Paranormal romance is a genre full of human and supernatural pairings: vampires, shifters (of every type), witches, elves, angels (and demons)… but very few ghosts. Horror stories have their fair share of all the supes, but love stories seem to be limited to a select few types.
From a Freudian perspective, there’s probably a reason for that. Romance stories represent our subconscious desires. More specifically, they have traditionally represented the subconscious desires of women. As diversity, gender inclusivity and awareness come into our collective social consciousness, our love stories should change as well.
Traditional supernatural pairings often reflect gender roles and stereotypes of their era: Vampires became sexy in Victorian times because they symbolized penetration without being crude or immoral, and their victims were innocent — and therefore free to indulge in passion because the vampire mythos absolved them of any responsibility. Werewolves reflect a desire for strong dominant “alpha male” types, promising an escape from the drudgery of modernity by reconnecting with our animal natures.
Ghosts are a different class of supernatural characters altogether. Aside from witches, they are the only supernatural creatures whose existence is studied by credible research institutions and are most likely to exist. They represent an inevitable truth many find terrifying — one day we will all die.
Ghost romance then represents our longing for our loved ones who have passed on, a desire to connect with something beyond the physical, a need fo believe in life after death. Ghost romance is about longing and loss, but also faith and hope — the promise of a chance to see our most beloved ones again. And really, don’t we all want that?