You'll be thrilled to hear that finally some brave literary man is daring to write about sex! Sex with teenage girls, in relationships with incestuous overtones and questionable power dynamics! How very avant-garde of him, I'm sure. Meanwhile we romance authors are over here doing ... whatever it is we do. Not literature, certainly. Not art of any kind. The stuff we do is called genre fiction ("we agree upon a few rules in advance") or commercial fiction ("the stuff we all know sells the most") or women's fiction ("people who aren't women can safely ignore it") or chick lit ("people who aren't young women can safely ignore it"). Brave Literary Men write for other Brave Literary Men. They are authors writing at other authors, particularly the dead greats of the early and mid-twentieth century (Joyce, Hemingway, F. Scott, Updike, Roth, etc.)
Who do romance authors write for? Ourselves, a lot of the time. Other times, we write for Linda Belcher.
Linda Belcher is a mom, but that's not all she is. She's more human than Wilma Flintstone and more fun than Marge Simpson. She loves her family, and wine, and dinner theater. She has dreams that involve her husband and her kids, and she has dreams for herself apart from them.
She reads romance novels.
She reads nautical romance novels with deliciously absurd titles and clinch covers loaded with man-abs.
I find I loathe the thought of anyone making Linda Belcher feel small because she has a few splashy escapist reads lying around.
So instead of going on a rant about Brave Literary Men, I have made Linda Belcher some new covers to put on her romance novels, so she others will think she's reading about something appropriately intellectual and reflective instead of an adventurous ocean romance starring a strong heroine and her man-candy.