Feminist Romance, got any recommendations? - Mothering Forums
Books, Music, and Media > Feminist Romance, got any recommendations?
kimberlychapman's Avatar kimberlychapman 10:17 PM 07-11-2013

I've been on a quest for the last year or so to find books with good steamy sex scenes that don't offend my feminist principles.  It doesn't have to be about feminism or a polemic or anything, just stuff that isn't, you know, creepy.  No rapeyness, no stupidly macho heroes, etc.  And also not the pseudo-feminist stuff with supposedly "strong" women characters who then give up whatever their strength is just to be in love.  Also not man-hating...I've had some stuff recommended to me that turned into man-hating and my feminism doesn't include that.


I prefer fantasy as a genre but will also read good human-based science fiction.  No BDSM (faux or otherwise) please.  I find that stuff triggery.


I've actually written and published two novels myself just to satisfy what I'm looking for, but I'd like to kick back and read others!

MichelleZB's Avatar MichelleZB 04:39 PM 07-13-2013

Well, Marion Zimmer Bradley is a classic feminist fantasy writer... but perhaps her books might be what you would call man hating? It is hard to know.

kimberlychapman's Avatar kimberlychapman 04:54 PM 07-13-2013

I haven't read her so I'm not sure.  I know that I get very frustrated with anything that paints men as a bunch of useless, war-mongering dolts just as much as I get mad at stereotypes of women. :/

Viola's Avatar Viola 12:51 AM 07-15-2013

Hmmmm, how steamy do you want the sex scenes to be?  I don't really read a lot of fantasy, so I haven't encountered any with serious sex scenes, but maybe they are there.  Sometimes I skip by them if I'm not in the mood.

Have you seen this blog?  Someone recommended it to me as a good romance review place: http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/about

kimberlychapman's Avatar kimberlychapman 10:13 AM 07-15-2013

Steamy enough to be interesting.  Too many of them do the "fade to black" just before things get fun. :)


A lot of the sex I've seen in fantasy is male-focused and not very good.  That's why I'm always looking for recommendations...


And yes I love that blog.  I live in a constant state of apprehension and terror about submitting my own novels for review!  I read some of their top picks, though, and found them a little dull.  Not offensive, but just very predictable and repetitive. :/

Viola's Avatar Viola 01:37 PM 07-15-2013

Yeah, I feel like that is the issue with so many of the romance novels.  It's hard to find an exciting, well-plotted story that also includes the more in-depth love scenes.


I usually read the ones that have a mystery component, because it feels kind of standard with romance.  

tinuviel_k's Avatar tinuviel_k 11:00 PM 07-15-2013
I really like Outlander, by Diana Gabeldon. I suppose I would classify it as historical fiction with a fantasy twist. It's a great book; really interesting characters, a wonderful story, and lots of the steamy stuff, too.
kimberlychapman's Avatar kimberlychapman 11:52 PM 07-15-2013

That sounds excellent, Tinuviel!  I'm adding it to my Goodreads list now, thank you! :D

kimberlychapman's Avatar kimberlychapman 11:54 PM 07-15-2013

Oh wow check it out, there's actually a contest on Goodreads to win a copy right now: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10964.Outlander

MichelleZB's Avatar MichelleZB 06:13 AM 07-16-2013
Doesn't the hero beat the heroine for disobeying him in that novel, and she thinks, well, this sucks, but what can I do, it's the 18th century?
tinuviel_k's Avatar tinuviel_k 07:39 AM 07-16-2013
Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post

Doesn't the hero beat the heroine for disobeying him in that novel, and she thinks, well, this sucks, but what can I do, it's the 18th century?

I suppose you could define it like that out of context, but there is a lot more going on, and the heroine sure doesn't let it slide. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
There is one scene where the male lead, who is NOT an abusive man, decided he needs to punish Claire for putting the lives of all of his men in danger when she does something very stupid. I am not into punishment scenes, but in this case it IS historically accurate. The fact is that husbands in that day and time did take a belt to their wives if they "disobeyed." while I hate that fact, it is really no different than other scenes in the story where things happen out of our cultural context.
The scene was not a terribly long one, was not graphic, and was not sexual.

And while Claire (a modern woman of the 20th century) does end up going along with it, she later pulls a knife and swears if he ever touches her like that again she will have his balls for breakfast, or some sort. He swears that he will never do anything like it again, and never does.
The two leads have a very loving, mutually respectful relationship while trying to merge the two different cultures of time and country. I thought the whole thing was very well done.

kimberlychapman's Avatar kimberlychapman 11:23 AM 07-16-2013

Nrrrrrrgh.  That's majorly triggery for me.  That puts it out, historically accurate or not. :p


Plus even though men could beat their wives, not all did.  I'm looking for heroes who choose not to.  In fact, show me the hero who endures the mocking of other men against it.

tinuviel_k's Avatar tinuviel_k 01:30 PM 07-16-2013
Fair enough, but if you change your mind, do give the book a chance. It is amazing!
The scene mentioned is a VERY small part of the book, and it gives Jamie the chance to completely turn around his way of thinking, and he learns a lot from Claire in that regard. I believe that was the whole purpose of the author. It is definitely not gratuitous, and it really isn't icky or gross feeling. Nothing graphic is described, there is no detailed description or anything. You could even just skip over those few pages; it wouldn't ruin the rest of the book (or the following five books!) at all.
Viola's Avatar Viola 01:09 AM 07-17-2013

It wasn't sexual, but Jamie did admit that it was sexually arousing to him at one point, which is where I think she pulled the knife.  It's been a long time since I've read that book.  I was actually supposed to read it again for a book club, but I haven't.

There was one scene at the end of the book that involved torture, that I had to skip.  I generally skip torture scenes in books, so I ended up reading backwards from it.  Later books include a rape scene, but not between a romantic pair.

Katie8681's Avatar Katie8681 07:51 PM 07-17-2013
There are quite a few attempted rapes, though... I don't think I'd recommend the Outlander series to anyone who was trying to avoid sexual violence. (I do love those books, though! HOT.)
tinuviel_k's Avatar tinuviel_k 08:52 AM 07-18-2013
I also like Nora Roberts quite a lot. She's got great steamy scenes and strong female characters. Quite a lot of her books are murder mysteries, so I don't know if you'd enjoy those. Montana Sky is probably my favorite, but it is one of the murder mysteries. The Three Sisters trilogy is great, but the main character is on the run from an abusive relationship, so that might be a deal breaker for you. The Key trilogy is also pretty fun and has a modern magical spin. To my knowledge it is pretty clean, too.
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