I really don’t want to go back to the 1950s and 60s with their prudishness over sex. Lennon and G. R. R. Martin were and are right. It’s madness that we can’t show love in all its facets but we can show violence with abandon.
With the advent of women’s erotic romance we saw a rise in the acceptance of women’s sexuality. Go, us! It was and is a beautiful thing. We can finally say that women do like sex, and we always have.
Think about your own romance, wasn’t it great and wonderful to look at the person you love and crave their touch? To not only want hugs and kisses but to jump their bones at any time? It’s reality. When we love someone, sex is a part of that. To deny it is to deny ourselves. I love reading Nora Roberts/J. D. Robb because her characters openly love each other in all the permutations of love – including sexuality. Her characters sometimes squabble, sometimes disagree, and sometimes try to figure out the rules of this whole love/romance thing. But they also make love with abandon, with respect for each other, giving each other pleasure. That’s a beautiful thing. And she’s not the only author who does that.
If I do have a problem with some romance or erotic novels it’s the ones that harken back to old, bad references. The ‘bad boy’ who reforms in novels rarely does in real life. Tolerating bad behavior renders it acceptable. There is a truth to the statement that if Grey from ’50 Shades of’ had been some guy living in a trailer, he’d have been arrested for stalking, at the least. That, though, is the decision of the author.
Oddly, though, in the face of the ‘me, too’ movement – about saying we wouldn’t tolerate abuse – once again the backlash is on us. There is a movement toward ‘clean’ romance, a discomfort with our sexuality. Why? And why is it on us? We’re not the ones who did anything wrong. What in the world is wrong with saying that you love someone so much that you want to enjoy all the parts of a relationship, including sex. Let’s not let anyone push us backwards with the excuse of the bad behavior of some men.
Instead, let’s be honest about it – most of us love sex, when it’s done right. There’s nothing wrong with it. So let’s write about it done right.
In many of my books, my characters are falling in love. Do they have sex? You betcha. My characters love each other with abandon, completely, but also with respect. My women are tough and competent, my men are strong enough to love them. Both may fight internal battles, or external ones, but their love holds true.
I’m not going backward, I’m going forward.
Read More »