I remember clearly the very first time I read a romance novel. I had stolen it from my mother’s top shelf, and hid in my closet to read it. I was fascinated by what I discovered on those well-worn pages. I was still in junior high, and while I giggled along with my friends about sex, I honestly didn’t understand how it all worked. That was probably age-appropriate then, but if it hadn’t been for romance novels, I would’ve still been woefully unprepared when I finally did become intimate with a partner several years later. Sure, they taught us the biology of the act (and that we must abstain) in school, my mom mentioned birth control and condoms, and I had seen some porn online at my friend Sam’s house, but none of that began to cover the complexities and insecurities that come with doing the real thing.
Now, I'm a mother, and it’ll one day be my turn to make sure my son and daughter are prepared to tackle sex, love, and romance with honesty, bravery, compassion, and vulnerability. I’m confident that one of the best places for them to learn about intimacy, identity, and sex is between the pages of a romance novel. Here are just a few of the many reasons I hope my kids read "filthy" romance novels when they’re ready to learn about love: