What is a “Sweet or “Clean” Romance?

Lately I’ve been asked by a number of readers, and some authors too, to define a “sweet” or “clean” romance. While there seems to be some discrepancy within the publishing industry around these terms, the general consensus is that sweet romances emphasize the emotional intimacy between the hero and the heroine. Although these stories may contain sexual tension, they do not contain sex scenes—think of G to PG rated movies. It is possible for the hero and heroine to have had a sexual history, but it’s not shown on the page. Kissing is okay. Everything else is frowned upon. The same thing applies to offensive language.

These stories have internal and external conflicts, like any romance, but the sweet romance doesn’t contain violence. While the characters struggle and eventually find their happily-ever-after, it’s done with an underlying sweet theme.

Sweet romance is often confused with Inspirational romance. However, the two are different. Faith may play a role, but if it does, it’s not a key factor in a sweet romance, as it is in an Inspirational.

Because I follow the principles above, most of my books are sweet romances, even though I write in a variety of genres.

If you’ve been confused by the term “sweet” or clean” romance, I hope I’ve helped to define this very popular genre.


USA Today bestselling author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romance, along with paranormal and romantic suspense. She’s a Daphne du Maurier Award winner and a Golden Heart finalist.

5 thoughts on “What is a “Sweet or “Clean” Romance?

  1. The differences between sweet, clean, inspirational, and Christian are so tiny, but to many readers, it matters. A friend received a nasty review because her story contained too much sex. Huh? Three sweet kisses. I just call mine sweeter, meaning sweeter than my other stuff. And the hottest things I write still are not considered hot by the general publishing industry.

    I actually ran into a woman who wrote Christian erotica… Seriously? Yes. She did marriage counseling and found that so many marriages needed some spice. Oh, I’ll skip the whole Biblical passages that she used to support what she did. But the vast number of people who read Christian based novels, expect squeaky clean and there doesn’t have to be any kissing.

    There’s a huge trend towards clean reads. Everyone knows there’s plenty of the really hot stuff, and it’s there if that is what they are in the mood to read. But studies are showing that the average reader tends to lean towards the cleaner reads.

    Liked by 3 people

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.