ferguson’s latest Mills & Boon “bodice-ripper,” more and more readers seem to be craving naughtiness with a side of intrigue.
With Josephine Hart’s Damage adapted into a delicious Netflix series this month and Rutshire-set Rivals set to hit the screen on Disney+, sex and relationship expert Kate Mansfield told FEMAIL why bloat is creeping into books, movies, and TV. Offers.
But the teacher told FEMAIL that this trend is not so much a new phenomenon but is simply typical of a trend throughout history, which comes as a natural consequence of sexual liberation.
“Absurdity in literature is nothing new,” she said. We can trace this back to the 1949 “Harlequin novels” that were published targeting women, and continued to grow in sexual content through the 1970s.
Furthermore, she says, sexual mores in fiction changed along with popular culture – Especially since the 1950s and 1960s saw the proliferation of birth control pills.
Kate pursued “feminism and the ‘free love’ movement on the back of these erotic media developed for women”.
“And then we’re now seeing insensitive media because of the massive increase in porn and the sexual liberation of women.”
Titles like 50 Shades of Gray — and its proven commercial success — likely launched “the latest batch of erotic stories for women and became the all-time best-selling book in the genre,” Kate says.
THE TEACHER Told FEMAIL that the trend is not so much a new phenomenon but is simply typical of a trend throughout history. Pictured is a scene in Bridgerton
Kate says titles like 50 Shades of Gray — and its proven commercial success — have likely launched “the latest batch of sexy stories for women.” Pictured is a screenshot from the movie adaptation
Subsequently, those who followed the novella formula also found themselves popular with audiences, including hits like Bridgerton.
However, she says changing personal dynamics, especially since the coronavirus pandemic, has a role to play, too.
Harm Josephine Hart is being adapted into a prostitute series on Netflix this month
She continued, “Promiscuous literature is definitely aimed at women, and regardless of the sexual nature, it’s usually tapped into with a strong romantic hook, which tends to have a feminine appeal.”
Kate says the ‘increasing exploration of sexual obesity’, which is becoming more socially acceptable, may also be related to women achieving greater financial success, and therefore freedom.
She added, “I think the Covid pandemic and the isolation she’s experienced, has definitely boosted the popularity of cross-sex with women.”
In part, this is due to an increased element of fantasy—a side effect of not being able to get personally involved.
Kate says gender and relationships are “changing profoundly as a result of the Covid pandemic,” as well as “the shifts we’re seeing in gender roles and economic shifts.”
However – she does not believe that profanity is ultimately a cause, but rather an effect, insisting that it “generally has no dramatic effect”.
She added, “Filthy literature is generally harmless and is just a fun aide for many women to access their sexuality in a way they may not feel able to in real life.”
“It can become harmful if used as a way to avoid intimate relationships though.”