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Lesbian Romance Genre (LGBT Romance)

What is the Lesbian Romance Genre?

As with the male/male romance genre, this genre is more than a bit outside the mainstream. It continues to use the traditional formula of romance novels, but this genre features two women: girl meets girl, girl woos girl, hot sex, and happily ever after as they find fulfillment. The ending in this genre is emotionally satisfying and optimistic, although it doesn’t appeal to as wide an audience as other traditional romance novels since most of the readers don’t envision being carried away by another woman into the sunset.

What to Expect in the Lesbian Romance Genre

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  • most of the time at least one of the characters is in denial about her sexual preference

  • a lot of times at least one of the women is bisexual

  • at least one of the characters has a lot of trust issues

  • a lot of focus on “gentle” physical relationships

Lesbian Romance Characteristics

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  • Level of Angst

    Unlike with male/male romance, where there is more focus on physical urges and needs, the level of angst in this genre is significantly lower. The relationships tend to emerge over time, with more attention focusing on creating the story underscoring the relationship.

  • Character Development

    This genre tends to focus a lot of attention on developing the characters. They are generally likable, and often confused about their own urges. There is a lot of time spent “normalizing” these characters for the female audience which is most likely to read these novels, with some authors use the traditional male/female formula – even giving masculine names/nicknames to one of the women – so Josephine is “Jo,” Roberta is “Bert,” etc. Interestingly, a lot of the main characters in these novels were childhood friends, work together as professional colleagues or are famous, popular actresses.

  • Plot Strength

    In addition to character development, this genre also spends a lot of time in developing the story between the characters – women tend to find their relationships in shared experiences, and the plots in this genre take a lot of time in exploring them.

  • Romantic Tension

    For many of the novels in this genre, there is quite a bit of romantic tension. The authors in this genre take great care in the development of the characters and the story, so the readers do get invested in seeing how the characters finally get together, usually amidst quite a bit of soul searching on the part of one of the characters.

  • Level of Eros

    There is a relatively low level of eros here – the sex scenes can be characterized as less physically intense and more emotionally intense. The physical descriptions are about teasing, caressing, stimulating and touching and not necessarily about dominating and quick fulfillment.

  • Prose Quality

    Most of the writers in this particular genre are committed to developing these relationships, and this genre. Subsequently, they are pretty good writers who tell good stories.

Related Romance Subgenres

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  • Some related subgenres to this genre include Forbidden Romance, Male/Male romance, Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance, and sometimes even Bad Boy Romance since sometimes one of the women is a real hard ass with somewhat traditional “butch” characteristics (name, job, etc).

Lesbian Romance isn't for you if

You like traditional male-female relationships, and you like there to be a hero and a heroine.

Lesbian Romance is totally for you if

You are open to female/female relationships, you like the development of emotional relationships, and passionate sex scenes.

Popular Lesbian Romance Books
  • 1 In Every Port (2003)


    By Karin Kallmaker. Is one of the earliest novels in this genre. It tells the story of a woman who has one night with women stands all over the country but tells herself she isn’t gay – only waiting for the right man to come along. When she meets a woman in her own city, she needs to decide who she really is, and what she really wants.

  • 2 Waiting in the Wings (2011)


    By Melissa Brayden. Is a typical novel in this genre which features a friendship between two actresses which could develop into something more…if only they will let it.

  • 3 The Gravity Between Us (2013)


    By Kristen Zimmer. Another story of two friends – one has been in love with the other for a long time, and now it is time to decide where friendship ends and where love begins.

  • 4 Seven Minutes in Heaven (2015)


    By Kat Fletcher. The story of two childhood friends who were attracted to each other but too young to really be together. 16 years and one divorce later, they reconnect as adults and see if they are able to bring the past into the present and what that might mean for their future.

  • 5 And Playing the Role of Herself (2007)


    By K.E. Lane. Is the story of two actresses who are attracted to one another but neither says anything. When their director puts them into an on-screen relationship, the off-screen passion is not far behind.

  • 6 Above All, Honor (2004)


    By Radclyffe. Is the story of a tough Secret Service agent and the daughter of the President of the United States who pursues her relentlessly. Well, technically she pursues all women relentlessly. Danger intervenes, the women need each other, relationship develops from there.

  • 7 Ice (2014)


    By Lyn Gardner. Is a novel about two detectives who are opposites in all ways – rule breaker and rule bender. One falls in love with the other, and pushes the limits to ensure they will never be partnered again. Fast forward three years when circumstances and tragedy intervene to bring them back together, but perhaps this time they will be able to see one another for what they both have to offer.

  • 8 It Should be a Crime (2009)


    By Carsen Taite. Is a typical romance plot: girlfriend cheats leading main character to have a hot one-night stand. The hot one-night stand ends up being a student in the main character’s law class. The teacher and student need to get over it and work together to free an innocent. But some things are not meant to be gotten over…

  • 9 Starting from Scratch (2010)


    By Georgia Beers. Tells the story of a woman who loves to bake and somehow finds herself the coach of her son’s Little League baseball team. She falls in love with the mothers of one of her players, and they start to explore how love is love, no matter who or what you are. This novel is one of few which features a parent with children in this genre and is, forgive me, sugary sweet.

  • 10 Gun Shy (2006)


    By Lori Lake. Is the story a tough cop who saves a woman from a fire. The woman she saves is inspired to join the police academy where she is determined to learn a lot from her tough cop, and not just about the job.