Let’s talk about Sex. I’ll admit, I have an uneasy relationship with it. In my books that is. I have this little voice inside my head, one that sounds suspiciously like the love child of an immature literary snob and a puritan, that tells me sex in books is cheap, maybe even tawdry, and definitely not good literature.
But even as I recognize and hear this voice, I also know it’s misguided, uninformed, and frankly, unrealistic. Yes, there are bad romance novels out there, just as there are bad science fiction or high literature or YA novels. There are books in all genres that are superficial, silly, and just hard to read. But it isn’t the sex that makes romance novels bad—no, the blame for a bad romance, for any bad book, falls squarely on the shoulders of bad writing or bad plotting. Of course, I understand that not everyone likes reading books with sex in them but there’s a difference between having a preference and dismissing an entire genre because it has sexual content. Falling into the trap that sex=cheap, bad, or unworthy I think says more about a reader than the book.
I recently read an article by a romance writer (forgive me but I can’t remember who) who responded to another author’s critique of the genre, a genre he admittedly never read, by simply saying “Grow up.” I love this. I love this for so many reasons not the least of which is because it states what we all know to be true, that sex is a part of life and to turn away from it, or deny its value, can seem childish. Most adults are having it, have had it, or want to have it. It’s a part of how we are made and it’s something that isn’t inherently good or bad—it is whatever the participants make of it. As a writer, to ignore this aspect of an adult relationship would feel shallow at best and just wrong at worst.
And so I try to silence that love child in my own head, the one that tries to shame me for writing sex in some of my stories, and instead I think about what it is I want to teach my two boys (one a teenager and one an almost-teenager). I don’t want them to turn away from or feel ashamed about sex and I really don’t want them to fall into the sex=cheap/bad trap. I want them to know it’s a healthy part of life and I want them to make smart choices when it comes time for them to cross that bridge.
It’s unfortunate that in so many ways society, and some influential people, would rather make sex degrading, shameful, illicit, or something unworthy of our attention. Thankfully, as part of the romance writers’ community, these aren’t my people and I couldn’t be happier about that.
You can follow the blog hop and see what other folks are saying on this endlessly entertaining topic by going here. My fellow romance writer Tracy Krimmer also has an interesting dialogue going on over at her site and if you’re looking for some lighthearted romance to warm you up this holiday season, be sure to check her out!