Stephenie Meyer says "traditional romance" books are "too smutty"

The "Twilight" author doesn't read erotica, either

Published March 11, 2013 7:45PM (EDT)

"Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer may have spawned a culture of mommy porn and a subculture of vampire fetishism with her trilogy about Bella Swan and vampire lover Edward Cullen, but that was never her intention. The Mormon mother of three told the Guardian's Kira Cochrane recently that she has not read E.L. James' erotic "Twilight" fan-fiction,"Fifty Shades of Grey" -- or even most romance books -- because they are "too smutty":

"When I ask Meyer whether she's read Fifty Shades, she quickly, emphatically, says no. She doesn't wish James ill at all, she says, but 'it's so not my genre. Erotica is not something I read. I don't even read traditional romance.' Why not? 'It's too smutty. There's a reason my books have a lot of innocence. That's the sort of world I live in.' "

Her own "less-traditional" romance has been just as polarizing, though, with detractors labeling it as "abstinence porn." (Meyer was taken aback by the "the massive amount of fans that I hadn't expected, and the massive amount of people who hated it, which I also didn't expect.") She insists, however, that "Twilight" is about "true love":

'You know, it's so funny,' she says. 'I never decide to put a message in anything. I decide on a story that I think is exciting, and I entertain myself, and then some of it obviously reflects my personal experience … What I think says true love is different than what a lot of other people do, so it's just what my subconscious puts out there. To me, true love is that you would hurt yourself before you would hurt your partner, you would do anything to make them happy, even at your own expense, there's nothing selfish about true love. It's not about what you want. It's about what makes them happy.'

Nonetheless, the "Twilight" writer and self-described feminist is taking an "'escape from my original escape ['Twilight']." She is currently producing "The Host," an Andrew Niccols-directed movie based on her 2008 sci-fi bestseller that explores "the idea of looking at being human from the perspective of someone who hasn't been human their whole life."

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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50 Shades Of Grey Books El James Erotica Fiction Literature Romance Stephenie Meyer Twilight